Wednesday, May 20, 2015
► From KIRO TV — State employees to walk off jobs to protest lack of raises — A growing revolt over money and the state legislature has prompted state workers to plan a walkout Wednesday afternoon. Everett Community College is one of 70 state agencies where state workers are set to walk off the job starting at noon. The union that represents state employees (WFSE/AFSCME) says it will be the largest coordinated job action since a strike 14 years ago.
ALSO at The Stand — State employees to walk out in unison TODAY over stalled raises
► From KUOW — Inslee says $1.4 billion tax package no longer needed — One day after the state got a favorable revenue forecast, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said he no longer believes the $1.4 billion tax package he proposed in December is necessary. So how big a tax package is Inslee proposing now? “I don’t have a clear number for you,” he said, but he said he still believes “some” taxes will be needed.
► From KIRO TV — 6,000 teachers, support staff march in one-day strike — Thousands of teachers marched through downtown Seattle on Tuesday as part of a one-day strike to encourage Washington lawmakers to put more money into the state education budget.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Thousands of teachers hit streets in Seattle — and Dems walk out, too — Some lawmakers criticized the walkouts, saying they want to dock teacher pay for skipping school, prompting Democrats to leave a hearing about a GOP-favored bill to punish teachers for strikes.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Note to legislators: W.C. Fields was right about working with children (Spin Control) — All the drama was upstaged by a 10-year-old who told the committee, “I think teachers should get paid for strike days. Teachers work so hard to teach their kids in their class.” Heather Gow, an Issaquah 4th grader, urged the committee not to find ways to punish teachers, and instead pay them for the strike day. She later told reporters her teacher Patty McElligott deserved a day off, although she went to a rally at another district instead of staying home and relaxing.
► In today’s Olympian — Salary commission action looks just (editorial) — If the Legislature votes to accept contracts negotiated with the governor, which we strongly favor, state workers will get cost-of-living adjustments of 3 percent July 1 and 1.8 percent next year. The 11% legislative raises are evidence lawmakers should do more for teachers, who get smaller COLAs than state workers under the Senate budget plan.
► In the Olympian — Budget writers, ple-e-e-ase negotiate (editorial) — Among its sins, the GOP plan raids $200 million from a public works projects fund and then uses bonds to replace the money. It also requires Inslee’s cut-weary agencies to miraculously find $65 million in new efficiencies. It skimps on food aid for the poor and pay for workers and commits other indignities — all in the name of avoiding taxes so the 2016 election slogans can stay intact.
► In today’s Columbian — PDC: Pike, Benton violated campaign laws — Two local lawmakers violated state law by soliciting donations for Clark County council candidates during the legislative session, a Public Disclosure Commission spokeswoman said.
► MUST-READ in The Stranger — Why does becoming a mom mean potentially losing your job? — Numerous studies prove that women who receive paid maternity leave are more likely to return to their jobs, thereby remaining contributing, upwardly mobile members of the workforce, so why is the United States the sole industrialized country in the world that doesn’t mandate some amount of paid leave? Only California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island offer paid leave; Washington State passed a law in 2007 requiring paid leave for new parents, but it hasn’t gone into effect because it lacks funding.
► From The Hill — McConnell moves to end debate on trade bill — Senate Democrats slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday, suggesting he is breaking his promise to have an “open” amendment process for a key piece of trade legislation.
► From AFL-CIO Now — America’s working families need action on currency manipulation (by Richard Trumka) — In addition, we remain gravely concerned there will be limited consideration of amendments and a rush to move Fast Track through the Senate. In 2002, by contrast, the Senate allowed for a robust debate, taking three weeks to consider the bill. The Senate should not shut down debate simply to dispose of a troublesome bill before heading into a holiday weekend.
► In today’s Washington Post — Rising skepticism among Democrats about Obama’s big trade deal — There are lingering questions about how the TPP’s labor standards would work. Democrats are hoping to gain reassurance on these points before voting to give Obama Fast Track authority.
► From The Hill — Obama faces high stakes on trade bill — He has made a sweeping trade deal with 12 Pacific Rim nations the centerpiece of his second-term economic agenda, even though it faces staunch opposition from his liberal base.
► From AP — Seattle to John Kerry: Now is not a good time to talk trade –Local officials told Secretary of State John Kerry he’d be better off avoiding Seattle to deliver his trade speech because of ongoing protests over Arctic drilling.
