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Union labor delivers, political colors, Eyman again, NAFTA’s failure…

Tuesday, January 7, 2014




Boeing-McNerney-thanks► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s 2013 deliveries soar to record despite 787 woes — Boeing delivered 648 planes, a 7.8 percent increase from 2012, worth an estimated $51 billion at actual prices. It delivered 65 Dreamliners in 2013, up from 46 in the previous year.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This was Washington’s unionized workforce not only delivering quality airplanes at an unprecedented pace, but also picking up the slack of the underperforming South Carolina plant. You’re welcome, Mr. McNerney.

► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing beginning search for Washington site for composite wing plant — Now that Machinists Union members have voted to accept a new 8-year contract, Boeing is beginning its search for a Washington state site to build the new composite wings for its 777X.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Everett, Frederickson, Moses Lake and Spokane: Get out your checkbooks.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Some Machinists seek new vote on Boeing offer — Some union members want federal labor regulators to make the IAM hold the vote again. They say thousands of workers were effectively disenfranchised because they were out of town when the vote was held.

► In today’s News Tribune — Machinists vs. Boeing and a bunch of state governments (by Peter Callaghan) — It wasn’t enough for those workers to calculate how the contract would affect their jobs, their retirements, their families, their fellow union members. They apparently also were supposed to preserve the future of the regional economy and the careers of a bunch of politicians.

williams-brendan► MUST-READ in today’s (Everett) Herald — With Boeing, politicians show true colors (by Brendan Williams) — The lurching reaction of the political class, and failure to take the long view about what kind of state we want to be, portends trouble on other fronts. For government to subvert a private sector union, even after giving Boeing $8.7 billion in tax breaks, is a bad harbinger for working people under more-direct state control.




► In today’s News Tribune — Eyman’s newest plan: Slash sales tax by $1B unless lawmakers put 2/3s tax-vote question on ballot — Tim Eyman’s newest initiative uses the threat of a $1 billion a year cut in sales tax revenue as incentive for the Legislature to approve a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds majorities for tax hikes.

rivers-benton-role-models► In today’s Columbian — Report: Benton, Rivers both at fault for spats in the Legislature — State Sen. Don Benton shares blame for a series of unprofessional spats he had last year with Sen. Ann Rivers, administrative officials within the Washington Legislature have ruled. After reviewing Benton’s respectful workplace complaint against Rivers, officials concluded that both Clark County Republicans violated Senate rules by using demeaning language toward each other. They also found that Benton’s disrespectful treatment of Rivers interfered with her work performance in the Legislature.

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma’s Laurie Jinkins gets a chairwoman’s gavel — The Legislature’s mid-term game of musical chairs is paying off for some lawmakers whose profiles are rising, including Rep. Laurie Jinkins.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Worker who fell from Seattle building dies — A 35-year-old man who fell 50 feet off a building near Seattle Center this morning has died. The iron worker for North Coast Iron in Anacortes was on scaffolding at a building at 101 Taylor Ave. N. when he fell.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Murray talks innovation; Sawant raises defiant fist at inauguration — In a ceremony that featured calls for class struggle and an appeal to political pragmatism, Mayor Ed Murray, socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant and other elected city officials were sworn in at City Hall on Monday.



rtw-front► In today’s Salem (Ore.) S-J — ‘Right-to-work’ laws do nothing to increase jobs — Right-to-work is a misnomer. If proponents were straight with us, they’d call these transparently vindictive efforts a “Right to Weaken Unions Act” or a “Right to Punish Those Who Oppose Us Measure.” The laws drain money from unions under the guise of creating a more business-friendly environment for states. … A big red X has been affixed to a map of Oregon by outside influences who have decided in secret that we are to be the next target in their misinformation campaign. Chief among the groups is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an unchecked conservative policy organization bent on convincing more states to enact right-to-work laws, using whatever-it-takes tactics.

ALSO at The Stand — Workshops to explain how ‘right-to-work’ harms communities — These workshops are offered today, Jan. 25th and 28th in Seattle; Jan. 11th and 27th in Olympia; and Jan. 11 in Spokane. Register online!

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Idaho’s House speaker presses labor chief on how to rise above bottom-rung wages — Idaho has the worst wages in the nation, ranking 50th for average annual wage, per-capita income and wage increases since 2007. It also has the greatest percentage of minimum-wage workers in America. After hearing those figures, state legislative leaders said it’s time to figure out how to reverse that “dubious distinction” for the state.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Idaho: That’s why they call it Right-to-Work for Less. Yours Truly, Washington.

In today’s Oregonian — Portland declares impasse in contract talks with District Council of Trade Unions, which represents more than 1,600 city workers




House-GOP-w-WA► At AFL-CIO Now — House Republicans draining at least $600 million a week from U.S. economy — At the end of 2013, an emergency unemployment compensation extension program that started in 2008 under President George W. Bush expired, meaning 1.3 million jobless workers lost benefits that helped them house and feed their families. President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have made it clear they want the program to go on, but House Republicans are refusing to act. Now Harvard economist Lawrence Katz says the “fiscally irresponsible” decision is costing America’s economy at least $600 million a week.

► From AP — Unemployment benefits bill clears hurdle — White House-backed Legislation to renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed unexpectedly cleared an initial Senate hurdle on Tuesday, but the bill’s fate remained in doubt.

► In today’s Washington Post — Income gap becomes central issue for both parties ahead of mid-term elections — Ahead of the 2014 midterm campaign season — and as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty” this week — Democrats and Republicans alike are trying to convince voters they are on the side of the middle class and those striving to break into it.

► In The Hill — White House credits ObamaCare for slow growth in healthcare spending — A new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found healthcare spending rose by 3.7% in 2012, the fourth year in a row that the increase was at a near-record low.

► At Politico — Janet Yellen confirmed as Federal Reserve chief — Janet Yellen will make history as the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, becoming its chairwoman at a key moment for the central bank as it attempts to unwind its unprecedented efforts to boost the economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis.




► In today’s NY Times — Faulty websites confront needy in search of aid — Efforts at modernizing the systems for unemployment compensation in Florida, California, Massachusetts and Nevada have largely backfired in recent months, causing enormous cost overruns and delays.

► In The Hill — Businesses claim ‘watershed moment’ in defeat of union poster rule — Major industry trade groups are claiming a major victory in the legal battle over regulations that would have required most businesses to display posters about union rights.

► In today’s NY Times — Detroit pensions are frozen, then thawed — The city’s emergency manager, in an unpublicized move last week, ordered that pension benefits for thousands of public employees be frozen, but said on Monday that he would delay the move to allow for a possible compromise in federally mediated talks.




nafta-clinton► At Huffington Post — Lessons from 20 years of NAFTA (by SPEEA’s Stan Sorscher) — When NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) took effect 20 years ago, we were promised mutual gain. NAFTA and numerous subsequent trade deals perform very well for investors and global businesses, while leaving most workers and communities at a disadvantage. Since NAFTA, our trade deficits totaled over $8 trillion. We’ve lost millions of good manufacturing jobs and de-industrialized our economy. Workers have lost bargaining power and wages stagnated. We did trade wrong.

Very soon, Congress will take up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a similar deal with Europe, known as TTIP. These two huge NAFTA-style trade deals will consolidate the failed NAFTA-style trade policy as a global standard. … “Free trade” failed. It’s not free — it will cost us our future. It’s not trade — it’s about the power to divide gains. It doesn’t work — the historical trajectory from NAFTA to TTP to TTIP leads to a lesser America. We can have a good trade policy. It will look a lot more like our Constitution than NAFTA.


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