Thursday, October 9, 2014
YES WE CAN… MAYBE… EVENTUALLY
► In the NY Times — Home care workers still waiting on fair wages (by Teresa Tritch) — Home care workers have waited 40 years for the Labor Department to correct a regulation from 1974 that deemed them “companions,” and thus not entitled to the minimum wage or overtime pay. President Obama made their cause his own in December 2011, when he pledged to issue new rules to end the companionship mislabeling; nearly two years later, in September 2013, his Labor Department finally followed through with new rules to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. But on Tuesday, caving to political and industry pressure, the department decided to delay enforcing the rule for up to one year.
► At Politico — President Obama’s executive action plan falls short — President Barack Obama vowed to make 2014 the “Year of Action,” but the reality is that the action is often limited and the full impact won’t be felt for years — if at all. A Politico analysis of the more than 60 executive actions announced since January found that not even the president’s vaunted “pen and phone” can deliver quick or sweeping results. Many of the major initiatives launched as part of the policy and messaging offensive will take years to implement and touch only a fraction of Americans.
► In today’s Washington Post — Democratic voters are less enthusiastic about this election than any midterm since at least 1998 — We’ve known for a while that the so-called Obama Coalition isn’t exactly conducive to winning midterm elections. But just how bad is it for the blue team with a little less than four weeks left in the 2014 election? A new poll from Gallup has some pretty good clues.
BUT THEN AGAIN…
► In the new Rolling Stone — In defense of Obama (by Paul Krugman) — This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a big deal.
► In The Hill — President warns of ‘draconian’ military cuts — President Obama warned Congress about the possible effects of sequestration during a rare visit to the Pentagon on Wednesday, saying lawmakers needed to make sure the military has “the equipment and the technology that’s necessary for them to be able to succeed at their mission.”
► In Huffington Post — Republicans hint at another shutdown over Obamacare. Seriously. — Less than a year after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the 2013 government shutdown over funding for Obamacare a “predictable disaster,” Republicans are hinting they might be willing to do it again in a few months.
► From AP — GAO study: Voter ID laws cut turnout by blacks, young — States that toughened their voter identification laws saw steeper drops in election turnout than those that did not, with disproportionate falloffs among black and younger voters, a nonpartisan congressional study released Wednesday concluded. As of June, 33 states have enacted laws obligating voters to show a photo ID at the polls, the study said. Republicans who have pushed the legislation say the requirement will reduce fraud, but Democrats insist the laws are a GOP effort to reduce Democratic turnout on Election Day.
► In today’s NY Times — Court decisions on voting rules sow confusion in state races — With the midterm elections weeks away, the rulings over laws that Republican-led state governments passed to more tightly regulate voting are changing procedures and could affect outcomes in some states.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — No hope for a Mike Hope legislative-salary reimbursement — Mike Hope became ineligible to serve in the Legislature on Aug. 19, 2013, when he signed a voter registration card in Mentor, Ohio. But 11 months passed before anyone found out and Hope quit, a period during which the Republican representative collected monthly installments of his $42,106-a-year salary, per-diem and other job-related expenses when, as it turns out, he shouldn’t have been in office. It looks like he won’t have to repay a dime.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma’s proposed two-year budget includes adding 110 jobs — The $3.1 billion budget does not include layoffs, as the budget did two years ago. The City Council could adopt the budget in December.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane County approves hiring more nurses, guards for jail — Help is coming to the staff at the aging Spokane County Jail in 2015, as county commissioners signed off Tuesday on a plan to hire four new nurses and 16 jail guards within the next year.
► In today’s Olympian — L&I cites Olympia roofing company for 7th safety violation — The Roof Doctor of Olympia has been cited for a safety violation, its seventh since August 2008.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Health benefit information meeting set for ex-Hanford workers — The Cold War Patriots will hold two meetings in Yakima next week to provide health benefit information to former Hanford workers.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s first test tanker won’t fly before late November — That’s a delay of two months or more beyond the projection Boeing’s leadership gave in July. Despite the delay, Boeing officials say the company remains on track to fulfill its contract requirement of having 18 tankers built and ready to deploy by late 2017.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Whistleblower lawsuit against Boeing is tossed — A $1.6 billion whistleblower lawsuit against Boeing Co., where three ex-employees claimed Boeing and a supplier defrauded the U.S. government, has been tossed out by a U.S. federal judge.
► From NBC News — Walmart cuts health benefits for most part-time workers — Wal-Mart plans to eliminate health insurance coverage for most of its part-time U.S. employees in a move aimed at controlling rising health care costs of the nation’s largest private employer. Starting Jan. 1, Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that it will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. The move, which would affect 30,000 employees, follows similar decisions by Target, Home Depot and others to eliminate health insurance benefits for part-time employees.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Good news: These workers might have a chance now to get coverage they can afford because Walmart’s move means they’d qualify for subsidies under Obamacare. Bad news: It’s yet another enormous cost shift from the largest corporation on the planet (and America’s richest family) onto U.S. taxpayers. You mad yet, Bro?
► At Huffington Post — Unlike Walmart, Costco has no plans to cut employee benefits — CFO Richard Galanti: “We haven’t and aren’t going to make major changes like cutting a bunch of people out of (health coverage)… That’s an expensive cost to us, and we’re proud of the ability to be able to do that.”
► In the Milwaukee Business Journal — Palermo’s employees withdraw union formation vote — The employees had been trying to form a union, but then U.S. immigration officials conducted an audit and took issue with inconsistencies in its employees’ employment paperwork. While ICE did not pursue action against Palermo’s, the company fired 75 workers — an action the NLRB said they had an obligation to do, rather than considering that retaliation against union supporters.
► In today’s Seattle Times — High court weighs when workday ends in Amazon case — The U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the definition of when a workday ends in a case involving Amazon warehouse workers forced to wait up to 25 minutes to clear security checks after their shifts.
► From Bloomberg — NJ switch to 401(k)-type pension may cost $42 billion –Closing the existing defined-benefit plan to new enrollees, a move Gov. Chris Christie is considering, would involve $42 billion in transition costs, according to a new report.
► In the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer — Give us a raise, Wells Fargo worker emails CEO, 200,000 fellow employees — In his letter, 30-year-old Tyrel Oates tells CEO John Stumpf — and CCs 200,000 Wells Fargo employees — that the company can be a leader in reducing income inequality in the U.S. by distributing more profits to employees. He said he has no regrets and that he has received many thank-yous from co-workers who told him they shared his views. And, at least as of Tuesday afternoon, he said he’s still employed by the company. Oates said he has been working for Wells Fargo for nearly seven years and makes just more than $15 an hour as a full-time employee working 40 hours a week, five days a week, not counting mandatory overtime. CEO Stumpf made $19.3 million in total compensation last year. (Counting the value realized on his vesting shares, Stumpf actually made more than $66 million in 2013.)
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.