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Public Service Matters, compromising in Tacoma, fast tracking at Nike…

Thursday, May 7, 2015




scearcy-john-ibt-117► In the Walla Walla U-B — Corrections officers faced risks to quell brawl at WW prison (by Teamsters 117 Secretary Treasurer John Scearcy) — The recent brawl that took place at the Washington State Penitentiary is another reminder of the inherent dangers of working inside a prison. Correctional employees routinely face this type of violence. These are important, difficult jobs. Yet too often correctional employees don’t receive the recognition they deserve. We can support our state’s correctional employees by fully funding their contract, which is currently being considered by the State Legislature.

► In today’s Columbian — Fund negotiated contracts (letter) — As a transportation engineer for the state DOT office in Vancouver since 1999, I have worked to ensure that transportation projects in this region are completed in a safe, efficient and responsible manner… While I didn’t choose a career in public service for the money, the last seven years have been especially economically challenging. The costs of essentials have gone up, while my paycheck has remained stagnant or been reduced… I urge the Legislature to pass a budget that prioritizes funding for the valuable services that public employees provide.


Olympia — There will be sign-waving and the delivery of petitions from Washington citizens in support of fully funding the state employee contracts. Sign the petition! Join us at the Tivoli Fountain for this event from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Click here to RSVP.

Kirkland and Auburn — Sign-waving from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in support of public employees and funding their contracts at the intersections of Central Way & 6th Street in Kirkland (RSVP) and Harvey Road & Auburn Way in Auburn. (RSVP)

Kennewick — Local 1253 of the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME will have a Public Service Recognition Week booth at the Southridge Sports Complex from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to in Kennewick. (RSVP)

Check out #PublicServiceMatters for more photos/statements.

public-service-recognition-week► From Huffington Post — Government works, even if Washington, D.C. doesn’t (by J. David Cox) — Sure, the political system in Washington can certainly be described as dysfunctional — and that’s putting it kindly. But lumping together self-interested politicians with dedicated public sector employees is just plain wrong. These are two very different groups with two very different attitudes, and we cannot let the persistent shortcomings of the former undermine the vital mission of the latter. Public sector employees are doing their best under difficult circumstances to carry out programs and policies that Americans depend on every day. Public employees deliver your mail, care for veterans, defend our border, inspect our food, and more. Frankly, some politicians are just busy working for themselves.




hill-poker-chips-front► In today’s News Tribune — Republicans: State worker contracts likely to be approved — Eight months after labor agreements with at least 50,000 state employees held out the prospect of raises (their first in seven years), it remains no sure bet that the Legislature will fund the deals. But now a growing number of Senate Republicans are publicly predicting that the contracts negotiated by Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration and public employee unions will be approved. Even the GOP’s top budget writer, Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond), has floated the idea of approving the contracts, although he wants to do so in exchange for some changes in state policy on bargaining, such as making negotiations between unions and the governor’s labor-relations team more transparent. Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina), the top House budget writer, said he is open to talking about the bargaining process, although not to adopting a Republican proposal to open up bargaining meetings to the public along the lines of what has been suggested by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALSO at The Stand — Sen. Hill’s collective bargaining chips (WSLC Legislative Update)

► In today’s Columbian — Teachers irked by pay raises for lawmakers — Across the state, teachers are staging one-day walkouts to increase pressure on lawmakers, in part, to approve cost-of-living raises for educators. On Wednesday, May 13, the same day many of the local walkouts are scheduled, an independent commission is expected to vote on increasing lawmakers’ salary by 11 percent.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee: Budget talks have ‘a long ways to go’ — As the special session slides through its first full week, House Democrats and Senate Republicans have exchanged proposals toward compromise for the 2015-17 operating budget. But, “they were quite minimal in their approach,” Inslee said. “And there’s a long, long ways to go.”

oklahoma► At — Does Boeing owe more for Washington tax breaks? — What is it with Oklahoma City? First the Sonics, then Woodland Park Zoo elephants, now about 900 Boeing jobs are moving there. This despite the state giving Boeing a record $8.7 billion in tax incentives to land the 777X. Does Boeing owe our state more? That’s the question as lawmakers in Olympia debate a measure that would tie incentives to Boeing keeping jobs in Washington state.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Letter Carriers deliver hope to food banks (by Julie Muhlstein) — That bag in your mailbox isn’t for trash. Don’t take it out to walk the dog. Mail carriers delivering bright yellow bags this week hope to pick them up Saturday filled with nonperishable food. Saturday is the annual Letter Carriers Food Drive. Its success is critical to feeding people in need, especially through the summer when food bank donations are down and kids are out of school.

