PMA bypasses bargaining, DOC fairness, best bagger…

Thursday, February 19, 2015




► From AP — Employers appeal to dockworkers in West Coast port fight — Cargo companies have gone straight to West Coast dockworkers with what they call their “last, best and final” offer in a contract crisis that has choked off billions of dollars in international trade.
In a move very likely to upset union leaders who were negotiating behind closed doors under a media blackout, the employers distributed letters with the contract offer to rank-and-file longshoremen at ports from Los Angeles to Washington state. At a marine terminal in Tacoma, foremen handed dockworkers the letter from the president of the association that represents companies that own, load and unload massive ships.

► From AP — Labor secretary urges deal — U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez held what his office characterized as “positive and productive meetings” Tuesday with both the dockworkers union and the maritime association representing companies that own, load and unload massive ships laden with U.S. exports and imports from Asia.




► From Reuters — U.S. refinery strike passes 18th day but talks resume — The largest U.S refinery workers strike since 1980 passed its 18th day on Wednesday but talks between union and oil company representatives over safety and pay restarted after a gap of a week and went into the night, according to a union text message.




► From the House Democrats — Gregerson bill ensuring family-wage jobs advances — HB 1786, sponsored by Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-SeaTac) would creates voluntary wage standards for aerospace companies if they want to take advantage of the preferential B&O tax rate currently offered. On Wednesday, it was voted out of the House Committee on Labor with a “do pass” recommendation. “It’s our responsibility as legislators to demand smart investments with taxpayer money,” said Gregerson.

► In today’s Olympian — Corrections workers just want a fair shake (by IBT 117 President Tracey Thompson) — Corrections workers protect us all although the work they do is hidden from the view and consciousness of most Washingtonians. This difficult work involves many sacrifices, so many that our state’s prison system has a serious problem recruiting and retaining qualified staff. The state Legislature has an opportunity to address these shortcomings in its current budget. In doing so, it can improve the safety and well-being of communities across our state.

► In today’s News Tribune — Consumer advocates pan reemergence of payday lending alternative — Rolando Avila says he found himself in crippling debt after taking out a payday loan to keep food on the table. But he says a proposal that lawmakers are billing as an improvement over the current system would be worse.

ALSO at The Stand — Bipartisan bill puts payday loan industry before people (by John Burbank)




► In today’s Seattle Times — A little push gives Latinos a shot at governing in Yakima (by Jerry Large) — Sometimes a little friction is necessary to effect change. Such was the case in Yakima, where the minority Latino population will now have a shot at electing candidates to the City Council.




► From The Hill — Poll finds support for minimum wage increase, paid leave — Six in 10 Americans want a higher minimum wage while one-fifth are opposed to such a plan, according to a new AP poll. Sixty percent of Americans also favor requiring employers to offer paid sick leave, including about half of Republicans polled.

► From Reuters — U.S. lawmaker sees fast-track trade power soon in step towards trade pact The chairman of a U.S. congressional committee responsible for trade said on Thursday he expects passage of legislation to fast-track trade deals soon, a vital step towards a Pacific trade pact covering a large chunk of the global economy.

TAKE A STAND!  Sign the petition and tell Congress to stop the Fast Track bill, it’s undemocratic and bad for working families.

► From Politico — White House economic report highlights middle-class wage stagnation — The White House is using a new economic report to boost its case for its “middle-class economics” agenda — and to needle Congress about the need to avoid a return to sequestration budget cuts.

► From The Hill — Right wing declares ‘guerrilla war’ on NLRB, again (by John Logan) — Randy Johnson, vice president of the nation’s most powerful lobbying organization, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said his organization would engage in “guerrilla warfare” against the NLRB. While a startling admission, Johnson’s comments provide an accurate description of the behavior of big business and Republican lawmakers toward the NLRB during the Obama administration.




► From AP — Wal-Mart plans raises for 500,000 employees, trying to make over image — Wal-Mart says that within the next six months it will give raises to about 500,000 workers, or nearly 40 percent of its 1.3 million U.S. employees. With its new changes, the company’s average full-time wage will be $13 an hour, up from $12.85. For part-time workers, the hourly wage will be $10, up from $9.48.

► In today’s NY Times — As Walmart gives raises, other employers may have to go above minimum wage — Walmart is the biggest private employer in America and many of them will soon see a raise, in the latest snippet of corporate news that suggests a firmer job market is starting to enable workers to successfully demand higher pay.

► From Bloomberg — Wisconsin to skip debt payments to make up for Walker’s tax cuts — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, facing a $283 million deficit that needs to be closed by the end of June, will skip more than $100 million in debt payments to balance the books thrown into disarray by his tax cuts. The move comes as Walker, 47, mounts a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and while his state is under stress from a projected shortfall that could exceed $2 billion in the two-year budget beginning in July.

► In today’s NY Times — Illinois Gov. Rauner proposes $6 billion in cuts, reducing pension benefits — Expecting significant budget shortfalls this year and in the years ahead, Bruce Rauner, Illinois’s new Republican governor, on Wednesday proposed more than $6 billion in cuts in state spending on universities, health care, local governments and other areas and called for sharply reducing pension benefits for state workers.

► In today’s NY Times — Unlikely cause unites left, right: Justice reform — Groups like Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress, usually bitter adversaries, are banding together to reduce prison populations and overhaul sentencing.




► David Tochinsky, a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1439 who works at Rosauers in Spokane, is your 2015 National Grocery Bagging Champion. Here he is displaying his skills on the David Letterman show.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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