Thursday, May 22, 2014
► At Slog — Is Mayor Murray’s landmark $15 minimum wage deal unraveling before our eyes? — Heading into the first city council meeting on the mayor’s minimum-wage legislation today, council members face a rapidly changing landscape from what looked like a done deal just days ago. Key members of Mayor Ed Murray’s advisory committee, which carefully negotiated the compromise deal on the $15 minimum wage, are deeply concerned by statements the mayor has made about his legislation and a document the council’s central staff composed that all seem to fundamentally alter the deal committee members agreed to in early May. They’re also concerned by ongoing lobbying from the business community to water down the bill. At an evening delegate meeting of the M.L. King County Labor Council, delegates unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Seattle City Council to strengthen the legislation in favor of workers. The changes they’re asking for aren’t minor, either.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Gonzaga University adjuncts plan first faculty union — Adjunct instructors at Gonzaga University hope to form the college’s first faculty union. The instructors, who are not on a track to become tenured professors, work on temporary contracts and earn much less than professors. Signatures are currently being gathered to form a union on GU’s Spokane campus.
ALSO at The Stand — Seattle U’s union avoidance contrary to Catholic teachings (May 2) — The President of Seattle University, Father Steve Sundborg recently distributed a video message urging his adjunct teachers, also known as contingent faculty, to vote against forming a union.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Bezos expects 10,000 robots at Amazon warehouses by 2015 — During Amazon’s annual shareholders meeting, the company’s chief executive also dismissed those opposed to a variety of company policies. Meanwhile, Bezos deflected a question about opposition to unionizing the security staff at the company, saying that the dispute was with Security Industry Specialists, with whom Amazon contracts.
► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Hoquiam firefighters’ union say city is jumping the gun on layoffs — Despite efforts from the Hoquiam Firefighters Union, city officials likely won’t change their minds about impending layoffs from the fire department. In late April, officials announced plans to lay off four firefighters.
► In today’s Oregonian — Vigor Marine brings Oregon Iron Works under its roof in merger — Oregon Iron Works will become a division of Vigor Industrial in what the privately held companies are calling a merger, if not a merger of equals. The combination will create a single manufacturing and ship repair company that will employ about 2,300 people, including about 1,100 in the Portland area.
► In today’s News Tribune — McCleary plaintiffs ask court to hold Legislature in contempt — The plaintiffs in a landmark education-funding case told the state Supreme Court Wednesday that state lawmakers should be held in contempt for not making enough progress toward a 2018 deadline.
► At TPM — Meh: Nearly half of Americans don’t care who controls Congress — Who cares which party controls Congress? Only about half of Americans. The other 46 percent, not so much, according to an AP-GfK poll. Ask people whom they would rather see in charge on Capitol Hill, and Republicans finish in a dead heat with “doesn’t matter.” Democrats fare only a little better: 37 percent would prefer their leadership, compared with 31 percent each for the GOP and whatever.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Pam Roach’s ‘Democratic’ opponent: conservative who’s called for Obama impeachment — Lynda Messner, a Bonney Lake woman, filed as a Democrat just before Friday’s filing deadline. Her candidacy led the only other Democrat in the race, Lane Walthers, to drop out, saying two relatively unknown Democrats would only split the vote and have no shot at getting past the primary. It turns out Messner echoes tea party Republican talking points on conservative web sites.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Republicans running as Democrats in Washington state?! Not exactly man bites dog.
► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing wants to be more like Apple, CEO McNerney says — Boeing Co. CEO Jim McNerney said the company wanted to be more like Apple in the way it innovates, rather than doing a “moon shot” development every 25 years.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Let’s see… Apple was one of the four major tech companies that just agreed to a $324 million settlement for conspiring to suppress its engineers’ wages. Sounds about right.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — 500 suppliers now partnering with Boeing to cut costs, execs say — Five hundred Boeing suppliers are now engaged with Boeing’s Partnering for Success program, and positive results are showing up on the bottom line, Boeing execs say… McNerney said that Boeing has to be genuine about meeting suppliers halfway, implicitly responding to a criticism that Boeing has been squeezing the supply chain too hard.
► In The Hill — House GOP blocks immigration proposals — House GOP leaders formally blocked a pair of immigration measures from getting a vote on a critical defense policy bill early Wednesday, dealing another blow to the prospects of legislation to rewrite the immigration system this year.
► In today’s NY Times — Troubles with veterans’ health care (editorial) — The allegations that hospitals falsified data to hide long wait times for veterans are disgraceful. If true, President Obama has to punish those responsible.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Honor our veterans; fix overwhelmed VA system (editorial) — As U.S. Sen. Patty Murray told the AP, “When we decide to go to war, we have to consciously be also thinking about the cost.” But we’ve never focused enough attention on that. Instead, wars are taken off-budget, which disguises the impact.
► At TPM — McDonald’s to face questions after wage protests — McDonald’s is set to face criticism on issues including worker pay and marketing to children at its shareholders meeting Thursday morning. Critics plan to confront CEO Don Thompson during the question-and-answer portion of the annual event.
► In the USA Today — McDonald’s protesters arrested — In a prelude to protests planned for the McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday morning, police arrested 139 protesters on Wednesday afternoon outside McDonald’s world headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill. Some of those arrested were uniform-wearing McDonald’s employees who had come for the protest from 33 U.S. cities. Also arrested was SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
► At AFL-CIO now — Walmart on trial: Workers seek justice — Dozens of Walmart workers who the NLRB alleges were fired or disciplined last year for protesting workplace conditions and wages are a step closer to justice after the NLRB began its case against the retail giant Monday. The hearing in Oakland, Calif., is the first of five that will be held in different cities across the country. More than 60 Walmart supervisors and one corporate officer in 13 states are named in the NLRB complaint.
► At Huffington Post — Business that bashed Obama’s OSHA just had horrifying industrial accident — During the 2012 presidential campaign, Wisconsin businessman Lance Johnson said President Barack Obama’s workplace safety inspectors were burdening him and killing jobs with too much red tape. On Monday, a “catastrophic failure” of machinery at Johnson’s foundry sprayed molten metal on workers, injuring eight and sending four of them to the hospital.
► From the Business Journals — Union tries second time to organize Virgin America flight attendants — Flight attendants at Virgin America Inc. are seeking a vote on whether to unionize, the second time the Transport Workers Union has tried to organize the 900-worker group.
► Last Throw Back Thursday, we shared pictures of some of the people who helped make Washington the first state in the nation with a minimum wage indexed for inflation.
This week, we share this photo of Elsie Parrish, a housekeeper who worked at the Cascadian Hotel, owned by the West Coast Hotel Company, in Wenatchee. When she wasn’t paid the minimum wage of $14.50 per week of 48 hours (the “Minimum Wage for Women” law passed in 1932 in Washington state), she sued the hotel in a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court’s West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish ruling in her favor in 1937 had major implications for the nation. The decision is usually regarded as having ended the Lochner era, a period in American legal history during which the Supreme Court tended to invalidate legislation aimed at regulating business. Instead, the court ruled that a state may constitutionally restrict the terms of private contracts when protecting the welfare of its citizens.
We truly stand on the shoulders of giants like Elsie Parrish.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.