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$15 on the ballot, fuzzy Senate math, non-union voters…

Wednesday, March 12, 2014




► In today’s Seattle Times — Backers: Pass $15 minimum wage in Seattle or we’ll put it on the ballot — 15 Now activists are gearing up for a signature-gathering drive to place a minimum-wage initiative on the November ballot in Seattle if the mayor and City Council fail to deliver a strong proposal.


ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Join ‘March for $15’ this Saturday, March 15 in Seattle — 15 Now, the coalition that supports raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, will hold a March for $15 this Saturday, March 15. All union members and community supporters are urged to participate in this important demonstration of public support for the campaign. Meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Judkin’s Park, 2150 S. Norman St., for the march to Seattle Central Community College. RSVP here.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — DOE, inspector general investigate whistleblower firing — The Department of Energy has asked its independent Office of Inspector General to investigate the firing of Hanford whistleblower Donna Busche. Representatives of DOE, Bechtel National and URS Corp. were questioned Tuesday at a Senate subcommittee hearing about safety concerns and allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers at the Hanford vitrification plant under construction.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Three-year agreement reached between Olympic Medical Center, SEIU — Nearly 400 nurses, service workers and dietary employees (SEIU Healthcare 1199NW) at Olympic Medical Center will get a 1 percent annual raise for the next three years under a new agreement that the hospital settled with its largest union.




capitol-no-digging► From the WA State Budget and Policy Center — Senate education funding plan doesn’t add up — Legislation proposed by the Senate (SB 5881) to direct two-thirds of all state revenue growth to education for the next 10 years is another effort to divert attention away from the real challenges policymakers face in the years ahead. Rearranging current, inadequate levels of state funding will not magically produce new resources needed to invest in a world-class education system and rebuild our state economy.  The proposal would undermine both of those goals by forcing devastating cuts to health care, public safety, child care, and other important investments kids need in order to succeed in the classroom.

ALSO at The Stand — Stop digging state budget hole (WSLC Legislative Update)

► In today’s Olympian — Revenue collections up $13.9 million since February forecast — Budget writers got one small bit of good financial information Tuesday, but it won’t be enough to alter the trajectory of ongoing budget talks at the Legislature.

► In today’s Olympian — Washington Medicaid enrollment surpasses reform goals — At least one part of health care reform has exceeded expectations in Washington state: Medicaid sign-ups since the state expanded eligibility for the safety-net program for low-income people.

► In today’s News Tribune — State employees, students could take off religious holidays under bill — State employees and students in public schools will be able to take off two days per year for religious reasons under a measure headed to Gov. Jay Inslee.

► In today’s Olympian — Health care isn’t reaching everyone (by Sean McCliment) — The relief of expanded health care coverage is finally being felt by hundreds of thousands of people in Washington state — through Washington’s Healthplanfinder and Medicaid expansion. Even with this progress, there are still too many Washingtonians falling through the cracks, who don’t land neatly in the categories we hear most about.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Deported immigrants protest, seek to rejoin families — As deportations from the U.S. continue to rise and Congress fails to address immigration problems, a number of protests are under way by frustrated immigrant families and their advocates.

kuow-detention-deportation-protest► From KUOW — Tensions increase as Tacoma detention center hunger strike continues — More than a hundred detainees at an immigration lockup in Tacoma are entering their fifth day without food. The hunger strike began Friday, with about 750 people refusing to eat. The facility currently holds nearly 1,300 immigrants who face possible deportation. It’s one of the largest detention centers in the country.

► In today’s News Tribune — Rally held outside detention center for 5 remaining hunger strikers — Officials said five detainees at the federal immigration detention center in Tacoma were not eating Tuesday, on the fifth day of a hunger strike at the facility.

TAKE A STAND — Casa Latina, an affiliate of the Washington State Labor Council, is urging supporters to sign an online petition from the Not1More campaign in support of hunger strikers and their efforts to improve conditions at the Tacoma detention center.




► In the P.S. Business Journal — New report tallies aerospace wins for Washington state — Ten months after Gov. Jay Inslee released Washington state’s aerospace action plan, his office is claiming substantial progress on most of the objectives in it — starting with winning the Boeing 777X project.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — 1,200 delegates focus on Boeing at conference in Seattle — The three-day Aerospace and Defense Suppliers Summit is underway at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle with about 1,200 delegates registered. The focus of the show was Boeing, but also present were builders of major Boeing sub-assemblies, called “tier one” suppliers, and companies that supply those companies.




overtime-pay► In today’s NY Times — Obama will seek broad expansion of overtime pay — President Obama this week will seek to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated. On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement.

► In today’s NY Times — Health care enrollment falls short of goal, with deadline approaching — Almost a million people signed up last month for private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, federal officials said Tuesday, bringing the total to date to 4.2 million but leaving the Obama administration well short of its original goal, with less than a month to go before the end of the open enrollment period.

► In The Hill — White House: traffic surges on ‘Ferns’ — President Obama’s interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis earned more than 11 million views and increased traffic to by almost 40 percent, according to a White House spokesperson.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Republican unemployment insurance bill not what it seems — The Republican bill renews the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits they let expire at the end of 2013 (and have voted against three times), but would also allow states to deny help to jobless workers who are not in a job training program or completing 20 hours a week of so-called “community service” or jumping through new hoops to prove they are looking for work.




trumka-13► From Bloomberg — AFL-CIO election plan tied to non-union voters, Trumka says — The AFL-CIO is planning an expanded effort to mobilize nonunion workers in this year’s elections to help Democrats retain Senate control and to erode Republicans’ majority in the House, the labor federation’s president said. It’s a strategy that hinges on the growing clout of Working America, an 11-year-old affiliate for workers who aren’t union members, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. It also continues to capitalize on labor’s ability to raise unlimited funds for some political activities as a result of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling.

► At Politico — Florida loss big blow to Democrats’ 2014 hopes — The Florida special election Tuesday was supposed to be an ideal chance for Democrats to show that 2014 isn’t a lost year. Instead, they were dealt another body blow, further weakening their prospects for this year’s midterms.


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