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Paying for low wages, ‘limiting’ Boeing, Fast Track update…

Tuesday, April 14, 2015




state-aid-to-workers► In today’s Washington Post — How much each state pays on low-wage workers — Fully 65% of state welfare spending in New Hampshire went to working families, a larger share than in any other state. Texas was next, at 64%, followed by Oklahoma at 62%. Working families account for the smallest share in D.C. and West Virginia, at 38 percent each. Alaska and Michigan were next, at 43 percent and 44 percent, respectively. (Washington and Oregon were both 51%.)

ALSO in The Stand — ‘$15 is Just the Beginning!’ Actions Wednesday across Washington state, nation

► From Daily Kos — Low wages mean more than $150 billion in public assistance for working families — A new study looks at participation in four key aid programs and finds:

…  between 2009 and 2011 the federal government spent $127.8 billion per year on these four programs for working families and the states collectively spent $25 billion per year on Medicaid/CHIP and TANF for working families for a total of $152.8 billion per year. In all, more than half — 56 percent — of combined state and federal spending on public assistance goes to working families.

More than half of fast food workers are enrolled in one of these programs; nearly half of child care and home care workers are, as are one in four part-time college faculty. That means these are industries where low pay from employers is subsidize by public assistance — by taxpayers.

UNITE-HERE-members► From Huffington Post — Hotel industry spins wage hike as ‘extreme’ while CEOs rake in millions (by Mary Bottari) — Hotels are making a killing. Occupancy rates are exceeding pre-recession highs, and are expected to reach record levels in 2016. Profits per room are up over 11 percent this April compared to April 2014 and the average daily rate for a room is almost 13 percent higher than it was a year ago. Executive salaries have skyrocketed. But on Wednesday, April 15 — the same day that hundreds of thousands of working people in over 200 cities are expected to participate in the largest-ever mobilization of underpaid workers — the American Hotel & Lodging Association will join forces with the National Restaurant Association to ask Congress to block a federal minimum wage increase, shrink the number of workers eligible for employer-provided health care insurance, and challenge the National Labor Relations Board ruling protecting the rights of franchise workers.




south-carolina► In the PSBJ — Former Renton boss Beverly Wyse: Unions are a ‘limiting factor’ Boeing S.C. doesn’t need — Boeing boss Beverly Wyse worked well with unions when she was running the 737 line in Renton, but South Carolina is a very different world. “It’s a different environment,” she said. “It’s the company that’s now pushing employee involvement and taking it beyond what we can get in a union environment. Those are things where I think it’s a different world.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — A different world… where Boeing workers make $10/hour less.




clibborn-judy► In today’s Olympian — Legislature’s Democrats, Republicans agree on gas tax increase, at odds on details — Democrats who control the state House agree on something with Republicans who run the Senate: Washington should raise the gas tax by 11.7 cents per gallon to pay for transportation projects.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Democrats, GOP differ on transportation spending reform — There are two areas in which the House and Senate plans sharply diverge: House Democrats reject several reforms pushed by Senate Republicans, and they don’t pour as many dollars into projects in Snohomish County. The House plan does not contain the Senate’s so-called “poison pill” that would shift money for public transit to road projects if the governor pursues a low-carbon-fuel standard.

MORE transportation coverage from APKUOW, Columbian, Seattle Times, and the Spokesman-Review.

► From KPLU — Activists push to save Washington Voting Rights Act — A bill to aimed at protecting voting rights in Washington isn’t dead but it’s barely breathing. And immigrant and civil rights organizations are scrambling to keep it alive.

ALSO at The Stand — Civil rights movement continues in Olympia (by John Burbank)

chavez-cesar► From KUOW — Should Washington state recognize César Chávez Day? — Recognition of César Chávez Day passed the Washington state House easily last month. But sponsor Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila) said he’s concerned because the measure appears to have stalled in the Republican-controlled state Senate. The only senator on the record so far as opposed, Sen. Brian Dansel, R-Republic, declined to comment




► In today’s Seattle Times — Young couple, infant son killed when construction slab falls off Highway 410 — Crews were installing a sidewalk on an overpass in Bonney Lake when a chunk of concrete fell to the roadway below, killing a family of three.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle council approves paid parental leave for city workers — Seattle city employees who are new parents will get up to four weeks of paid time off under legislation approved Monday by the City Council. Mayor Ed Murray is expected to sign the legislation.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Plane returns to Sea-Tac after screams heard in cargo hold — An Alaska Airlines flight turned back for an emergency landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday after a Menzies Aviation ramp agent, who had fallen asleep in the plane’s cargo hold, began banging and screaming.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle firm raising pay of all staffers to minimum $70,000 — Gravity Payments founder Dan Price told his 120-person staff Monday he would raise the salary of even the lowest-paid clerk over the next three years to a minimum $70,000. He will slash his own salary and use company profits to do so.




