Tuesday, August 26, 2014
► In today’s Columbian — Longshore members ratify contract with grain operators — Longshore workers who work at grain export terminals in Vancouver and other Northwest ports have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with several multinational grain companies, ending two years of negotiations and a 18-month lockout at the United Grain terminal in Vancouver. ILWU members will resume their jobs at the locked-out facilities tomorrow. All picketing has ceased, and the parties have agreed to drop all pending claims before the National Labor Relations Board and other legal actions associated with the dispute.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — ILWU OKs grain deal; lockout ends Wednesday
MORE coverage in today’s Oregonian.
► In today’s NY Times — Grain piles up, waiting for a ride, as trains move North Dakota oil — The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses.
EDITOR’S NOTE — You may recall that union scolds like state Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) and The Seattle Times editorial board were blaming the grain backups on the 44 ILWU members who were locked out — not on strike, but locked out — of their jobs in Vancouver.
► In today’s News Tribune — Fred Meyer Puyallup warehouse workers approve strike authorization — More than 400 union workers at Fred Meyer’s Puyallup distribution center could go on strike if negotiations fail to produce a new contract.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Teamsters at Fred Meyer vote to OK strike
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima County revenue up; pay raises planned — Revenue for the county’s 2015 general fund is projected at $58.5 million, about a 3.6 percent increase over this year. The additional money will be devoted mostly to pay increases for workers who hung on through tough years when layoffs and pay freezes forced everyone to do more with less, said Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Open house on benefits today in Richland — The U.S. Department of Labor will have an open house Tuesday in Richland to notify current and former nuclear weapons employees about available benefits.
► From AP — 150 workers in Employment Security Department face layoffs — The agency, which releases the state’s monthly unemployment update and processes unemployment claims, sent notices to the 149 employees on Friday. Agency spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie said Monday that the number of employees affected could decrease if additional vacancies in the agency develop between now and Oct. 15. Guthrie says that because the agency receives most of its funding from the federal government, it has residual effects from federal sequestration, as well as reduced funding per caseload.
► In today’s Olympian — State IT agencies proposing consolidation to build on 2011 mergers of agencies — Information technology functions from three state-government agencies would be joined into one agency under a new IT consolidation plan being proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration. The moves still need approval by the Legislature next year, and at least one lawmaker is skeptical. It is not yet known whether the proposal would save money, eliminate jobs or result in more use of cloud-computing services instead of state-run data centers.
► At Crosscut — Amgen: A lesson in state’s tax break policy (by state Rep. Reuven Carlyle) — While small companies are often disproportionately impacted by tax policy, large multinational companies are rarely impacted by state tax policy in ways that drive their major national and global business decisions… Let’s stop pretending that state tax exemptions and benefits are central drivers of a vast majority of large-scale global business decisions — or at least let’s require disclosure of the data that would make the case for the tax benefits.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State’s boarding ban is delayed until justices can rule — The state Supreme Court’s ban on the controversial practice known as psychiatric boarding will not go into effect until the court rules on a motion asking for a delay. The ban was originally scheduled to take effect Wednesday.
► In today’s Olympian — 3 workers out, 3 penalized at Liquor Control Board over alleged timecard fraud — An audit says four technology specialists claimed $32,500 in pay they didn’t earn.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Health-exchange problems prompt special enrollment period
ALSO at The Stand — Washington’s health exchange offers special enrollment period
► In The Hill — Burger King defends cutting tax bill — Burger King confirmed Tuesday that it was merging with the Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons, a move certain to put even more scrutiny on the corporate tax deals known as inversions. Under the roughly $11 billion deal, the new global company overseeing both brands will be based in Canada, allowing Burger King to cut its tax bill.
► In The Hill — Ohio senator: Boycott Burger King — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is urging consumers to boycott Burger King over reports that the fast food chain is eyeing a tax-cutting move to Canada. Brown, an outspoken corporate critic, said people hankering for a burger should head to Wendy’s or White Castle, two Ohio-based chains that aren’t looking to shrink their tax bill via a so-called “corporate inversion.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Et tu, Warren?
► Funny or true? (You decide.) Today in The Onion — Report: More Americans putting off retirement until final few moments before death — “Given economic conditions over the past decade, we have seen more and more middle-class citizens waiting until their final handful of breaths to step down from their careers,” said Bureau of Labor Statistics spokesperson Dolores Snyder, who told reporters that older Americans are now enjoying retired life for half an hour on average, typically long enough to have a pleasant conversation with a loved one or get started on a crossword puzzle.
► In today’s NY Times — Future of Export-Import Bank is wild-card in key U.S. Senate races — In an election cycle where no single issue is animating voters, the relatively obscure lender, which provides loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers of American products, has become an unlikely source of prominent campaign friction.
► From AP — UPS, pilots union removed from crash inquiry — UPS and its pilots union have been removed as parties in the investigation of a fatal 2013 plane crash because of their continuing comments on crew fatigue, the NTSB announced Monday.
TODAY’S MUST-HEAR (or read)
► From NPR — Despite economic recovery, millions of workers still stuck in part-time jobs — Americans who’d like to have full-time jobs are often working two or more part-time jobs to make ends meet. Some are hamstrung by increasingly difficult labor tactics used by their employers.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.