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Pass the DREAM Act, IBEW 191’s Seahulk, Google Eartha…

Friday, January 17, 2014




wa-state-dream-act_front► In today’s Seattle Times — Pass the Washington State DREAM Act (editorial) — The Washington State Dream Act should be a legislative slam dunk. Expanding state financial aid to smart, qualified students, regardless of their citizenship statuses, is a smart investment in the state’s future. The state House of Representatives seized this opportunity early. On Monday, members tipped off the 2014 session with a strong, bipartisan vote to move House Bill 1817 into the Senate’s court.

ALSO at The Stand — House passes state DREAM Act on Day 1

► In the Seattle Times — Patty Murray leads as Washington lawmakers stall on Dream Act — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced a measure Thursday that would provide states more money to help low-income kids pay for college tuition, regardless of their citizenship status.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee says GOP senator ‘fear mongering’ on carbon fuel standard — The governor responded sharply to Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima), who accused him of plotting to bypass lawmakers and impose a new carbon fuel tax through executive order.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Leonard Christian eager to impart his logic on Olympia — The man appointed to fill the rest of Rep. Larry Crouse’s term said the state needs to stop paying prevailing wages on those projects.

► In today’s News Tribune — State has to lead way on making wages livable (by Brendan Williams) — The state should model best practices by immediately raising wages for the state workers it keeps in poverty. Food service or laundry workers at the Rainier School in Buckley, for example, make as little as $10.83 hourly serving those with disabilities. The state can raise those wage scales. Unless state government leads the way, businesses can rightfully complain government lacks the courage of its own convictions.




svh-seahulk► In the Skagit Valley Herald — Transformation to ‘Seahulk’ — It ain’t easy being green. Just ask Seahawks superfan Tim Froemke. He stands shirtless at 8:30 a.m. in a Mount Vernon restaurant watching pregame chatter on the television as body painting artist Dutch Bihary sprayed his muscles with dark green paint. The process takes 3-4 hours, depending on how complex the design elements are, and Froemke’s wife Eva has to shave him beforehand to make sure the paint goes on right.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In case you’re wondering… The Seahulk is a proud member of IBEW Local 191. And the Seahawks are affiliates of the Washington State Labor Council. Go Hawks!




IBEW-logo► In the NW Labor Press — IBEW engaged in organizing drive at Wafertech in Camas — In mid-November, the company held hour-long anti-union meetings on each shift. Managers showed a video that outlines the supposed dangers of signing a union authorization card. On Dec. 6, company president KC Hsu wrote to workers, saying Wafertech will best serve customers and employees without a union.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The good news is that the employer has already raised wages from as low as $10.50 an hour up to $12, according to this report, likely in response to the union drive.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Director of 99 tunnel project irked at state shifting blame — Seattle Tunnel Partners project director Chris Dixon expresses surprise that after a longtime good-working relationship, the state now blames its contractors for difficulties with the Highway 99 tunnel project.




► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing starts to assemble last test tanker for Air Force — Boeing employees have started building the last of the four test aircraft for its upcoming Air Force tanker fleet. Workers laid down the first wing spar on Thursday for a tanker plane that will be finished early in the third quarter.

Boeing-McNerney-thanks► At — Boeing boss W. James McNerney spends $7.2M on Palm Beach properties — The Boeing CEO just spent $7.2 million on a spec house at the chichi Palm Beach Polo & Country Club and the vacant lot next door. The house is strategically located near the Winter Equestrian Festival’s show grounds — and a mile down the road from Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ new $8.7 million-place.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Boss McNerney’s sweet pension deal should sufficiently feed his wife Haity’s showhorse habit there.




► In The Hill — Obama to Dems: Boehner will pass immigration reform in 2014 — The president believes Republicans will feel politically vulnerable if they fail to advance the issue, a high priority among Hispanic voters, according to Democratic senators who met with the president this week.

► In The Hill — Obama weighing executive action on minimum wage hike — President Obama is considering using his executive authority to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors.

► At Politico — Reid: GOP jobless gripes ‘asinine’ — The Senate Majority Leader also criticizes GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell for chuckling about the unemployment issue during an interview.




► At In These Times — How Walmart organizers turned the Internet into a shop floor — In the new wave of low-wage worker organizing that has swept the country in the past two years, some labor groups have begun to use the Internet to facilitate the kinds of personal conversations that lead to workplace action.

CEO-crybaby► In today’s NY Times — Advocates for workers raise the ire of business — As America’s labor unions have lost members and clout, new types of worker advocacy groups have sprouted nationwide, and they have started to get on businesses’ nerves — protesting low wages at Capital Grille restaurants, for instance, and demonstrating outside Austin City Hall in Texas against giving Apple tax breaks. Business officials say these groups often demonize companies unfairly and inaccurately, while the groups question why corporations have attacked such fledgling organizations.

► In Time magazine — How Amazon crushed the labor movement —, like many big businesses, isn’t a fan of labor unions. In contract negotiations, organized workers demand higher wages, layoffs by seniority and sometimes threaten to strike. Amazon has successfully fended off U.S. labor unions since its founding in 1994. On Wednesday, it did once again.

EDITOR’S NOTE — You crushed, Bro?

► From AP — Davos Forum warns of income inequality — The gap between the rich and the poor is the most likely threat to the global economy in coming years, the World Economic Forum said Thursday in a risk assessment ahead of the gathering of political and business leaders: “The generation coming of age in the 2010s faces high unemployment and precarious job situations, hampering their efforts to build a future and raising the risk of social unrest.”

► From AP — United to furlough 688 flight attendants — United Airlines plans to furlough 688 flight attendants after it didn’t get enough of them to take a voluntary buyout. United has already eliminated about 1,250 flight attendant positions through buyouts or job shares. The airline employs about 25,000 fight attendants.

► From AP — Pennsylvania Voter ID law struck down — A state court judge on Friday struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring that voters to show photo identification at the polls.




► Born this day in 1927 was one of the more unique performers in American history, Eartha Kitt. In addition to being the best Catwoman ever, Kitt was a star of stage and screen who became one of the first widely known African American sex symbols. (Orson Welles once proclaimed her “the most exciting woman alive.”) Her career was temporarily derailed by the public outcry following her remarks at a 1968 White House luncheon. Asked by Lady Bird Johnson about her thoughts on the Vietnam War, Kitt replied, “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.” The thin-skinned First Lady reportedly burst into tears. Whatever. Kitt died about five years ago, but The Entire Staff of The Stand™ wanted to commemorate her birthday by sharing this 1962 TV gem.


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