Monday, January 26, 2015
► In WorkingWA.org — It’s Bingo time at the State Legislature for poverty wage workers — Working Washington will hand out business lobbyist Bingo cards at the Capitol today, inviting everyone to play along during the House Labor Committee’s 1:30 p.m. hearing on bills to raise the minimum wage and establish a minimum standard for paid sick days. Business lobbyists will be out in force and are expected to tell the same old scare stories and retell the same old tired anecdotes they always trot out before elected officials when they’re opposing higher standards that raise up workers, lift our communities, and boost the whole economy.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Watch the hearing on TVW at 1:30 p.m.
► At Crosscut — Legislators look at bridging gender pay gap — “Even today, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar earned by men for similar work,” said Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Is). Senn and Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) plan to introduce companion bills to require employers to provide valid reasons — such as differences in education, training or experience — if employees challenge pay disparities between workers of the opposite sex for essentially the same work.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Inslee to area lawmakers: Step up for transportation package — A spokesman said Friday that there is no nexus between the perceived lack of political support and the number of county projects included in the governor’s $12.2 billion proposal.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Survey: State health exchange experience overall positive but customer service needs work — Of all people surveyed, 64 percent didn’t have problems applying or enrolling with Healthplanfinder. However, 28 percent of respondents labeled the enrollment process difficult.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing to build 900 jetliners yearly by 2020, 91 percent in Washington state — What this means for the state is that Boeing will continue to be a major driver of the state’s economy, made more certain by the fact that the 777X assembly will happen here.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing 777X tax breaks win national award despite continued controversy — It wasn’t just the tax breaks that kept the 777X facility in Washington, though. Just over half of the participating union workers of Machinists District Lodge 751 voted to accept a 10-year contract extension that cost the Machinists their pensions.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Farmworker class-action lawsuit could affect Mid-Columbia farmers, farmworkers — The state Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether farmers are required to pay farmworkers who earn wages based on how much they pick additional, separate pay for rest breaks.
► At Huffington Post — Senate Democrats stand up for speedier union elections — With Republicans looking to block one of the biggest labor law reforms of the Obama era, Senate Democrats are telling the National Labor Relations Board that it has their support in speeding up the union election process. In a letter to be sent to the NLRB on Thursday, 16 Democratic senators wrote that they “applaud” the board for pursuing the rules change. Democratic support in the upper chamber could be critical in avoiding a future budget bill rider that would block the reforms, should Republicans try to go that route. The letter was written by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and signed by 14 of their colleagues.
► At TPM — GOP’s new Social Security playbook: Pit disabled against retirees — Conservatives have long searched for an effective message against Social Security. Now, they seem to have found a new one to try as they set up a fight over the 80-year-old program in the coming Congress: The disabled are robbing the retired.
► From Reuters — Republican hopefuls appear at billionaire Koch retreat — Three potential Republican presidential candidates appeared before a gathering of wealthy donors organized by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers in California on Sunday night. It was organized by brothers Charles and David Koch, successful industrialists who bankroll conservative causes across America. Access to their network of money and influence is alluring to some potential Republican presidential hopefuls.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Who needs Iowa, New Hampshire and other primaries, when the billionaire class gets to choose which nominee can afford to run?
► At Politico — Charles Koch: We’re just getting started — Charles Koch on Saturday signaled to hundreds of donors, operatives and conservative leaders gathered in the California desert that the political operation he and his brother David created was just getting started.
► In today’s Washington Post — Partisan divide in federal employee legislation — When it comes to federal employees, one party wants to give, the other plans to take away.
► From Reuters — Union sends messages of frustration in U.S. refinery contract talks — In five days of negotiations for a new three-year contract covering hourly workers at 63 U.S. refineries, the United Steelworkers union (USW) has sent only messages of frustration to its members.Twitter messages on Friday and Saturday said one industry offer had been rejected and the talks with lead industry negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc were moving slowly. On Sunday, the union said its members were being angered by the actions by some oil companies in talks over local issues.
► In the NY Times — Middle class shrinks as more fall out instead of climbing up — In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets. But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom. At the same time, fewer of those in this group fit the traditional image of a married couple with children at home, a gap increasingly filled by the elderly.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Union Plus scholarship deadline is Jan. 31 — Time is running out to apply for the 2015 Union Plus college scholarship program for union members and their children. Applications must be submitted by noon Eastern time on Jan. 31. The awards will range from $500 to $4,000 and are for study beginning in the fall each year.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Union-made Super Bowl party shopping list — On Super Bowl Sunday, some of our larger and faster union brothers — members of the NFL Players Association (including the mighty Seattle Seahawks players, affiliates of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO) — will be battling it out in Glendale, Ariz., at Super Bowl XLIX. While the Super Bowl carries a union label, from players to broadcast crews to stadium workers — your Super Bowl party spread can, too, with union-made in America food and drinks. Check out these union-made Super Bowl party products, compiled by our friends at Labor 411. Food and drinks are brought to you by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers; the UAW; Machinists; the United Food and Commercial Workers; and the Teamsters.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.