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WeyCo cuts, high cost of low wages, slowing Fast Track…

Thursday, January 8, 2015




weyer-longview-mill► In today’s Daily News — Weyerhaeuser to cut jobs at Longview mill, citing West Coast port slowdown — Weyerhaeuser Co. will cut production and jobs at its Longview pulp and paper mill because the West Coast labor dispute is making it difficult to ship its products, the company confirmed Wednesday. Cuts will occur at the end of the month, but the company did not say how many workers would be affected or whether the layoffs would be permanent or temporary.

► In today’s Daily News — St. John nurses extend contract as long-term negotiations continue — Nurses at St. John Medical Center, which form one of the Longview hospital’s biggest unions (WSNA), have temporarily extended their contract until Feb. 28 as more federal mediation sessions are planned.

► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Burlington aerospace supplier expands, partners with state to train workers — Washington state has teamed up with Burlington aerospace manufacturer Hexcel Corp. to train about 40 aerospace workers in advanced composites techniques.

► From KUOW — Confused by Seattle’s $15 minimum wage? We break it down — Seattle starts phasing in a higher minimum wage on April 1 this year. The key term here is “phasing in.” Everyone receiving the minimum wage won’t immediately get $15 an hour.

high-cost-low-wages-oregon► In today’s Oregonian — Public assistance to low-wage workers costs $1.7 billion in Oregon, new report says — Public assistance to working Oregonians costs an estimated $1.7 billion annually, according to a new report on the impact of low-paying jobs. Nearly 197,000 workers don’t earn enough to cover their basic needs and rely in some part on public support, shows the study released Thursday by the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center.




► In today’s Olympian — Elway Poll shows upbeat electorate, surprising support for cap-trade tax on polluters — A pair of Elway Poll reports released this week find that voters are upbeat — scoring third highest in a decade on its in-house scale, and there is potential majority support for some of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s tax proposals, despite an overall hesitance on general tax increases.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee shifts strategy to push his big policy ideas — Gov. Jay Inslee says he is approaching the upcoming session of the Legislature “very differently” than he did in his first two years as the state’s chief executive.

► In today’s Olympian — Take tax rebate idea seriously (editorial) — Gov. Jay Inslee’s pre-Christmas release of his 2015-17 state budget includes a proposal to provide tax rebate checks to more than 450,000 low-income Washington families.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Ericksen sidesteps Supreme Court to seek two-thirds vote for taxes — Now that the Senate is majority Republican, plus one conservative Democrat, passage of this new rule doesn’t seem far-fetched.

► In today’s Olympian — McCleary decision still provoking petulance (by Brendan Williams) — The appearance of a clash between coequal branches of government has been heightened by the Legislature’s decision to cancel the biennial State of the Judiciary address by the Washington Supreme Court’s chief justice… More is at issue than just a speech. With no real effort forthcoming to fully comply with McCleary, and with our kids at stake, it is not just the judiciary being ignored these days.




trumka-13► From CNN — AFL-CIO president trumpets Warren, calls for Dems to pick sides on labor issues in 2015 — Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, glowingly praised Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday, and urged Democratic politicians to pick sides on labor in his closing remarks at a labor summit on raising wages. Trumka started his remarks by calling Warren an “inspiration” who embodies labor’s “highest ideals.” He then urged Democrats to take sides on labor ahead of the 2016 presidential election and said that if the party wants labor there on Election Day, they need to get behind the group’s priorities.

► At Mother Jones — Warren fights back against ‘magical accounting’ of trickle-down economics — Although general economic indicators are on the rise, the Massachusetts senator argued in a speech Wednesday at an AFL-CIO summit, pay has stagnated for all but the richest Americans — and trickle-down voodoo economics and loose Wall Street regulation are to blame.

ALSO at The Stand — Watch the AFL-CIO’s Raising Wages Summit




No-to-Fast-Track-Lame-Ducks► In today’s NY Times — Democrats step up efforts to block Obama’s trade agenda — President Obama is facing new opposition from fellow Democrats to one of his top priorities: winning the power to negotiate international trade agreements and speed them through Congress. As Obama works to secure the so-called trade promotion authority, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers and activists from organized labor, environmental, religious and civil rights groups is stepping up efforts to stop him.

TAKE A STAND! Call your member of Congress and sign the petition here to stop Fast Track in its tracks.

► At Politico — Obama pushes his economic record in Detroit — Obama arrived here Wednesday to speak at a Ford plant and use the resurgence of the auto industry, thanks to his bailout six years ago, as a metaphor for larger economic improvements he’s overseen. But even before he landed, Obama was being attacked by labor, Hill Democrats and others for boasting about American manufacturing while getting ready to resume his call for new trade deals. Said the AFL-CIO trade policy specialist Celeste Drake:

Detroit’s auto and public-sector workers have already learned the lesson of NAFTA: It doesn’t work. Let’s not force that lesson on any more American communities. If you’re serious about reviving U.S. manufacturing and raising wages for America’s workers, the last thing you want is yet another race-to-the-bottom trade agreement that doesn’t empower workers, it empowers companies to offshore jobs. And you fight fast track — the process that guarantees that bad trade deals become law — tooth and nail.

► At AFL-CIO Now — First target for Republicans: Cutting Social Security — On the very first day that the new larger House Republican majority got to work, it made a move that could mean some 11 million people who receive Social Security disability benefits will see their lifeline benefits cut by 20% in 2016 — or even cuts to Social Security retirement benefits for everyone. No, Republicans didn’t pass a bill or hold a lengthy debate on something so important. Instead, buried in a package of rule changes.

wall-st-rules► At Huffington Post — Dems knock down GOP bill to delay Wall Street reform — The bill would have allowed banks to hang onto billions of dollars in risky collateralized loan obligations for two additional years by amending the Volcker Rule, which is part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. A Volcker Rule delay would be a major boon to the nation’s largest banks. The vote was a major test of the Democratic Party’s willingness to fight financial deregulation.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — 3 Wash. Dems side with GOP in effort to relax Wall St. reforms

► In The Hill — Dems to Obama: Go big on overtimeSenate Democrats are pressing the Obama administration to act boldly in its plan to extend overtime pay to millions of U.S. workers. The Department of Labor is expected to issue new overtime regulations next month expanding the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay, but Democrats and liberal policy groups are concerned millions of blue-collar workers will be left out.




► In today’s NY Times — Health premiums rise more slowly, but workers shoulder more of cost — Although the rise in premiums has slowed since passage of the Affordable Care Act, workers who receive health insurance through their employers are shouldering more health care expenses at a time when wages are stagnant, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund that analyzed costs across the states.





► At Politico — The secret history of women in the SenateKay Hagan just wanted to swim. It was late 2008, and the Democrat was newly arrived on Capitol Hill as North Carolina’s junior senator-elect. But Hagan was told that the Senate pool was males-only. Why? Because some of the male senators liked to swim naked… In the entire history of the United States Senate, a mere 44 women have served. Ever. Those few who have were elected to a club they were never meant to join, and their history in the chamber is marked by sexism both spectacular and small… In one infamous 1993 episode, the late South Carolina Republican Strom Thurmond tried to fondle Washington Democrat Patty Murray’s breast on the Senate elevator. So notoriously predatory was Thurmond that when Susan Collins came to the Senate in 1997, she was warned to avoid getting on an elevator alone with him.


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