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$15 redux, NLRB rejects, Sakuma reconsiders…

Tuesday, June 3, 2014




15-Seattle-council-vote-balloons► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle City Council approves historic $15 minimum wage — The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a $15 minimum wage Monday, giving its lowest-paid workers a path over the next seven years to the nation’s highest hourly pay. The outcome was not in doubt as a progressive mayor and City Council throughout the spring vowed to address the national trend of rising income inequality and a city that has become increasingly unaffordable for many of its residents.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Seattle passes historic $15 wage ordinance (including video coverage)

► At Slog — Three things to watch for now hat Seattle has passed 415 minimum wage — (1) 15 Now is expected to decide within a week or two whether to put their faster $15 measure with fewer exceptions on the ballot. Spoiler alert: They’re not going to. (2) The International Franchise Association is threatening a lawsuit. The association representing franchise owners has said in a statement that Seattle’s new law, which counts individual franchises as parts of their parent company (and therefore sets them on the steeper “big business” wage schedule), is “discriminatory” toward franchisees. (3) If the city doesn’t enact some serious change in how it enforces its labor laws, this whole fight will have been for nothing.

► From AP — Seattle raises minimum wage; will others follow? — Seattle activists celebrated a successful campaign to gradually increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 by calling for a national movement to close the income and opportunity gaps between rich and poor.

MORE COVERAGE from Crosscut, KPLU, P.S. Business Journal, PubliCola and N.Y. Times.




nlrb► In the P.S. Business Journal — NLRB dismisses Machinists’ complaint about Boeing contract vote — Some Machinists’ hopes of overturning the Jan. 3 contract vote seem to be over, effectively removing a slight possibility that Boeing’s decision to build the 777X in Washington might somehow be changed. About 40 Machinists received letters Friday from the Seattle-based Region 19 office of the NLRB, telling them they could withdraw their complaints or those complaints would be dismissed.

MORE coverage in the (Everett) Herald and the Seattle Times.

► From KPLU — Sakuma Brothers Farms withdraws application for H-2A guest workers — Sakuma Brothers Farms, one of Washington state’s biggest berry farms, says it has withdrawn its application for foreign guest workers under the Department of Labor’s H-2A program. The move comes after workers who went on strike last year contended that the farm was using the program to replace them.

ALSO at The Stand — Judge to Sakuma Bros: Stop retaliation (May 29, 2014)

MORE coverage at Slog and the Seattle Times.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Washington ranks No. 2 among best states for nurses — Researchers at WalletHub report that Washington is the second best state for nurses to practice in, based on opportunity, competition and work environment. Oregon ranks first.

► In today’s Columbian — Fire departments’ merger spurs savings — Six months after Camas and Washougal finished consolidating their firefighting resources, officials say the merger of the two departments has produced modest-but-notable savings.




col-prevailing-wage-caption► In today’s Columbian — Lawmakers tackle prevailing wage laws — The battle over prevailing wages is not new, but it looks like it could be fought once again this winter in Olympia. State Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) and Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) toured the 33,000-square-foot warehouse of Fabrication Products Inc. in Vancouver, whose owner refuses to bid on public works projects because he says the prevailing wages are too high. Pike is already working to craft a wide range of potential legislation, including limiting the prevailing wage law to certain types of projects, and creating the same statewide rate for all counties to use.

► In today’s News Tribune — It’s long past time to build highway across Lewis-McChord (editorial) — Commuters on the I-5 corridor though JBLM experience traffic backups daily during peak commute hours. If an accident occurs, a commute from Olympia to Tacoma can take hours. The Cross-Base Highway Project has been delayed too long. Studies conducted in the late 1990s demonstrated the need for state Route 704 due to expected population growth in Pierce County… The WSDOT projected a $410 million price tag in 2012. Currently the project is suspended awaiting funding.




highway-robbery► In The Hill — House to use post office cuts to fund highway bill — House Republicans are pushing to prop up the highway trust fund with savings from rolling back Saturday postal delivery, GOP leaders said Friday. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) cast the idea as “the best way to ensure continued funding of highway projects in a fiscally responsible manner” in a memo to the rank-and-file.

► In the National Journal — Highway funding crisis has lawmakers scrambling — Members of the Senate Finance Committee will meet behind closed doors Wednesday to try to find a way to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from going broke at the height of the construction season this summer.

► In today’s Washington Post — Sanders’ bill allows for VA staff appeals — The draft bill by  Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) provides a more reasonable approach to disciplining Department of Veterans Affairs employees than legislation passed by the House and a Senate panel. Those measures would strip SES members in the VA of certain civil service protections by not allowing them the  appeal rights of  employees in other agencies.




walmart-moms► In BusinessWeek — Walmart Moms make case for $25,000 a year — In the coming days, you will be hearing a lot about working women. Not the women leaning in, not the women opting out, but the working women living in or near poverty. The retail industry alone employs about 1.3 million women who live close to the poverty threshold, according to a new report. It arrives as Walmart Moms head to the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores for the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting on June 6. The union-supported group is asking for $25,000 a year for full-time work.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Stand with Walmart workers this Wednesday — As part of a national day of action, join the “Walmart Moms” protesting this Wednesday, June 4 at Walmarts in Mount Vernon and Lynnwood. Union members and community supporters are encouraged to show their solidarity outside the Mt. Vernon Walmart, 2301 Freeway Dr.  from 7 to 8 a.m., and outside the Lynnwood Walmart, 1400 164th SW  from 11 a.m. to noon.

ALSO — Courageous moms striking Walmart deserve our support (by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka)

► In the Detroit Free-Press– Volkswagen labor official vows to back UAW organizing effort in Tennessee — Frank Patta, general secretary of Volkswagen’s Global Group Works Council, vowed to help the UAW continue to organize workers at the automaker’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. The UAW lost an election last February by 44 votes after top Tennessee politicians and Republican interest groups helped to sway some workers against the union.




► In Sunday’s NY Times — Why you hate work (by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath) — For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse. Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night.


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

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