Disaster relief, SeaTac suit, $10.10 in CT, our oligarchy…

Thursday, March 27, 2014




► In today’s Seattle Times — 90 may be missing in mudslide, officials announce — Even as Snohomish County officials adjusted downward the number of people missing after the deadly mudslide near Oso, the natural disaster will likely prove to be one of the worst in state history.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Washington mudslide disaster relief fund established — The United Way of Snohomish County, where the Oso mudslide killed at least 24, has established a disaster relief fund for those affected by the landslide. Click here to make an online donation. Dennis Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County, says, “100% of the money donated to this fund will go to recovery efforts.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Any union members and their families affected by this tragedy — or any other extreme hardship — can apply for financial assistance from the Foundation for Working Families, a hardship relief program overseen by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Download and fill out this FWF Assistance Form and submit it to Karen White via email or via fax at 360-570-5189. For more information, call Karen at 360-570-5169.

► From AP — Mudslide recovery brings tears to searchers — Firefighter Jeff McClelland: “I can go home and… eat some food, hug my wife, come in and hug my friends the next morning and say, ‘Let’s go again. We’ve got something to do. We’ve got a job to do, so let’s go do it’.”




► In today’s Seattle Times — SeaTac wage law faces test as ex-worker sues parking firm — A former employee is suing Extra Car Airport Parking in what is believed to be the first legal test of the enforcement mechanism under SeaTac’s new pay ordinance. The lawsuit says Extra Car should pay its hourly workers the $15 minimum, but refuses to do so. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Martin Garfinkel estimates that about 40 employees have been underpaid by Extra Car since Jan. 1. The suit seeks class-action status and demands back pay, plus interest and double the wages owed in damages.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — HAMTC accuses Battelle of unfair labor practices — The NLRB charge comes after Battelle and Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council negotiated for more than a year on a new contract for about 250 union workers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. HAMTC has accused Battelle of engaging in “surface bargaining,” making aggressive, take-it-or-leave-it demands and not making improvements to its wage proposal during bargaining.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Why it’s worth signing up for insurance coverage by March 31 (by Gordon McHenry Jr. and Tom Gibbon) — We have less than a week to take advantage of the most significant opportunity in most of our lifetimes to strengthen our community. March 31 is the end of the initial enrollment period for low-cost health insurance. The key is to spread the word. Survey results show that many of the uninsured remain unaware of their eligibility for a new type of affordable insurance. And they’re unaware that a deadline looms.




► In the P.S. Business Journal — Analyst warns: Boeing squeeze on suppliers could be ‘self-inflicted wound’ — Boeing’s increasing price pressure on potential 777X suppliers could threaten the stability of the new aircraft’s supply chain, and even the overall development of the airplane, says aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia. He points to Boeing’s tactic of taking companies off the list of potential suppliers if they don’t meet Partnering for Success standards, a practice that Boeing CEO Jim McNerney has called a “no-fly list.” Says Aboulafia: “If Boeing ties the 777X designers’ hands with no-fly lists… they’ve just added levels of risk to the development program that are on par with the 787 development program. If memory serves, that didn’t go so well.”

► From AP — ANA orders jets worth $17B from Airbus, Boeing — Boeing is the major beneficiary of the deal, but Airbus said the latest orders show it is making inroads in an important market. From Boeing, ANA is ordering 40 aircraft including 14 of its 787-9 Dreamliner, 20 of the twin-aisle 777-9X, and six 777-300ER jets to support the expansion of the Japanese carrier’s international services until the newer model arrives.




► At Think Progress — Connecticut will be first state with a $10.10 minimum wage — Late Wednesday night, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, passing 87 to 54 in the House and 21 to 14 in the Senate. Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) says he will sign it into law on Thursday. That will not only make Connecticut the state with the highest minimum wage, but will also make it the first to pass a wage at the level currently being pushed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats.

► At AFL-CIO Now — NLRB calls the right play: Northwestern Univ. players have right to form union — Northwestern University football players won the right to form a union after NLRB Chicago Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr ruled the players “all squarely fall within the (National Labor Relations) Act’s broad definition of ’employee’ when one considers the common law definition of ’employee’.” In January, quarterback Kain Colter, with the support of the United Steelworkers, filed with the NLRB union authorization cards from the players seeking to join the College Athletes Players Association.

► In today’s NY Times — College players granted right to form union — The ruling comes at a time when the NCAA and its largest conferences are generating billions of dollars, primarily from football and men’s basketball.

► In The Hill — Reid sets up jobless aid vote for this week — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on a House bill that the Senate will use as a vehicle to pass an unemployment insurance extension likely by Friday.

► In today’s Washington Post — The coming job apocalypse (by Harold Meyerson) — As computers pick up more and more skills, we will have to embrace the necessity of redistributing wealth and income from the shrinking number of Americans who have sizable incomes from their investments or their work to the growing number of Americans who want work but can’t find it. That may or may not be socialism; certainly, it’s survival.

► In today’s NY Times — A nation of takers? (by Nicholas Kristof) — Perhaps because we now have the wealthiest Congress in history, the first in which a majority of members are millionaires, we have a one-sided discussion demanding cuts only in public assistance to the poor, while ignoring public assistance to the rich. And a one-sided discussion leads to a one-sided and myopic policy.




► At MSNBC — How the Koch brothers are undermining American democracy (by Robert Reich) — The Kochs exemplify a new reality that strikes at the heart of America. The vast wealth that has accumulated at the top of the American economy is not itself the problem. The problem is that political power tends to rise to where the money is. And this combination of great wealth with political power leads to greater and greater accumulations and concentrations of both — tilting the playing field in favor of the Kochs and their ilk, and against the rest of us. America is not yet an oligarchy, but that’s where the Koch’s and a few other billionaires are taking us. When billionaires supplant political parties, candidates are beholden directly to the billionaires. And if and when those candidates win election, the billionaires will be completely in charge.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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