Thursday, January 22, 2015
► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Boeing fights back as momentum builds to unionize South Carolina plant — Machinists union organizers say they’re gathering momentum at Boeing’s plant in South Carolina, and believe they’re on the way to unionizing the plant there. “I’m optimistic we’re going to reach that plateau of having the ability to file and have an election,” said Mike Evans, who leads the IAM office in North Charleston, S.C.
► From AP — S.C. Gov. Haley lambastes unions, organizing efforts at Boeing in state address — Republican Gov. Nikki Haley used part of her State of the State address Wednesday to promote South Carolina’s anti-union reputation and try to kill efforts to unionize Boeing’s North Charleston plant:
We have a reputation — internationally — for being a state that doesn’t want unions. … Now, that reputation and, even more importantly, a South Carolina company, are under attack.
► In today’s News Tribune — State lawmakers could see 11 percent raises — State lawmakers could get double-digit raises over the next two years, their first in seven years. A salary-setting board wants to boost rank-and-file lawmakers’ salaries by 11.2 percent in two steps to $46,839 by September 2016. Gov. Jay Inslee has negotiated contracts with many state employees that call for raises of 3 percent this July and another 1.8 percent a year later. Lawmakers are considering whether to fund those contracts. A WFSE spokesman said the union would make sure its members know about the proposed raises as they press lawmakers to approve their own.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee says county’s own lawmakers to blame for lack of roads funding — Gov. Jay Inslee didn’t come to Arlington on Wednesday to apologize for giving Snohomish County short shrift in his proposed $12 billion transportation package. Rather, he came to tell a small group of civic and business leaders the reason why: It’s your lawmakers’ fault. Only seven of the 21 state lawmakers representing Snohomish County told him they would pass a package and raise revenue needed to pay for it, he said to those seated around a conference table at Universal Aerospace:
We still have legislators from Snohomish County who have told us they want projects but they are not willing to pay for the revenue package it takes to finance them. That just doesn’t cut the mustard.
► In the Olympian — Capital gains are volatile, but valuable (editorial) — It makes little sense to use volatility as the reason to scuttle a capital gains tax proposal. That would be like dry-docking a sailboat because wind speeds on Puget Sound are not steady. The challenge is to figure out how to incorporate a capital-gains tax, which more than 40 states have, into a Washington tax code that today isn’t diverse enough, isn’t fair and doesn’t produce enough revenue.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — WSU medical school in Spokane gets legislative support — Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) and Sen. Mike Baumgartner (R-Spokane) introduced matching legislation to remove the provision in state law that gives medical school education exclusively to the UW, which could pave the way for WSU to start its own medical school in Spokane.
► In the Int’l Examiner — UW custodians to rally against alleged abuse — UW custodian Salvador Castillo, who has worked at the university since 1993, says supervisors engage in excessive monitoring behaviors, verbal abuse, and embarrassment of employees in front of faculty and students. Supply shortages and unfair distribution of sick leave are also stressors in the work environment, he said. UW custodians and their supporters plan to rally Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. on Red Square.
► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Alaska Air Group employees got more than one month’s salary as bonus in 2014 — Thanks to a banner 2014 year at Alaska Air Group Inc., the average worker there received more than one month’s salary as a bonus.
EDITOR’S NOTE — But what did Alaska’s many subcontracted employees get? They got a legal campaign by their quasi-employer to deny them the voter-approved $15 minimum wage. Lots of those contract employees, like the baggage handlers, used to be Alaska Air employees. Instead of a bonus, they got pink slips.
► In today’s News tribune — More than 500 turn out to protest deep Army cuts at JBLM — Residents and elected leaders make their last appeal to the Army, citing community ties and strategic importance of the South Sound base.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Nick Licata won’t run again after 16 years on Seattle City Council — Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, a strident progressive who operated on the council’s leftmost wing for many years, is bowing out.
► In The Hill — Trade war erupts between Obama, Dems — A trade war is erupting between Democrats and the Obama administration over efforts to pass “fast-track” legislation that would smooth the way for two major trade deals. Dozens of House Democrats are expressing deep reservations about the White House’s trade agenda, putting themselves on a collision course with President Obama over concerns that the deals will benefit big business at the expense of U.S. workers.
