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Charleston’s a drag, familiar tragedies, Fast Track to low wages…

Tuesday, February 4, 2014




south-carolina► In today’s Seattle Times — 787 assembly problems in Charleston drag on Everett — Since late last year, Boeing 787 Dreamliner fuselage sections from North Charleston, S.C., have arrived at the Everett final assembly line seriously incomplete with wiring and hydraulics lines missing, according to multiple sources in the factory. The poorly done work out of Charleston threatens to undermine the company’s plans to deliver 10 Dreamliners a month and fulfill the much-delayed jet program’s original promise. “It’s snowballing. The planes are getting worse out of Charleston,” said one senior Everett employee who oversees the production status of the airplanes.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Everett, Pierce County compete to build Boeing 777X wing — Executives from both regions say they yet haven’t had any high-level talks with Boeing executives, although there have been some meetings with Boeing planners gathering information. and have no idea when the company will make a decision.




tesoro-explosion-anacortes► In today’s Seattle Times — Tesoro refinery tragedy all too familiar (editorial) — Shameless and and shameful are the operative words to describe the conditions and attitudes that contributed to seven deaths in April 2010 at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes… Tesoro’s failures at Anacortes were not isolated incidents. A fitting memorial to those seven lives would be for investigators to embrace a report that empowers higher standards and rigorous inspections to back them up. Let the industry fund it all.

► From KPLU — Union says Seattle school bus strike a serious possibility — Six months have passed since the drivers voted to unionize, and they’re still working without a contract, having failed to negotiate one with First Student, a company headquartered in Cincinnati. “We’ve been in negotiations since July. We currently do not have a contract. We have taken a strike authorization vote and there is a very serious possibility that we will have a strike,” said Patty Warren of Teamsters Local 174, which represents more than 450 bus drivers in Seattle.

► In the Seattle Times — Nearly one-third of state households on the edge financiallyA D.C.-based think tank’s state-by-state assessment of “Americans’ financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future” ranks Washington 16th, and in “policy” 5th, using 2012 data. Even so, nearly one-third of state households “lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for even three months in the event of an emergency such as a job loss or health crisis.”




► In today’s Olympian — Should paid vacation be mandatory? — Workers in Washington could be the first in the nation to be guaranteed paid vacation time under legislation being considered by state lawmakers.

WSLC-13LegReport-Pg1-graphic-sm► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP senator proposes special session after fall election — The co-chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee on Monday suggested holding a special session next December — after the November election — to complete a transportation tax package. Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) indicated it’s increasingly unlikely the Legislature will reach a deal during the current session, which ends March 13.

EDITOR’S NOTE — “We have managed to create such an anti-tax fervor in this state, that we as legislators simply aren’t willing to risk our jobs and elections — even when we know it’s the right thing to do and desperately needed,” said no one, but thought everyone. “Despite this, on the campaign trail, we will all talk about the tough choices we make in Olympia.”

► In the Seattle Times — Former Kirkland mayor to run against Sen. Rodney Tom — Joan McBride, the former mayor of Kirkland, will run against Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom as a Democrat in this year’s top-two primary election. Democrats have said they plan to target Tom (D-Medina) because he crossed party lines last year to help give Republicans control of the state Senate.

► In today’s Olympian — DSHS says Lean principles saved agency $21 million — The Department of Social and Health Services says it has saved almost $21 million by improving families’ compliance with job-search requirements in welfare programs.

► In the Washington Post — Seattle has a great football team — and an awesome Obamacare exchange, too — The Seahawks certainly have something big to celebrate when they return to Seattle — that they get to go home to what might arguably be the best-functioning health insurance exchange in the nation, of course.




fast-track-not-working ► From AFL-CIO Now — Why we don’t want a ‘Fast Track’ deal: It will lower wages — Under Fast Track, Congress cedes its authority without guaranteeing that Americans get a good trade deal in return. As a result, the executive branch has repeatedly sent bad deal after bad deal to Congress: NAFTA, the WTO talks, CAFTA, the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, just to name a few. And they’ve all passed under Fast Track. And workers have paid the price for these bad trade deals: The Economic Policy Institute has determined that net job displacement since China entered the WTO in 2001 cost the U.S. economy $37.0 billion in lost wages in 2011 alone. And the impact has not been equal — it has displaced a disproportionately large number of good jobs for minority workers.

► From The Hill — Tea Party teams with unions to fight Obama’s trade plan — Normally the bitterest of enemies, labor unions and the Tea Party are reaching out to each other to defeat President Obama’s trade agenda. The groups are at separate poles when it comes to taxes, ObamaCare and who should be the next president, but they agree that making it easier for the administration to negotiate and win congressional approval of trade deals is a bad idea.

► From AP — New report: Budget deficit to drop to $514B — A new report released Tuesday says the government’s budget deficit is set to fall to $514 billion for the current year, down substantially from last year and the lowest by far since President Barack Obama took office five years ago.

► And yet, in today’s Washington Post — House GOP finalizes latest debt-limit demands — Several House members told The Washington Post on Monday that Republican leaders have narrowed their list of possible debt-limit strategies to two options: trading a one-year extension for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, or trading a one-year extension for repeal of the ACA’s risk corridors.

► In today’s Washington Post — With an immigration deal possible, advocates mount new push to end deportations — New momentum in Congress for a broad overhaul of border-control laws has prompted White House allies, including the AFL-CIO and pro-immigration groups, to demand that President Obama halt deportations of millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom would be allowed to remain in the country under a legislative deal.




UAW► In today’s NY Times — VW workers in Tennessee to vote on union — In what will be one of the most closely watched unionization elections in the South in decades, Volkswagen announced on Monday that the 1,600 workers at its assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., will vote next week on whether to join the United Automobile Workers. The union has voiced unusual optimism about winning because Volkswagen, unlike many United States companies, is not opposing the unionization drive and because U.A.W. organizers say the majority of workers have already signed cards backing a union.

ALSO at The Stand — Volkswagen workers in Tennessee will vote on forming first Works Council in U.S.

► In today’s Washington Post — Missouri, Pennsylvania are the next fronts in war on public employee unions — The war on public employee unions sparked mass protests in Ohio in 2011, and recalls in Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012. Now, the fight is headed to Missouri and Pennsylvania.

► In the WSJ — Walmart challenges Labor Board complaint — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. told the National Labor Relations Board that it was within its rights when it disciplined workers for taking part in short strikes, setting up a legal test of a phenomenon that is reshaping relations between companies and labor.

nfl-workers-comp► This one, from today’s L.A. Times, goes out to WSLC affiliates… the SUPER BOWL CHAMPION Seattle Seahawks! — NFL workers’ comp victory comes at a price —  Last fall, the National Football League scored a huge victory in California, helping push through a new law barring most professional athletes from filing workers’ compensation claims in the state. But that win has come at a cost. Publicity from a high-profile battle over the legislation prompted players from around the country to file more than 1,000 injury claims just prior to a September deadline — a huge influx that could cost the nation’s top professional sports leagues hundreds of millions of dollars to resolve.




► At Think Progress — Elizabeth Warren proposes replacing payday lenders with Post Office — The Postal Service could spare the most economically vulnerable Americans from dealing with predatory financial companies under a proposal endorsed over the weekend by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don’t have basic banking services because there are almost no banks or bank branches in their neighborhoods,” she wrote.

EDITOR’S NOTE — If only SHE was running for president.


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