Wednesday, June 11, 2014
► At HA Seattle — AG urges Supreme Court to overturn ruling denying $15 wage to airport workers — Thanks to a post-election ruling from a King County Superior Court judge, thousands of Sea-Tac Airport workers have not been delivered the wages and workplace protections that SeaTac Proposition 1 promised. Plaintiffs argued, and the judge agreed, that the ports have “exclusive jurisdiction” over airport operations. And the plain language of that statute certainly appears to support that interpretation. But an amicus brief filed by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says not so fast. Ferguson argues that the apparently plain language of RCW 14.08.330 must be interpreted in conjunction with conflicting statutes, specifically RCW 49.46.120, which allows local minimum wage laws that are more favorable to workers to supersede state and federal minimum wage laws. Ferguson’s argument is a clever one.
► From KPLU — Following Seattle’s minimum wage increase, home care workers push for $15 an hour — The union that represents home care workers across Washington state (SEIU 775) is calling for a new contract that phases in a $15-an-hour minimum wage. They’re hoping Seattle’s recent vote to gradually hike the wage floor will help bolster their argument.
► In today’s (Everett Herald) — Rally for $15 minimum wage comes to Everett — Unionized caregivers and their supporters on Tuesday rallied during a stop on a statewide bus tour, part of a campaign for a phased-in $15-an-hour minimum wage.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — $8 million in state funds will help train workers for Boeing, other aerospace firms — Eight million dollars has been allocated by the state Legislature to provide training for 1,000 Washington residents who want to work in aerospace, state officials announced Tuesday. The funding is one part of the incentives package signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on Nov. 11 as the state worked to get Chicago-based Boeing to agree to assemble the 777X jetliner in Everett. The grant comes at a time when there’s some unrest over Boeing’s decision to move some engineering jobs out of Washington, despite the fact that the 777X will be assembled here. Machinists District Lodge 751, for instance, is pressing for legislation that would add a requirement that Boeing maintain jobs in the state, as part of the 777X package that included $8.7 billion in tax incentives.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Outspoken Dembowski’s risky, bumpy ride to avoid bus cuts (by Danny Westneat) — This week Rod Dembowski, a Democrat and newbie member of the Metropolitan King County Council, set off a bomb in local politics by suggesting there’s probably no need to carry out draconian cuts to the Metro Transit bus system after all. This even though countless elected officials — including him — had spent most of the year warning exactly that. His fellow Democrats and union folks are furious with him.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Seattle hospital executive salaries soaring under Obamacare — One of the main goals of the Affordable Care Act was to rein in health care costs. Despite that, some health executives in Washington state still landed significant raises in 2013, according to data filed with the state Department of Health.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Bellingham council votes to tax PeaceHealth $1.2 million next year — City Council has voted in favor of imposing a $1.2 million annual business and occupation tax bill on PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, ending decades of tax exemption for the non-profit Catholic-affiliated hospital and its other health care services.
► In today’s News Tribune — Dozens of Tacoma high school students skip out for their teachers — Students at Mount Tahoma High School walked out of their last hour of classes Tuesday in protest of what they label as unfair teacher reductions at the South Tacoma school.
► In The Hill — Cantor out in Tea Party shocker — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the Speaker-in-waiting, was defeated Tuesday in a primary election by a little-known conservative economics professor, David Brat, in one of the most stunning upsets in modern political history. Brat defeated Cantor, a six-term incumbent, despite having no experience in elected office and being outspent by nearly 20-to-1.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Analysis: Cantor’s loss should be good news for all, but isn’t
► In today’s News Tribune — State Senate candidate Shari Song fighting portrayal as carpetbagger — Washington Republicans, fighting to keep control of the state Senate, are working to solidify a perception of Democratic candidate Shari Song as a carpetbagger. (EDITOR’S NOTE — And our headline helps!) Song and her opponent, Democrat-turned-Republican Mark Miloscia, both are residents of Federal Way and the 30th District. But Song, a real-estate agent, moved there only earlier this year.
EDITOR’S NOTE 2: His ideology moved more recently than her family.
► In Roll Call — GOP, White House tout opposing highway proposals — With only two months before a crucial fund for highway projects nationwide is tapped, House Republicans and the White House touted dueling plans Tuesday aimed at avoiding a late-July construction shutdown. Speaker John A. Boehner told Republicans in a private morning meeting that leadership’s plan to raise cash for a temporary $15 billion road fix by eliminating some Saturday mail service may not be ideal, but is the only viable plan that does not raise taxes.
► In today’s Washington Post — 3 million Americans now without unemployment benefits due to congressional gridlock — The number of Americans who would qualify for federal long-term unemployment benefits — a program Congress allowed to expire in December — has now hit 3 million. The 3 million mark comes months after the Senate passed a bipartisan deal that would have restored federally-provided long-term unemployment benefits, but that bill was never taken up for a vote in the GOP-controlled House.
► In today’s NY Times — Judge rejects teacher tenure for California — A California judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprived students of their right to an education under the State Constitution and violated their civil rights. The decision hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case, one that could radically alter how California teachers are hired and fired and prompt challenges to tenure laws in other states.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Obama signs executive order on student loans, pushes refinance bill — President Obama signed an Executive Order on Monday, calling on the Department of Education to expand a program to lower monthly federal student loan payments for 5 million student loan borrowers.
TAKE A STAND! Call your Senators today at 202-517-2321 and urge them to stand with students over millionaires by voting for the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.
► From Reuters — Flight attendants at American take step toward combining unions — Unions representing flight attendants at American Airlines Group (AFA and APFA) filed a petition with a federal labor agency seeking to have a single union named to represent the company’s 24,000 flight attendants following the merger of AMR Corp and US Airways last year.
► In today’s NY Times — Clauses that hurt workers (editorial) — The indiscriminate use of noncompete clauses hurts workers by limiting their ability to seek better jobs in their chosen professions.
► At Labor Notes — How to be a staffer at a democratic union — The obvious danger: you work for the union all day, while members have their jobs to do. It can be all too easy for members and staffers alike to start thinking “the union” means the people who have desks at the union hall: the top brass and the reps they hire. That’s not only undemocratic — it’s a terrible foundation for building power. We asked four experienced staffers how they see their jobs and how they translate the idea that the members run the union into their day-to-day tasks.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.