Friday, September 19, 2014
► In the Seattle Weekly — Organized labor looks to keep pressure on Seattle City Hall to enforce minimum wage — An event today at City Hall will try to shine a light on the need for clearer enforcement strategies and increased funding to make sure it happens. As UFCW Local 21’s press release puts it: “If corporations like Amazon, Seattle Mariners, Walmart and fast food chains are allowed to violate these laws, enforcement rules must be changed otherwise there would be little if any consequence to these violators.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — All are invited to attend this event TODAY (Friday, Sept. 19) AT NOON at Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave. Get details.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Mayor’s plan would ensure work goes to poor, jobless in Seattle — Mayor Ed Murray is proposing an ordinance that would reserve a percentage of work on projects of $5 million and more for people who live in local ZIP codes with high concentrations of poverty and unemployment. A coalition of labor unions and activist organizations support the plan.
► In today’s Seattle Times — New Microsoft layoffs affect 750 locally — The layoffs, part of a second wave of job cuts, include 747 in the Puget Sound area. Added to earlier cuts that began in July, the total number of jobs eliminated in the area has reached nearly 2,100.
► In today’s News Tribune — Sierra Pacific becomes quiet giant in lumber industry (by Bill Virgin) — Washington’s forest products industry is now half the size it was just 25 years ago. But decline is neither the full or end of the story for Washington’s forest products industry. Sierra Pacific has purchased property at Frederickson for possible construction of a sawmill to supply residential construction. The new owner of the Tacoma kraft mill, RockTenn, pledged to make millions of dollars in investment That capital is still flowing into forest products in this state is a bit of good news for the future of the state’s employment base. The industry’s saga is getting at least one more chapter, but you might not recognize the names of those who are writing it.
► In today’s Seattle Times — As Bertha languishes, tunnel is hive of activity — In the lull created by giant tunnel-boring Bertha’s problems, workers behind the machine are constructing the double-decker Highway 99 roadway inside the tunnel in Sodo.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Deadline issue debated in hearing on Sequim ballot initiatives lawsuit — The legality of the initiatives was briefly discussed before Judge Erik Rohrer on Thursday, but the issues he was considering centered around the ballot deadline and whether the Teamsters Local 589, which represents 50 Sequim employees, could join the city’s defense.
ALSO at The Stand — Cities reject extremist group’s push for ‘right-to-work’
► From AP — State forecasters: $636 million in marijuana tax revenues through 2019 — The forecast showed that just over $25 million from a variety of marijuana-related taxes — including excise, sales, and business taxes — is expected to be collected through the middle of next year. An additional $207 million is expected for the next two-year budget that ends mid-2017. And $404 million is expected for the 2017-19 budget biennium.
► At BuzzKill.com — Washington’s marijuana revenue: Keep it in perspective (by state Rep. Reuven Carlyle) — It’s still all a small sum in the aggregate picture of a $36 billion state budget, and is hardly a major new source of revenue to begin to support the state’s paramount duty of public education and other services until we know much, much more.
► In the Oregonian — Oregon minimum wage will increase to $9.25 in 2015 — Oregon’s minimum wage will increase 15 cents to $9.25 an hour in 2015, state officials have announced. Oregon has the nation’s second-highest minimum wage, behind only Washington. The rates in both states are tied to inflation, so they are adjusted every year in an attempt to keep pace with the cost of living.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington’s is currently $9.32 an hour. Later this month, the state will announce how much the 2015 inflationary increase will be.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing 777X construction project to begin 7 weeks early — Construction on Boeing’s 777X Composite Wing Center is set to begin almost two months earlier than planned. A key building permit for the Everett-based project was approved Sept. 10, seven weeks ahead of schedule.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Export-Import Bank, commerce need solid future (editorial) — The entire Washington congressional delegation — except for one person — is firmly behind the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, which fosters international transactions in the most trade dependent state in the union. The lone holdout is U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers who is, well, uncertain. Courage is a lot to ask for during election season, but this business should’ve been handled long ago. Rather than hold a stand-alone debate on the Ex-Im Bank, the House stuffed the short-term fix into a resolution that averted another government shutdown. Many congressional observers believe Ex-Im reauthorization would pass a floor vote, but some House leaders are beholden to tea party colleagues for their lofty positions. So they keep it bottled up. That’s what cronyism looks like, and it’s bad for business.
► At Think Progress — Senate Republican leaders introduce bill that would permanently hobble federal labor law — A bill introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the top Republican on the Senate committee responsible for labor issues, would make the NLRB a 6-member panel with a partisan 3-3 tie. Were it to become law, the NLRB would likely become a stagnant, frozen institution that could be unable to act in the face of flagrant violations of the law.
► At Huffington Post — Republican proposal for labor law reform ‘a disgrace,’ says labor leader — “This is the destruction of the NLRB, and they know it,” said CWA President Larry Cohen. “It is a disgrace. Lamar Alexander is a disgrace.”
► In today’s NY Times — Lawsuit seeks stricter rules for truck driver training — Despite being ordered twice by Congress to come up with training requirements for commercial truck drivers, the Transportation Department has yet to do so, leaving Americans sharing the road with big-rig operators who spend only 10 hours in a classroom before hitting the highways. On Thursday, a group of safety advocates and the Teamsters union sued in federal court, saying the agency had dragged its feet on the long-overdue rules, breaking deadlines since 1993, most recently last year.
► In today’s Washington Post — Workers deserve to benefit from their productivity, too (by Harold Meyerson) — The fight to increase Americans’ stagnant incomes is, at long last, growing more serious. Thursday, with the explicit backing of the House Democratic Caucus, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, is introducing a bill that would prompt corporations to reward workers — not just top executives and major shareholders — for their gains in productivity.
► At Think Progress — John Boehner says unemployed people ‘just sit around,’ don’t think they have to work — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
This idea that has been born, maybe out of the economy over the last couple years, that you know, I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.
► Chuck E. Weiss was a musician who spent a lot of time hanging out in L.A. with Rickie Lee Jones and her then-lover Tom Waits in the 1970s. Weiss temporarily disappeared from the scene, but eventually called Waits to explain that he had fallen in love and moved to Denver. When Waits hung up the phone he told Jones, “Chuck E.’s in love.” She liked the sound of that and wrote a song around it. So, no… contrary to the song’s twist ending, Chuck E. was never “in love with the little girl who’s singing this song.” But the Entire Staff of The Stand™ sure was. We’d strongly recommend Rickie Lee’s eponymous first album — which included this hit — to anybody who hasn’t already basked in its brilliance.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.