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Labor Day redux, HAMTC vote, Norwegian Air ruling…

Wednesday, September 3, 2014




afl-labor-day-2014► At AFL-CIO Now — On Labor Day, leaders rally supporters for challenges ahead — On Labor Day, leaders from across the movement for the rights of working families spoke about both the history of the labor movement and the challenges we face in the current hostile environment created by extreme interests that place profits over people. From rallies across the country to online essays, the message was clear: Working families aren’t taking the attacks on their rights lightly and they will not only fight back, they will win.

ALSO at The Stand — This Labor Day, power of working class rising again (by Jeff Johnson)

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Workers, unions celebrated at Castle Rock Labor Day picnic — A union of unions gathered in the sun Monday to enjoy the fruits — and meats and cheeses and pasta salads — of their labor. For the fourth year in a row, Castle Rock’s Toutle River RV Resort played host to the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council’s Labor Day picnic, and many of the area’s more than two dozen unions were represented.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Labor’s evolution of meaning (editorial) — On Lombard Street in Everett, the red-brick Snohomish County Labor Temple is a workers’ citadel, a reminder of a labor movement that scratched, punched and picketed for living-wage jobs (Its ironic fallout: those with living-wage jobs who now castigate unionism.) On its south face, the painted banner looks old school. Protect Your Interest, Buy Union Label. Use Union Services, “The Job You Save May be Your Own.” An essential component of a vital economy is a well-educated workforce earning a living wage. And we have organized labor to thank for that.




mccabe-tom► From KIRO TV — Conservative group refuses Labor Day holiday — Labor Day is just another workday at the Freedom Foundation in Olympia. Inside, were workers at their desks, demonstrating in favor of “Right to Work” laws. Says CEO Tom McCabe: “I can’t think of a problem in society that can’t be traced in some way back to the abuses of organized labor.”

► In the Seattle Times — Right wing launches misguided protest against Labor Day (by Danny Westneat) — Just when it seemed the right wing couldn’t get any more divorced from reality around here, a local conservative group has launched a protest against what it sees as a pernicious cultural touchstone. Labor Day.

► At Huffington Post — Top Koch strategist says minimum wage leads directly to fascism — “If you look at the Third Reich,” he said. “And what happens is a fascist comes in and offers them an opportunity, finds the victim — Jews or the West — and offers them meaning for their life, OK?”

EDITOR’S NOTE — With billions at their disposal to manipulate elections and fund extremist think tanks, including Tom McCabe’s Freedom Foundation, these out-of-touch fringe right-wingers are trying to buy their way into legitimacy.




HAMTC► In today’s Tri-City Herald — HAMTC union negotiators push against Battelle contract — Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council negotiators are strongly recommending its members turn down a contract proposal by Battelle for union employees at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. HAMTC has scheduled the proposal for a vote Sept. 4 by the about 240 workers it would affect, following 18 months of negotiations. The vote is intended to provide a clearer path forward for the HAMTC negotiating committee.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane Symphony musicians approve contract — The Spokane Symphony board of trustees and musicians have reached a new two-year labor agreement that will increase musicians’ salaries by 7.5 percent.

► In today’s Seattle Times — King County proposes 48 bus-route reductions for early 2015 — King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a new proposal Tuesday for an early-2015 round of Metro bus-service cuts, including 16 routes to be eliminated.

► At KPLU — Court ruling sets up fight between two Seattle early learning plans — An appeals court has affirmed that a pair of early education ballot measures will appear on the ballot not as two yes-or-no votes, but as a multiple-choice question.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State’s charter-school era begins with Seattle elementary — First Place Scholars, which has been serving homeless students for 25 years, will convert Wednesday from a private school to the state’s first taxpayer-funded charter school.




peanuts-bait-and-switch► In the Olympian — Court decision on pensions is not something to celebrate (by Brendan Williams) — In a recent editorial, The Olympian praises the Washington Supreme Court’s decision to allow the state to break its gainsharing promise to Plan 3 pension enrollees… The state took it upon itself to trick public employees, and that’s apparently fine. In 2007, I voted against repealing the gainsharing promise. Particularly for teachers it only compounds injuries from the state’s endless, willful refusal to pay K-12 education costs.

