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777X wing work, DREAM Act, R.I.P. Pete…

Friday, January 31, 2014




Boeing-Seahawks► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing flight paints a big ’12’ on Washington’s map — The Boeing Co. on Thursday employed a 747-8 freighter like a giant Etch-A-Sketch, tracing the number 12 on a map of Washington.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Everett could win 777X wing work — Mayor Ray Stephanson believes Everett is well positioned to host a wing-assembly plant for Boeing’s next-generation 777, when an expected announcement comes in mid-February. Stephanson gave his take on aerospace and other economic realities Thursday during his annual state of the city speech. He began by praising Boeing Machinists’ recent approval of a labor contract that the company says will ensure future 777 manufacturing in Washington. “I believe in my heart of hearts that this is a good contract,” he said.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing annual bonuses will pump $400M into state’s economy — Boeing will pay annual incentive bonuses next month of between 16 and 17 extra days’ pay to all nonunion employees and SPEEA-represented engineering staff. Separately, Machinist union members will get an annual incentive bonus of 4 percent.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing, Air Force dispute report of tanker delay




► In today’s Seattle Times — Republican bill seeks to stop cities from regulating minimum wage — Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia) is sponsoring SB 6307, which would prohibit cities and counties from enacting laws to regulate minimum wage, hours and other private-employee considerations. The bill would not set a minimum wage but would reserve that action for the state. The bill would pre-empt the SeaTac minimum-wage initiative and similar actions being discussed in Seattle.

wa-state-dream-act_front► At PubliCola — Republicans, Sen. Tom change course, sponsor DREAM Act in Senate — On the first day of the session, the Democratic House passed the DREAM Act, which makes kids of undocumented parents eligible for state financial college aid. It was a direct challenge to the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus; the MCC had blocked the bill last year. Today, however, the GOP relented: five Republicans and the MCC leader, state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina), introduced a DREAM Act bill of their own.

MORE coverage from AP and The Olympian.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State’s first charter school to open next fall in Seattle — The State Charter School Commission has approved seven new charter schools to open in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Most will open in 2015, but one in Seattle will open in the fall.

DOC-Biendl► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Jayme Biendl’s family files lawsuit over her death — The family of slain corrections officer Jayme Biendl has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections and the Monroe prison’s former superintendent, alleging that numerous system failures helped a rapist carry out murder. The lawsuit reads: “The failure to address ongoing safety concerns raised by Jayme Biendl and others amounts to deliberate indifference to the safety of DOC employees.”

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Insurance commissioner’s new rules focus on adequate provider networks — Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wants insurance companies to provide more information up front about provider networks and to offer proof they are giving consumers the access to providers that they’re paying for.




safety-tesoro► From AP — Report: Feds seek more refinery oversight after Anacortes blast — Federal chemical safety investigators are recommending tougher state and federal oil refinery oversight after a 2010 explosion and fire at a Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes that killed seven workers. In the draft report released late Wednesday, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board says Washington state should implement a more proactive safety system at refineries to prevent future accidents.

► From KUOW — Tesoro refinery blast reflects industry-wide problems

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Postal Service plans to downsize in Everett — USPS officials have announced plans to downsize Everett’s downtown Post Office and combine two facilities near Paine Field. There are no near-term plans for layoffs or service cuts.

► In today’s News Tribune — Grant will help maintain Tacoma firefighter staffing — A $3.4 million federal grant will help reduce the financial strain of hiring 20 new firefighters to replace retirees at the Tacoma Fire Department.

► In today’s Columbian — Library to host history museum’s labor event — The year’s first Museum after hours event moves to a different site Thursday: the Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St. The free First Thursday program, “Labor: The History of Work and Workers in the Pacific Northwest,” runs from 7 to 9 p.m. in the library’s Columbia Room.




immigration-rally► In USA Today — House GOP unveils immigration ‘principles’ — Their plan would require tighter border security and more interior immigration enforcement and allow the nation’s undocumented immigrants to “get right with the law” and stay in the country.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Trumka calls House GOP immigration plan ‘a flimsy document’ — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “Seven months after 68 senators overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan immigration bill, House Republicans respond with a flimsy document that only serves to underscore the callous attitude Republicans have toward our nation’s immigrants.”

