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Americans oppose Fast Track, blood Dimon, an ALEC president…

Thursday, June 4, 2015




WA-congress-fast-track► In today’s NY Times — Inequality troubles Americans across party lines, poll finds — Americans are broadly concerned about inequality of wealth and income despite an economy that has improved by most measures, a sentiment that is already driving the 2016 presidential contest, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll… Americans were also skeptical of free trade. Nearly two-thirds favored some form of trade restrictions, and more than half opposed giving the president authority to negotiate trade agreements that Congress could only vote up or down without amending, a White House priority.

► From The Hill — Whip list: Obama’s trade pitch faces tougher sell in House — So far, 112 House Democrats are lined up against fast-track. Sixty House Dems, many of whom previously signaled support, aren’t saying whether they will vote for fast-track. That opposition could grow as trade critics launch a full-court press.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Hill’s “Whip List” has Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7th) as Washington’s only confirmed “no” vote and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2nd) joining all four Republican members of Washington’s delegation as “yes” votes. Although they have indicated they intend to vote “yes,” Democratic Reps. Suzan DelBene and Derek Kilmer are both listed as “undecided” alongside Reps. Denny Heck and Adam Smith.

TAKE A STAND!  Miss yesterday’s National Fast Track Call-In Day? No worries. You can still call the AFL-CIO’s toll-free hotline at 1-855-712-8441 to get patched through to your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to vote NO on the Fast Track/TPA bill.

► From The Hill — Obama’s ‘trust me’ approach on trade falls flat with Democrats — Democrats — even some of Obama’s closest allies — say it’s not enough for the president to pronounce his trade agenda the most progressive in history. The lawmakers want assurances that the agreements under negotiation, particularly a huge deal being finalized with Pacific Rim nations, will protect U.S. jobs — assurances many say they simply haven’t gotten.

atm-out-of-service► From Roll Call — Democrats frustrated by unions’ cash freeze over Fast Track — Democrats are beginning to lose trust in unions coming through with campaign contributions at all, as House Democrats look to make inroads into a historic House majority.

► From CNN — Democrats blast union pressure tactics on trade — “Labor is going a little overboard and I think there is some potential backlash for how far they are going,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).

► From Roll Call — In ‘Fast Track’ pitch, Obama ready to fight unions in Democratic primaries — President Barack Obama will protect pro-trade Democrats in party primaries against unions and others opposed to his “fast-track” trade agenda, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

strickland-marilyn► From Politico — Mayors leading Obama’s charge on trade — Faced with House Democrats who aren’t buying the administration’s efforts to draw a connection between global trade and local job growth, big-city mayors — most of them Democrats — are stepping up… “It’s really trying to help them feel confident about it and that there is in fact support here for these type of agreements,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, who’s hoping to help bring along the four members of her state’s delegation who are on the fence. “The minute you get sworn in, you are pro trade,” Strickland joked.

► From MSN — WikiLeaks offers $100,000 bounty for trade text

► From AP — Obama: China ‘putting out feelers’ about joining trade pact




► From IAM 751 — NLRB certifies union vote at Cadence-Giddens — Hourly workers at Cadence Aerospace-Giddens in Everett are now part of Machinists Union District Lodge 751. The NLRB on Friday certified the results of the union election at the company, which had been held May 14-15. Hourly workers had voted by a roughly 3-to-2 margin in favor of joining IAM 751. The union has moved ahead with preparations for negotiating a first union contract.

holden-jon-iam751► In the Bothell Reporter — Jon Holden receives union leadership award — Jon Holden, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, has been honored by the community activists at Puget Sound Sage for his leadership. “He took the reigns of (District) 751 at a challenging time, but he has faced the tough issues head-on,” said Washington State Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lynne Dodson. “He believes in holding Boeing and other employers accountable so that our communities can become better places for all families to live.”

