Wednesday, January 15, 2014
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Machinists district president to retire Jan. 31 — Tom Wroblewski cited health concerns as he made his announcement to the IAM District 751 council on Tuesday evening. He said the stress of the past three months put him in the hospital twice since Dec. 27.
ALSO at The Stand — Citing health, IAM 751’s Wroblewski to retire
► MUST-READ in the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing contract victory could backfire, analyst warns — Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia says Boeing may have cut its labor costs by a few hundred million dollars through the recent contract process, but it may lose far more than that in employee goodwill and productivity. Not to mention Boeing’s political capital around the nation.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Battery smokes on JAL 787; Boeing fix appears to work — The incident on a 787 in Tokyo appears to have been limited by the containment-box protection system Boeing engineers designed to ensure the plane’s safety if the battery malfunctioned.
EDITOR’S NOTE — CEO Jim McNerney: “Thank you, SPEEA engineers! Oh, and by the way… for those of you who still have them, we’re coming for your pensions next.”
► From AP — Stare of the state: Inslee says minimum wage too low — Gov. Jay Inslee, saying too many parents with full-time jobs are struggling to put food on the table for their families, has proposed raising Washington’s minimum wage by as much as $2.50 an hour.
ALSO at the Stand — Inslee calls for action on education, wages
► At WFSE.org — Inslee: No pension attacks on my watch! — In a follow up to his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee assured state employees he will block the attacks on their pensions.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — At last, a wide-awake session (editorial) — A funny thing happened on the way to the no-waves 2014 legislative session. In his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee got his sea legs. On education, on transportation, on closing tax loopholes, on boosting the minimum wage: More wheat than chaff.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee’s spending plans trigger Republican protests — Asked if more money is needed for education this session, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said, “No … We already addressed the money issues…”
► MUST-READ in today’s Seattle Times — Workforce training: Some programs are stars, others have little effect — One of the top-performing programs is apprenticeships. Workers who complete an apprenticeship make, on average about $63,000 a year shortly after finishing a program. They made about $19,000 more a year than a control group of people with similar demographics who did not participate, and had an employment rate that was 9.8 percentage points higher than the control group. Apprenticeships are rare and hard to snag, but they yield a $91 to $1 taxpayer return on — in other words, for every $1 in taxpayer money spent to support the program, the employee will pay $91 in projected additional lifetime taxes and reduced unemployment insurance benefits.
► In today’s Columbian — Sen. Patty Murray touts $65 million for CRC — Federal money is available for the Columbia River Crossing project, should regional leaders choose to move forward with the plan to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said Tuesday.
► In today’s NY Times — After flurry of changes, some states ease up — Across the country, in many of the states under single-party Democratic or Republican control, lawmakers are stepping back this election year, steering away from the divisive battles on abortion, gun control, collective bargaining and large tax cuts that have marked recent sessions in state capitols.
► In today’s News Tribune — Albertsons closing stores in University Place and on Pearl Street in Tacoma — Albertsons will close a pair of South Sound locations, but will retain others. Blame unprofitability.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In Clark County, they blame Walmart.
► At PubliCola — One question for MLKCLC’s David Freiboth — Is it possible for the socialists and labor Democrats to reach a consensus on Seattle’s minimum wage going forward? Freiboth answers: “In order for us to make the kind of change that seems so imminent, we’ve got to scale back the rhetoric that alienates like-minded people.”
► At PubliCola — Striking defiant note, Constantine proposes Metro ballot measure — Citing the state legislature’s ongoing “failure” to pass a transportation revenue package, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a countywide ballot measure to pas a $60 vehicle license fee and a sales tax increase of one-tenth of one percent, raising about $130 million a year countywide.
► In today’s Columbian — C-Tran bottom line for new budget improves — The C-Tran Board of Directors on Tuesday approved a change to its two-year budget that will boost the agency’s bottom line by nearly $1 million.
