Monday, April 13, 2015
► From Washington News Service — Washington state employees challenge Senate budget ‘suggestions’ — WFSE Executive Director Greg Devereux: “The Senate has rejected the contracts and then said, ‘Here’s an alternative pot of money — go negotiate within those parameters.’ That, in any scheme, is an unfair labor practice. You cannot do that, and we’ve been saying that for weeks.”
ALSO at The Stand — Public Service Matters events across state Saturday, April 18
► In the Seattle Times — GOP: Inslee making unreasonable demands for taxes, state pay — As Republicans and Democrats prepare to negotiate a new state budget, GOP lawmakers accuse Gov. Jay Inslee of making unreasonable demands in recent closed-door meetings… Inslee said he expected lawmakers to fully fund state worker and teacher pay raises and that he wouldn’t accept borrowing from the state capital budget, vague “efficiency” savings, nor sign any tax cut until his other requirements were met.
► In the Peninsula Daily News — Sen. Hargrove says contempt sanctions for Legislature from high court are a possibility — Neither the state Senate nor the House budget eliminates the need for local levies to support schools, which the court insists is the state’s responsibility. They also haven’t met the court’s demand for a permanent revenue stream that doesn’t depend on local property tax initiatives. “That is an 80 to 89 percent possibility,” state Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam said Friday about contempt sanctions.
► In the Seattle Times — The party that wants to put ‘public’ back into public education (by Danny Westneat) — Republicans have transmogrified into the higher-education party. The budget they passed through the Senate boosts spending on the state’s flagship school, the UW, by an enormous 34 percent compared with the last two-year budget. What’s new is that almost all of that would go to students in an unprecedented slashing of tuition. The socialistic bent of all this took people by surprise, especially Democrats…. What’s not clear is how Republicans would pay for all this.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — China flag at Capitol stirs flap (by Jim Camden) — The flag of the People’s Republic of China was flying on the middle flagpole in the plaza between the Capitol and the Temple of Justice a week ago Saturday. The bright red flag with the four little stars and one big star had been there since the day before, when Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai paid a courtesy call on Gov. Jay Inslee. When visiting dignitaries stop by the Capitol, it’s customary to fly their flag out of diplomatic courtesy. Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) called it “disgraceful.”
► In the (Everett) Herald — Holding Boeing accountable (editorial) — The state needs to better track not just the jobs involved in the aerospace tax incentives but also the other economic benefits they are supposed to provide. When Boeing prepares its next update of one of its airliners and seeks another extension of tax preferences, state legislators and officials need to be clear about what they expect in terms of accountability, whether that’s the number of jobs or Boeing’s work statement.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Supply chain problems keep Boeing parked on Paine Field runway — The Boeing Co. has informed officials at Paine Field that it needs to use the airport’s “crosswind” runway as a parking lot for a few months longer because of supply-chain problems. Shortages of parts, especially luxury seats for 787 Dreamliners, are fouling Boeing’s production and delivery schedules, according to sources at the company.
► In the (Everett) Herald — 4 suppliers cited after fatal accident at Boeing plant — The state Department of Labor and Industries has cited four Boeing suppliers for workplace safety violations discovered during the department’s investigation into a fatal accident at the airplane maker’s Paine Field plant in 2014.
► In the Int’l Business Times — In Boeing union election, Machinists face heavy opposition from South Carolina elected officials — As union elections near, elected officials can generally say things that employers cannot communicate without risking labor law violations.
► From KPLU — Contract talks underway between student workers, UW — Thousands of workers at the University of Washington who teach classes, grade papers and conduct scientific research are negotiating a new contract with the university. They are collectively known as Academic Student Employees, or ASEs. Many are pursuing graduate degrees and are PHD candidates. Roughly 4,000 ASEs are represented by United Auto Workers Local 4121.
► From AP — UW increases student worker wage to $11 an hour — The University of Washington says it is increasing the minimum pay for its student workers to $11 an hour. The pay raise will affect about 2,600 students and will be retroactive to April 1.
► At Think Progress — Seattle restaurant data demolishes conservative argument against $15 minimum wage — The Big Picture pulled the numbers on how many restaurant permits have been issued by the city each month going back to the start of 2012. The chart shows plenty of ups and downs — what data scientists call “noise” — but the 12-month average for permits is almost perfectly steady. Meanwhile, the numbers show, the city’s restaurant scene has grown consistently, with more people opening up food and drink places than closing them.
► In the Oregonian — Container-terminal loss at Port of Portland felt deeply upriver — The Port of Portland faced another round of trouble last week: Shipping line Hapag-Lloyd officially announced that no more ships would be visiting the city’s container terminal. That might’ve surprised some in Portland, but it the lentil farmers more than 400 miles up the Columbia River already knew.
► In the Oregonian — Solving Port of Portland problems requires union cooperation (editorial) — Terminal operator ICTSI Oregon Inc., with more than 20 years left on a 25 year contract, isn’t going anywhere. And dockworkers will continue to be represented by the ILWU, which has its own contract with the Pacific Maritime Association. Until ICTSI and the ILWU can end their feud, importers and exporters likely will have to find alternatives to the Port’s Terminal 6. And the Oregon economy will suffer.
► From the Hill — Uninsured rate drops again under ACA — A new survey finds that only 11.9 percent of people in the United States lacked health insurance in the first quarter of the year, a drop of 5.2 percent since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
► From AFP — Clinton takes White House bid on the road — Hillary Clinton was on a campaign road trip deep into the U.S. heartland Monday after launching her bid to become the first woman to win the White House with a pledge to champion “everyday Americans.”
► From AP — N.Y. attorney general questions work practices of 13 retailers — New York’s attorney general has launched an inquiry into 13 retailers, questioning whether they require workers remain on-call for short-notice shifts and pay for less than four hours when employees report for work, a practice not legal in New York.
► From Salon — McMugging the middle class: How corporate welfare conquered the American economy (by Christopher Dale) — While the tangible, physical recipients of government subsidies are the working poor, the true benefactors are big businesses, who are only rewarded for — and therefore encouraged to — pay their employees unlivable wages. Let’s call this what it is: legalized robbery. The middle class is subsidizing slave wages. And hopefully, we’re getting tired of doing so.
► From Huffington Post — What is a ‘corporatist agenda’ and where can we find one? (by SPEEA’s Stan Sorscher) — The White House has several serious challenges with their narrative that the Trans-Pacific Partnership “is not part of some corporatist agenda.” First, TPP looks like a corporatist agenda, walks like one, quacks like one, and has the same effect on my daily life as a corporatist agenda… Another challenge is that the White House wants to sell TPP using the tattered old promise of jobs, which we’ve heard for 20 years. Since NAFTA, millions of family-wage manufacturing jobs have gone offshore to low-wage countries with weak protections for workers and the environment. TPP will not create jobs (in America). A third challenge falls on the sketchy argument, that TPP will contain China or put our values above theirs. I’ve tried, and I cannot make any sense of this argument. Even if TPP could impose values, TPP does not reflect my values. Corporate advisors put their values and their priorities into TPP. My values and interests were pushed to the side.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.