► From KPLU — Boeing engineer celebrated for saving millions on 787 project — Vedad Mahmulyin is making so crucial a difference for Boeing Commercial Airplanes that the division named him engineer of the year. He has been with the Dreamliner since the start, occupying what his union, SPEEA, said is a critically important job as a loads engineer… Planes with Mahmulyin’s innovation are expected to roll out the doors at Boeing South Carolina in about two years.

► From AP — Last Snohomish lumber mill closing after 75 years — The last lumber mill in Snohomish is closing after almost 75 years due to low demand. The Seattle-Snohomish Mill plans to close this summer, laying off 68 people. The family-owned company has been in business since 1941.




CEO-crybaby► From the Hill — Businesses blast Obama’s ‘blacklisting’ regulations — Industry groups are lining up against a proposed rule requiring firms seeking to do business with the federal government to report past labor law violations, contending the regulations would “blacklist” companies from procuring federal contracts.

► From Politico — Democrats steer toward highway funding cliff — Democrats are threatening an aggressive confrontation with Republicans over federal highway money, foreshadowing yet another round of brinkmanship with the GOP and raising the specter of a temporary shutdown of transportation construction sites nationwide.

► In today’s Columbian — Infrastructure a taxing issue (editorial) — Whether talking about the need for federal funding or state funding, updates are required in how this country pays for its crumbling infrastructure. Because the federal gas tax has not kept pace with inflation over the past two decades, its purchasing power has been diminished; because consumers are increasingly turning to fuel-efficient or alternative-power vehicles, gas taxes are yielding less revenue per mile driven.




► From Gawker — Gawker Media votes to unionize — Out of 118 eligible voters, 107 cast votes. The results are Yes: 80 votes (75%) and No: 27 votes (25%). The next steps: determining what we want to bargain for; forming a bargaining committee; and negotiating a contract. We are unionized.

family-leave-rosie► From MarketWatch — Nearly two-thirds of American workers don’t take paid parental leave — Americans appear reluctant to take time off from work without pay when they are starting a family — primarily because they’re worried about keeping their jobs. Nearly two-thirds of full-time employees (63%) who are parents did not take paid parental leave in the U.S. and over three-quarters of women (77%) indicate their spouse/partner is not eligible for paid parental leave, according to a new survey.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, the new N.Y. Times/CBS poll finds that four in five Americans support requiring employers to offer paid parental leave — and even more support paid sick leave.

► From AP — Los Angeles one vote away from $15 an hour minimum wage — The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 on Wednesday to raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020, but a second vote is required for final approval because the tally was not unanimous.

dimon-jamie► In today’s Seattle Times — Jamie Dimon’s a billionaire and you’re not (by Jon Talton) — Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase and the biggest defender of Too Big banks, has joined the most elite wealth club… Most Americans don’t begrudge the rich that have earned their fortunes honestly. But what Dimon represents and defends is something else again, a financialized economy that is sociopathic and costly to the public good. Many of the activities of the big bankers are toxic: making money off money instead of lending to create jobs and enterprises; profiting from mergers that kill jobs and drag down wages; engaging in predatory activity against consumers, and taking on the opaque and dangerous financial rackets that blew up in 2008. It will likely happen again, and further impoverish the average citizen. Maybe Dimon will toss you a quarter from his limo.




ALEC-president► From Huffington Post — Scott Walker: The First ALEC President? (by Mary Bottari) — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will address the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego this July. Walker’s speech at ALEC will be a reunion of sorts. Walker was an ALEC member as a state legislator in the 1990s, and the agenda that Walker has championed throughout his long political career has closely tracked the policies promoted by ALEC and its corporate funders, despite public opposition to many of those measures. More than 200 corporations and a quarter of state legislators belong to ALEC, where corporations vote as equals with state legislators on “model” bills before they are introduced in legislatures to become binding law. The group receives 98 percent of its funding from corporations like Shell, Peabody Energy, and Altria/Philip Morris, and from sources like the Koch family foundations, and many of the “model bills” that it has promoted — from prison privatization to environmental deregulation — directly benefit the financial interests of its funders. If Walker is successful in his presidential bid, he would be the first ALEC alum to take the oval office.


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