► From KPLU — Has Microsoft’s tax policy hurt Washington’s ability to pay for public schools — In the late 1990s, Microsoft set up its Reno, Nev., accounting office as a way to skirt Washington’s royalty tax, which applies to the company’s software license sales. Nevada has no corporate income tax. Says a former Microsoft employee: “…adding up all of the impacts from Microsoft’s lobbying, tax dodging and changing the law and showing that it would add up with interest and penalties — at this point it would be $8 billion, which would be enough to fund the McCleary education deficit in whole for the next two or three years.”

► In the (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers expect heat over school funding — Washington lawmakers didn’t give the Supreme Court what it asked for this year — a detailed plan for how they intend to fully fund public schools. Now, on Wednesday, their lawyers will be in front of the justices urging them to be patient with the politicians and not punish them.

► In the News Tribune — State sues Pierce Co. business that offered ‘bogus’ certificates to adult family home workers — The state Attorney General’s Office contends that Adult Family Home Training sold unapproved continuing education credits to hundreds of workers.




norwegian-air-walmart► In today’s Seattle Times — U.S. delays ruling on Norwegian Air’s low-cost transatlantic flights — The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday declined to give discount long-haul airline Norwegian Air International (NAI) temporary approval to fly into the U.S. ahead of a permanent ruling. A joint filing from American, Delta and United argued that Norwegian’s application to operate as an Irish carrier is merely “a flag of convenience” to avoid Norway’s labor laws and higher labor costs. The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) union in a filing said Norwegian’s model would “lower wages and working conditions of its aircrew.”

ALSO at The Stand — It’s time to derail Norwegian Air scheme to undermine good jobs (by Ed Wytkind)

corporate-revolving-door► In the LA Times — Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor takes job on Wall Street — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is moving to Wall Street, taking a job with investment bank Moelis & Co., the firm said.

► In The Hill — Confirmation hearing set for invalidated member of labor board — Supreme Court found Sharon Block’s 2012 appointment unconstitutional.



► In the NY Times — More workers are claiming ‘wage theft’ — A flood of recent cases across the nation accuse employers of violating minimum wage and overtime laws, erasing work hours and wrongfully taking employees’ tips. Worker advocates call these practices “wage theft,” insisting it has become far too prevalent.

► In the LA Times — 1 in 6 California construction workers labors in shadows, study finds — Informal workers are growing part of California’s economy — a shift keenly felt in the construction industry, where 1 in 6 workers is either off the books or misreported, new research has found.

burger-king-guy► In the Seattle Times — Burger King to America: Drop dead (by Jon Talton) — Burger King is not only stiffing American companies that do pay their taxes. It is also sticking it to its franchisees, who own the vast majority of its stores and will continue to pay state and local taxes. The tax savings will go to executive compensation and shareholders, furthering income inequality.

► From CNS — John Sweeney’s drive for labor rights rooted in Catholic social teaching — Awards are not what retired labor leader John J. Sweeney is about. Securing fair wages, preserving benefits and assuring safe working conditions remain a much higher priority even though he retired after 14 years as president of the AFL-CIO in 2009.




corporate-entitlement► At The Week — How American businessmen are ruining American business — an the U.S. economy (by James Pethokoukis) — For nearly 50 years, Gallup has been asking Americans if “big government,” “big business,” or “big labor” is the greatest threat to the United States in the future. And never have more of us been more cynical about politicians and federal bureaucrats, with 72 percent of polled Americans picking big government, 21 percent big business, and 5 percent big labor. We worry much more about Washington screwing up America than we do Apple, Exxon Mobil, or Walmart taking us down. Those results are hardly surprising, what with fear about rocketing federal debt, the ballooning costs of Social Security and Medicare, the growing surveillance state, and continuing unease about the expansion of government tied up in Obama’s health-care reform. But don’t give business a pass. Americans are greatly underestimating the damage that the suits in the C-suite and their short-term thinking are inflicting upon the U.S. economy. The missing link in the anemic, five-year-old recovery has been business investment. And big business itself deserves a lot of the blame for that. Instead of using record profits to buy new equipment or build factories — and boost the economy — corporate America has been sitting on nearly $2 trillion in cash. Corporate balance sheets are stuffed.


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