► In today’s Olympian — Longshore workers who serve the Port of Olympia to get new hall — A long-awaited hall for the longshore workers who serve the Port of Olympia is under construction, a building that is expected to open in March and replace an aging structure that some say has outlived its usefulness.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Cowlitz PUD bosses eye $7,000 pay hike for new GM — The three commissioners said they will decide Jan. 28 whether to boost Don McMaster’s annual salary by 4% to about $179,000.
► In today’s Washington Post — As Republicans kill unemployment insurance, a battle looms over safety net — Senate Republicans successfully filibustered a version of the unemployment insurance extension, and UI is now in limbo. Republicans tossed out a host of procedural objections in the process. No surprise: the game plan all along has been to sink the extension while deflecting blame from Republicans by casting it as a casualty of inside-the-Beltway bickering.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Trumka: Senate GOP’s failure to extend unemployment benefits ‘appalling’ — “Congress should stop playing games with the lives of working families and pass emergency unemployment insurance before they go home for another recess. Otherwise working families should force them to go home permanently in November.”
► At Think Progress — Long-term unemployed sound off: ‘I will never vote Republican again’ — The people who have been left without that support are incensed, and the anger reaches across party lines. In an email to ThinkProgress, Peter LeClair, an out of work investment manager from New York, said he has been a lifelong Republican. But he “will never vote for a Republican, as long as I live” after watching them say that relying on unemployment benefits makes people dependent.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — New federal spending bill could reduce Hanford layoffs — The Hanford nuclear reservation could have $186 million more to spend than last fiscal year under an annual spending bill worked out by leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees late Monday. The bill proposes a budget of $2.2 billion, which could give some relief from layoffs under consideration at Hanford.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Details in spending bill show hand of Sen. Patty Murray — Funding for Sound Transit’s University Link project, money to avert layoffs at Hanford nuclear site in Richland and millions of more dollars for salmon conservation and Puget Sound restoration.
► In today’s NY Times — Finally, Congress does its job (editorial) — Assuming hard-right members of the House don’t manage to block it, a $1 trillion appropriations bill is about to be approved by both chambers for the rest of the 2014 fiscal year, through the end of September. That means some of the most important domestic programs, starved for cash by budget caps and the sequester, will finally get much of the money they need.
► Of course, the devil’s in the details, as reported in the Washington Post — Winners, losers in the spending bill — The Department of Homeland Security will take a $336 million cut in funding, with most of the reductions at the Transportation Security Administration. In a victory for Republicans who have sought for years to boost the use of private security contractors, the agreement increases funding for private security screeners and caps TSA’s overall screening personnel at 46,000.
► From CNBC — In a first, Amazon warehouse workers to vote today on labor union representation — A group of up to 30 Amazon employees at one of the company’s Delaware warehouses will have the opportunity to vote today in an election that could establish the first-ever labor union representation at a U.S. Amazon facility.
► At Politico — Hill Democrats MIA on Obama’s trade agenda — Dozens of Democrats greeted last week’s introduction of the White House’s “fast track” bill with a raft of complaints, saying that advancing huge trade deals is out of step with their party’s more populist election-year message of economic inequality. Democratic Reps. George Miller of California, Louise Slaughter of New York and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut:
Our constituents did not send us to Washington to ship their jobs overseas, and Congress will not be a rubber stamp for another flawed trade deal that will hang the middle class out to dry.
► In today’s NY Times — Obama administration seen as retreating on environment in Pacific trade talks — The Obama administration is retreating from previous demands of strong international environmental protections in order to reach agreement on a sweeping Pacific trade deal that is a pillar of President Obama’s strategic shift to Asia, according to documents obtained by WikiLeaks, environmentalists and people close to the contentious trade talks.
► In The Hill — AFL-CIO’s Trumka to Obama: ‘I will be listening’ — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Tuesday urged President Obama to make infrastructure spending a focus of his State of the Union address.
► At TPM — Obamacare’s December enrollment surge
EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington is finally a red state!
► Last night, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon took on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over his politically manufactured traffic jam.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.