Boeing’s billions, Patty Murray’s deal, GOP’s Medicaid expansion gap…

Tuesday, December 17, 2013




► From Boeing — Boeing board authorizes $10 billion share repurchase, raises dividend 50% — “These actions reflect sustained, strong operational performance by our businesses, increasing cash flow, and our confidence in the future,” said CEO Jim McNerney. “Our team’s relentless focus on business execution and competitiveness is providing the financial strength to continue investing in our core businesses while increasing our returns to shareholders.”


Congratulations on the company’s huge order backlog for commercial jets, improved operating margins, extraordinary profits and record stock price — all of which make this share repurchase and dividend increase possible. Now, surely, your plan “to continue investing in our core businesses” can include maintaining — not increasing, but merely maintaining — compensation levels for your workforce, who also made all this possible.

Sincerely, The Entire Staff of The Stand

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s new rewards for investors fuel debate among Machinists — “Is the Boeing board absolutely tone-deaf, or are they deliberately out to enrage the IAM membership?” said Jim Levitt, a 35-year veteran Machinist. “I’m sure this news will go over like a lead balloon on the factory floor. All this while Boeing is out to sharply cut the retirement of its hourly workforce.”

► In the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier — Washington state still in mix for 777X despite collapsed talks with union — Talks between the Machinists union and Boeing collapsed last week, but a Boeing spokesman on Monday said Washington state is still one of the sites being considered for production of the company’s forthcoming 777X passenger jet.

EDITOR’S NOTE — And the consensus among aerospace analysts, the coalition of unions at Boeing, and many others (including The Entire Staff of The Stand) is that Washington remains the clear choice.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Labor upset with Inslee’s call for new Machinists vote — “The governor is hoping to have a meeting soon with some of the labor leaders who are unhappy with his statement to talk about his position,” said Inslee spokesman David Postman.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State rep calls out governor, others over IAM vote — Democratic state Rep. Mike Sells of Everett thinks Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen should give up their taxpayer-funded pensions if they think Machinists should do the same by approving a contract extension with Boeing.

ALSO at The Stand — Outside pressure on Machinists at Boeing is ‘disrespectful’

MORE coverage at My Northwest and PubliCola.




► From AP — Rally outside Amazon HQ protests German employees’ treatment — On the same day that more than 1,000 workers at Amazon.com in Germany walked off the job in a labor dispute, a few dozen people rallied in solidarity Monday outside the online retailer’s Seattle headquarters.

► In Seattle Weekly — Unions protest at Amazon: ‘We’re humans, not robots’ — The German union, ver.di, seeking to galvanize support for its cause in America, protested outside Amazon’s Seattle HQ on Monday and accused Amazon of engaging in union-busting tactics, refusing to enter into talks with the union, and refusing to pay the same rate set for other German warehouse workers — and instead classify these positions as “logistic workers” because the pay is lower.

ALSO at The Stand — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ‘would not survive’ working one week in his own warehouse

► In today’s Seattle Times — Renton hospital’s CEO may face pay cut — to $1M a year — Even if Valley Medical Center’s trustees vote down a two-year extension for the state’s highest-paid public-hospital executive, Rich Roodman’s multimillion-dollar retirement package ensures he’ll walk away a wealthy man.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Paccar CEO Mark Pigott stepping down after 17 years — Truck manufacturer Paccar said that Ronald Armstrong will become its new chief executive officer, becoming its first CEO from outside the founding Pigott family in nearly 50 years.

► In The (B.C.) Tyee — Unions condemn IKEA for ‘anti-worker agenda’ in Richmond fight — “IKEA management at their store in Richmond has adopted a radical anti-worker agenda that opposes unionization campaigns and encourages union decertification.” That’s how a fact-finding commission describes the lengthy, ongoing dispute between IKEA management and unionized workers at the iconic Swedish furniture retailer’s Richmond, B.C. location.

ALSO at The Stand — IKEA lockout aims to bust teamsters in B.C. (July 9, 2013)




► In today’s Seattle Times — No ‘rubber stamp,’ County Council appoints Mia Gregerson to Legislature — The King County Council on Monday bucked the choice of Democratic party activists to fill a vacant state House seat in the 33rd Legislative District. The council appointed SeaTac City Councilmember and Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson to the state House seat vacated by Dave Upthegrove, who was elected in November to the County Council.

