Friday, January 23, 2015
► From KOMO News — ‘We just want to work:’ Rallying cry for West Coast port workers — Some of the loudest full-throated cheers didn’t come from longshoremen. They came for a longshorewoman. “I’m a blue collar laborer like the rest of us,” said Meghan Mason, a second-generation worker with the Port of Tacoma. She was a speaker at a labor rally and march hosted by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in downtown. ILWU Local 23 President Dean McGrath said their concerns stem from the Pacific Maritime Association’s handling of work and contract negotiations.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma longshoremen rally amid West Coast port slowdown — Dean McGrath, president of the International Longshore Workers Union Local 23 in Tacoma, said the protest was to inform the community about what’s been happening with the slowdown and to allow the longshoremen to support each other.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — At ports, ILWU standing up for working people, middle class (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson)
► In today’s Long Beach P-T — Los Angeles, Long Beach longshore workers, community march in solidarity — About 6,000 community members and International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers marched Thursday to support hundreds of Los Angeles and Long Beach dockworkers engaged in contentious contract talks with employers.
► From AP — West Coast seaport talks resuming after hiatus, rallies — Labor strife at seaports along the West Coast prompted thousands of dockworkers to rally against employers they say are trying to exploit a crisis of cargo congestion.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Possible ballot measure could be bargaining chip in minimum-wage debate — Democrats in Olympia are making one thing clear about a new proposal to raise the minimum wage: If it doesn’t pass this year, be ready for a ballot initiative.
► From Reuters — Boeing unions seek conditions on $8.7 billion in tax credits — Boeing’s two largest labor unions (IAM 751 and SPEEA) say they are working on a pair of legislative bills that would put conditions on $8.7 billion in tax credits that Washington state gave to Boeing and the state aerospace industry in 2013. One bill would specify the number of jobs Boeing must maintain in the state to receive the tax credits. A second bill would require companies that receive the credit to pay a “living wage.” … Since the legislature passed the tax credits in November 2013, Boeing’s employment in Washington state has declined by more than 2,500 jobs, according to SPEEA, as Boeing has laid off workers and moved jobs to other states, in some cases to fulfill job requirements tied to those states’ incentive packages.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Decision sticks Bertha bill on state — A dispute-review board says Washington state should pay its contractors millions of dollars for dealing with severe groundwater flows at the Highway 99 tunnel machine’s launch pit in Sodo.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Lawmakers want prepaid postage for ballots — SB 5344 would require county auditors to put pre-paid postage on the return envelopes for each ballot. The state would then reimburse the counties for the cost of supplying postage.
► At PubliCola — A bipartisan constitutional emendment to change the initiative process — The bipartisan bill (with 38 co-sponsors overall — five more than the two-thirds required) would amend the initiative system by stopping unfunded mandates (passing a directive without identifying the funding), like the one the left-leaning teachers’ union passed last year for smaller class sizes. The amendment would also stop conservative attempts to stall revenue such as Tim Eyman’s parade of car tab and property tax cuts like 695 and 747, unless the initiative, unlike Eyman’s measures, outlined the corresponding cuts.
► In today’s News Tribune — Legal dispute from 2008 campaign lives on — In an 8-to-1 ruling, the state Supreme Court has sent Utter v. Building Industry Association of Washington back to a King County court for more proceedings. The case involves Republican Dino Rossi’s 2008 rematch with Gov. Chris Gregoire, in which the builders’ association was accused of wrongdoing in its campaigning for Rossi. After a state investigation, an arm of BIAW paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in a 2010 settlement. An appeals court found the investigation precluded the lawsuit from going forward, but the Supreme Court reversed that decision.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “WHERE ARE THEY NOW” EDITION — Tom McCabe (pictured at right), the former BIAW boss who orchestrated the scheme in question, is now the CEO of the right-wing Freedom Foundation, which says its mission is to “defund and discredit the union political machine.” McCabe’s decision to spend more than $6 million in 2008 in the failed attempt to get Rossi elected — amid a housing crunch that was devastating most homebuilders — was the the final straw that ended his tumultuous tenure at BIAW. His parting gift: a $1.25 million buyout and a year’s health-care coverage. Now, he’s reassembling his BIAW crew at his new 501(c)3 gig where, rather than raising money for Republicans, he’s focusing on defunding Democrats. Totally different.
