Wednesday, November 12, 2014
► In today’s Seattle Times — Congestion at ports rattles growers, importers and truckers — Pressure is mounting for terminal operators and West Coast unions to reach an agreement so container shipping in Seattle, Tacoma and other ports can return to normal. Meanwhile, food containers are at risk of rotting, trucks are idle, and goods destined for holiday shoppers are stuck.
► In today’s News Tribune — Port of Seattle defends airport wage increases — In response to a lawsuit, the Port of Seattle says it has the authority under Washington law to increase the minimum wage for some workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
► MUST-READ in today’s Seattle Times — $15-an-hour job comes with noncompete clause, threat of legal action (by Danny Westneat) — It’s hard to conjure what intellectual property or trade secrets are at stake in making the Turkey Tom at Jimmy John’s. Or in wet-vaccing carpets for ServiceMaster. It’s one thing to make engineers or lawyers sign noncompetes. But cleaners? “I think this is just taking advantage of blue-collar workers,” said Larry Weinberg, the CEO of Superior Cleaning. “It’s like we’re going back to the feudal societies of the 12th century, where the vassals are indentured to their corporate lords. We’re still in America, right?” We are, and one thing about corporate America is it loves capitalism and free markets — for itself. When it’s the 15-buck-an-hour worker going all free enterprise, though, that’s just too much competition for the system to bear.
► In today’s Seattle Times — With labor suit pending, Paseo’s mystery closure hard for fans to stomach — Although no one would give an official cause for the cash-only business’ closure Tuesday, four Paseo workers, who were fired in March, filed a lawsuit claiming that they worked about 80 hours a week without being paid time-and-a-half for overtime. About 40 hours of the workers’ wages were paid in cash and not documented in the official payroll system, according to the lawsuit. The workers also allege they did not receive rest and meal breaks as required by law. The four Hispanic workers also claim in the lawsuit that they were treated differently than non-Hispanic workers.
► At IAM751’s blog — Machinists honor veterans’ service to country, union — Machinists Union District Lodge 751 honored the thousands of its union members who have served in the Armed Forces with a Veterans Day ceremony. At the ceremony, the union unveiled a plaque thanking veterans, which reads: “You fought for our freedom to have the right to organize and bargain collectively so that we all may have a better way of life.”
► In today’s (Aberdeen) Daily World — Hoquiam council approves firefighter contract after debate — The Hoquiam City Council approved a contract with the city’s firefighters last night, but a two-year, no-layoff agreement almost derailed it and left some council members concerned that the city could paint itself into a corner.
► In today’s News Tribune — Pierce Transit board approves nonunion raises — About 120 employees will receive their first cost-of-living adjustments in five years.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Didier will not concede: ‘We’re waiting for every vote’ — Didier currently trails Newhouse by 2,614 votes. Slightly more than 2,700 ballots are on hand with county auditors around the 4th Congressional District that remain to be counted.
► From PubliCola — AWB Rep: ‘Legislature should avoid establishing specific economic development metrics to measure progress’ — The bipartisan Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee is asking the proponents of certain tax breaks to do exactly what proponents of budget line items have to do every budgeting cycle, like social service advocates desperately testifying in favor of low-income housing subsidies: Justify allocating state revenue. Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), along with former state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina), finally passed legislation in 2013 demanding this exact kind of scrutiny of tax breaks calling for “legislative intent language, metrics, and data to facilitate the review of the preference.”… (But) the Association of Washington Business, Olympia’s business lobby, disagrees. AWB tax policy analyst Ron Bueing, a member of the JLARC oversight commission, dissented, issuing a lone minority report against the JLARC recommendation for more concrete scrutiny.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing picks Utah supplier to make some 787 composite parts — Boeing has chosen a supplier near Salt Lake City to make circular frames for 787 fuselages, boosting that region’s growing capabilities as a center of advanced composites work.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing and Airbus plan to spend more on Chinese suppliers — Boeing has picked China’s largest state-owned aerospace manufacturer to make tail sections for the 777 family of airplanes starting in 2017. Boeing expects to double how much it buys from China “in coming years,” according to a news release from the Chicago-based company.
► In today’s NY Times – In control, Republicans see budget as way to push agenda — Next year, House Republicans will try again to transform Medicare and Medicaid, repeal the Affordable Care Act, shrink domestic spending and substantially cut the highest tax rates through the budget process. Congressional Republicans intend to present a plan to overhaul Medicare, calling for voucherlike “premium supports” to steer seniors into buying commercial health insurance, and to transform Medicaid, which would be cut and turned into block grants to state governments. They also intend to set up a new commission to study options on Social Security.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Never mind that Americans of both parties overwhelmingly disapprove of Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to cut Medicare and turn it into a voucher program. Because… Ebola! ISIS! Squirrel!
► In today’s LA Times — Obama, Chinese president agree to landmark climate deal — Reflecting the urgency and scale scientists have called for to cope with climate change, the U.S. and Chinese presidents laid out ambitious new targets Wednesday to cut pollution in a deal that negotiators hope will inspire similarly dramatic commitments from other countries.
► In The Hill — McConnell: U.S.-China deal ‘unrealistic’ — “Our economy can’t take president’s ideological war on coal,” says the soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader.
► At Huffington Post — Kansas faces $279 million budget gap by July, officials say — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who narrowly won re-election last week, and many Republicans in the GOP-dominated Legislature are not publicly rethinking aggressive cuts in personal income taxes enacted in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka) predicted the state will have to cut spending on schools and social services and divert money from highway projects.
► From AP — California nurses strike over patient care, Ebola — As many as 18,000 nurses went on strike Tuesday and picketed in front of Kaiser Permanente facilities in Northern California to express their concerns about patient-care standards and Ebola.
► In The Hill — Postal workers union files complaint to NLRB after data breach — The APWU, which filed the complaint, says the Postal Service didn’t work with them to address the issue during the two months between the breach’s discovery and the Post Office’s public announcement on Monday.
► In today’s NY Times — Detroit emerges from bankruptcies but pensions risks continue — The pension system that the settlement leaves behind has some of the same problems that plunged the city into crisis in the first place.
► At Politico — Why Wall Street loves Hillary — While the finance industry does genuinely hate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the big bankers love Hillary Clinton, and by and large they badly want her to be president. Many of the rich and powerful in the financial industry consider Clinton a pragmatic problem-solver not prone to populist rhetoric. To them, she’s someone who gets the idea that we all benefit if Wall Street and American business thrive. What about her forays into fiery rhetoric? They dismiss it quickly as political maneuvers. None of them think she really means her populism.
► In The Atlantic — The rise of the invisible unemployment — In the last year, the most important question for U.S. economists and economic journalists has changed from Where are the jobs? to Where are the wages? As the labor market approaches full employment, there should be more pressure on wages to rise. Instead, earnings growth is flat… What is “invisible unemployment”? It’s discouraged workers and part-timers who want more hours. The official unemployment rate doesn’t consider them unemployed. So when we talk about the official unemployment rate—now at a lowish 5.8 percent—we’re ignoring these workers. They’re statistically invisible.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.