Wednesday, August 19, 2015
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Battelle, unions agree on contract proposal after 2 1/2 years — The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council is reluctantly recommending that workers it represents at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory approve a proposed new contract, the result of two and a half years of negotiations. There is no negotiating stance left other than conducting a strike, which could prove unsuccessful, members were told in a letter from the leadership of HAMTC and the unions under its umbrella… The five-year deal would give the 240 HAMTC workers at the national lab in Richland a $2,600 one-time payment when the contract is ratified. It would be followed with a 2 percent wage increase each November through 2019. Battelle had proposed no wage increases for the first three years of the new contract in the proposal that HAMTC members rejected 186-11 nearly a year ago.
► From the Hill — AFL-CIO: Use Pacific trade deal to crack down on currency manipulation — The AFL-CIO on Tuesday called on the White House to include tough currency manipulation provisions in a sweeping trade agreement. Given the recent drops in China’s currency, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) needs enforceable rules that can halt the practice by countries seeking a global trading advantage by lowering the value of their currency, the labor union said. The AFL-CIO argues that currency manipulation costs U.S. jobs, citing a report from the Economic Policy Institute that found ending the practice could create 5.8 million new jobs in the United States.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Currency manipulation: Does Congress care?
► In the Olympian — School levy reform is in the cards (editorial) — The Washington Supreme Court took a symbolic step last week to coax the state Legislature closer to full funding of basic K-12 education. The message from the nine justices was firm, but tempered and necessary. We’ve said for a long time that a modest capital gains tax on the state’s wealthiest individuals is one good step to create a new revenue stream for higher education or other state needs — and also to make our tax system, which lays a larger relative burden on those least able to pay, a little fairer. Obviously a deal satisfactory to the court won’t happen overnight. But this is a good time to revive a serious effort to create a fair and adequate tax system so that a proposal is ready for a legislative vote in January, if not before.
► From AP — Washington’s prepaid tuition plan frozen for up to 2 years — Washington’s prepaid tuition program will be frozen for up to two years until the committee that runs the Guaranteed Education Tuition program can figure out the impact of two years of tuition cuts at state colleges and universities. The tuition program’s committee also decided Tuesday to refund some fees to people who bought tuition credits, known as GET units, during the past four years.
► From AP — Senator loses weekend cabin to wildfire — GOP Sen. Linda Evans Parlette says that her Lake Chelan cabin was among the dozens of buildings that have burned in massive wildfires in Washington state.
► From UFCW — UFCW cannabis members first in industry to receive OSHA certification — The three workers all received the OSHA ten-hour certification and learned advanced workplace safety and health concepts from UFCW trainers. “We’re going to build a safe, professional industry,” said Tim Moisio, a UFCW Local 367 member from Tacoma. “A worker voice and worker knowledge is critical to ensuring the cannabis industry is both sustainable and reliable. My union puts safety first and now I have the tools to ensure my workplace does too.”
► In today’s Columbian — Clark County approves pact with sheriff’s deputies, sergeants — Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies and sergeants will see the first raise in nearly four years after the Clark County council unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the deputy sheriffs guild Tuesday.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Montana officials praise Cherry Point coal port plan — Congressional and business leaders from Montana shrugged off the concerns of environmentalists and praised a coal terminal proposed for Cherry Point.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Millennium highlights prospects for coal permit — Millennium Bulk Terminals says a recent report in Montana may bode well for its proposed Longview coal terminal.
► From CrossCut — A children’s treasury of Amazon employee horror stories — Expressing shock at the New York Times article, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has asked employees to email their horror stories directly to him. However, serious gripes about working at Amazon have been floating around for years, long before the Times expose. So in the interest of expanding Bezos’ understanding of the company he leads, we present a short compendium of some stories and anecdotes.
► In today’s Washington Post — In union-heavy Nevada, Clinton and Sanders court divided labor — Organized labor’s divided loyalties between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders coursed through the Luxor hotel and casino in Las Vegas this week, where both Democratic presidential contenders courted voters at a statewide convention of the Nevada AFL-CIO.
► From Politico — How Bernie Sanders makes his mega-rallies — This is how the Summer of Sanders — the string of unexpectedly large campaign rallies that’s exceeding even Barack Obama’s 2007 draws with attendance that often numbers in the tens of thousands — has come together. Finding no shortage of willing supporters, the campaign for the 73-year-old Vermont senator has raced to channel the enthusiasm of a largely self-organizing movement into massive, attention-grabbing rallies.
► From Huffington Post — Scott Walker and the trouble with Obamacare ‘replacement’ plans — By scrapping Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul, Walker’s plan would take away health coverage from some unknowable share of the millions of people who have gained it under Obamacare… Like all the other Republican “repeal and replace” plans that have appeared in the last few years, Walker’s proposal never acknowledges the trade-offs and consequences of these changes.
► In the NY Times — Trump paints Republicans into a corner with Hispanics — As the disruptive presidential candidacy of Donald Trump continues to gain support, his hard line on immigration has driven rivals to match his biting anti-immigrant language and positions long considered extreme. It risks another general election cycle in which Hispanics view the party as unfriendly no matter who the nominee is, Republican strategists warned.
► From Business Insider — Americans want unions — A recent Gallup poll shows an increasing number of Americans supporting labor unions. 58% of respondents to the poll had a favorable view of unions, up from 53% a year ago, and up ten percentage points from a low of 48% during the Great Recession… Gallup also found that more Americans want unions to have more influence than less influence. On the other hand, a majority of Americans think that unions will become weaker in the future than they are now, despite their desire for stronger unions.
► In the Seattle Times — Bosses use tech tools to track, manage workers’ time — Employers of all types — old-line manufacturers, nonprofits, universities, digital startups and retailers — are using an increasingly wide range of tools to monitor workers’ efforts, help them focus, cheer them on and just make sure they show up on time.
► From Think Progress — Missouri lawmakers propose to end sexual harassment by telling interns to dress more modestly — Some Missouri state lawmakers have a controversial idea for preventing future sexual harassment cases in the legislature: Imposing a new “modest” dress code for teenage interns.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.