Connect with us


Private prisons (again), invert THIS, lying ALEC…

Tuesday, September 23, 2014




► In today’s Olympian — Split may be forming at WFSE over adequacy of worker contract agreement — Former board member and longtime Olympia union activist Joe Nilsson is urging members of the Washington Federation of State Employees to reject pay raises of 3% and 1.8% on grounds they don’t go far enough after six years without cost-of-living adjustments. Said WFSE spokesman Tim Welch: “I can only say what the bargaining team said in voting to accept the agreement: they recommended ratification. I think once members see the full summary and the dozens and dozens of improvements they’ll agree.” After six years without raises, Welch added, “there’s a lot of pent-up demand.”

private-prisons► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington’s return to privatized prisons? (by Jonathan Martin) — Washington had a decade-long flirtation with the private prison industry. It ended badly. There was at least one serious riot, vehement protests from inmates’ families and charges of shoddy mental-health care. The flirtation didn’t produce real cost savings, the top selling point for private prisons. It outsourced jobs, most of them to the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America, which has a troubling history in Idaho (where it is under a federal investigation), in Arizona and elsewhere. Despite that experience, Washington’s Department of Corrections may be reluctantly restarting the affair. In recent weeks, the DOC posted a bid announcement seeking proposals for an unspecified number of beds, with contracts beginning “no earlier than December 1, 2014″ and potentially running through 2018.

► In today’s Seattle Times — What would 15% cut mean for state’s colleges? — Double-digit tuition increases. Class cuts that would make it harder to finish a degree in four years. Enrollment cutbacks that would make it more difficult to get admitted to a state university. Washington’s public college and university presidents, warning that a hypothetical 15% cut to higher education would be devastating to public colleges and universities, are in a standoff with the state OFM over fiscal planning for the next two years.

► In today’s Olympian — State Board of Education: New revenue needed to pay for schools — Yet another state educational agency is telling lawmakers that they’ll have to come up with new tax money to fully fund schools.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers give governor an earful about ferries — Reps. Norma Smith (R-Clinton) and Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor), who have been sharply critical of Washington State Ferries asked the governor on Monday to remove some of the agency’s top leaders as a newly hired director takes the helm.

► In today’s News Tribune —  Suspects await sentencing for burglarizing Gov. Inslee’s office — Two women who burglarized Gov. Jay Inslee’s office this summer are expected to be sentenced Oct. 6.




► In the P.S. Business Journal — King County to cut 500 positions; public health budget slashed — King County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposed $8.9 billion 2015-16 biennial budget has deepest cuts in general fund, roads, health and transit, but the public health budget is also seeing major reductions.

thumbs-down► In today’s Oregonian — Employees survey scorches management at the BPA — It may come as little surprise that employees at the Bonneville Power Administrations suffer from low morale, considering the institutional criticism the Portland-based federal power marketing agency has endured since a hiring scandal became public last year. But BPA’s managers were apparently chastened by the thorough spanking they received last week in an employee survey.

► In today’s News Tribune — McCarthy proposes ‘very conservative’ 2015 county budget with 2.5% employee pay raise — Pierce County executive’s proposal funds four workers to address mental health issues and adds eight corrections deputies to reduce overtime.

► In the Wenatchee World — Under one roof — Over the next year and a half, the city hopes to renegotiate who provides fire protection and water service in Wenatchee and who governs the lucrative Olds Station industrial area. Ideas include a merger between Chelan County Fire District 1 and Wenatchee Fire Department.




wall-street-traitors► In today’s Washington Post — Obama hits at companies moving overseas to avoid taxes — The Obama administration took action Monday to discourage corporations from moving their headquarters abroad to avoid U.S. taxes, announcing new rules designed to make such transactions significantly less profitable. The rules, which take effect immediately, will not block the practice, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew again called on Congress to enact more far-reaching reforms. But in the meantime, he said, federal officials “cannot wait to address this problem,” which threatens to rob the U.S. Treasury of tens of billions of dollars.

► From Bloomberg — OSHA will put workplace safety data online as ‘nudge’ to employers — Starting in January, OSHA will require employers to notify the government within 24 hours every time someone loses an eye, suffers an amputation, or gets admitted to the hospital with an injury sustained at work. The agency estimates that tens of thousands of injuries go unreported.




angel-jan-ALEC► At Think Progress — Google chairman: ALEC is lying about climate change, funding them was a mistake — Google’s controversial decision to fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was a “mistake,” company chairman Eric Schmidt admitted on Monday, saying the group is spreading lies about global warming and “making the world a much worse place.”

► At Huffington Post — 1 in 5 workers laid off in past 5 years is still unemployed, survey finds — Twenty-two percent of workers laid off in the past five years are still unemployed, according to a new survey. The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University surveyed more than 1,100 workers, including nearly 400 who are unemployed. A slim majority of laid-off workers in the survey, or 54 percent, said they received unemployment insurance when they lost their jobs. However, 83 percent of those who received benefits said the compensation ran out before they found jobs.

► In the Christian Science Monitor — Boehner says unemployed ‘don’t really want’ jobs. How bad a gaffe for GOP? — After giving a speech about his plan to revive the economy Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said the unemployed would rather ‘sit around’ – reviving the image of Republicans as a party of the rich.

► In today’s NY Times — In context, health premium increases don’t actually look like increases (by ) — When inflation and the cost of old insurance markets are considered, the premiums available to consumers willing to shop around are remarkably low.




dont-cut-social-security► At — How would you fix Social Security? — The common solutions for solving the Social Security shortfall generally fall into two camps: cut benefits or raise revenue. In the end, fixing the program may involve a little of both. What changes would you make to improve Social Security? Click through to explore the solutions and make your picks — and see how they compare with those of other readers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Spoiler alert: Far and away the most popular idea for addressing the problem is by taxing higher earnings, cited by fully 70% of respondents. Unfortunately, the idea listed doesn’t “scrap the cap” entirely — and that option is not among your choices — but it does gradually raise the cap until 90% of all earnings are covered. That would be a step in the right direction. So go click it!


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!