Bills coming due, Ebola fears, 125 years of UA…

Monday, October 13, 2014




► In today’s Olympian — Cost of readjusting pay, health care for state employees after Great Recession may top $583 million — The state Office of Financial Management has tallied costs for more than two dozen pay and health-care agreements for workers in state agencies and higher education, and what that could cost taxpayers if extended to all union and non-union workers on the payroll. The overall cost figure assumes that terms of contracts for more than two dozen unions are also applied to nonrepresented workers in general government agencies and also in the state’s higher education system.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Six years of denying cost-of-living pay increases and raising state employees’ health care costs to balance the budget has to end. So next time you hear a Republican candidate regurgitate their “Fund Education First” mantra, ask them if that means they will refuse to fund the new state employee contracts that finally include COLAs. More austerity for state employees and the public services they provide is not an option.

► In the Yakima H-R — States officials recognize that roads fraught with peril — To pay for an ambitious package of transportation projects, Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant said, the gas tax must be increased and updated to match inflation. “I know there are some who are going to oppose,” he said. “But there is nothing conservative about letting a capital equity investment deteriorate.”




► At IAM751.org — Union workers have rights denied most U.S. workers — Members of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 working at the Boeing Co. enjoy rights and benefits most working Americans don’t have, a labor lawyer said at the union’s recent Town Hall meetings — thanks to their union contract. “There are hundreds of benefits in here,” said attorney Laura Ewan, holding up a copy of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with Boeing. “You have a lot of rights related to wages. And you guys have education benefits as good as any I’ve ever seen in any other workplace.”

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Clallam County Commissioners to consider labor contract — They will consider a resolution rejecting a mediator’s proposal in Teamsters’ negotiations and another resolution ratifying tentative agreements for a Teamsters’ labor contract with amendments Tuesday.




► In today’s NY Times — 2nd Ebola case in U.S. stokes fears of U.S. health care workers — A nurse here became the first person to contract Ebola within the United States, prompting local, state and federal officials who had settled into a choreographed response to scramble on Sunday to solve the mystery of how she became infected, despite wearing protective gear, and to monitor additional people possibly at risk.

► In The Hill — CDC chief accused of using Ebola-infected nurse as ‘scapegoat’ — The national nursing union is accusing officials of trying to “scapegoat” the Ebola-infected health worker in Dallas instead of acknowledging that hospitals nationwide are largely unprepared for the disease.

► In The Hill — NIH director: Budget cuts delayed Ebola vaccine development — The director of the National Institute of Health says that an Ebola vaccine would be ready by now if it were not for cuts to the NIH budget. Dr. Frances Collins said he hopes that Congress will pass emergency funding for the NIH, but “nobody seems enthusiastic about that.” Collins said the NIH is already “cutting corners” in a rush to get the vaccine ready, but it will at least be December before there are clinical trials and February or March to know the results.




► In today’s NY Times — The big lie behind Voter ID laws (editorial) — Election Day is three weeks off, and Republican officials and legislators around the country are battling down to the wire to preserve strict and discriminatory new voting laws that could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans.

► In the NY Times — Secret money fueling a flood of political ads — More than half of the general election advertising aired by outside groups in the battle for control of Congress has come from organizations that disclose little or nothing about their donors, a flood of secret money that is now at the center of a debate over the line between free speech and corruption.

► At Think Progress — Woman fired the day after complaining that a co-worker rubbed her ass — This past week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged Daimler Trucks North America with illegally firing April Holt the day after she complained about sexual harassment. The EEOC’s suit came just weeks after it charged Dollar General with a similar action. It says that Laveta Crawford was “subjected to a barrage of lewd comments and gestures” by a male assistant store manager on a daily basis. The harassment continued even after she complained, but after she filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC, she was fired within a week.

► At P.S. Business Journal — Amazon warehouse workers may be out of luck in Supreme Court case — A case before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning workers in Amazon’s warehouses could have major implications for all retail companies — if the workers win. But that might not be the case, after several Supreme Court justices expressed doubts during arguments.

► At Huffington Post — More trade agreements won’t fix austerity (by Robert Kuttner) — It’s not surprising that corporate elites on both sides of the Atlantic promote deals like T-TIP. What’s discouraging is that a Democratic administration in Washington and some Social Democrats in Europe also support T-TIP. The neo-liberal recipe has been a practical failure. Neither financial deregulation, nor austerity economics, not trade deals like NAFTA have worked. We need nothing so much as a robust opposition party to the neo-liberal consensus.




► This year, the United Association — the union of plumbers, fitters, welders and service techs — celebrates 125 years of achievement. The story of the UA — from its earliest days to now — is told in this video the union put together to honor its proud history.


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

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