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IAM and Inslee, ‘respect’ in Pasco, a 52 turns 57…

Friday, February 28, 2014




Happier times.

Happier times.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee meets with angry Machinists union reps — Leaders of the Machinists and other unions held a frank conversation with Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday during which they made clear they’ve not forgiven him for pressing Boeing workers into a contract vote which secured the 777X program for the state. “It was tense throughout the discussion. It really was,” Larry Brown, political director of District 751 said afterward. “The strength of the relationship has been tested and we have to see what the future brings for that relationship.” Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson described it as a “good, hard, honest” conversation.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State Senate passes budget proposal — With strong bipartisan support, the Senate passed a budget plan described by supporters and opponents more in terms of what it doesn’t do than what it does. It doesn’t put state spending out of balance, and doesn’t raise taxes or college tuition, supporters said. It doesn’t offer raises to public school teachers and doesn’t do enough toward meeting the court order to improve public education, opponents countered. Both sides agreed the budget discussion will continue for the next two weeks.

► In the Tri-City Herald — Long-term care workers lobby in Olympia for better wages, better care — Better wages for nursing home workers and better care for their residents was the primary focus of the annual lobby day for the health care arm of the SEIU.

► In today’s Columbian — Benton blasts House Republicans over vote — An email from state Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) scolding fellow Republicans for their votes on a Democratic-led bill to create new rules for initiative petitioners  sparked an internal brouhaha among legislators this week.




tch-pasco-tcch-opeiu-rally► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Union rally in Pasco calls for ‘respect’ — About 50 people rallied Thursday at Tri-Cities Community Health in Pasco, urging the agency’s administrators to show “respect” and “fairness” in labor negotiations. Union leaders say the agency’s management is proposing another financial hit for union workers, as well as language that would erode basic union contract standards.

ALSO at The Stand — Support Tri-Cities Community Health workers at rally

► In today’s Seattle Times — Former Gary Locke aide Joseph A. Dear dies — Joseph A. Dear, who served as chief of staff to Washington Gov. Gary Locke, and who later won worldwide recognition as chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, died from prostate cancer Wednesday in Sacramento.

ALSO at The Stand — Former WSLC staffer, state leader, pension chief Joe Dear dies at 62

► In today’s Seattle Times — Panel sees no light at end of Highway 99 tunnel before 2016 — Even if work crews go 24-7 on the Highway 99 tunnel, the project will probably miss its scheduled 2015 opening, a new report says. Nonetheless, experts say they’re confident the project can still be done for the $3.1 billion budget — because non-tunnel portions of the job are coming along fine.




► At Money News — Greenspan: income inequality ‘most dangerous’ trend in U.S. — Says the former Federal Reserve Chairman: “You can see the deteriorating impact of that on our current political system, and you cannot talk about politics without talking about its impact on the economy.” Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, also warns that rising inequality can damage economic growth and social ties, and may also cause political instability.

unions-middle-class-chart► At KPLU — UW professor traces growing income gap to the collapse of organized labor — Income inequality in the U.S. is at its highest point in 85 years, and politicians are debating ways to raise the living standard for low-wage workers. Globalization, technology and deregulation are often cited as factors behind the widening income gap. But Jake Rosenfeld at the University of Washington says there’s one cause that’s often overlooked: the decline of organized labor. In his new book, What Unions No Longer Do, Rosenfeld explains how organized labor, in its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, lifted wages for many workers, whether or not they belonged to a union.

EDITOR’S NOTE — OK, Democrats. Raising the minimum wage and expanding access to health insurance are great ways to treat the symptoms, who’s ready to stand up and fight the disease? Powerful corporate interests and their political allies have twisted and exploited U.S. labor laws in such a way that Americans have effectively lost the freedom of association at work. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama talked a good game about addressing U.S. income inequality, but he didn’t even mention labor unions. Americans need champions of our rights and our ability to collectively seek better wages and working conditions (like Mike Kreidler!) We need the ability to freely choose whether or not we want a union, without coercion and threat from our bosses — and certainly not from politicians.

Which beings us to…




corker-bob► From AP — No sign of expansion at plant where UAW dealt loss — Friday marks the end of the two-week period within which U.S. Sen. Bob Corker promised Volkswagen would announce another line at its factory in Tennessee if workers there rejected representation by the United Auto Workers union. So far there’s little sign of any pending announcement.

► At Huffington Post — Is South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley violating her own state law? (by CWA President Larry Cohen) — It’s not clear what she is trying to accomplish when she says that corporations with union representation shouldn’t even think about locating in her state. Maybe she is unaware that South Carolina’s right-to-work law makes it illegal to discriminate against workers who chose union representation as well as those who don’t.

► At AFL-CIO Now — NYC Council expands paid sick leave to 350,00 more workers — Current city law requires paid sick days to be offered to workers at businesses with 15 workers or more. The new law would lower that threshold to five workers or more. It passed the council on a 46-5 vote and is expected to be signed by new Mayor Bill de Blasio.




► In today’s NY Times — Federal budget deficit falls to lowest level since 2008 — Closing the books on a fiscal year in which the federal budget deficit fell more sharply than in any year since the end of World War II, the Treasury Department reported on Thursday that the deficit for 2013 dropped to $680 billion, from about $1.1 trillion the previous year.

wall-st-rules► At Politico — Wall Street threatens GOP on bank tax — Republican Rep. Dave Camp’s tax proposal — which jacked up taxes on banks and threatens the bottom line of some major private equity players in New York — has infuriated donors in high finance.

► In today’s NY Times — Business and the minimum wage (editorial) — Contrary to the reflexive hand-wringing by conservative think tanks and politicians, scholarly studies and the experience of businesses themselves show that what companies lose when they pay more is often offset by lower turnover and increased productivity.




► The B-52’s are one of those fun, goofy bands whose memorable songs and earworm hooks have stood the test of time. For The Entire Staff of The Stand, what really made the band great — and spared us from overdosing on frontman Fred Schneider’s talk-shouting vocals — were the two amazingly talented female singers. Cindy Wilson, who was born this day in 1957, co-wrote most of the band’s back catalog. In this great high-definition clip from 1980, she and Kate Pierson both shed their trademark beehives, and Cindy gives us fish, candy, and a passionate lip-synching of a fantastic solo vocal performance. Happy birthday, Cindy.



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