Friday, December 6, 2013
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s wish list for 777X asks for ‘no cost’ site — Confidential documents sent to the 15 states vying for the 777X project, lists what the company considers “desired incentives” that include: “Site at no cost, or very low cost, to project; Facilities at no cost, or significantly reduced cost; (and) Infrastructure improvements provided by the location.” Additional incentives include assistance in recruiting, evaluating and training employees; a low tax structure, with “corporate income tax, franchise tax, property tax, sales/use tax, business license/gross receipts tax, and excise taxes to be significantly reduced;” and “Accelerated permitting for site development, facility construction, and environmental permitting.”
Other factors that will be “significant” when Boeing makes its choice: Low overall cost of doing business, “including local wages, utility rates, logistics costs, real estate occupancy costs, construction costs, applicable tax structure obligations;” the quality, cost and productivity of the available workforce; and the predictability of utilities pricing and government regulation.
► From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary — Entitlement — Definition: The condition of having a right to have, do, or get something; the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges); a type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group.
► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Boeing to states: What we want for 777X — St. Louis appears to meet most of the requirements Boeing Co. is looking for in a place to build its new 777X plant. But it would sure help if Missouri were on the ocean.
► In the News Tribune — St. Louis union chief backtracks after comments on Boeing, Seattle — The president of Boeing’s St. Louis Machinists union is now walking back statements he made to a Seattle radio station Wednesday in which he said the 777X should be built in Washington.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Wage activists stage all-day march from SeaTac to Seattle — Low-wage workers and their supporters marched for 14 miles today to bring the momentum of the success of the city of SeaTac’s minimum wage initiative to Seattle. Marcher Karl Ballogh of Tacoma said he is one of many low wage workers whose lives would be changed with a “living wage.” He works two low-wage jobs — one at a Gig Harbor McDonald’s and another at Arby’s in Tacoma. Between these two jobs, Ballogh works six days per week to just support himself. “I’m trying to bring change to where I live and bring opportunities to people in my situation,” he said. “I only support myself, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like to support kids (on minimum wage).”
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Valley Hospital turns away nurses, others after strike — Valley Hospital has locked out at least 80 nurses and other employees in the aftermath of Wednesday’s one-day strike and the hiring of temporary replacement workers. The lockout will be lifted Saturday, but the problems dividing unionized staff and hospital administrators will linger. The issue comes down to a question being posed across the country: How many nurses does it take to staff a hospital? Several states are grappling with possible answers as they look at regulating hospitals.
ALSO at The Stand — Spokane nurses return to work, but Valley Hospital locks out 74
► In yesterday’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford tank farm workers offered choice to authorize strike — Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council workers at the nuclear reservation’s tank farms will be asked Dec. 13 to either approve a proposed collective bargaining agreement or give their authorization to proceed to a possible strike. The workers have turned down two earlier proposals by Washington River Protection Solutions, most recently Oct. 9. That agreement was approved by HAMTC workers at four other Hanford contractors.
► MUST-READ in today’s Seattle Times — Tackling inequity: Easier said than done (by Jon Talton) — Changing the trajectory of policy and change that has caused the worst inequality since the Gilded Age won’t be easy. Technology has played a role, but policy is responsible for most of the problem. Policy made it easier to bust unions and more difficult for workers to unionize. Court decisions have tilted the balance away from worker rights and protections. Policy created unbalanced trade deals that sent millions of well-paid manufacturing jobs overseas, as well as encouraging American corporations to set up operations abroad.
KOCHS COME TO WASHINGTON
► At WFSE.org — The truth about unsubstantiated slurs in the (Tacoma) News Tribune — The News Tribune once again gave a soapbox to the Koch Brothers-funded national attack on the middle class, this time using the (Evergreen) Freedom Foundation’s “labor policy analyst” Maxford Nelsen as their puppet. “Union workers coerced into political positions,” the headline on his Dec. 5 op-ed screamed. The Koch Brothers and their corporate allies are the people who brought you Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin-style of attacks on first responders, nurses, teachers and other public servants. In the TNT op-ed, they continue their strategy of telling a big lie long enough and loud enough and hope that people might start believing it.
► A related story today in the Guardian — State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax — Conservative groups across the U.S. are planning a coordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. The strategy for the state-level organizations, which describe themselves as “free-market think tanks,” includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
► At Crosscut — State has bad habits in dealing with long-term care needs (by Brendan Williams) — For years, long-term care policy has been as much directed by sanctions as it has been by affirmative policy decisions by the state… Now the federal government has concluded that, in attempting to save $1 million in caring for 27 residents at a state-run nursing home in Spokane County’s Lakeland Village, the state broke the law at least 41,231 times. The state may now be on the hook for a penalty of as much as $16 million, quite apart from the irreparable harm to very vulnerable citizens.
ALSO at The Stand — As feds criticize cutbacks, state considers more RHC closures (Dec. 2)
► In today’s News Tribune — Legislature getting a slew of new members — Legislators are playing a slow game of musical chairs after November’s election.
► In today’s NY Times — Congress nears modest accord on the budget — House and Senate negotiators on Thursday closed in on a budget deal that, while modest in scope, could break the cycle of fiscal crises and brinkmanship that has hampered the economic recovery and driven public opinion of Congress to an all-time low. But the leaders of the House and Senate budget committees — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — encountered last-minute resistance from House Democratic leaders who said any deal should be accompanied by an extension of expiring unemployment benefits for 1.3 million workers.
► In today’s Washington Post — Here’s where cutting off unemployment benefits will hurt the worst — More than a million people could get their last unemployment checks just after Christmas if Congress doesn’t vote to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program before breaking for the holidays. Unemployment insurance programs have already seen big cutbacks. The average weekly benefit for unemployed Americans fell by $42, to $256, thanks to federal budget sequestration, and the length of time an unemployed worker is eligible for benefits has dropped by a third. According to a new report, California would be hardest hit, with more than 214,000 people set to lose benefits. More than 127,000 New Yorkers will lose their monthly checks, while tens of thousands in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas will see their benefits end.
► In today’s NY Times — Coalition of liberals strikes back against ‘centrist Democrats’ — In a sign of the left’s new aggressiveness, a coalition of liberals is trying to marginalize a centrist Democratic policy group that was responsible for a Wall Street Journal op-ed article this week that said economic populism was “disastrous” for the party.
► In today’s Detroit Free Press — Gov. Snyder must uphold state’s constitutional protection of Detroit pensions (editorial) — The City of Detroit made promises to its workers, promises it can no longer keep. And in 1963, the residents of Michigan chose to approve a constitution that protected pensions. Gov. Rick Snyder took an oath to uphold that constitution. And now he must.
► Today, the Entire Staff of The Stand™ wishes a happy birthday to Ben Watt of Everything But the Girl. Most of you know this dynamic duo by their one radio hit from 1994, a House remix of “Missing.” To be sure, after Watt went electronic in the ’90s, they made many great songs and performed them beautifully live. (Here’s evidence.) But we still prefer the earlier jazzy version of EBTG that spotlighted the uniquely sultry voice of Tracey Thorn. So, despite a few audio hiccups, we give you this rare gem of EBTG performing live during their acoustic years. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.