Dino Rossi (pictured at right), loser of two races for governor and one race for U.S. Senate, will be moderating a panel this weekend on our state’s need for “Labor Reforms” at the Republicans’ Roanoke Conference in Ocean Shores. Nobody from an actual union is on the panel, but there IS a representative of McCabe’s Freedom Foundation.
More than a decade of political logrolling. Congratulations, boys!
BONUS EDITOR’S NOTE: Other agenda highlights from this weekend’s Roanoke Conference:
■ “Well-Oiled and Well-Funded: A Discussion of the Democratic Machine” featuring former Sen. Rodney Tom and former Senate president pro tempore Tim Sheldon. And speaking of well-oiled…
■ A “Cocktail Reception” sponsored by the Western States Petroleum Association. And speaking of well-funded… which state legislator received more money than any other from oil, gas and coal interests in the last election? Tim Sheldon!
■ “Presentation of the Roanoke ‘Rising Star’ Award – Slade Gorton.” At press time, it wasn’t clear if he was presenting it or receiving it.
► At PubliCola — New poll shows regional voters happy to pay for more light rail — The Sound Transit board released new polling to gauge support for a ballot measure that would give the agency tax authority to raise $15 billion for expanding mass transit in the Puget Sound region.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hispanic business group blasts Newhouse — A Pasco business group that supported Rep. Dan Newhouse in the 2014 election condemned his Jan. 14 vote to condition Homeland Security Department funding on repealing President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
► In today’s Oregonian — Washington farmworkers hit with drifting pesticides become sick, CDC warns about new mixture on market — Twenty farmworkers picking cherries in Washington became sick from a pesticide mixture in a pear orchard drifting over to their field. The mixture is new on the market, and this is the first reported case of illness due to its use.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Immigration attorney offers insights for ag employers — The Washington Growers League annual meeting attracted about 100 growers and farm managers with presentations on immigration reform, pesticide drift, housing, workers’ compensation, and legislative issues.
► In The Hill — White House will ‘work hard’ for Dem votes on trade bills — The White House plans to “work hard” to secure the Democratic votes needed to pass legislation granting President Obama new fast-track authority to help negotiate a pair of trade deals, chief of staff Denis McDonough said Thursday.
TAKE A STAND! — Keep calling! This week’s National Call-In Day to oppose Fast Track has been extended to a National Call-In 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 TPM — Could GOP turn Social Security into perennial ‘crisis’ like the debt limit? — By setting up a series of forcing events Republicans would be able to create an ongoing crisis atmosphere around Social Security that would create a pretext for dramatic changes to the 80-year-old program.
► In today’s Washington Post — House Republicans propose shrinking federal workforce, cutting service contracts — House Republicans pitched legislation that would shrink the federal workforce through attrition by 10 percent over the next five years. The measure would also impose a hiring freeze on agencies that exceed a limit of one new hire for every three departing staff members.
► In today’s Washington Post — High court protects federal whistleblowers — Supreme Court backs fired air marshal in case that affects federal employee whistleblowers.
► In the New Yorker — Six weeks paid leave opposed by people with 33 weeks paid leave — Members of the group heard the President’s proposal on Tuesday night, one of the few nights of the year when they are required to report to their workplace.
► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — It’s how you finish (by Timothy Egan) — The Seahawks’ miracle finish last Sunday offers a lesson beyond pro football: It’s not about the miracle, it’s about the finish. Obama has been sleepwalking through the middle part of his presidency. … (But) if you look beyond capital gasbags, and consider the big ideas in Obama’s State of the Union speech, you can see the inevitability of his philosophy. His proposals — raising the minimum wage, paid maternity leave, making college more affordable and the tax system more fair — are popular across the political divide. They’re mainstream anywhere but the fund-raisers that Reince Priebus presides over.
► Rather than post a music video this week, we couldn’t resist sharing Jon Stewart’s skewering of the World Economic Forum: “It’s the Monsters Of Money! … But of course, the get together is not just a celebration, but a chance for the powerful to reflect on how the world has changed since the devastating financial collapse that many of them caused and/or profited from.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.