Wednesday, February 5, 2014
► At Slog — New poll finds strong statewide support for raising the minimum wage — A newly released statewide poll finds strong support for raising the Washington state minimum wage to $12 an hour: 65% net favor to 28% net oppose. The survey finds broad support for a higher minimum wage across demographic groups — even 43% of Republicans expressed favor — and in two key swing legislative districts. The survey also found that nearly three quarters of respondents support paid sick leave.
► In today’s Columbian — Bill would allow sub-minimum ‘training wage’ — As Washington lawmakers discuss whether to raise the state’s minimum wage, a bill introduced by Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) would do just the opposite for some workers. HB 2614 would establish a “training wage” allowing employers to pay new workers less than minimum wage for up to 680 hours. Pike described the bill as a benefit for young, unskilled workers, making it easier for employers to hire them.
► From KPLU — Alaska Air CEO: SeaTac ordinance the wrong way to tackle income inequality — About 4,700 workers at Sea-Tac Airport were hoping to get a bump to $15 an hour at the beginning of this year. But a judge has blocked that voter-passed ordinance from taking effect at the airport. Alaska Air has led the legal fight to strike down the initiative, which Alaska Chief Executive Brad Tilden calls a “blunt instrument.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Mr. Tilden: Maybe that’s for the people of SeaTac, and not you, to decide. You made your case and they rejected it.
P.S. The unionized Alaska Air baggage handlers at Sea-Tac who earned a decent wage probably thought it was a “blunt instrument” when your company fired them and replace them with minimum wage contractors.
TAKE A STAND! Contact Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden and tell him to stop forcing poverty-wage airport jobs onto the SeaTac community. Click here to send Tilden a message.
ALSO at The Stand — Alaska Airlines’ poverty wages are no joke — Check out the recording of Alaska Airlines executives announcing their record profits and sharing a good laugh with industry analysts about all of the company’s extra cash.
► From AP — Boeing to throw party to thank lawmakers for $8.7 billion in tax incentives — An invitation obtained by The Associated Press shows Boeing executives will host a reception for lawmakers on Tuesday evening. The event is slated to thank lawmakers for their efforts on the 777X airplane talks. Last year, lawmakers approved an extension of Boeing tax breaks in a deal worth an estimated $8.7 billion. The Legislature swiftly approved the idea in a special session, which put pressure on union workers to accept a contract that transitioned them away from pension plans.
► In today’s Olympian — DREAM Act gives us hope for other legislation (editorial) — Perhaps some senators in moderate districts, who face re-election this year, felt the will of the people. Whatever changed the minds of 10 Republicans (on the DREAM Act), we applaud it. Dare we hope that the Senate might apply such capacity for the common good to a transportation bill? We can only dream.
► In today’s Olympian — Effort under way to register signature gatherers — Paid signature gatherers could soon be required to register with the Secretary of State’s office in a push to better regulate those who collect signatures for initiatives and referendums.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Washington Medicaid enrollments surpassing expectations — With two months to go, Washington residents are pouring by the thousands through the online gateway to 2014 health insurance coverage, blowing away expectations for Medicaid enrollments, the expanded government program for the working poor and their children. In Spokane County, one in four residents relies on Medicaid coverage.
► In the News Tribune — Canceled, out-of-state health insurance plans would be allowed under Senate bill — The measure, sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban (R-University Place), would also let insurers from other states sell plans to Washingtonians without requiring the out-of-state carriers to meet Washington’s insurance regulations.
EDITOR’S NOTE — O’Ban, an attorney, thinks it would be legal to exempt out-of-state-businesses from state laws?! We’re guessing he’d also like all the out-of-state insurance companies that have contributed to his campaign to be exempt from state contribution limits and disclosure laws, too.
► In today’s NY Times — Health care law projected to cut the labor force — A CBO analysis released Tuesday predicted that the Affordable Care Act would shrink the work force by the equivalent of more than two million full-time positions. The report did say that the law would reduce hours worked and full-time employment, but not because of a crippling impact on private-sector job creation. With the expansion of insurance coverage, the budget office predicted, more people will choose not to work, and others will choose to work fewer hours than they might have otherwise to obtain employer-provided insurance.
► In today’s NY Times — Freeing workers from the insurance trap (editorial) — A new report found that by reducing the number of full-time workers over a decade, the health care law will have a liberating impact for millions.
► From the Insurance Commissioner’s office — ACA in Washington: Helping consumers, stimulating job diversity — People who’ve historically been locked into jobs can pursue other types of work — starting a small business, working as an independent contractor from home, pursuing a career as an artisan or writer, or many other options that will still benefit the economy. The ACA allows them to pursue whatever line of work they wish to, because they are not beholden to an 8-to-5 office or government job in order to have health insurance.
► At TPM — GOP senator touts, then trashes Obamacare report — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) touted CBO for the convenient finding, and then quickly dismissed and mocked CBO for the inconvenient finding.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Spin fail!
► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing dials up production rate at Renton to 42 planes monthly — The production rate of Boeing’s best-selling 737 jetliner jumped upward again this week at the company’s Renton final assembly plant.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Clallam Bay prison lockdown, investigation continues after officer is stabbed — The Clallam Bay Corrections Center entered its second day of lockdown Tuesday as a corrections officer attacked by an inmate the day before recovered at home following his discharge from Olympic Medical Center.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane unveils police labor deal — Spokane Police Guild leaders and Mayor David Condon agreed to a five-year labor contract Monday. The deal still must be approved by guild members and the City Council.
► In The Hill — NLRB resurrects union election rule — The NLRB is resurrecting a controversial rule that would speed up union elections. The proposed regulation mirrors a proposal that was struck down in court in 2012, and would provide union organizers with the email addresses and phone numbers of their workers. It would also consolidate appeals of union votes into a single post-election process and allow for electronic filing of union election petitions, among other changes.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If you’re serious about tackling income inequality, you have to restore the freedom of association and the freedom of working people to form unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions.
► From AP — Senate showdown vote set to extend unemployment benefits — U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday set up a showdown vote with Republicans on a new bill to extend long-term unemployment benefits for 1.7 million Americans while making millionaires ineligible for such relief. Democrats hold the Senate, 55-45, but may have difficulty mustering the 60 votes that will be needed on Thursday to clear a Republican procedural hurdle.
► In The Hill — Hoyer ‘not optimistic’ about trade deals — House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday he’s “not optimistic” that new foreign trade deals will pass through Congress this year. The second-ranking House Democrat said divisions in both parties would pose high hurdles to passage.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.