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Boeing vote redux, $15 in Seattle, Koch dough, Courts v. Unions…

Monday, January 6, 2014




Boeing-IAM-777► In Saturday’s Seattle Times — Machinists say yes, secure 777X for Everett — The outcome means Boeing will build the 777X jetliner in Everett and its wings will be fabricated nearby by Boeing machinists. The region’s economy is assured of high employment at Boeing for a decade to come, and likely more. The 32,000 members of Boeing’s blue-collar union, however, will give up some hard-won benefits, including the traditional pension.

ALSO at The Stand — Machinists OK Boeing deal by 51-49 vote

► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Boeing deal won’t end company’s tough bargaining — For some observers, the heady enthusiasm after Friday’s narrow 51 percent vote was diluted by the sobering prospect of dwindling middle-class wages and benefits, and the near certainty that pressure for future concessions to Boeing will continue.

► From AP — New Boeing contract is ‘turning point in the labor movement’ (not the good kind) — A new labor contract that was approved in a close vote by Boeing machinists secures a major airplane contract for the Seattle area, but it also moves workers away from pensions.

► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Shades of gray in union’s OK of Boeing’s 777X offer

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — After the Machinists’ vote (editorial) — The Machinists’ narrow approval of a revised, eight-year contract extension Friday provokes guilty relief; relief because the Puget Sound region will benefit from thousands of 777X jobs and the multiplier effect of a vital aerospace supply chain; and guilt, because the Boeing Co. was permitted to frame the debate, freighting Machinists with a decision that was wholly Boeing’s.

► From KING 5 — Rep. Chris Reykdal calls Boeing deal ‘extortion’ —  “‘To extract something from somebody by force or threat’,” the Tumwater Democrat read from his dictionary. He added:

We were threatened with job losses. We were threatened that the company would leave. When you make people react out of fear, they’ll make irrational decisions… This is a very bad deal for the taxpayers and voters of this state. The taxpayer should wonder why they just gave away 8-plus billion dollars to a company that has less obligation to the state than they did before the package.

corporate-entitlement► In the LA Times — Big tax breaks for the taking (by Michael Hiltzik) — Here’s a business practice likely to keep booming in 2014: corporate extortion. We don’t mean extortion of corporations, as is practiced by Somali pirates or entrepreneurial Russians. We mean extortion by corporations. Everybody wins, its seems — except for taxpayers, who get hosed. Such is the natural harvest of a system that hands out tax breaks, regulatory exemptions and other benefits to business just for the asking. You get to the point where no smart businessman will make a move without expecting a payoff. As long as politicians aren’t smart enough to turn them away, why should they expect anything different?




► From KOMO News — ‘The system is broken’: Staffing issues plague Wash. ferries — Disgruntled ferry passengers are demanding to know if the state ferry system is doing all it can to prevent delays and cancellations after a major glitch Friday morning. Washington State Ferries confirms it cancelled two sailings on the Clinton/Mukilteo run after a scheduling mistake caused a boat to be one crew member short.

► In today’s News Tribune — Lawmakers face pressure to tackle lobbyist dinners — A legislative ethics panel threw out a complaint last month that said some lawmakers were taking unlawfully large numbers of dinners paid by lobbyists.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Former state Rep. Larry Vognild dies at 81 — Larry Vognild, a former Democratic state Senator who served Everett-area constituents from the late 1970s into the 1990s, died Friday. He was 81.




seattle-15-minwage► At PubliCola — Murray proposes $15 minimum wage for Seattle city employees — In his first official City Hall press conference since taking the oath of office on Tuesday, Mayor Ed Murray announced that he’s issuing an executive order directing city departments to increase the minimum wage for city employees to $15 an hour, in keeping with the ongoing push to raise the minimum wage to that level citywide.

► At PubliCola — Pipe, left by contractor 11 years ago, blocks Bertha — Eight inches in diameter, and 115 feet long, the pipe was left behind after it was used to measure groundwater levels during preliminary studies for the viaduct replacement.




Unemployment-Insurance► In The Hill — Battle over jobless benefits will consume start of 2014 — Senate Democratic leaders feel cautiously optimistic they have the 60 votes they need to advance unemployment benefits legislation on Monday, but that marks only the start of the congressional battle. Even if the legislation passes the Senate next week, it faces an uphill road in the House. Advocates for extended benefits say the fight could play out between the chambers for weeks.

► In today’s NY Times — Republican disdain for the jobless (editorial) — The Senate will vote on unemployment benefits. But the House? It’s planning another meaningless, symbolic vote on health care.

► In today’s Washington Post — 1,600 applicants for 3 dozen dairy plant jobs? Welcome to Hagerstown — Wall Street is booming, but for many blue-collar workers in a Maryland town, the economic recovery has yet to materialize.

► In today’s Oregonian — As federal unemployment aid expires, options surface in Oregon for state-funded extension — The state may fund an extra four to six weeks of benefits for an estimated 22,000 workers in Oregon, at a cost of $30 million. The state unemployment insurance fund, which employers pay into, would likely cover the costs of the program.




koch-brothers► In today’s Washington Post — Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012 — The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks its donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents. The filings show that the network of politically active nonprofit groups backed by the Kochs and fellow donors in the 2012 elections financially outpaced other independent groups on the right and, on its own, matched the long-established national coalition of labor unions that serves as one of the biggest sources of support for Democrats.

► In the Olympian — Defense bill a boon for JBLM, Pacific Northwest — The $526.8 billion defense budget President Barack Obama signed Christmas week steers hundreds of millions of dollars to Puget Sound military installations and billions more for Boeing-made aircraft being developed here.

► In today’s Washington Post — Federal employee unions lay out 2014 agenda — Two of the nation’s largest federal employee unions (AFGE and NTEU) have shared their 2014 legislative priorities, laying out the issues they’ll focus on as the government moves forward with its first comprehensive budget agreement in more than three years.

► In today’s NY Times — Popular voice at the Capitol? It’s the pope’s — From 4,500 miles away at the Vatican, Pope Francis, who has captivated the world with a message of economic justice and tolerance, has become a presence in Washington’s policy debate.




tipping-scales-of-justice► At Salon — Scalia’s golden chance to kill unions — A Supreme Court case to be heard this month could deal another body blow to the embattled U.S. labor movement. The case, Harris v. Quinn, offers the court’s conservative majority a chance to make so-called “Right to Work” the law of the land for millions of public sector workers.

► At Politico — A court just gutted your right to sue your boss — Unnoticed except by employment lawyers, the United States Court of Appeals in New Orleans last month issued what might be the most important workers’ rights opinions in decades. The decision permits employers to require workers, as a condition of keeping their jobs, to agree to arbitrate all workplace disputes and to do so as individuals, standing alone against their employer.

► At Think Progress — Wisconsin lawmaker wants to take away workers’ weekends — Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) is pushing to undo the state’s law that employers have to provide their employees with at least one day off a week.





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