Friday, January 24, 2014
► At Slog — Rep. Farrell files bill to raises state minimum wage to $12 — HB 2672 would raise it in three increments — to $10 an hour in 2015, to $11 an hour in 2016, and to $12 and hour in 2017, after which it would be indexed to inflation. Washington’s current inflation-indexed minimum wage of $9.32 an hour is already on pace to exceed $10 an hour by 2017, so the actual net increase on final phase-in would be less than $2 an hour.
ALSO TODAY in The Stand —Labor backs bill to raise state minimum wage
► At KVI.com — Everett Congressman Rick Larsen talks about boosting the minimum wage — John Carlson interviews Rep. Rick Larsen about his support for increasing the minimum wage.
► In today’s Olympian — Give the DREAM Act a fair Senate floor vote (editorial) — If reasonable minds prevail, the Republican-controlled state Senate will allow a floor vote on both the Washington DREAM Act and the military service education bill. Both have bipartisan support and would pass easily.
EDITOR’S NOTE — As it did on Day 1 of the 2014 legislative session, the DREAM Act passed the House on a strong bipartisan vote last year. But it died without a vote in the Senate even though Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) professed to support the legislation. He allowed a committee chairwoman, Sen. Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor), to quash the bill. She not only refused a committee vote, she also canceled a hearing for which more than 100 students had traveled to Olympia.
► At Crosscut — Legislators drawing lines on teacher pay, school funding — Democrats want to accelerate additions to school support while Republicans raise the possibility of making no budget changes this year.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Bills clarifying role, future of paraeducators deserve support (editorial) — Pioneering legislation under consideration in Olympia – HB 2365 and SB 6129 – would address the needs of an underclass of instructors that makes a huge but largely unrecognized contribution to the progress of almost one-half million Washington students: paraeducators.
► In today’s Columbian — Oregon lawmaker ‘doubtful’ of CRC action
► In today’s Seattle Times — State jobless rate takes ‘a baby step in the right direction’ — Washington’s job market ended 2013 on a high note as the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent, but the shrinking labor force remains a concern.
► At KPLU — As clinics face uncertain future, Harborview staffers plead for answers — Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center is considering big changes in the way it delivers primary care, with clinics serving thousands of patients hanging in the balance. And frustrated staffers are pleading with hospital brass to explain what’s going on.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma City Council mulling pay raises for some workers — The city of Tacoma’s nonunion workforce could see its first general pay increase in five years if the City Council approves a proposal Tuesday.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Multiple candidates expected in Machinists union election — It isn’t clear who the next leader of the Machinists union in metro Puget Sound will be, and union officials expect a contested election sometime this spring. Several rank-and-file leaders are backing a union staffer based in Everett, Jon Holden, to succeed Tom Wroblewski, the current president of Seattle-based District Lodge 751.
► In today’s Seattle Times — 787 reliability needs to improve further, Boeing exec says — Boeing needs to improve the reliability of its 787 Dreamliner to satisfy customers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle after a series of malfunctions with the new aircraft, Mike Fleming, vice president of 787 Services and Support, said Friday.
► At Boeing.com — Boeing rolls out first 787 at increased production rate — The new 10 per month rate is the highest ever for a twin-aisle airplane.
► At Huffington Post — How fast-food workers put income inequality on Obama’s plate — President Barack Obama has made it clear that income inequality will be his defining issue in 2014. If such a strategy helps him advance his policy goals — and if it pays out dividends to his fellow Democrats in the midterm elections — then the president and his party will have a lot of low-wage workers to thank for their boldness.
► From Bloomberg — Obama recovery fails to resonate as Americans left behind — Just as the world’s largest economy is finally getting better, the public’s opinion of President Barack Obama’s handling of it is getting worse. What’s happening, Republicans and some Democrats say, is that voters left behind in the recovery now blame him and not his predecessor, George W. Bush, and could punish Obama’s fellow Democrats in this year’s congressional elections.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers to give GOP response to State of Union address — The response to the State of the Union is usually reserved for the opposition party’s rising stars. Last year’s GOP response was given by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida). Former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) gave the party’s response in 2011.
► At Politico — Sen. Murray: No negotiations on debt limit — Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will release a letter later Friday saying Democrats will not heed any GOP demands in exchange for hiking the debt limit next month in the latest round of the fiscal fights that have plagued the Capitol. “We will not negotiate over whether or not the United States of America should pay its bills,” Murray writes in the letter.
► In The Hill — Democrats renew push for jobless benefits — Democrats will hold a national conference call Friday to highlight that the number of people who have lost unemployment benefits has reached 1.6 million. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has urged colleagues to hold events in their districts Friday to build grassroots support for an extension of benefits that has stalled in the Senate.
► At AFL-CIO — Hey, Macklemore: Can we go new wireless provider shopping? — Workers employed by the wireless provider have described the company’s tactics as “brutal psychological terror.” These practices include things like verbal abuse, threats, forcing workers to wear dunce caps and sit in a corner if they don’t meet their quotas. In one town, so many T-Mobile workers have gone to the doctor reporting migraines, stroke symptoms, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, the doctors have started referring to the symptoms as “T-Mobile disease.” When those workers try to stand up for themselves and just work in a reasonable environment, they report being fired, disciplined, interrogated in basements and systematically told to keep quiet.
► In today’s NY Times — Fined billions, JP Morgan Chase will give Dimon a raise — A year after an embarrassing trading blowup led to millions of dollars being docked from Jamie Dimon’s paycheck, the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase is getting a raise.
► In today’s NY Times — Immigrants seen as way to refill Detroit ranks — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has proposed bringing in 50,000 immigrants over five years as part of a visa program aimed at those with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities.
► At Think Progress — An idea to empower workers that employers might actually support — In an effort to unionize a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee, UAW is also seeking to create a European-style works council. The idea of unions, if disparaged, is at least familiar to Americans. But works councils have yet to formally break into the country the way they have in Europe. If they were to be adopted here, however, they could not only give workers a foothold in power in an era of declining unionization, but they could also benefit employers themselves.
► In Mother Jones — Meet the new Kochs: The DeVos Clan’s plan to defund the left — The Devoses alongside the Kochs, the Bradleys, and the Coorses as founding families of the modern conservative movement. Since 1970, DeVos family members have invested at least $200 million in a host of right-wing causes — think tanks, media outlets, political committees, evangelical outfits, and a string of advocacy groups. Today, Dick Davos is the face of the family’s political dynasty. Like his father, Dick sees organized labor as an enemy of freedom and union leaders as violent thugs who have “an almost pathological obsession with power.” But while DeVos Sr. simply inveighed against unions, Dick took the fight to them directly, orchestrating a major defeat for the unions in the cradle of the modern labor movement. Passing right-to-work in Michigan was more than a policy victory. It was a major score for Republicans who have long sought to weaken the Democratic Party by attacking its sources of funding and organizing muscle.
► On her birthday, this one goes out to the lovely wife of The Entire Staff of The Stand™. This song’s a favorite of hers and it has a great video — filmed entirely in one take — featuring Robyn dancing alone in a soundstage. Happy birthday, Dru!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.