Wednesday, June 3, 2015
► In the Int’l Business Times — D.C. protesters demand to see TPP text, rebuffed by Obama Administration, police — In the latest escalation of its campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the nation’s largest labor federation is calling on the Obama administration to declassify the full text of the proposed trade agreement… As it stands, access to the deal is limited to negotiators and, upon special request, members of Congress, all of whom are legally barred from disclosing the details. Those strict rules remain in place even as the White House lobbies the House of Representatives on so-called fast-track legislation.
ALSO at The Stand — TODAY is National Fast Track Call-In Day — Call toll-free at 1-855-712-8441 and urge your U.S. Representative to vote “no” on the Fast Track/TPA bill. Even if you’ve made this call before, do it again today to make sure your Representative gets the message to Stop Fast Track!
► From Politico — Obama goes into overdrive on trade push — President Barack Obama has begun to barrage House Democrats with phone calls in hopes of explaining to members of his own party why they should break their near uniform opposition and support his trade agenda. In a sign of the GOP’s confidence, House Republican leadership sources say they could bring the package of trade bills to the floor for a vote as soon as next week.
ALSO at The Stand — As DelBene backs Fast Track, trade talking points belie reality (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson)
► In today’s Washington Post — Obama’s push on trade splits Democrats along economic lines — The emerging support for Obama’s trade initiative in Silicon Valley, a liberal-leaning enclave of cutting-edge businesses, stands in sharp contrast to the fierce opposition from the labor unions that represent the working-class heart of the Democratic Party. The tension reflects mounting anxiety within the party over the nation’s widening income gap and a fear that the trade deal will produce a clear set of winners and losers among U.S. industries.
► From Huffington Post — Trade Enforcement Failure (by USW President Leo Gerard) — President after president has promised American workers that the United States will compel foreign nations to meet high labor standards established in “free trade” agreements. They haven’t accomplished that. They probably can’t. They should stop saying it. And American workers and politicians should stop buying it. The United States can sign trade agreements with countries after they stop murdering trade unionists and countenancing child labor. Entering agreements with countries that permit these grotesque practices demeans American workers and consumers.
► From Huffington Post — Obama’s trade agenda rewards U.S. companies that profit from slavery — President Barack Obama’s effort to include Malaysia in a major pending trade pact has baffled human rights advocates, who see it as a reward for a regime with one of the world’s worst human trafficking records. But the myriad interests involved in the trade fight include some very large American corporations, which are currently padding their profits with labor costs kept low by modern-day slavery in Malaysia.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Close gap with capital gains tax (editorial) — The Democrats’ capital gains tax proposal would levy a 5 percent tax on the capital gains from investment income above $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for couples filing jointly. The tax, which would apply to about 32,000 state residents, would exempt profits from retirement accounts and the sales of primary residences and would exempt agricultural and timber producers… A closer look at the Senate Republicans’ budget reveals some decisions that shift money from necessary programs and some optimistic revenue assumptions… In resisting any tax, a tax on 32,000 who can afford it, (Republicans) are passing on hidden costs to more of us.
► From KPLU — Teachers union: Expect walkouts next year if state budget lacking — Teacher walkouts that closed schools in dozens of Washington school districts this spring might resume during the next school year if lawmakers don’t approve a budget that meets teacher demands, state and local union leaders say.
► In today’s News Tribune — Teachers skeptical of lawmakers’ budget efforts — An audience of more than 150, mostly teachers from South Sound school districts, packed a Puyallup town hall meeting called by state Sen. Bruce Dammeier.
► From AP — Washington teachers file class-action pension lawsuit — Two teachers in the Snoqualmie Valley School District have filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against the state pension system claiming that the state wrongly withheld interest when their retirement savings were transferred from one plan to another in the state pension system.
► In today’s Seattle Times — How a more moderate GOP dominated the legislative session (by Danny Westneat) — Mostly the political year adds up like this: Bold Republicans plus weak Democrats times a strong economy equals a red budget in a blue state.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima City Council seeks to stay election — Yakima will ask to stay the election for all seven council seats that was ordered by a federal court judge earlier this year under a new elections system. The council voted Tuesday 5-2 in favor of the motion less than a week after voting 4-3 not to seek a partial stay of the elections. If the stay is granted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, it’s unclear whether or how elections would be held under the city’s old hybrid system of district and at-large voting.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing begins assembly of first 737 MAX — In a milestone for its Renton factory, Boeing has started assembling the first 737 MAX, the next version of its workhorse single-aisle jet, which is set to fly early next year.
► In today’s LA Times — Will Gawker go union? (by Steven Greenhouse) — As union membership declines, even modest unionization efforts take on symbolic importance. That’s why supporters and opponents of organized labor snapped to attention when workers at Gawker — a popular, youth-driven news and gossip website that specializes in snarky commentary — announced the first-ever unionization drive at a major online media company. Gawker’s 119 full-time staffers will vote Wednesday on whether to join the Writers Guild of America.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.