Wednesday, January 28, 2015
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma paid sick leave law passes — Businesses will have to provide employees who work in Tacoma at least three days of paid sick leave beginning next year. The Tacoma City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to adopt the sick leave law after more than five hours of sometimes rancorous debate. The council majority didn’t go as far as many in the audience urged. Council chambers were filled to capacity, with more people viewing the meeting from another room. The vast majority said they thought Tacoma workers deserved more than the three days of paid leave.
ALSO see today’s statement from Healthy Tacoma — The ordinance improves on Mayor Strickland’s original proposal by covering all workers, including those in labor unions. However, it falls short by limiting workers to earning only 3 days of sick leave per year. That’s not enough to protect public health; many workers, and especially parents, will still be forced to choose between a paycheck and getting healthy… We commend the leadership of Council members Ryan Mello, Anders Ibsen, and Victoria Woodards, who supported amendments to ensure every worker could earn up to 5 days of leave per year.
“Whether you’re caring for yourself, a child, or an aging parent, everyone gets sick, and everyone needs time to get better,” said Rose. “We look forward to working with both current and future city council members to shore up this policy.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Big Sea-Tac expansion plans bring big headaches over money, logistics — Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is looking at huge expansion options to accommodate the expected boom in passengers over the next 20 years. But designing and funding the projects won’t be easy, if Tuesday’s meeting about the plans is any indication.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — ILWU, PMA overcome major hurdle, resolution in sight at West Coast ports — The dockworkers union for West Coast ports and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators, have overcome one of the hurdles that’s stalled bargaining and ports over the last few months: who will repair chassis, the truck beds used to transport shipping containers.
► From Bloomberg — Agreement nears in West Coast dockworkers contract talks — “A tentative agreement was reached on the chassis topic, and we are hopeful that this will allow us to move toward conclusion of a full agreement in the near term,” a PMA spokesman said in an e-mail. “However, the slowdowns continue at the ports, as they have for months.”
ALSO at The Stand — KIRO’s Dori Monson owes all longshore workers an apology
► At KPLU– Inslee’s carbon reduction act gets first hearing in Olympia — Dueling interest groups launched prior to the hearing, each lining up big coalitions in support and against the governor’s proposal. So many people signed up to testify before the House Environment committee that Tuesday’s public hearing was continued to Thursday. Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, said this is likely the most important bill he will ever testify about:
Climate change truly is an existential issue. It impacts our environment, it impacts jobs and the economy, it impacts public health and safety. It exacerbates inequality. And it challenges our sense of common purpose.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand —New state alliance calls for jobs, clean energy
► In today’s Olympian — State worker raises remain caught up in budget debate — The state may have already negotiated pay raises with about two dozen employee unions, but Republican leaders in the Legislature are casting more and more doubt on whether state workers will ever see that money.
► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP still critical of state employee contracts — Chief GOP budget writer Sen. Andy Hill makes no bones about it: He doesn’t consider $440 million in state-employee raises an essential part of the 2015-17 budget… The employee contracts would give most state employees — who range from corrections officers to ferry and social-service workers — a 3 percent raise next budget year. Between 1967 and 2008, state employees got a general wage increase of 3 percent every one to three years, according to state data. Since 2008, roughly the start of the recession, public employees have not gotten a general wage increase and some briefly took a pay cut through furloughs.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, Sen. Hill and all other lawmakers may get 11.2 percent raises over the next two years, which is the recommendation of a salary-setting board.
► From Reuters — Boeing reports surge in fourth quarter profit, sees cash boost in 2015 — Boeing reported a 23 percent rise in core quarterly profit on Wednesday, topping analysts’ estimates and sending its shares up 3.4 percent. The company also delivered $4.3 billion in free cash flow in the fourth quarter, about 65 percent of the annual total.
► In The Hill — Trade chief pitches ‘fast track’ to Congress — The nation’s top trade official sought Tuesday to smooth the way for passage of major international pacts, reassuring Congress the Obama administration is committed to building bipartisan support for its ambitious global trade agenda. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said it is easy to understand why U.S. workers are frustrated, especially when their wages have been stagnating for years:
Those who favor a trade agenda that takes on the challenges of a hyper-competitive global economy have a responsibility to make the case that it will work for America’s middle class.
ALSO at The Stand —Keep calling Congress: ‘Say NO to Fast Track’
► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘Fast track’ designed to cut Congress out of the loop, empower corporations (letter) — Trade-promotion authority (“fast track”) is not actually about trade, but about cutting Congress out of secret so-called trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. These deals are kept secret because they would never stand the light of day. There’s a little bit of trade in them, and a lot of handing over of power to transnational corporations, which would be empowered to sue countries over regulations — such as worker, food-safety or environmental protections — that the corporations claimed harmed profits.
► In The Hill — Republican leaders look for escape plan on immigration — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) are struggling to find a way to fund the Department of Homeland Security while meeting conservative demands to unwind President Obama’s executive actions giving legal status to millions of immigrants who would otherwise face deportation.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
► In The Hill — Public supports ACA subsidies threatened by Supreme Court case — Most Americans want ObamaCare subsidies to be available to people in all states, regardless of whether the state established its own exchange, a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests. By a 64-27 margin, those polled say they want Congress to pass a law guaranteeing subsidies if the Supreme Court invalidates those distributed through federally run exchanges.
► At TPM — Republican rhetorical gymnastics on Medicaid expansion are getting crazy — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) agreed to expand Medicaid under the ACA Tuesday, but you’d be forgiven for not catching that if you actually listened to what he had to say. “I believe Medicaid is not a program we should expand. It’s a program that we should reform,” Pence said. “That’s exactly what we’re accomplishing.” His office didn’t mention the Affordable Care Act when announcing the plan, which will cover up to 350,000 low-income Indianans. This has become the norm. More Republican-led states are signing onto the key Obamacare program, but they are very reluctant to call it that.
► From Reuters — University of California on-campus doctors stage rare strike — Doctors for student health centers at 10 University of California campuses staged a rare one-day strike on Tuesday, upset that administrators have failed to give their union information the physicians said they needed to negotiate their first contract.
THE RICH GET… EVERYTHING
► In today’s Seattle Times — State ranks high in disparity of income gains since recession — While the Great Recession dealt a blow to all income levels, the economic recovery has disproportionately favored the top 1 percent — and Washington is among the states where that disparity is most lopsided.
► At Think Progress — The top 1% have gotten all the income gains from the recovery — Between 2009 and 2012, overall income per family grew 6.9 percent. The gains weren’t shared evenly, however. The top 1% saw their real income grow by 34.7 percent while the bottom 99% only saw a 0.8 percent gain, meaning that the 1% captured 91 percent of all real income. Adjusting for inflation and excluding anything made from capital gains investments like stocks, however, shows that even that small gains for all but the richest disappears. Adjusted average income for the 1% without capital gains rose from $871,100 to $968,000 in that time period. For everyone else, average income actually fell from $44,000 to $43,900. Calculated this way, the 1% has captured all of the income gains.
EDITOR’S NOTE — And this data has come out AFTER this memorable video was produced. America, we have a problem, and it’s getting worse.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.