Thursday, January 9, 2014
► In today’s Olympian — Transportation: Democrats say next move is up to Senate GOP — Top Democrats in the Legislature said Wednesday the next move on a transportation-tax plan in 2014 is up to the Republican-steered Senate. House Democrats passed a spending plan last year only to see if die in the Senate, but the two chambers have been engaged in negotiations during the interim with encouragement from Gov. Jay Inslee.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Problems push 520 project over budget — The Highway 520 project needs $170 million more, to pay for pontoon cracks, delays and other problems, says the state transportation secretary.
► From KPLU — State senator proposes end to pensions for elected officials — A Washington state senator says if 401(k) plans are good enough for Boeing machinists, they should be good enough for those who hold elected office. Republican John Braun on Wednesday said he will introduce legislation to end pensions for all elected officials in Washington.
EDITOR’S NOTE — First they came for the Machinists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Machinist…
► In today’s P.S. Business journal — Machinists continue filing claims against national union over Boeing vote — Angry Machinists in the Puget Sound area continued to file claims against the national IAM, raising questions about whether these filings might derail or delay Boeing’s decision to assemble the 777X in Washington state. But at least one local labor attorney thinks any impact on the 777X decision, or work in Everett, is highly unlikely.
► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing machinists signing bonuses to add $200-million-plus boost to economy — Boeing says it will pay some 30,000 Machinists Union members $10,000 each in late January as a bonus for signing a new, 8-year contract.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing to pay out $320 million to Machinists this month
EDITOR’S NOTE — Why do reporters love to talk about the local economic impact of Boeing bonuses and ignore the negative economic impact of suddenly cutting off millions of dollars per week in unemployment benefits in Washington? Discuss.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ya think?
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Skepticism greets Por Vida charter school proposal — Local educators expressed skepticism Wednesday about a Texas-based nonprofit that wants to open the Yakima Valley’s first charter school under a new law permitting a number of the nontraditional schools starting this year.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Jail, labor costs push sheriff’s budget $5M over — The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office overspent in 2013 by an estimated $5 million, mostly because of jail costs and new labor contracts.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Worker injured at site of fatal Seattle construction accident
► In today’s Seattle Times — Mexican tycoon buys big stake in Seattle’s SSA Marine
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — SSA Marine: Change won’t affect coal port plan
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Idaho finds privately run prisons don’t measure up (editorial) — Idaho’s decadelong experiment with prison privatization has failed, so Gov. Butch Otter had little choice when he reluctantly pulled the plug last week. The promise of incarceration at a lower cost was never fulfilled, and the 2,080-bed facility south of Boise became mired in controversies over inmate violence, lax oversight and possible fraud.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Uninsured kids, unhealthy politics in Idaho (by Shawn Vestal) — What has happened in Washington and in Idaho is a microcosm of the way that blue states and red states have approached health care. Washington has expanded health care programs for the poor. Idaho has done its best not to.
► In the 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.
► At Politico — Poll: Most back minimum wage hike, unemployment benefits extension — Voters support raising the federal minimum wage, 72% to 27%, including a 52 majority of Republicans. On extending unemployment benefits that expired in December, the poll finds American voters supportive of the idea, 58% to 37%.
ALSO at The Stand — Call Congress today for UI benefit renewal
► At Politico — Jobless benefits not top priority for House GOP — House Republicans are showing little appetite, urgency and interest in extending the program, and are hinting that they are content to let the issue disappear if the Senate fails to pass its own legislation.
► In The Hill — Reid delays jobless vote, senators talk deal — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) postponed a procedural vote on a three-month bill to buy time for negotiations over an offset.
► In today’s NY Times — House Republicans preparing plan for immigration overhaul — House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican leadership team are preparing to release their principles for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws later this month.
► In today’s Washington Post — Despite what critics say, Obamacare is working (by Harold Meyerson) — The conservative argument that the ACA is a disaster is true only when it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: Most of the negative consequences that right-wingers have warned against have occurred only in those places where right-wingers have subverted implementation of the law.
► From Working America — The ‘right-to-work’ editorial that renews our faith in modern journalism — The editorial board of the Salem Statesmen Journal, one of the most influential newspapers in Oregon, is not messing around. Their piece on the coming fight over making Oregon a so-called “right to work” state goes right to the point: this law is bad for Oregon, and the only reason we’re talking about it is because of deep-pocket out-of-state special interests.
► In today’s NY Times — Macy’s plans to lay off 2,500, though its holiday sales were up — (None of the stores targeted for closure are in Washington or Oregon.) CEO Terry J. Lundgren: “We have identified some specific areas where we can improve our efficiency without compromising our effectiveness in serving the evolving needs of our customers.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Hey, Terry! I just identified another inefficiency: your more than $11 million annual pay. You’re welcome.
► In The Guardian (UK) — Millionaire Steve Forbes has a cynical campaign to keep working people down (by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka) — To keep from getting “smacked around by President Obama and congressional Democrats,” instead of “passively taking a hit,” publisher Steve Forbes says Republicans should gin up their spin machine to portray a minimum wage increase as a job-killer. Here’s a big red flag for Forbes and any Republicans who may be listening to his advice: the public doesn’t buy your argument. A recent national survey finds that just 25% buy the claim that raising America’s wage floor so working people can live in decency costs jobs.
► In The Hill — U.S. Chamber boss: What income inequality?
► In restaurants and other industries where American workers earn the tipped minimum wage (as low as $2.13 an hour in some states), employers essentially expect the customer to pay their employees. Check out this video from the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United and learn how you can get involved.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.