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IAM’s Whidbey win, GOP targets labor, Trump, killer robots…

Tuesday, July 28, 2015




iam-751► From IAM 751 — Machinists at NAS Whidbey ratify 4-year agreement — Machinists Union members who work as civilian contractors at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station have won wage and pension increases with a new collective bargaining agreement. The four-year agreement with URS Corp. covers about 140 Machinists who maintain U.S. Navy E/A-18 Growlers.

► In the PSBJ — Machinists score contract win at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island — The contract gives wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first year, 2.5 percent in the second year, 2 percent in the third year and 3 percent in the fourth year, plus an additional 8 cents an hour starting this November.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Boeing adds Japanese suppliers to 777X work — Boeing and Japanese manufacturers have firmed up details for sharing work on Boeing’s new airplane, the 777X. The Japanese coalition will provide about 21 percent of the major airplane structure components for the 777X.




► From KPLU — As McCleary case drags on, what will state Supreme Court do next? — Lauding recent increases in state education funding, but ultimately admitting they still have more work to do, state lawmakers have filed an update with the state Supreme Court on their progress toward fulfilling the McCleary school funding mandate. Now, everyone’s wondering what the court will do next.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State should let counties set their own property tax rates (editorial) — Murders must be prosecuted, but the most horrific cases can drain the coffers of smaller counties and greatly compromise the budgets of larger ones. The Legislature recognizes this but sets aside a small fraction of the amount needed to help the counties bear these costs. There is, however, something lawmakers could do: Lift the 1 percent lid on annual property tax increases, and let counties help themselves.




obama-malaysia-problem-solved► From The Hill — Malaysia trafficking upgrade draws heat — The State Department’s upgrade of Malaysia’s human trafficking status is setting up another clash between Congress and the White House on global trade. Congressional lawmakers and human rights groups blasted the White House for the report, arguing that there was no justifiable reason to move up Malaysia — one of 12 nations negotiating the TPP — other than political motives.

ALSO at The Stand — Smoothing way for TPP, Obama upgrades Malaysia in slavery report

► In today’s NY Times — Issues mount as negotiators gather to wrap up TPP — Australia and New Zealand are resisting American rules on access for pharmaceutical companies to their national health systems. Vietnam, Mexico and Brunei have far to go to comply with international standards on labor organizing. Canada is so reluctant to open its agricultural market to competition that it might drop out of the talks altogether.




union-card-cold-dead-hand► From The Hill — Republicans fire new salvo at labor unions — Republicans on Monday renewed their push for legislation that they say would help prevent workers from being forced into union membership. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Monday introduced a bill that would create new requirements for workers to organize a union and make it easier for them to disband it. The bill would also restrict political donations made by unions.

► From The Hill — Senate votes to reauthorize Export-Import Bank — Senators voted to revive the Export-Import Bank on Monday, setting themselves on a crash course with their House counterparts.

► From AP — Short-term highway extension may be way out for Congress — House Republicans are weighing a three-month highway funding extension that could offer Congress a way out of an impasse days ahead of a crucial deadline.

► In today’s NY Times — Push to scale back sentencing laws gains momentum — Congress seems poised to revise four decades of federal policy that greatly expanded the number of Americans — to roughly 750 per 100,000 — now incarcerated, by far the highest of any Western nation.

► From Huffington Post — Why Social Security beats all rivals — and the case for expanding it (by Robert Kuttner) — Bottom line: the total inadequacy of retirement savings for most Americans. Half of elderly Americans have no retirement plan at all-other than Social Security. The typical worker nearing retirement age with a 401k plan has funds sufficient for only a few years of retirement. The one part of the system that is reliable and cost-effective is Social Security. The problem is that Social Security pensions are inadequate because of the collapse of the rest of the system.

ALSO at The Stand — GOP tees up 19% cut in Social Security disability checks




► From Reuters — Trump tops CNN poll of 2016 Republicans, says he leads ‘movement’ — Trump moved to the top of the 2016 Republican presidential field in a new CNN poll, edging out rival Jeb Bush and gaining support from Republicans in the last month despite a series of controversial statements.

trump-donald-look-away► From The Onion — Admit it. You want to see how far this goes, don’t you? (by Donald Trump) — Just take a moment and imagine the primary debates: Jeb Bush; Chris Christie; me… You already know how I answer even the most basic inquiries, so just picture me staring down the barrel of a question about foreign affairs or agriculture policy or something like that. You think you won’t sit there with bated breath while I try to tackle a question about using military force, or about food stamps, or about how my faith influences my decision-making? I guarantee you that my answers will be worth watching. And we both know you wouldn’t miss them for the world. It’d be the biggest, most-watched primary debate in history, courtesy of all of you.

► From Politico — The moderate Republican’s case for Donald Trump — Only Trump can make the GOP sane again — by losing in a landslide to Hillary Clinton.

► But seriously folks, MUST -READ from Rolling Stone — In the age of Trump, will Democrats sell out more, or less? (by Matt Taibbi) — The Democrats could take this godsend of a Trump situation and use it as an opportunity to finally have a healthy primary season debate about what they want to stand for in the future. But nah to that. They’ll probably just hoover donor cash and use press surrogates to bash progressives the way they always have. Trump or no Trump, if politicians don’t have to work for your vote, they won’t.




haggen► In today’s Seattle Times — Haggen’s expansion in Southwest fraught with legal problems, layoffs — Haggen has cut back on employee hours, laid off hundreds of staffers in its grocery stores in the Southwest, and is now waging a legal battle against Albertsons, a sign that the Bellingham grocer’s big expansion launched earlier this year has been a rough ride… Haggen also acquired 26 stores in Washington state. It didn’t immediately respond to comment about the status of employees at those stores.

► From Labor Notes — Good jobs on the line in Verizon rematch — Verizon wants to drive down costs, shrink its union workforce even further, and get out of the landline business. But in negotiations this summer it’s coming head-to-head with its unions, who want to protect gains won through decades of struggle.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Meet the best advocate of the $15 minimum wage (by Jon Talton) — That honor, albeit accidentally, must go to Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Brands Group. parent of Dunkin’ Donuts, who called the higher wage “absolutely outrageous” last week. Travis’ most recent compensation was $10.2 million last year.

► From Reuters — Subaru’s secret: Marginalized foreign workers power a Japanese export boom — The maker of the Forester SUV has won over U.S. drivers with its socially responsible image. Another key to success: Its supply chain relies on hundreds of migrant workers who are far cheaper to employ than Japanese laborers.




terminator-free-shipping► From Huffington Post — Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk warn of killer robots — Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, Tesla cofounder Elon Musk, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and more than 1,000 others have signed a letter warning of the threat posed by autonomous weapons. “If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow,” the letter warns. These weapons will ultimately become so “ubiquitous and cheap” that “(i)t will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc.”


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