ALSO at The Stand — Secretary Kerry: ‘Export our planes, not our jobs’
► In the Financial Times — Five arguments against the self-defeating secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — Trade agreements aren’t just a technical exercise or even a straightforward pursuit of national interest. They address issues on which domestic constituencies are often sharply divided. Secrecy retards discussion and undermines the legitimacy of the final outcome. It may be annoying to have gales of populist rhetoric swirling around a highly technical debate, but hey, that’s democracy.
► In today’s Seattle Times — One thing NAFTA tells us about TPP (by JonTalton) — The ever-growing trade deficit (since NAFTA passed) means lost American jobs, especially those in well-paying industries. Overall, trade creates some jobs, eliminates others. But with a world of cheap labor, American manufacturers have sent many better-paying jobs overseas and closed factories here. This also depresses wages here. TPP is sold as a “high-standard” agreement. But would it do what NAFTA didn’t? We can’t say for sure because the complex agreement is secret. But history suggests more of the same.
► From Huffington Post — Candidates for president: Which side are you on? (by CWA President Larry Cohen) — For a presidential candidate, the current debate on Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is central to credibility on any claim to a populist agenda… Democratic presidential contenders need to step up now and tell us “which side they are on.”
► In the PSBJ — Union organizers set to try again in S.C., this time with list of Boeing workers — IAM organizers are regrouping for another attempt to unionize Boeing’s North Charleston Dreamliner plant, this time armed with a new tool: a list of Boeing employees.
► From KPLU — Immigration changes expected Tuesday still stuck in court — Undocumented immigrants around the country had hoped to celebrate Tuesday. It’s the day a new federal policy was set to kick in, offering new benefits to many parents of children born in the U.S. But that plan is currently tied up in court.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Tacoma immigrant detention center criticized over alleged violent incident — An alleged beating is generating new criticism for the Northwest Detention Center, which holds people living in the country without legal permission.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Reform U.S. immigration detention system (editorial) — Congress should give serious consideration to the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act of 2015 introduced by U.S. Rep. Adam Smith with the support of Reps. Larsen, DelBene, McDermott and others… It’s time to stop wasting money on unnecessary detentions and treat people caught in the system with the dignity they deserve.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Deaconess workers’ jobs in jeopardy over union dues — Four Deaconess Hospital employees say their jobs are being threatened because they didn’t pay union dues during a nine-month period when there wasn’t a labor contract between the hospital and SEIU 1199NW. The employees, who are not union members, filed a complaint with the NLRB with the assistance of the National Right to Work Foundation.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Like Tom McCabe’s Freedom Foundation, the National RTW Foundation refuses to disclose who is funding their continual — and politically motivated — legal attacks against unions.
► In today’s News Tribune — Ports of Tacoma, Seattle will seek public comment Thursday on proposed alliance — The ports of Tacoma and Seattle will hold a public meeting Thursday to discuss their proposed alliance.
► In today’s LA Times — L.A. City Council approves minimum wage increase to $15 by 2020 — The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday backed a plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, joining a trend sweeping cities across the country as elected leaders seek to boost stagnating pay for workers on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
► From AP — Movement grows to require employers to offer paid sick leave for workers — Paid sick leave is the next frontier in the fight for the country’s lowest earners. Some of the same workers’ rights groups that grabbed headlines recently by pushing companies for wage hikes are steering the conversation toward paid sick leave.
► In The Atlantic — The economy is still terrible for young people (by Derek Thompson) — The era of the overeducated barista is here to stay. College graduates are still spending more and more years (and money) to get worse and worse entry-level jobs.
► From Politico — The second job you don’t know you have (by Craig Lambert) — Technology has knocked the bottom rung out of the employment ladder, which has sent youth unemployment around the globe skyrocketing and presented us with a serious economic dilemma. While many have focused on the poor state of our educational system or the “jobless” recovery, another, overlooked factor behind this trend is the phenomenon of “shadow work.” I define shadow work as all the unpaid jobs we do on behalf of businesses and organizations: We are pumping our own gas, scanning our own groceries, booking our travel and busing our tables at Starbucks. Shadow work is a new concept, so as yet, no one has compiled economic data on how many jobs we, the consumers, have taken over from (erstwhile) employees. Yet it is surely a force shrinking the job market, and the unemployment it creates is structural. Thanks in part to this new phenomenon, widespread joblessness could become entrenched in the social landscape.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.