Tuesday, March 17, 2015
► In today’s Columbian — Union backers take aim at Madore resolutions — Labor union supporters hope to send the Clark County council the message that they’ve got their eyes on two proposed resolutions (including one that would urge the implementation of so-called “right-to-work” restrictions for all county workers) that they say would harm workers.
ALSO at The Stand — Clark County’s Madore pushes divisive, costly union measures
► In the USA Today — Right-to-work laws lower your pay (by Richard Trumka) — Even some Republicans such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich are starting to understand cutting pay isn’t actually good for a state’s economy. He has said right-to-work is a bad argument to attract jobs. Education and infrastructure are much more important. Responsible leaders know some things are bigger than politics, like your safety on the job and the prospects of your family down the road. A few politicians will be just irresponsible enough to take the corporate right’s bad ideas and run with them. Right-to-work is wrong. It’s backward. It’ll cut your pay.
► At Huffington Post — The GOP’s big squeeze (by USW President Leo W. Gerard) — Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation last week to lower the wages of Wisconsin’s middle class workers. He wants pay cuts for hard working Wisconsinites. And for putting the squeeze on workers, Walker is the darling of the GOP.
► From AP — Machinists seek union vote; Boeing opposes move at SC plant — The Machinists union on Monday asked for an election so about 2,400 Boeing production workers in South Carolina can decide whether they want union representation. The aeronautics giant immediately responded that a union is not in the best interests of the company, the workers or the state.
► In the PSBJ — Machinists defy government opposition, move closer to unionizing Boeing’s South Carolina plant — South Carolina’s government is strongly anti-union, so expect ferocious opposition from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and from Boeing itself.
► MUST-READ from Aviation Week — Boeing should not lean on labor to cover 787 losses (by aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia) — The company continues to lose money on each 787 it builds… Boeing continues to offer an optimistic outlook on 787 costs. The biggest reason to be skeptical is that there is nothing new in Boeing’s approach to the problem. Management believes if it continues to squeeze suppliers and labor, the problem will be solved.
Most of the manufacturing world tells a very different story. Whether it’s with cars, aircraft or turbines, productivity improvements often come from the shop floor. That means convincing the people who build things to identify ways to reduce scrap, improve work flow and eliminate defects. To promote the kind of process improvements that happen in the factory, a workforce needs incentives such as profit-sharing or other compensation. At the very least, machinists and engineers need to believe their work is valued. Taking away pensions at a time of record sales is simply a bad way to motivate workers to go the extra mile… Whoever inherits the CEO mantle from Jim McNerney, who is expected to retire in the next year or two, will inherit a somewhat toxic legacy: awful labor relations; and $28 billion, and quite possibly more, in delayed financial pain.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing is nation’s top winner of state, local tax breaks — Boeing is the biggest winner of state and local tax incentives, receiving more than $13 billion of them, according to a nonprofit watchdog group that tracks the subsidies. Its Boeing subsidies make Washington state the second-leading provider of tax incentives behind New York.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Bill ties Marysville, Arlington businesses’ tax breaks to jobs — A bill enabling Marysville and Arlington to offer new manufacturing businesses a tax break if they create high-paying jobs has cleared a big hurdle. Passed by the state Senate, the bill allows the cities to exempt companies from paying a portion of property taxes if they create at least 25 jobs that pay at least $18 an hour.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Goose, meet gander.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Don’t reward wage theft violators (by AG Bob Ferguson) — Ask yourself: Should government award government contracts to those who willfully steal money from their workers? Working families lose billions of dollars to wage theft each year because crooked employers fail to pay legal minimum wages or overtime rates, require off-the-clock work or take improper pay deductions. In 2012, more money was stolen from workers by their employers than all the combined money stolen in bank, gas station and convenience store robberies.
Those who work hard are entitled to the wages they earn. Not paying an employee’s wages is the same as stealing from that worker. Unfortunately, these two crimes are rarely treated the same, which is why I recently filed the second wage theft criminal prosecution ever brought by the state. Along with criminal enforcement actions, I also believe the government should prevent lawbreakers from receiving taxpayer dollars. Consequently, I am proposing HB 1089 to the Legislature. This bipartisan legislation prohibits willful or repeat violators of the state wage theft laws from receiving state contracts for a period of three years.
► In today’s Olympian — Payday lending bills bad for the poor — Purported payday lending reform keeps turning up like a bad penny at the Washington Legislature. The latest effort, which the state Senate endorsed by a 30-18 vote on Tuesday night, worsens loan terms for typically low-income borrowers.
ALSO at The Stand — No on SB 5899: Payday loans don’t solve crisis, they create one (editorial)
► From KPLU — Zombies to invade Olympia’s Capitol campus, pressing for filmmaker incentives — The makers of the sci-fi series “Z-nation” are setting up shop at the state capitol to show how many kinds of jobs are involved when film crews come to town. They’re pressing lawmakers to approve more incentives for movie making in Washington state.
► In today’s News Tribune — School nurses provide vital link in health care chain, advocates say — State and local officials are looking at staff and funding models in an effort to ensure students receive adequate health care on school grounds.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Still no contract for Providence nurses — After six months of negotiation, contract talks between Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and 1,400 registered nurses remain deadlocked. The two sides have been unable to come to an agreement despite working with a federal mediator.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Pickets, rally today to support nurses at Providence Everett
► From AP — State Supreme Court hears case about ag worker rest breaks — The Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday at Heritage University in Toppenish.
