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Port deadline, ‘kids before concrete,’ not napkin worthy…

Friday, February 20, 2015


Today’s news is a bit abbreviated because the Entire Staff of The Stand is busy at the WSLC Legislative Conference that precedes today’s big Labor Rally at noon on the Capitol Steps. We’ll see you there!




► Today from AP — Perez gives 2 sides in West Coast port talks Friday deadline — The nation’s top labor official ratcheted up pressure on the two sides haggling over a new contract for dockworkers at West Coast seaports, telling them if they don’t reach an agreement by Friday, they’ll have to leave California and negotiate in Washington, D.C.




► From Bloomberg — U.S. oil workers reject Shell’s contract offer prolonging strike — The United Steelworkers, representing more than 30,000 U.S. oil workers, instructed members to reject a seventh labor contract offered by Royal Dutch Shell as the biggest refinery strike since 1980 dragged on. 

More than 5,000 USW oil workers at 11 plants — including the Tesoro Anacortes and eight other refineries — have been forced into an unfair labor practice strike. The workers are fighting to secure fair contracts that will protect the health and safety of workers and communities.




► In today’s Olympian — Fund education before transportation, House Democrat says — Even if the state Senate passes a gas-tax increase in short order — no sure thing — leaders of the House are in no hurry. Many Democrats agree with that sentiment but also don’t see why they should raise taxes for highways at all while it’s still uncertain if Republicans will agree to raise taxes for schools. Call their perspective “kids before concrete.”

► In today’s News Tribune — Inslee signs supplemental budget for mudslide, fire relief — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a supplemental budget Thursday that allocates nearly $218 million in state and federal money for expenses including the deadly Oso mudslide and last summer’s wildfires.




► In the Seattle Times — A little push gives Latinos a shot at governing in Yakima (by Jerry Large) — Outside forces are compelling Yakima to change the way City Council members are elected in order to allow the community’s significant Latino population a reasonable voice in city government.




► In The Atlantic — Why Walmart raised its wages — Walmart’s CEO framed the raise as an act of corporate benevolence, but the reason his company will inch closer to paying all its employees fair wages has little to do with goodwill (few business decisions do). If Walmart has determined that it’ll need to start paying higher wages to stay competitive, then other retailers might arrive at the same conclusion. This isn’t an isolated act of corporate social responsibility — it’s a response to the current realities of labor economics that will likely inform the behavior of other American employers.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — WSLC: Our Walmart deserves credit for long-overdue raises

walmart-moms► At Slog — Walmart Raising the Minimum Wage Is Not a Triumph of Business. It’s a Failure of Government. (by Paul Constant) — Let’s be clear: Walmart isn’t doing this to be “nice.” It’s not because it’s the “right thing to do.” It is the bare minimum, the literal very least they could do. They’re doing this because the minimum wage in America is so low that it’s affecting the bottom line of their business. Workers are getting sick and going broke. Walmart employees are unable to feed their families, so they’re working multiple jobs — to the point where their productivity is suffering. President Obama has called for a minimum wage increase on multiple occasions, but Republicans in Congress have done nothing. They’re letting America fall apart, in the hopes that big business will put it back together again.

► In the NY Times — The cost of a decline in unions (by Nicholas Kristof) — Like many Americans, I’ve been wary of labor unions. I disdained unions as bringing corruption, nepotism and rigid work rules to the labor market, impeding the economic growth that ultimately makes a country strong. I was wrong. The abuses are real. But, as unions wane in American life, it’s also increasingly clear that they were doing a lot of good in sustaining middle class life — especially the private-sector unions that are now dwindling.




► Today, for no good reason, The Entire Staff of The Stand presents Mick and the boys pretending to play “She’s So Cold.” This song reminds us all that some songs with uncomplicated, repetitive lyrics not worthy of the back of a napkin can still be great. Enjoy.


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

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