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$15 soon, May Day, Mary Yu, big Newton…

Friday, May 2, 2014




seattle-15-minwage► In today’s Seattle Times — Mayor’s plan lifts minimum wage to $15 — eventually — Seattle minimum-wage workers would be making $18 an hour in a decade — double the current wage — under a plan announced Thursday morning by Mayor Ed Murray. The route is lengthy and complicated, and lacks the punch of “15 now,” but it has the support of almost all of the business and labor leaders on the mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee and might head off competing ballot initiatives in November.

ALSO TODAY at the Stand — $15 minimum wage plan hailed in Seattle

 ► In The Stranger — Why labor supports this Seattle minimum wage compromise — So while the phase-in period is complicated — complicated enough to make enforcement really tricky — the movement is in the right direction, and this agreement has buy in from a wide-reaching coalition. Is it fast enough? Maybe not for everybody. But for a movement that was just pounding the pavement a year ago, trying to get reporters to show up outside Subways and Taco Bells and listen to striking workers, this probably feels like hyperspeed.




WSLC-May-Day-14► In today’s Seattle Times — Calls for immigration, wage reform on mostly peaceful May Day — Singing and chanting in English and Spanish, hundreds of May Day demonstrators marched from Judkins Park to downtown Westlake Park on Thursday, calling for an immediate boost in the minimum wage and an end to the deportations of people in the country illegally. The march, sponsored by El Comité and the May First Action Coalition, drew several hundred people on an unusually warm May Day and was mostly peaceful. Many of the marchers seemed to enjoy the sunny weather and waved signs and banners as they poured into downtown Seattle for the second of two bookend rallies. (In the photo, WSLC President Jeff Johnson and Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson march in Seattle on Thursday. Click to enlarge.)

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Turnout, enthusiasm low for Yakima’s May Day March — Hundreds turned out for Yakima’s ninth annual march, but attendance was well below the thousands of participants seen in other years. Yakima resident Gerardo Lemus, 46, the son of farm workers, said some supporters lacked the enthusiasm to march because they don’t see any end in sight. “They’re losing hope,” Lemus said. “Every year, Obama or Congress says something will get done. Every year, nothing happens.”




ap-mary-yu► From AP — Mary Yu appointed to state Supreme Court — King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu was appointed to the Washington state Supreme Court on Thursday, and she will be the first openly gay justice, as well as the first Asian American, to serve on the state’s high court.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — First responders honored for work at Oso mudslide — Snohomish County Executive John Lovick read a proclamation declaring Thursday a time to honor first responders “whose sacrifice can never be repaid.” Inside the Oso Fire Hall were medics and firefighters from around the county. The gathering served as a reunion for many of those who worked together after the deadly March 22 mudslide.

IBEW-logo► In today’s News Tribune — Line workers in Tacoma approve contract — Workers who maintain high-voltage power lines approved a contract with the city of Tacoma last week after negotiators reached a tentative agreement last month. The city and IBEW Local 483 Tacoma Power union had been at loggerheads on a contract to replace one that expired at the end of March. The two groups even entered into several rounds of mediation. The union was prepared to go on strike if the impasse continued.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — ACA saves former Spokane Symphony director from economic disaster (by Shawn Vestal) — After several years without health insurance, John Hancock — the former director of the Spokane Symphony — signed up for coverage under Obamacare not long before being hit with chest pains announcing that he needed heart-valve surgery. He showed up at a cardiologist’s office March 5 with a brand-new insurance plan. “They said, we’ve got to fix this right away,” Hancock said. One six-day hospital stay later, his heart is all fixed up — with a new valve — and he’s mostly recovered. Crucially, the cost didn’t bankrupt him.




H-1B_layoffs► At AFL-CIO Now — H-1B visas, wage suppression and Senate Republicans — The press on collusion by Silicon Valley companies to suppress the earnings of engineers and computer scientists in Silicon Valley has ignored a bigger policy issue: The use of H-1B visas by Silicon Valley. On April 7, companies already reached the cap Congress allows for the visa for this fiscal year. But, if firms are colluding to suppress the wages of America’s workers, how can there be a policy aimed at a “shortage” of workers? If wages are capped, then the demand for workers will be greater than the supply of workers. The result is that firms will observe a “shortage” of workers — one firms created.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, amid all this employer-driven nonsense about a shortage of skilled engineers, insufficient H-1B visas and the need for better STEM education, The Boeing Co. is about to lay off thousands of its Puget Sound-area engineers and send their jobs to other states in an effort that even their sycophants at The Seattle Times acknowledge is simply to suppress wages.

► At CNN Money — Subway leads fast food industry in underpaying workers — McDonald’s gets a lot of bad press for its low pay. But there’s an even bigger offender when it comes to fast food companies underpaying their employees: Subway. Individual Subway franchisees have been found in violation of pay and hour rules in more than 1,100 investigations spanning from 2000 to 2013, according to a CNNMoney analysis.

► In The Hill — Oil-rich North Dakota sees highest worker fatality rate — The 2012 rate of 17.7 fatalities per 100,000 employees was a large increase from the 7 deaths per 100,000 in 2007, before the energy boom started.




trumka-13► In the Washington Post — What working people will vote for this November (by Richard Trumka) — The Supreme Court’s recent decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, expanding the Citizens United doctrine that money equals speech, formalized what was already clear: The 1 percent is undertaking a serious effort to buy elections. The winners in our society, the top 10 percent, belong to both political parties, as do the 90 percent experiencing stagnant and falling incomes. And the winners in our losing economic game have pushed policies that benefit the super-rich instead of helping most of the United States: bank bailouts and fiscal austerity, NAFTA-like trade agreements, attacks on Social Security. The more this agenda gains ground in both parties, the more working-class voters get discouraged and don’t turn out. We are approaching a midterm election in which the real issue is not the Affordable Care Act’s Web site. The real issue is whether we continue down the road toward more radical inequality or move, instead, toward reinventing a nation whose economy is consistent with our national values of democracy and opportunity.




► You’ve probably never heard of Newton Faulkner. The Entire Staff of The Stand™ has heard and liked some of his songs, in particular the excellent “Gone in the Morning.” But he has never really caught on in the United States. So, watch as he sends this massive English crowd into an absolute frenzy by playing a song alone on his acoustic guitar. It helps that it’s that song. And the crowd looks pretty drunk. But still…


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