ALSO at The Stand — Letter Carriers’ Food Drive is this Saturday

MORE food drive coverage in the (Longview) Daily News.

► In today’s News Tribune — Seize chance for compromise on Tacoma’s minimum wage (by Matt Driscoll) — After months of relative silence on the matter, and with a written blessing from the Chamber in hand, the mayor and a unanimous City Council now want to come up with a ballot initiative to compete with the 15 Now effort, seen as too drastic and dangerous… The compromise here is how high we go and how fast we get there. Any move toward a training wage or a tip credit would be — in addition to costly and difficult to enforce — a step backward.




murray-patty► From The Hill — Murray breaks with GOP leaders on trade — Washington Sen. Patty Murray is breaking with the rest of the Senate Democratic leadership over trade legislation. The bill puts Murray in a tough spot because most congressional Democrats oppose it, but trade is vital to her home state’s economic interests. It’s a delicate situation for Murray, given her interest in running for Democratic whip after the 2016 elections and the fact that two-thirds of the Democratic caucus opposes fast-track.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Again (and again), Fast Track is NOT a question of whether you support trade. Everyone supports trade, especially in this state. The question is whether, given 40 years of experience with corporate-written “free trade” policies that have killed jobs and exacerbated U.S. income inequality, will Congress grease the skids for another NAFTA-like agreement? You can be from Washington state, support trade, and oppose more-of-the-same dysfunctional trade policy. Just ask Rep. Jim McDermott.

► From The Hill — Will GOP attack Dems on trade? — Will Republicans run campaign ads against Democrats who back fast-track trade authority? GOP operatives aren’t ruling it out, highlighting the tight spot many Democrats find themselves in as they come under pressure from President Obama to support his trade agenda… Trade is a populist issue, and there remains the potential for Republican challengers in blue-collar districts to go after Democratic fast-track supporters, both for killing U.S. jobs and empowering a president that conservatives simply don’t trust.


► In today’s Oregonian — Obama to press for Fast Track on Friday at Nike — The Obama administration “can point to Nike with 9,000 or 10,000 professionals in Oregon,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), but he said the firm has benefited by out-sourcing manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries. DeFazio, a longtime opponent of free-trade agreements, said the latest trade deal could lead additional manufacturers to “emulate Nike and go into Vietnam with 60-cent-an-hour labor.”

► In today’s Oregonian — Portland ‘makers’ community heads to White House – but won’t join Obama at Nike — A half-dozen leaders from Portland’s “maker” community will head to Washington, D.C., next week to join a roundtable discussion on artisan production and handcrafted innovation. But some of those same leaders refused an invitation to attend President Obama’s trade forum Friday at Nike’s headquarters near Beaverton over objections to a trade agreement now being debated in Washington.




► From The Hill — 17 million gained coverage under ACA, study finds — Around 17 million people have gained health insurance since the core of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2013, according to a RAND Corporation study. The study finds that 22.8 million people signed up for coverage between September 2013 and February 2015, while 5.9 million lost coverage, leading to a net gain of 16.9 million.

► From TPM — Could Democrats troll Republicans right back on Social Security? — Democrats are considering introducing legislation that would combine disability and retirement funds so the so-called “reallocation” between the two funds would no longer be required. Such a move would take Congress out of the mix and allow the funds to be managed as one.

► From the Hill — Clock ticks down on highway funding — Congress has just weeks to sift through several options for short-term highway funding, as Republicans scramble to ensure that a shutdown of infrastructure projects doesn’t occur this summer.




► From AFL-CIO Now — Tufts students’ hunger strike seeks justice, jobs for janitors — Five students at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., are continuing their hunger strike that began May 3 to protest the university’s plan to cut its janitorial staff by 17%, by firing one in six janitorial workers in early June. Also dozens of non-striking students are participating in daylong fasts to show solidarity with the janitors, and many have set up tents around the main administration building.

► From Huffington Post — Here’s the California city that will have the highest minimum wage in the country — Emeryville, a small city in the San Francisco Bay Area, has given initial approval to the nation’s highest minimum wage by setting baseline pay at $16 an hour in 2019, with gradual increases leading up to that level.


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

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