ALSO at The Stand — Yesterday’s National Call-In Day to oppose Fast Track has been extended for the rest of the week! If you haven’t already done so, use the AFL-CIO’s toll-free hotline — 1-855-712-8441 — to get connected to your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to vote “No” on Fast Track trade promotion authority because it will allow more of the same failed trade policies that have hurt working families for the last 20 years. Read more.
► At Huffington Post — Some Democrats warn Obama they don’t have his back on trade plans — “We will do what we can in the Senate to defeat this unfortunate proposal,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In the past, both Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have supported Fast Track.
► From Reuters — New Democrats in U.S. Congress join Fast Track opponents — More than half the new Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have signed a letter opposing the White House’s request for authority to fast-track trade deals and an ambitious Pacific trade pact.
► From Bloomberg — Obama speech nods to populism gone mainstream — His direct appeal to taxing the rich and giving to the poor is a sign of just how mainstream populism has become at a time when 2016 presidential hopefuls, including Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Mitt Romney, are talking about how to help those left behind. The Republican-led Congress is unlikely to advance much of the president’s agenda. The real aim of Obama’s address could be more significant: trying to frame the debate for the 2016 presidential campaign.
► In today’s Washington Post — Americans overwhelmingly want paid sick time, even if it lowers their wages — A 2014 survey of 4,507 Americans by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 81 percent support paid sick leave legislation of the type Obama is proposing. The survey found majority support across all demographic and political groups, with even 70 percent of Republicans supporting such a law.
► In The Hill — GOP pans push for paid leave — Democrats argue the near-universality of paid sick leave in industrialized countries across the world makes it a no-brainer. Out of 185 countries and territories, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two not to offer paid maternity leave. But Republicans scoff at suggestions that other countries, like in Europe, provide paid sick leave and haven’t suffered significant economic consequences. “I never thought that emulating the European economic model is good for America,” laughed Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.)
► From CNN — Obama warns Congress on changing Dodd-Frank — President Barack Obama delivered an emphatic message Tuesday night: Dodd-Frank is here to stay. Financial reform groups breathed a sigh of relief as the president warned Congress against “unraveling the new rules on Wall Street” in his annual State of the Union address.
EDITOR’S NOTE –On the second day of the new session of Congress, three Washington Democrats were among the 35 Dems who voted with Republicans on legislation to relax Dodd-Frank reforms, but the effort failed for procedural reasons. When it came up again for a vote on Jan. 14, Democratic Reps. Derek Kilmer and Rick Larsen again voted with Republicans on the legislation that Obama has vowed to veto. Reps. Suzan DelBene, Jim McDermott, Adam Smith and Denny Heck all voted “no.”
ALSO at The Stand — I voted to improve Dodd-Frank reforms, not ‘gut’ them (by Congressman Rick Larsen, Jan. 12, 2015)
► At Politico — Revamp business taxes to boost economy? Not so fast — As Congress contemplates tackling a once-in-a-generation overhaul of the corporate Tax Code, some economists have a surprising warning: It may do bupkis for jobs.
► From AP — Campaign finance protest, hidden camera disrupt high court — For the second time in 11 months, opponents of Supreme Court rulings lifting limits on money in political campaigns briefly disrupted proceedings in the courtroom and embarrassed the court by managing to get a camera past court security. The protest Wednesday took place on the fifth anniversary of the court’s Citizen United ruling that freed corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want on elections for Congress and president.
► At AdamSmith.House.gov — Smith cosponsors legislation to reverse Citizens United
► At In These Times — Saving labor’s sinking ship — What, if anything, can save the labor movement from its steady decline as the organizational voice of American workers? Last week a diverse group of talented organizers and astute observers of labor gathered in Washington, D.C., to offer their answers. Not surprisingly, no one reported finding a silver bullet solution. But ongoing efforts to try out new organizational forms and strategies, as well as to re-invigorate the old, offer some hope.
► At AFL-CIO Now — 18,000 California nurses win stronger patient care, workplace protections in new Kaiser pact — The CNA/NNU members, who work at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, are voting this week on a new contract agreement reached after months of negotiations.
► From UWTV — Inside Outlook: Minimum Wage — The City of Seattle has instituted an unprecedented $15 minimum wage to be phased in over seven years. No one knows what the true impact of this policy will be. Will it stifle growth and further increase the cost of living? Or will Seattle make real strides in addressing income inequality and become a model for the rest of the country to follow? The guest panel features the eloquent David Freiboth, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the M.L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and some other folks.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.