Monday, February 24, 2014
► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Boeing Machinists in St. Louis approve contract aimed at winning new work — Boeing machinists backed a new labor deal Sunday that seeks to give the aerospace company a stronger hand to compete for new business by, in part, offering buyouts to veteran workers and lowering top pay for future hires. Machinists District 837 President Gordon King said the 1,269-to-449 vote to accept the contract extension would put Boeing in a better position to bid for projects this spring and reduce the need for layoffs in the short term. Union leaders had warned members that layoffs would have been likely by the end of this year had the deal not passed.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Another contract reopened (thus avoiding the possibility of a strike when the contract expires) and extended to grant concessions to Boeing under the threat of lost jobs. Although this report doesn’t even mention it, most other coverage focused on the fact that, similar to what happened here in Washington, the workers gave up their pensions and will get 401(k) style savings plans instead.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — How big is Boeing’s backlog? It’s bigger than GDPs of 164 nations — The total worth of commercial aircraft and other products on order from the Chicago-based Boeing Co. is larger than the entire annual production of goods and services of every nation in the world except for 26 — the very largest countries.
► From the Center for Effective Government — Boeing, second largest federal contractor, paid no federal income tax in 2013 — In its just-released annual report, Boeing reported that it claimed $82 million in federal tax refunds, despite reporting $5.9 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits last year. This represents an effective tax rate of -1.4 percent. Boeing paid just $11 million in state income taxes, an effective state tax rate of just 0.2 percent. Boeing’s CEO, W. James McNerney, Jr., received total compensation of $27.5 million in 2012.
► In the (Everett) Herald — What Boeing stands to gain from Washington beyond tax breaks — Aside from 10 years of labor peace (and cheaper labor) and what’s been called the largest U.S. tax break ever — worth an estimated $8.7 billion over 16 years — what else does Boeing stand to gain in coming years? The staff at the state Department of Commerce submitted a 165-page document that pitched the inherent advantages of Washington but also pledged new spending or policies to directly benefit the company.
► In the Olympian — Inslee says he may raise minimum wage himself — Gov. Jay Inslee is considering ways he could raise the minimum wage for state employees — even as legislation to raise pay for all Washington workers is stalling in the Legislature.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Shedding light on dark money a struggle in Rodney Tom’s world (by Shawn Vestal) — However things go in Olympia this session, no one can say the leaders of the Senate haven’t contributed something to the state. They stood up for secrecy in big-money politics. A smart, timely, broadly supported measure to block a pipeline of dark money into Washington elections has died, as the Senate leadership failed to bring it to the floor for a vote. SB 6098 would have required nonprofit groups who spend a lot of money in elections to disclose their biggest donors — to play by the same rules as everyone else. Why did SB 6098 not fit into Senate majority Leader Rodney Tom’s world? He didn’t return a call seeking that answer.
► At Crosscut — Senate Majority Coalition’s budget plan has a big question — The Republican-controlled Washington Senate Majority Coalition Caucus is expected to unveil its proposed supplemental budget for fiscal 2014 on Monday. The big question is whether the coalition’s supplemental budget proposal will have any additional money in it.
► In today’s Olympian — Resistance awaits tax break-reporting bill — Democrats in the state House are gearing up for another fight with the Senate over tax disclosures as the Legislature moves toward a March 13 adjournment.
► In the (Everett) Herald — On the road to dysfunction (editorial) — It’s as painful as psychotherapy. The excruciating tug-of-war over state transportation is peeling away minor issues and stripping the question to bare bones: Are we willing to let partisan distrust paralyze important governmental functions?
► In the News Tribune — State employees getting notice that 1% pay hike won’t happen in July — Last week’s quarterly state revenue forecast was largely flat, and that was bad news for the roughly two-thirds of state employees who have topped out in their job’s pay range.
ALSO at WFSE.org — Revenue too low for state employees’ 1% COLA, state says, but…
► From AP — Restaurants, bars could see 15% liquor price hike — Liquor prices at bars and restaurants in Washington may go up this year as multiple interests fight over rules following the voter-approved privatization of the state’s liquor system.
► From KPLU — Study: Liquor privatization has shaped youth perception of alcohol — Fewer teenagers in Washington say drinking alcohol is wrong, according to a survey taken after the state privatized liquor sales by two Northwest public health researchers.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Rep. Roberts, who put focus on policy, won’t seek re-election — Democratic state Rep. Mary Helen Roberts will not seek re-election, saying she’s ready for a break from politics after a decade in office and 40 years of political activity.
► In today’s NY Times — Young immigrants turn focus to president in struggle over deportations — More than 500 leaders of a national network of young immigrants, frustrated that House Republicans said they would not move on immigration this year, have decided to turn their protests on President Obama in an effort to pressure him to act unilaterally to stop deportations.
► From AP — Dozens demonstrate at Tacoma detention center
► In today’s NY Times — Health care horror hooey (by Paul Krugman) — What the right wants are struggling average Americans, preferably women, facing financial devastation from health reform. So those are the tales they’re telling, even though they haven’t been able to come up with any real examples.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Our own Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) gets called out for misrepresenting the story of “Bette in Spokane.”
► In the USA Today — Governors: ‘Obamacare’ here to stay — The explosive politics of health care have divided the nation, but America’s governors, Republicans and Democrats alike, suggest that President Obama’s health care overhaul is here to stay.
► At Think Progress — Union claims politicians deprived workers of their rights by interfering with Volkswagen vote — On Friday, the UAW filed an appeal with the NLRB of a recent vote to unionize in a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee, claiming a “firestorm of interference from politicians and special interest groups” interfered and made it impossible to have a free election.
► From Reuters — Fresh from win over UAW, Grover Norquist vows anti-union push — Fresh from helping to crush a unionization drive at a Volkswagen AG plant in Tennessee, Republican operative Grover Norquist outlined an anti-union strategy that ties labor to liberals, with the long-term goal of sapping union financial support for Democrats. He says that recent events show Republicans can fight and win against unions. “Not only can you, but if you don’t, you’re a weenie,” he said.
► In the NY Times — Local policies that work for workers — For years, activists who pushed hard for local policies to improve low-wage jobs feared that their small successes would have only marginal effects. But now, as the debate over proposed increases in the federal minimum wage heats up, their grit and determination may pay off. In her essay in a new edited volume, “What Works for Workers?,” Stephanie Luce points out that more than 125 living-wage ordinances have been put into place since Baltimore first implemented one in 1994. While the number of workers directly affected has been relatively small, no ill economic effects have been documented, and the political demonstration aspect of it has been heartening.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.