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Free trade fail, labor’s mojo, Hall & Hootie…

Friday, July 18, 2014




korean_unionist_no_fta_► In today’s Seattle Times — Seoul searching: How KORUS is working out (by Jon Talton) — The South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement went into force in March 2012. So how is America’s first free-trade agreement with a major Asian economy working out? American goods exports to South Korea fell from $43.5 billion in 2011 to $41.7 billion last year. Imports rose from $56.7 billion to $62.4 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Seoul is nearly 57 percent higher than before KORUS went into effect. KORUS is working out as critics predicted: Some American companies will win, but overall the U.S. trade deficit will rise. And that trade deficit isn’t an abstract number. It represents lost American jobs.




mcmorris-rodgers-L► In today’s Seattle Times — Time for Cathy McMorris Rodgers to take stand for Boeing, Export-Import Bank (editorial) — Every other Washington lawmaker is backing the Ex-Im Bank, save the one who could play the most important role in bringing the bill to the floor. McMorris Rodgers, the GOP conference leader, needs to declare unequivocal support. Boeing has 15,000 suppliers, and 40 are in her 5th Congressional District, doing $362 million in business annually. Being in leadership sometimes requires a person to lead.





► At KPLU — Hanford workers say they’re not satisfied with working conditions at tank farms — Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who are worried about getting sick turned out in droves for a public meeting Wednesday night in Richland organized by a Seattle-area watchdog called Hanford Challenge.

malte-bob-evergreen-ceo► In the P.S. Business Journal — Union cites 18 percent raise for EvergreenHealth CEO as it seeks better wages — Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 will hold a rally today in Kirkland, objecting to what they consider inadequate wages and staffing at EvergreenHealth Medical Center. Citing an 18 percent year-over-year pay increase for CEO Bob Malte, SEIU leaders say a 1 percent raise isn’t enough for caregivers. They also want the hospital to hire more people, which they said is a patient health issue.

ALSO in today’s Seattle Times — Hospital union: Why offer workers 1 percent raise, while CEO gets 18 percent?

► At PubliCola — Poll: Washington voters think $15 minimum wage will hurt economy — A new poll shows that statewide voters think a $15 state minimum wage would be more likely to hurt (54%) than help (37%) the economy. But the results may have something to do with the wording of the question. In Seattle, 46% said it would help, while 40% said it would hurt.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle vote set on tax, bump in car-tab fee to save bus service — The Seattle City Council Thursday unanimously approved sending a funding package for Metro transit service to voters in November. The measure would levy a $60 car-tab fee and increase the city sales tax by 0.1 percent.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane adopts state elevator safety standards — The City Council this week agreed to update local ordinances to include the state-mandated changes, which officials say are mostly minor adjustments. Concerns raised by local building owners last fall over what appeared to be potentially costly new requirements were examined by city staff and determined to be less burdensome than originally believed.

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma’s oldest shipyard to be sold on courthouse steps Friday — Will a fishing company that loaned J.P. Martinac Shipbuilding Co. $5 million end up owning the shipyard or will another buyer emerge Friday?




road-dollar-sign► In today’s NY Times — Public problems, private dollars: Obama seeks infrastructure repair money — How can a president fix more roads and bridges without any new money to spend? President Obama’s answer on Thursday was to announce new initiatives to encourage private-sector investment in the nation’s infrastructure, including the creation of a “one-stop shop” at the Department of Transportation to forge partnerships between state and local governments, and public and private developers and investors.

► From AP — Prospects fade for resolution on border crisis — Prospects for action on the nation’s border crisis faded Thursday as lawmakers traded accusations rather than solutions, raising chances that Congress will head out for its summer recess without doing anything about the tens of thousands of migrant children streaming into South Texas.

► In today’s Washington Post — Americans are abandoning their support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — A record number of unaccompanied minors have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, and that’s likely shifting the country’s opinion about immigration policy.




► At Think Progress — Five ways unions are trying to get their mojo back — While the labor movement faces an uphill battle, across the country, workers are trying to find ways to change the climate. Many American workers who are simply not able to join a union have been finding ways to work together to fight for better wages and jobs outside of the collective bargaining model. At the same time, traditional unions are aiming to boost membership, change public perceptions, and improve conditions for their members and other workers through new and creative methods. ThinkProgress spoke with labor activists around the country about what has been working for them.

ronald-mcdonald-arrested► From Bloomberg — Workers say McDonald’s fired them for union activity — The National Labor Relations Board is investigating whether employees at McDonald’s Corp. restaurants were fired for joining labor unions, a case that threatens to disrupt the decades-old fast-food franchise model. A worker group accused McDonald’s locations in New York of terminating nine employees for their union involvement and organizing activities, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. By including the parent company in the case, the workers are targeting the restaurant owners and McDonald’s as a joint employer. If the labor board decides against the company, it could set a precedent for franchised restaurants, putting more responsibility on parent corporations.

► From Al Jazeera America — Low-wage professors battle ‘adjunctivitis’ — Since the mid-1970s, colleges of all sizes and levels of prestige, public and private, have relied more and more on low-paid, nontraditional faculty: 76 percent of instructors are now non-tenured, up from 55 percent. This has provoked a widespread rebellion among adjuncts and graduate-student instructors, the bottom rung of academia. Teachers at private and public colleges and universities are demanding recognition and winning unexpected pay hikes and job security. An array of unions — from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers — have vowed to transform adjunct and graduate-student working conditions for good.

ALSO at The Stand — Seattle U contingents declare victory, but ballots impounded (June 5, 2014)

Death of an adjunct professor: Broke with no health coverage (Sept. 24, 2013)

Seattle-port-shutdown► In The Hill — Port trucking industry rips off drivers, responsible employers and taxpayers (by Richard Kirsch) — As federal and state agencies are beginning to rule, the notion that the port drivers are independent contractors is pure fiction. The drivers work for a single distribution company, which controls everything about their work — their hours, their shipments, the rates they are paid. The company supplies the trucks they drive, which bear the company name. These firms hand the drivers — most of whom are immigrants and often speak little English — take-it-or-leave-it contracts as a condition of getting work. The drivers must pay for leasing the trucks, fuel and maintenance, costs which the companies often deduct from drivers’ pay. The bottom line for drivers is that they work an average of 59 hours a week, with take-home pay of under $29,000. The contractors earn 18 percent less than drivers who are hired as employees.




► Today, the Entire Staff of The Stand™ presents, a new cover of the Righteous Brothers’ classic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” As a guest on Live From Daryl’s House, country crooner Darius Rucker (formerly of Hootie & the Blowfish) joins Mr. Hall for a song made truly special by the great session musicians featured on every episode of this show.


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

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