Friday, April 11, 2014
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing moving 1,000 more engineering jobs to California — Boeing will transfer another 1,000 engineering jobs from the Puget Sound area to Southern California by the end of next year. Some employees said the move seems intended to nudge out older, higher-paid workers and at the same time weaken the engineering union. They questioned how Boeing’s decision fits with the $9 billion in tax breaks the company obtained from the state last year.
“SPEEA specifically warned Gov. Inslee that his legislation was crafted with loopholes that would allow Boeing to take the $9 billion and outsource jobs anyway,” said SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth. “Why doesn’t the governor call a special session to close the loopholes and save these jobs?”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Boeing’s move also totally debunks the Republican meme in Olympia about business costs driving the company’s employment decisions. California has some of the highest state taxes and workers’ compensation costs of any state in the nation.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Machinists chip in for Oso slide — Machinists union members working at Boeing have pitched in to raise money for people affected by the Oso mudslide. The crew that operates the overhead crane at the airplane maker’s Paine Field plant raised about $4,000 for general relief efforts. One of the facility’s flightline crews raised more than $6,000 to help the family of a 5-month-old Duke Suddarth, who, along with his mother, was badly injured in the slide. Suddarth’s grandfather is a Machinist who works at Boeing.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee order higher heating aid to block food-stamp cuts — Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday said Washington will increase monthly heating assistance for low-income families to get around a new federal rule that threatened $70 million in annual food-stamp benefits. Washington joins seven other states that have already tweaked the so-called “heat and eat” formula in response to a Republican-authored provision in the 2014 farm bill intended to cut food-stamp allotments.
► In the Wenatchee World — Ag spray hits 20 workers; 5 require treatment — About 20 orchard workers were hit with an agricultural spray about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday in an orchard seven miles south of the Beebe Bridge. Five of the workers required medical treatment.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO has supported state legislation to protect farm workers and their communities from exposure to drifting pesticides by creating a buffer zone and holding violators liable for exposing people. But that legislation has not been approved. Meanwhile, the State Department of Health focus groups have found that more than 75% of farm workers reported they had experienced symptoms from pesticide exposure. The problem is absolutely pervasive, but existing laws do a better job protecting plants and animals than they do human beings.
► In The (UW) Daily — UW custodians rally to demand working rights — A group of about 50 UW custodial workers, faculty members, and students rallied in Red Square on Wednesday to demand that UW Custodial Services be held accountable for what workers say are abuses of their rights. Workers at the rally alleged that management in UW Custodial Services used discriminatory practices and retaliation to intimidate workers and deny rights such as sick leave, vacation days, and the ability to voice their concerns.
PRISON FOR PROFIT
► In today’s Seattle Times — Protesters want Gates Foundation to stop investing in prison operator — About two dozen demonstrators protested outside the headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday, demanding the philanthropic organization dump its investments in a company that runs private prisons.
► At Slog — The Gates Foundation tries to defend its investment in private prisons — The Gates Foundation’s investment arm has invested $2.2 million in the GEO Group, the second largest private prison corporation in America. Among other immigrant jails, the GEO Group runs the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, where immigrant detainees — many of them with no or modest criminal records — are imprisoned in substandard conditions that they’ve tried to protest through a hunger strike over the past month. Those immigrants have been threatened with force-feeding and isolation from the rest of the population for taking that stand. Congressman Adam Smith slammed conditions at the facility as “shocking.”
TAKE A STAND — Sign a petition urging the Gates Foundation to divest from GEO Group.
► A related story today at AFL-CIO Now — You know what doesn’t work so well? Private prisons — The myth put forth by private prison corporations like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group that private prisons are cheaper than public prisons is shattered by a new report from In the Public Interest, thus undercutting the primary rationale for prison privatization efforts across the country.
► In today’s Pittsburgh P-G — Heartless House: GOP must compromise on jobless benefits (editorial) — The U.S. Senate voted this week to extend for five months emergency unemployment benefits for nearly 3 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months. Now, members of the Republican-controlled House, led by Speaker John Boehner, must tame their obstructionist egos and do what is right for people who are struggling to afford food and shelter while they seek elusive jobs.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Tell House: Extend lifeline to jobless families
► In today’s Washington Post — House approves budget that would save money by taking from federal workers — The House approved a Republican spending plan, sponsored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which would effectively cut the pay of federal workers and end their student loan reimbursement program, among other elements.
► Meanwhile… in today’s NY Times — Tax revenue rockets up, helping lessen the deficit, Treasury Dept. says — The budget gap last month was the smallest deficit recorded for the month of March since 2000, when economic growth was running at a much faster pace than it is today.
► In today’s NY Times — Missing ingredient on minimum wage: A motivated GOP — President Obama’s three predecessors signed an increase in the federal minimum wage by forging agreement with a Congress controlled by the opposing party.
► From AP — Obama accepts Sebelius’ resignation — President Obama praised outgoing Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for helping to steer his health care law’s comeback after a rocky rollout, even as he nominated a successor aimed at helping the White House move past the political damage.
► In today’s NY Times — Health care nightmares (by Paul Krugman) — While supposed Obamacare horror stories keep on turning out to be false, it’s already quite easy to find examples of people who died (like 32-year-old mother of three Charlene Dill, at right) because their states refused to expand Medicaid. According to one recent study, the death toll from Medicaid rejection is likely to run between 7,000 and 17,000 Americans each year. But nobody expects to see a lot of prominent Republicans declaring that rejecting Medicaid expansion is wrong, that caring for Americans in need is more important than scoring political points against the Obama administration.
► In today’s Olympian — Voters’ only recourse: Stronger disclosure laws (editorial) — In the post-McCutcheon world, voters’ only recourse is to make stronger demands for campaign finance disclosure laws. Knowing where the money is going provides vital information to those of us who give only our vote. When the U.S. Supreme Court puts politics up for sale, citizens have a right to know who’s buying.
► At AFL-CIO now — Tell Lionsgate it has the score wrong: Stop sending musicians’ jobs overseas — Lionsgate Entertainment just released a movie about what is probably the second most popular day for football fans after the Super Bowl — “Draft Day.” But Lionsgate did something decidedly un-American for this film. It shipped American musicians’ jobs overseas — to Macedonia.
TAKE A STAND! — Sign a petition urging Lionsgate to stop sending musicians’ jobs overseas.
► In today’s Washington Post — Missouri is latest right-to-work battleground — The national battle between conservative groups and big labor unions is moving to Missouri as outside groups on both sides gear up for a vote that could come as early as Monday on controversial legislation to discourage unionization. The Missouri bill would put a Right to Work proposal on the November ballot.
► And this new low in voter suppression from Think Progress — New rule in Miami prohibits voters from using the restroom, no matter how long the line — During the 2012 presidential election, voters reportedly waited on line for upwards of six hours. That wait alone is enough to deter would-be voters from going to the polls. But now residents in Florida’s most populous county will have another disincentive: they won’t be able to go to the bathroom… An MIT analysis found that blacks and Hispanics waited almost twice as long to vote as whites in the 2012 presidential election. Another analysis found that this “time tax” also impacted young voters.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand has always been a big fan of the mashup. We prefer turntable DJs like Z-Trip, who can blend songs live, and Girl Talk and E-603 who sample snippets of hundreds of rap, rock and pop songs into a dense mix worthy of multiple listens. But occasionally, one comes across a solid, simple mashup of two classic songs and artists. This is one. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.