► From Slog — Judge expected to rule today on effort to halt minimum wage rollout for fast-food workers — We are now just two and a half weeks away from the rollout of Seattle’s new minimum wage and there are still as many questions as there are answers.
► At Al Jazeera America — Fight over Seattle’s $15 minimum wage could have national consequences — A federal judge will rule early next week on whether to temporarily suspend a portion of Seattle, Washington’s $15 minimum-wage law, pending the outcome of a longer inquiry into whether the legislation is constitutional. The International Franchise Association (IFA), which requested the temporary injunction, is suing the city of Seattle on charges that the new law unfairly discriminates against franchisees. The outcome of that lawsuit could potentially influence wage laws and other labor regulations across the country.
► At Politico — Obama butters up labor — because they’re about to lose on trade — Some labor officials say, it doesn’t matter if Obama gives lip service to their issues if he can’t get Congress to pass them. As one labor official put it: “He’s our best friend when it doesn’t matter.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Democrats: It’s not just labor and working people who will lose with Fast Track/TPP. See the 1994 elections. The GOP sweep that year wasn’t just about Gingrich’s Contract With America. After NAFTA passed, discouraged union households had historically low voter turnout. Which brings us to…
► From the Hill — Obama trade agenda becomes problem for Hillary Clinton — President Obama’s pro-trade agenda is a problem for Hillary Clinton, who is under pressure from liberals to oppose her former boss’s push for fast-track authority as she prepares to run for the White House. Clinton has distanced herself from NAFTA since her husband fought for its passage. In 2007, she called the agreement “a mistake.”
► From The Hill — House Democrats angry over Obama’s classified trade meeting — House Democrats are criticizing President Obama’s administration for holding a classified briefing on trade with top administration officials, saying it’s an attempt to push a trade program in secret.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s Sunshine Week, and for all the opining about the importance of open government we see from newspapers (and mostly anti-government conservatives), we have yet to see any criticism at all of the secrecy under which these trade deals are not only negotiated but also the secret horse-trading going on behind closed doors right now to get them passed. Most members of Congress haven’t even seen the TPP yet and they are being asked to pass Fast Track and give up their ability to debate or change it.
► In today’s NY Times — ACA data shows largest drop in uninsured in four decades — The Obama administration said on Monday that 16.4 million uninsured people had gained health coverage since major provisions of the Affordable Care Act began to take effect in 2010, driving the largest reduction in the number of uninsured in about 40 years.
► In today’s NY Times — House Republican budget overhauls Medicare, repeals ACA — House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a proposed budget for 2016 that partly privatizes Medicare, turns Medicaid into block grants to the states, repeals the Affordable Care Act and reaches balance in 10 years, challenging Republicans in Congress to make good on their promises to deeply cut federal spending.
► In today’s Washington Post — Tax cuts still don’t pay for themselves — This matters because the House adopted a rule in January that requires “dynamic scoring” of tax bills: analyses that give legislation credit for its likely macroeconomic effects, including any rise in tax receipts due to economic growth. You can get essentially any answer you want out of a dynamic tax model by changing the assumptions about economic behavior that you plug into it. If you turn the dials far enough, you’ll get a report that shows a tax cut will pay for itself, even if it won’t. The key question is, will the CBO be more responsible than the Tax Foundation and other conservative think tanks in choosing its assumptions?
► From AP — McDonald’s workers detail burns, job hazards — McDonald’s workers in 19 cities have filed complaints over burns from popping grease, a lack of protective equipment and other workplace hazards, according to labor organizers.
► In today’s Washington Post — Starbucks keeps trying to fix American politics by writing things on cups (by Phillip Bump) — Starbucks, like many other “corporate citizens,” believes that its ability to create a self-replicating coffee-spouting business empire somehow translates into either having unique insights into the human mind (“people like coffee”) or into how to convince people to take action (like buying coffee). Overlay that with the still-in-vogue “let’s make the world a better place through our capitalism” thinking (see Coke, McDonald’s) and you get this immediately questionable idea.
EDITOR’S NOTE — But that doesn’t stop the local press sycophants from fawning all over Howard Schultz for bravely coming out against racism and “political gridlock in Congress.” You’ll excuse us if we just think of him as the a**hole who lost us the Sonics.
► In today’s Washington Post — Is Chris Borland’s retirement the beginning of the end for the NFL? — Chris Borland is quitting one of the most coveted jobs in America, retiring as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers at 24 because he’s concerned about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma. Now, just weeks before a new crop of college kids are drafted into the league, the NFL finds its offseason dominated by stories about young players who are quitting.
► From the Hill — Outsourcing in America (by Ron Hira) — The work that the 400 IT employees at Southern California Edison do isn’t disappearing, instead it and their jobs are being taken over by foreign guestworkers here on H-1B visas. Those guestworkers are employed by the two leading India-based outsourcing firms, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys. The SCE workers are wondering: “Why should I lose my job when the work still needs to be done? Why is the government doing this to me and my family?”
Adding to the injustice of losing their jobs, the SCE workers are being forced to do something that is so common in the industry it is a term of art: “knowledge transfer,” an ugly euphemism that means being forced to train your own foreign replacement. The SCE workers are, “demoralized; in disbelief; beyond furious; down in the dumps; feeling anguish; depressed; feeling dehumanized; feeling humiliated; worrying about the future; worrying about paying the bills.” The SCE workers rightly place the culpability squarely on SCE executives, the president, and Congress. One worker simply said, “Shame on Edison for doing this and shame on our politicians for enabling it.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.