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TPP on ice, ag-gag tossed, CEOs on Mars…

Wednesday, August 5, 2015




TPP-TP► In the NY Times — Trans-Pacific Partnership session ends with heels dug in — Whether the many disagreements between the 12 participating nations can be resolved is now a matter of will. But the disagreements are pushing any resolution of the trade deal further into the politically difficult presidential election season in the United States. At least one negotiator suggested privately that it soon may become easier to say “no” than “yes.”

► In the Seattle Times — Does the Trans-Pacific Partnership die with a whimper? (by Jon Talton) — In the end, the TPP’s biggest enemy won’t be liberal politicians, labor unions or environmentalists. It will be nations looking out for the interests of some of their most politically potent industries.




► From — Rep. Gregory in tight race in the 30th District — Republican challenger Teri Hickel edged Rep. Carol Gregory (D-Federal Way) 50.7% to 49.3% in Tuesday’s primary race.

washington-CEO-round-tableALSO at The Stand — Big business targets Rep. Gregory with dishonest political attacks — Big corporations based in Washington state — from Alaska Air to Liberty Mutual to T-Mobile — are running an aggressive, dishonest campaign to unseat state Rep. Carol Gregory (D-Federal Way) in this fall’s special election. With the primary election days away, voters in her district are getting political hit pieces in the mail from the “South Sound Future PAC” funded by big corporate special interests that falsely accuse Gregory of supporting a state income tax.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Rep. Dye likely will face Democrat for state House seat — Democrat Kenneth E. Caylor, a former Othello City Council member, is in position to move to the general election to face Republican Mary Dye (48%) with his second-place showing of 27%.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima City Council: Latinos advance, incumbents cruise — For the first time in Yakima’s history, a Latino candidate is guaranteed election to the City Council: Two advanced in the race for District 1, and three more are advancing to the general election in other district races.




diseased-darigold-cows-front► From Huffington Post — Court says no to gagging those who reveal farm animal (and worker) abuse — A federal judge has struck down Idaho’s anti-whistleblower law, marking the first time such an “ag-gag” statute has been successfully challenged. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill excoriated the law. “The effect of the statute will be to suppress speech by undercover investigators and whistleblowers concerning topics of great public importance: the safety of the public food supply, the safety of agricultural workers, the treatment and health of farm animals, and the impact of business activities on the environment,” he wrote.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This year, state Rep. Joe Schmick (R-Colfax) introduced HB 1104, to try to make Washington the ninth state with an ag-gag law. Whistleblowing employees have played a vital role in exposing animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems on farms. For example, in May 2014, the United Farm Workers released disturbing photos of sick cows at Darigold dairies that workers were ordered to milk. Not surprisingly, ALEC is behind the national push to enact such ag-gag laws.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Lanham retires as head of aerospace group she founded — Linda Lanham, who lobbied for the Machinists union in Olympia for 26 years, then founded an aviation-industry trade group promoting the interests of aerospace companies including Boeing, has retired… In the most recent legislative session, Lanham testified against efforts by both the Machinists union and SPEEA to tie the existing aerospace incentives to employment levels and to a minimum wage.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Aerospace Futures Alliance had one paid employee — Lanham — and was run out of her house.

► In today’s P.S., Business Journal — Video lauds Legislature for long-awaited $16B transportation package — The Seattle Metro Chamber is wasting no time expressing gratitude to the state Legislature for passing a $16.1 billion transportation package to improve roads and bridges across the state.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — People, not city, should vote on workers’ bill of rights (by Shawn Vestal) — The city of Spokane has, in essence, sued its citizens on behalf of corporations, trying to prevent voters from getting even a peek at an initiative that would enshrine the kinds of workers’ rights that give the business community the night terrors.

► In the Seattle Times — Groups go to court to challenge city’s OK of Hedreen hotel plan — Unite Here Local 8 and Alliance for a Livable Denny Triangle have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the city’s go-ahead for R.C. Hedreen Co.’s proposal to build a 1,264-room hotel at 808 Howell St. in the Denny Triangle neighborhood.




► From CBS News — Companies face new disclosures about CEO pay — The SEC on Wednesday is expected to adopt final rules requiring disclosure of the ratio of CEO pay to the median worker at publicly held companies. “We’ve been waiting eagerly for more than five years now. The disclosure will provide important context for investors,” said Heather Slavkin Corzo of the AFL-CIO.

mission-to-mars► From Time — Time for transparency in CEO pay (by Richard Trumka) — Unfortunately, Wall Street is much better at doling out lavish compensation packages than disclosing them. The business community is claiming it would cost more than $185,000 and almost 1,000 hours of staff time per company to calculate the CEO-to-worker pay figure. This is nonsense, plain and simple. Employers should already have this information on the books. Dodd-Frank asks companies to do some simple calculations, not put a man on Mars.

► From The Hill — Aviation bill is up in the air — The FAA bill, which includes funding for air traffic controllers, is scheduled to expire Sept. 30. But Congress is expected to return its focus on highways upon returning to Washington next month. Air travel advocates are worried that the twin cliffs will mean aviation will get the short end of the stick when lawmakers return to Washington.

► In today’s NY Times — The Voting Rights Act at 50 — Today, there are no poll taxes or literacy tests, but the right to vote is more fragile than ever.




ss-productivity-earnings► In the LA Times — Conservatives are trying to prove income inequality is a myth — and failing (by Michael Hiltzik) — The trends are indisputable that an increasing share is flowing to the very top: supervisors and executive ranks. Production and nonsupervisory workers have been consistently shortchanged since the 1970s… As economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research put it, “progressive economists had long known that the story of wage stagnation was overwhelmingly a story of redistribution among workers, from factory workers and retail clerks, to doctors, bankers, and CEOs…The fact that average compensation had kept pace with productivity was hardly news to any of us.”

ALSO at The Stand — Something scary happened in 1975 — to wages (by Stan Sorscher)

► In the LA Times — High drama in union voteActors, extras, stunt people and other performers are once again squaring off over who should lead SAG-AFTRA in an unusually close election that has highlighted growing anxieties over how talent is compensated in the Internet age.

► From Think Progress — What’s the matter with Kansas? They’re losing all of their teachers — Kansas embarked on an experiment with radical right-wing policies since Gov. Sam Brownback (R) was elected in 2010, and it failed miserably. Now, a teacher shortage appears to be the latest consequence of Kansas’ abject failure to manage its economy. It’s not hard to see why teachers don’t want to work in Kansas.




jealousy► From Upworthy — A CEO raised everyone’s salary to $70,000/year. The backlash against him doesn’t make sense. — There are a few ways to react to this. One way is to resent your coworkers (who you feel don’t deserve such big raises) and feel superior. Another possible way is to be happy for them, instead of resenting them. You could also try being more stoked that you are getting a raise than upset that someone else also is. You could understand that, while your job is hard and one they probably wouldn’t be able to do, their jobs are also hard, also important, and ones you probably wouldn’t want, or even be able, to do. You could consider that maybe the kind of work our society values and doesn’t value is kind of arbitrary, and why shouldn’t an equipment manager make the same salary as a web developer?


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