► From AP — ‘Fast track’ trade bill could advance soon, says Sen. Hatch — Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee that oversees trade, told reporters he was continuing to negotiate with the committee’s senior Democrat, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, on a bipartisan “fast-track” trade bill that could be considered soon.

WA-congress-fast-track► From The Hill — Obama’s trade pitch falling flat with Dems — An aggressive effort by the administration to win support for President Obama’s trade agenda appears to be stuck. As few as 15 House Democrats might vote to give the president fast-track authority, according to dozens of Democratic lawmakers, business group representatives and activists on both sides of the trade fight interviewed by The Hill. That’s far fewer than the 50 Democrats Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republicans have asked the White House to deliver.

ALSO at The Stand — Tell Congress to vote against ‘Fast Track’

► From the Hill — Labor unions ramp up opposition to Obama trade agenda — The AFL-CIO is ramping up its efforts this week to convince Congress to oppose giving the White House fast-track authority on trade. The labor group is holding events across the country as part of a “week of action” on trade.

► From Huffington Post — Fast Track to lost jobs, lower wages (by Robert E. Scott) — Experience has shown that these trade and investment deals typically result in job losses and downward pressure on the wages of most American workers. The last thing America needs is renewal of fast track and more trade and investment deals rushed through Congress… The president can continue the fight for fast-track and the TPP, raising corporate profits while putting good manufacturing jobs and wages at risk. Or he can take action to create jobs and reduce inequality. He can’t do both.

► In today’s NY Times — Don’t keep the TPP talks secret (by Margot Kaminsky) — Even if current negotiations over the trade agreement end with no deal, the draft chapter will still remain classified for four years as national security information. National security secrecy may be appropriate to protect us from our enemies; it should not be used to protect our politicians from us.




H-1B_layoffs► From AP — U.S. has record number of applications for H-1B tech visas — Applications for H-1B visas allowing U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers in science, engineering and computer programming totaled a record 233,000 for fiscal 2016. A maximum of 85,000 of the work visas are available each year under limits set by Congress, despite years of heavy lobbying by tech companies to raise the cap.

► From the Hill — White House blasts GOP estate tax vote — White House officials on Monday blasted an upcoming House GOP vote to repeal the estate tax, saying it set up a stark contrast with President Obama’s proposals aimed at giving tax relief to the middle class. They cast the estate tax repeal as a giveaway to the richest of the rich — helping just 5,400 families out of the millions in the U.S.

► From AFL-CIO Now — Want to hear the band? Pay them — The Fair Play Fair Pay Act would ensure that the performing musicians and vocalists would receive fair market value when their work is played on AM/FM radio and on satellite radio, which currently pays far below market value royalties.

► From the Hill — $830M in Veteran Affairs cost overruns sparks outrage — Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) is slamming the Veterans Affairs Department for funneling dollars away from a program that allows veterans to seek private medical care to cover $830 million in cost overruns for an agency hospital.

► From the Hill — Patty Murray declines to back Dick Durbin as whip in next Congress — Sen. Patty Murray is refusing to endorse Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin for the job of Democratic whip, a sign that the Washington senator is keeping open the option of seeking the No. 2 position in her caucus hierarchy.




► In today’s NY Times — Women still earn a lot less than men (editorial) — Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, the day selected each year by the National Committee on Pay Equity, a coalition of women’s, civil rights and labor groups, to draw attention to how much longer women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. The longer this pay gap persists, the less it can be explained away by factors other than discrimination.

► From Think Progress — California advances bill to force NFL teams to pay cheerleaders minimum wage — The state labor committee passed the bill that followed lawsuits against multiple NFL teams, including the Oakland Raiders.


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