Friday, October 17, 2014
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Community colleges’ budget request is money well spent (editorial) — That $182 million does a great deal: $87.5 million for support of student degree and certificate programs, $51 million for basic education for adults, $29.1 million for investments in faculty and staff and $15 million for STEM assistance for K-12 students and workforce training to aid businesses. For 400,000 state residents each year, two-year colleges represent the most affordable and valuable option for the degrees and training they need to continue their education or find living-wage work. The $182 million will be money well spent.
► In today’s Columbian — Unions endorse proposed oil transfer terminal at port — The Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and International Union of Operating Engineers said Thursday that they’ve endorsed a proposed oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver and have reached an agreement with the project’s backers to ensure the terminal would be built with union labor.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Unions endorse oil distribution center proposal in Vancouver
► In today’s Seattle Times — Starbucks boosts pay, OKs tattoos for employees — The Seattle coffee giant announced Thursday it will pay its U.S. employees more and relax its dress code to allow tattoos and other forms of self-expression to show. The moves come as Starbucks seeks to navigate growing concern about the quality of retail jobs.
EDITOR’S NOTE — So… the company doesn’t disclose pay rates — though in Washington state, its barristas are said to start at or near the state minimum wage — nor will it disclose the amount of next year’s raise. But this company press release is somehow front-page banner-headline news in The Seattle Times. When a company vows to give raises of a mystery amount to its low-wage employees, it’s manna from heaven thanks to corporate graciousness. But if a union negotiates a contract with pay raises, the Times is sure to suggest it jeopardizes the company’s ability compete and endangers local jobs. Or, if it’s a public employer, those raises are just plain unaffordable.
► In PubliCola — The new malaise: Voters ‘not happy, but also not very engaged,’ poll finds — While national polls indicate that Republicans are looking at a big wave on election day, a new Elway Poll concludes there will be no similar GOP boom in Washington state. He writes: “Republicans nationally are optimistic and the state GOP could make gains, even capture the Senate. But the low identification with both parties means that, unless Independents break massively for Republicans at the end, 2014 is unlikely to be anything like a ‘wave election’ in Washington state.”
► MUST-READ at Slate — Office politics: Inside the PAC teaching corporate America how to make its employees vote for the right candidates and causes — When nearly 200 construction workers on Alaska’s arctic North Slope were assembled inside a large heated tent. An unfamiliar manager, identified as John Schuelke from ConocoPhillips’ Anchorage office, took to the stage and told them that there hadn’t been an accident. Instead, the company had gathered the group, mostly construction contractors, to tell them how they should vote in Alaska’s upcoming August primaries.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is one of the reasons why the Washington State Labor Council has supported legislation called the Worker Privacy Act, which would allow workers to choose whether to participate in such captive meetings about how to vote. Employers could still have them, but workers could not be retaliated against if they choose to walk away. That legislation didn’t pass in Washington when it was last introduced in 2009, although it did in Oregon, and also survived a court challenge by business groups. Maybe it’s time to try again here.
► In today’s NY Times — Late surge of money buoys Republicans in races that will control U.S. Senate — Republican candidates for the Senate have overcome the sizable fund-raising edge held by their Democratic opponents for most of the 2014 election cycle, outraising or matching Democrats in races that will decide control of the Senate and entering the final weeks of the campaign with ample cash.
► AT Vox — Why most union members are backing a Republican for governor of Rhode Island — The Democratic nominee, State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, is best known for pushing through an extremely aggressive pension reform package in 2011, which included major benefit cuts for retirees, without negotiating with the unions.
► In today’s Washington Post — For a brass-knuckled nurses union, the Ebola scare is just another fight — The 185,000-member National Nurses United has for weeks been decrying the lack of protective measures at the Dallas hospital where an Ebola patient had been treated. Then, while other groups issued mild statements or nothing at all, they sent a letter to President Obama, Congress, federal agencies and state governors demanding more protections for health-care personnel.
► From Business Insider — Obscure NLRB case could cost McDonalds, other fast-food companies billions — Though the case itself is relatively mundane, the outcome could set a precedent that would make fast-food chains legally responsible for workers who had previously been the liability of their franchisees. Experts say that such a ruling could cost the fast-food industry billions of dollars and alter the power dynamic in a long-running struggle between McDonald’s and its workers.
► In today’s NY Times — When the guy making your sandwich has a non-compete clause (by Neil Irwin) — American businesses are paying out a historically low proportion of their income in the form of wages and salaries. But the Jimmy John’s employment agreement is one small piece of evidence that workers, especially those without advanced skills, are also facing various practices and procedures that leave them worse off, even apart from what their official hourly pay might be.
► In today’s LA Times — Judge reinstates port truckers fired in labor dispute — A federal judge on Tuesday reinstated two Los Angeles Harbor-area truck drivers, who said they were illegally fired during a labor dispute with their employer. The judge ordered the company to reinstate Amilcar Cardona and Mateos Mares pending the outcome of a National Labor Relations Board case that has accused Green Fleet of more than 50 labor law violations.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand wishes a happy 45th birthday to former Fugee and would-be Haitian president Wyclef Jean. In this 2007 video, our hero uses his superior martial arts skillz to save his best girl from a reFugee camp and certain deportation. Oh, wait. Spoiler alert! Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.