► In today’s News Tribune — No gaps, no drama expected in Inslee’s budget — Every year over the course of the Great Recession and the slow recovery, Olympia has gathered just before Christmas for the answer to the question: How would the governor balance the budget? But for the first time in six years, it’s December and the budget is already in balance.

► In the Washington Post — How much teachers get paid — state by state — The National Center for Education Statistics collected state by state data for the estimated 2013 average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington’s average teacher salary is $53,571, which is $3,000 less than the national average, more than $5,000 less than Oregon, and about $16,000 less than California.

► In today’s Columbian — Clark County is not staving off suit — It appears Clark County won’t respond to a tort claim alleging discrimination in the hiring of state Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) as director of the environmental service department. The next step will be a lawsuit, according to the attorney for an employee of that county department.

► In the Oregonian — Liquor privatization battle brews in Oregon as grocers file initiative petitions — Voters could decide next year whether to boot Oregon government out of the liquor business.




► This morning from Reuters — Budget deal clears crucial vote in Senate — A two-year U.S. budget deal on Tuesday cleared a Senate procedural vote that all but assured its passage by a simple majority later this week in the Democratic-controlled chamber. The Senate voted 67-33 to limit debate on the measure, exceeding the required 60 votes and overcoming the opposition of conservative Republicans who objected to increased near-term government spending.

► At TPM — How Patty Murray kept Democrats in line for budget deal — Sen. Murray convinced Rep. Ryan to whittle down the effective pension cuts (for federal employees) to $6 billion — about one-fourth of President Obama’s own proposal, and far below what Ryan wanted — and let it apply only to workers hired after Dec. 31 who have less than five years of civilian service. Additional carve-outs were made for military service members.

► At Politico — Pelosi pushes Obama on deportations — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke out against the Obama administration’s pace of deportations, adding pressure on a president already under fire from advocacy groups for the number of undocumented immigrants who have been removed under his tenure.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Nothing like a government shutdown to kill business confidence — October’s 16-day government shutdown was a confidence killer, particularly for business owners and executives, who shook their heads at Congress’ failure to do the bare minimum required of it: keep the lights on. The uncertainty created by the shutdown — heightened by the fact that it wasn’t resolved until the government nearly ran out of money to pay its bills — led many businesses to hold off on decisions to expand.

EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s right. The Republican Party’s No. 1 method for extracting job-killing austerity budget cuts — something Rep. Paul Ryan is again threatening to do in January — also kills jobs.




► At TPM — GOP’s Medicaid expansion gap: Poor Southern people of color — Americans who won’t be covered by Medicaid under Obamacare because of Republican opposition are disproportionately black or Hispanic and Southern, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

► In today’s NY Times — Victims of misclassification (by Marjorie Elizabeth Wood) — Today, millions of American workers in a wide variety of sectors, from construction and trucking to I.T. and professional services, are victims of misclassification, a tactic employers use to avoid paying taxes and providing benefits that are guaranteed to employees, such as workers’ compensation, overtime pay, minimum wage and unemployment insurance.

► In today’s NY Times — Benefits questioned in tax breaks for nonprofit hospitals — The billions of dollars in tax breaks granted to the nation’s nonprofit hospitals are being challenged by regulators and politicians as cities still reeling from the recession watch cash-rich medical centers expand.




► Premiering tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 17) at 8 p.m. on KCTS 9 TV — Red metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 — An epic labor strike that devastated Michigan’s Copper Country in 1913 haunts the American labor movement to this day. Among the notable elements of that strike was the death of 73 children at a union Christmas party, a tragedy immortalized by Woody Guthrie in his ballad “1913 Massacre,” performed in the film by Steve Earle. The event remains the deadliest unsolved manslaughter in U.S. history. This program traces the Copper Country strike from its hopeful start to its heartrending conclusion. Between those endpoints, it explores the intensifying battle between organized labor and corporate power, as well as issues of immigration and technology. Richard Harris narrates.

CHECK your local PBS schedule for additional airings.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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