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Deals and no deals, Dems want $12, less conversation…

Friday, May 1, 2015




► In today’s Seattle Times — Grad students employed by UW reach tentative agreement with university — UAW 4121, which represents 4,500 student employees reached an agreement with UW that provides for improvements in compensation, including mandatory student fees, and benefits, the union announced Thursday night.

ALSO at The Stand — UW student employees reach tentative contract agreement

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Providence nurses overwhelmingly approve contract — Registered nurses at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett have overwhelmingly approved a new contract, bringing an end to a months-long labor dispute that saw nurses handing out leaflets and organizing a rally to try to win public support for their cause.

ALSO at The Stand — Providence Everett nurses ‘thrilled’ to ratify new contract

simpson-shelton-mill► In today’s Olympian — Simpson pulling up stakes is painful (editorial) — Some 270 jobs at Simpson’s mills in Shelton and Dayton are going away by June 30. The Shelton mill could be replaced by a new state-of-the-art mill employing about 150 to 200 people in 2017, which Sierra Pacific says it intends, but don’t hold your breath. There is no guarantee that Simpson employees, many of whom now belong to a Machinists union local, would be rehired — or paid as well in what is likely to be a nonunion shop.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Impasse looms in KapStone labor talks — KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. appears closer to declaring an impasse in its yearlong talks over a new contract, according to union sources.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — North Whatcom fire chief to resign amid labor tensions — The chief of Whatcom County’s largest fire district told staff this week he plans to resign in the midst of a labor impasse between firefighters and leadership.

► In the PSBJ — Everything you need to know about today’s May Day protest

EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s not a protest. It’s a rally and march.




fey-jake► In today’s News Tribune — House transportation plan offers relief and reform (by Rep. Jake Fey) — House negotiators, myself included, are committed to reaching a deal that will grow our economy and help fight traffic congestion. We also understand the need for reform, which is why we passed legislation to reform project delivery, streamline permitting and make agencies more accountable. These are real reforms that will generate real savings. Senate Republicans, however say that we need major policy changes and fund shifts before making any new investments in transportation infrastructure. It is difficult to take such a position seriously when members of their own party grouse that we are not spending enough money in their district. We need a transportation package that benefits everyone — not one that hinges on policies that hurt our workers, our schools and our economy.

► In the PSBJ — Boeing tax breaks-for-jobs bill has ‘dim chance’ of passing, sponsor says — A bill intended to force Boeing to keep jobs in Washington state in exchange for tax breaks is unlikely to become law this session, said Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett), who sponsored HB 2147 in February. But she isn’t giving up for the next session.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Strong leadership from state attorney general on immigration (editorial) — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson took the lead on filing an amicus brief on behalf of 15 states and the District of Columbia defending President Obama’s most recent efforts to adjust the status of millions of people living and working in the United States.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Rep. Susan Fagan officially resigns her seat — The Pullman Republican has resigned in the wake of an ongoing investigation by the Legislative Ethics Board into allegations she falsified expense reports.




► From AP — Republicans pass deep spending cuts, aim at ACA — Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the first joint House-Senate budget plan in six years on Thursday, a measure that aids the party’s goal of dismantling President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It passed 226-197, with Washington’s congressional delegation voting along party lines (except Rep. Herrera Beutler, who did not vote). No Democrats supported it, while 14 Republicans voted against it.

murray-patty► From The Hill — Top Dems line up behind $12 minimum wage — The Obama administration and congressional Democrats are making a new push to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. Top Democrats are getting behind the Raise the Wage Act introduced Thursday, which they say would increase the federal minimum wage for nearly 38 million workers. The push goes beyond a previous proposal to lift the wage to $10.10 over three years. “Let’s make sure hard work pays off,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a sponsor of the bill.

ALSO see statements of support for this bill from Sen. Murray and Reps. Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, and Adam Smith.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — A minimum wage that works (editorial) — Public and even corporate recognition of the need for better pay is growing. Although the 2014 elections were touted as a Republican landslide, voters endorsed measures to increase the minimum wage in five states, four of them Republican strongholds.

► In today’s NY Times — Obama pledges to defend Democrats on trade deal — The president made a personal plea to a group of congressional Democrats to support a far-reaching Pacific trade deal even in the face of political peril, promising them during a two-hour meeting at the White House that he would defend and campaign for lawmakers who risked their jobs to back him.

► From The Hill — Obama meets with Dems to push trade plan — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), one of the few Democratic proponents of the president’s trade agenda, called the meeting a “tour de force.”

► From The Hill — GOP prepares list of demands if justices rule against ACA — Republicans will be willing to strike a deal with Obama to ensure that the 7.5 million people who stand to lose their subsidies are protected, at least until the 2016 elections.

 But in return, they would demand that Obama nix the employer and individual mandates for insurance coverage.




union-card-cold-dead-hand► From AP — Illinois governor tries novel approach in anti-union battle — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is pitching city councils, county commissioners and business groups on the idea of local “empowerment zones,” in which voters could approve making union membership voluntary, rather than mandatory, at unionized workplaces in their communities.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The right-wing Freedom Foundation are the local standard-bearers for this “novel” national strategy — one that has been pushed for quite some time by the corporate-funded ALEC as well as the Heritage Foundation. The goal is to set up legal challenges that could go all the way to the corporate-friendly U.S. Supreme Court. So far, the FF has had little success in Washington state.

► From In These Times — In major anti-union case, union-busters don’t even pretend unions don’t benefit workersBain v. California Teachers Association is in some ways little more than a rehash of previous attacks on labor, but it repackages those attacks’ allegations with a pro-union façade. In doing so, this case represents the high-water mark of perverting the First Amendment as a tool against labor.

► In the Pittsburgh Courier — ‘Right-to-work’ laws depress union and non-union wages — Despite what the defenders of “right-to-work” laws claim, those policies offer less protection for employees and depress the wages of non-union and union workers, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute.





► In today’s NY Times — Picking up the tab for low wages (editorial) — The problem is that as labor standards have eroded, allowing profitable corporations to pay chronically low wages, taxpayers are not only supporting the working poor, as intended, but also providing a huge subsidy for employers by picking up the difference between what workers earn and what they need to meet basic living costs. The low-wage business model has essentially turned public aid into a form of corporate welfare.

wp-lavish-potomac-estate► From the Washington Post’s Real Estate section — Paradise in Potomac: Every inch of couple’s estate built for living lavishly — Joe Bruno and his wife, Cynthia Marini Bruno, have never been known to do something on a small scale. The grand entrance to their Potomac estate starts when custom-designed, wrought-iron gates tipped in gold slowly glide open and reveal a spectacular fountain and stone steps reminiscent of Villa D’Este near Rome… Bruno is a Ferrari-driving entrepreneur who since 2004 has served as president of Building Hope, a nonprofit that provides business, technical and financial assistance to public charter schools.

► In today’s Washington Post — Germany shows the way on labor (by Harold Meyerson) — “Policy,” says David Rolf, the Seattle union official chiefly responsible for the first successful campaigns for a $15 minimum wage, “is just frozen power.” By which measure, the problem with U.S. trade policy for the past quarter-century is that it reflects the growing imbalance of power between investors, able to profit from global markets, and workers, who have lost the institutions that once enabled them to improve or at least maintain their jobs and incomes.




► This, one of our all-time favorite music videos, goes out from The Entire Staff of The Stand to the good people serving in the Washington State Legislature. Happy May Day!


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