Monday, August 18, 2014
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Machinists unionize leading Seattle manufacturing powerhouse Jorgensen Forge — One of Seattle’s oldest and most powerful manufacturers has been unionized by the Machinists, the most recent in a string of union successes. The two-thirds vote by 100 workers to unionize Jorgensen Forge was certified by the NLRB late this week, opening the door for contract negotiations to start between management and Machinists District Lodge 751.
ALSO at The Stand — Jorgensen workers forge union with IAM (Aug. 12)
► In the Seattle Times — Rich exit for buyers of Boeing spinoff — Canadian private-equity firm Onex, which in 2005 bought Boeing’s major parts plant in Wichita, Kan., made its final exit from the deal this month with a hefty financial gain: Nine times its original $108 million investment. The former Boeing plants formed the nucleus of the much enlarged Spirit AeroSystems. The move comes just as the workforce at Spirit faces some new uncertainty.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Court ruling on pensions, longshore agreement bring relief (by Jim Camden) — The biggest sigh followed Thursday’s Supreme Court decision that the state isn’t on the hook for bigger pension payments to some state workers and teachers after the Legislature changed the rules on them… Another sigh was heaved from farmers, grain exporters and dockworkers as a lockout at some of the Vancouver-area grain elevators was negotiated to a close.
► From AP — State Supreme Court to hear charter school law challenge — The Washington Supreme Court announced Friday it would consider whether a voter-approved charter school law violates the state constitution. The coalition that brought the lawsuit included the state teachers union, a group of Washington school administrators, the League of Women Voters, El Centro de la Raza and several parents, children and school advocates.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Allow DSHS to overspend its mental-health budget to fix ‘boarding’ problem (editorial) — Without more beds, very sick patients might be cut loose, endangering themselves or others. Rather than calling an expensive special session to appropriate more funds, Gov. Jay Inslee should broker a bipartisan agreement with state House and Senate leaders to allow DSHS to overspend its mental-health budget until the Legislature convenes in January.
► In the Seattle Times — Feds’ failed school rules inspire revolting response (by Danny Westneat) — The federal government’s extreme labeling of all Washington state schools as failing could lead to a revolt. Not against the schools. Against the federal government.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Health workers reach contract with Deaconess, Valley hospitals — Unionized health care workers at Valley and Deaconess hospitals have negotiated a contract agreement after an unprecedented 20 months of talks. Set hours for staff, a pay raise and changes to sick pay are parts of the new contract that will increase retention among health workers and help improve patient care, union officials said.
ALSO at The Stand — Valley, Deaconess nurses win agreement (Aug. 15)
► From KPLU — With judge’s ruling, Seattle ballot will pit childcare plan against pre-K pilot — Judge Helen Halper on Friday shot down a labor-supported legal challenge designed to allow Seattle voters a chance to approve both measures, namely a pilot program to fund low-income kids’ preschool tuition and a minimum wage hike for the city’s more than 4,000 childcare workers.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — No criminal charges filed in fatal 2010 Tesoro refinery blast — No criminal charges were filed by the Dept. of Justice regarding the 2010 Tesoro refinery blast in Anacortes that killed seven people. “It does not reach the exacting bar for criminal prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
► In today’s Columbian — Labor group resolution praises CRC effort — The Labor Round Table of Southwest Washington approved a lengthy document outlining a chronology of the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement and conveying “deep appreciation to the many people who contributed their time and effort to the CRC project.”
► At HA Seattle — Quite possible the most dishonest Seattle Times editorial ever — Credulously read this Seattle Times editorial, and you would think the McBride family was forced off the land of “the last working farm” in Issaquah thanks to the death of their patriarch and a stupidly punitive estate tax. Except, everything about this editorial is wrong.
► At Politico — White House meets with big biz on immigration — White House officials are in talks with business leaders that could expand the executive actions President Obama takes on immigration. Obama was initially expected to focus only on slowing deportations of potentially millions of undocumented immigrants and altering federal enforcement policies. Now top aides are talking with leaders in big companies like Cisco, Intel and Accenture, hoping to add more changes that would get them on board.
► From Reuters — When companies flee U.S. tax system, investors often don’t reap big returns — Establishing a tax domicile abroad to avoid U.S. taxes is a hot strategy in corporate America, but many companies that have done such “inversion” deals have failed to produce above-average returns for investors, a Reuters analysis has found.
► At AFL-CIO — Here’s your union-made Labor Day shopping list — Labor Day is the unofficial end of the summer holiday season. While the day honors the hardworking men and women who make this nation go and grow, the weekend also gives us a chance for one more big backyard barbecue blowout. Here’s some union-made food and drink to get your barbecue off to a great start.
► At Huffington Post — The percentage of Americans who can’t afford food hasn’t budged since the recession peaked — More than five years into an economic recovery, with unemployment falling and the stock market at record highs, millions of Americans still can’t afford basic nutrition, according to a blockbuster study released Monday by the relief charity Feeding America.
► At Huffington Post — Lousy work: Will it break through as a political issue? (by Robert Kuttner) — Politicians ritually invoke good jobs at good wages, yet presidents have been unwilling to name, much less remedy, the deep economic forces that are turning payroll jobs into what I’ve termed “The Task Rabbit Economy” — a collection of ad hoc gigs with no benefits, no job security, no career paths, and no employer reciprocity for worker diligence. But there are signs that maybe this issue is starting to break through.
► In the Washington Post — Minimum wage hike makes Nebraska ballot, also in South Dakota and Alaska — The measure, the first petition initiative to appear on Nebraska’s statewide ballot since 2008, would raise the state’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $8 and $9 an hour at the start of 2015 and 2016, respectively.
► From Reuters — Texas Governor Perry indicted for abuse of power — Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted on Friday by a grand jury in Texas on two counts of abuse of power and coercion over a funding veto he made last year that was seen as being intended to force a local prosecutor to resign.
► With today’s word that Michael Brown, the unarmed teen killed by Ferguson police was shot at least six times, more journalists have been detained, and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is calling in the National Guard, John Oliver offers this must-see takedown of the Ferguson police and the militarization of the nation’s community police forces.
Then watch Missouri Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson at a rally held Sunday at a Ferguson church as he earns a standing ovation for saying some of the things the police should have been saying all along.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.