Wednesday, December 11, 2013
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing chief meets with union reps who opposed 777X deal — On deadline day for states around the U.S. to submit their bids for the 777X project, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner met Tuesday with the Machinists union officials who last month led the rejection of the company’s contract offer. Conner met with the IAM District 751 council officials known as business reps and with District 751 President Tom Wroblewski at Boeing Commercial Airplanes headquarters in Renton. “The meeting was congenial and 777X was discussed,” said one person with knowledge of the talks.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story implies that the rejection of Boeing’s contract extension offer was the work of two-thirds of IAM District 751 business reps, as opposed to the rank-and-file Machinists themselves. Seems like Boeing management’s pension-ending, take-it-or-leave-it, you-have-one-week proposal had something to do with it.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Union chief Wroblewski still hopeful Washington will land Boeing 777X — Machinists union President Tom Wroblewski remains optimistic Boeing will decide to assemble the 777X in Washington state. To help make that happen, he’s asking members of the IAM District Lodge 751 to avoid friction within the union, in a letter that went out to union members this week, just as Washington state was finishing its application to Boeing attempting to win assembly of the 777X.
ALSO at The Stand — Build the 777X here: A win-win for Boeing, Washington state (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson)
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Wash. congressional delegation to Boeing: We’re there for you — Washington’s congressional delegation sent the Boeing Co. a love letter Tuesday telling the company that they’ve worked hard to help the aerospace giant, will continue to do so and want the 777X built in this state.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Could union use NLRB as lever to keep 777X in Washington? Experts differ
► In today’s NY Times — Boeing looks around, and a state worries — The next chapter of that old relationship (between Boeing and Washington state) has become a cliffhanger of politics, economics and perhaps, some suspect, brinkmanship and bluff.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State Senate majority plans to pick up where it left off last session — The state Senate majority caucus congratulated itself Tuesday for surviving a year and vowed to pursue legislation that did not pass last session, including changes to K-12 education and workers compensation. Last session the caucus pushed legislation that would let workers settle compensation claims for a lump-sum amount rather than pursuing a lifetime disability pension or other benefits – an idea strongly opposed by labor.
► At PubliCola — Senate Democrats ridicule GOP ‘achievements’ — In response to the Senate majority caucus’s celebration, the Senate Democrats sent out an email listing several links to the coalition’s other “achievements” in the past year. It comically cited the coalition’s 21 percent approval rating, harassment complaints between its own members, preventing equal access to higher ed, reducing middle-class wages, among many other things.
► In today’s Columbian — Records for Benton’s hire prompt lawsuit — A Vancouver man is suing Clark County for allegedly stonewalling a public records request he says would shed light on why county commissioners hired Don Benton to head the Environmental Services Department.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Heavy-duty tools lined up to get Bertha back on track — Augers, tubes and a crane are standing by at the Highway 99 tunnel job site, to help workers drill 60 feet deep and remove the unidentified buried object that blocks boring machine Bertha. The job is likely to take several days.
► In today’s NY Times — Study finds federal contracts given to flagrant violators of U.S. labor laws — A new congressional report criticizes the federal government for awarding tens of billions of dollars in contracts to companies even though they were found to have violated safety and wage laws and paid millions in penalties. The report urges the government to weigh a company’s safety and wage violations more closely as it awards contracts, which are about $500 billion a year to companies employing 26 million workers, representing 22 percent of the nation’s work force.
► At TPM — Oregon Obamacare enrollees may have to wait — The ongoing problems with Oregon’s state-based Obamacare website mean roughly 30,000 people who have applied for health coverage might not see it start on Jan. 1, 2014, as expected.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Colin Powell calls for universal (single-payer) health care in U.S. — “We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care,” he said last week in Seattle. “(Let’s show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens.”
► At today’s NY Times — Dwindling tools to raise wages (By Eduardo Porter) — Perhaps the most compelling argument for raising the minimum wage is simply this: It is worth a try. It might not be the most effective tool to raise the incomes of the working poor. But given the erosion of collective bargaining and the absence of other labor market regulations, it is one of the few we have. The United States might not even need a minimum wage if it had some of the institutions that other advanced nations use to put a floor on workers’ living standards. But it doesn’t. Sweden, for example, doesn’t have a minimum wage. But it does have other tools — like a 70% unionization rate. In the United States, the union membership rate is about 7%.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.