► In today’s NY Times — Obama hints he may be open to immigration deal with GOP — President Obama signaled that he might accept an immigration deal that does not include a special pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally, possibly meeting Republicans in the middle on an issue that has divided them for years.




mcmorris-rodgers-L► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers glosses over pesky facts (by Shawn Vestal) — She used Bette from Spokane in an attempt to illustrate the point that Obamacare is ruining people’s lives. But what it really illustrated is McMorris Rodgers’ loose allegiance to facts when it comes to Obamacare. Not only did Bette from Spokane’s story of $700-a-month premium increases under Obamacare not hold up under even a sliver of scrutiny, McMorris Rodgers did not give it that sliver.

► In The Hill — Boehner blasts Obama on trade — House Speaker John Boehner jabbed at President Obama on trade policy Thursday, accusing the president of doing too little to get his own party to “fast track” a pair of blockbuster deals that Republicans already support. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he doesn’t want “fast track” legislation to advance in the Senate.

union-busting► In the NY Times — Outsiders, not auto plant, battle UAW in Tennessee — Unlike most companies that confront unionization efforts, Volkswagen — facing a drive by the United Automobile Workers at its Chattanooga plant — has not mounted a vigorous campaign to beat back the union; instead VW officials have hinted they might even prefer having a union. But a business-backed group put up a billboard declaring, “Auto Unions Ate Detroit. Next Meal: Chattanooga,” while a prominent anti-union group, the National Right to Work Committee, has brought legal challenges against the UAW’s effort, asserting that VW officials improperly pressured workers to back a union. In addition, Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, has set up a group, the Center for Worker Freedom, that has fought the UAW on several fronts, partly to prevent the election of labor’s Democratic allies who might increase government spending.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Shocker! Life is worse in ‘right-to-work’ (for less) states — Politico took a look at 14 measures of quality of life and combined them into a ranking of the best and worst states to live in. Among the 14 factors included were high school graduation rates, income (on a per capita basis), life expectancy and crime rate. Of the top five states, only one was “right to work.” Of the 10 worst states, eight were “right to work,” with Mississippi coming in last. More than half of all “right to work” states landed in the 20 worst states to live in.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington ranks #9. Kinda low, if you ask me…

► And then, there’s this…




walmart-shareholders► In the Washington Post’s WonkBlog — Obama wants businesses to raise pay. Here’s why they probably won’t listen. — Here’s the trouble with Obama’s request. Companies have discovered that precisely by keeping wages lower, they have been able to boost profits to record levels and fulfill their ultimate goal: rewarding shareholders. In a report released earlier this month, Goldman Sachs chief U.S. chief economist Jan Hatzius noted that the strength in corporate profits is “directly related to the weakness in hourly wages.”

Corporate profits are at all-time high as a percentage of GDP, which helps to explain why the stock market has had such a meteoric rise in the last year, something Obama noted in his speech as a source of income inequality. It’s all the result of having a more financialized economy in which shareholder value comes first, an idea that only took root in the 1980s and has steadily blossomed since. Until Obama deals with this fact, every time he asks corporate America to do something like raise wages, executives will feel free to ignore him. And it’s no wonder: Because they don’t answer to the president — they answer to shareholders.




► Much has been said and written this week about the great folksinger Pete Seeger, who passed away on Monday at the age of 94. But as Pete explains in this brief video, for all his labor and environmental activism, what he really loved was playing the banjo and singing good songs along with other people: “I still figure some of the best songs I know were put together by people who were struggling… And they’re fun to sing! They’re not just editorials in rhyme. They’re good songs.” R.I.P., Mr. Seeger.


CELEBRATE PETE’S LIFE AND SONGS! The Seattle Folklore Society and the Seattle Labor Chorus invite all to a free all-ages community celebration of the life, spirit and music of Pete Seeger at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1 at The Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Avenue N. in Seattle. Click for details.


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