Monday, August 31, 2015
► In the (Longview) Daily News — KapStone workers on strike — After 15 months of failed contract negotiations, KapStone millworkers officially went on strike early Thursday morning. The strike began at 3 a.m. Thursday after the union gave the company a three-hour notice at midnight. AWPPW Local 153 officials said the length of the strike is open-ended. The 800-member strike comes after three rejected contracts, including one the company implemented Aug. 10.
ALSO at The Stand — AWPPW on strike at KapStone in Longview
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Union worker struck by car — A union picketer was struck and injured by a contractor vehicle that was leaving the KapStone mill, angering hundreds of striking union members who were picketing at the main gate Sunday evening, union officials and police reported.
EDITOR’S NOTE — AWPPW Vice President Gregory Pallesen contests this article’s accuracy. He says a video of the incident shows that “a small group of picketers were already walking across the exit gate, where they are legally allowed to do so. The scab pulled up, lunged his vehicle into one of the strikers and then gunned it, hitting the striker for a second time. The only option for the striker was to jump up, landing on the hood of the SUV. The striker was on the hood for approximately 60 feet before being flung off the hood and onto the road. Two company security guards standing 20 feet away witnessed the incident and took no action.”
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Union workers lose access to Kaiser health insurance
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Why this isn’t the same strike as 1978 — Until last week, the strike of 1978 was the last time workers walked off the job at the Longview Fibre plant, now owned by KapStone Paper & Packaging. But the two situations are different, circumstances have changed radically, and that old strike gives little insight into how long the new one may last.
► From AP — Thousands mourn fallen firefighters in Washington state — Several thousand people gathered Sunday to honor three U.S. Forest Service firefighters killed battling wildfires in Washington state. “They dedicated their lives to protecting our national forests and the people in the communities surrounding them,” Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in a eulogy. “And for that we should be grateful.” The memorial service for 20-year-old Tom Zbyszewski, 26-year-old Andrew Zajac, and 31-year-old Richard Wheeler took place in Wenatchee.
► From AP — Teacher contracts still being negotiated across Washington — Spokane teachers have voted to go on strike Friday (Sept. 4) if they don’t have a contract by then. Seattle teachers are meeting on Thursday to either vote on a contract or a strike. Pasco teachers and the school district are in mediation to avoid a strike. The district and the union in Kelso have asked the state to send a mediator to help them with stalled contract talks. Meanwhile, teachers in Highline and Renton are voting on new contracts Monday. Shoreline teachers will vote on Thursday and Auburn teachers are voting next week.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Union accuses county prosecutor of unfair labor practices — The union that represents most Snohomish County employees (the Washington State Council of City and County Employees/AFSCME Council 2) has filed a formal complaint accusing Prosecutor Mark Roe of unfair labor practices.
► From KUOW — Seattle back in court over minimum wage — The city of Seattle will be back before a judge Tuesday over its minimum wage law, as the professional organization representing franchise businesses appeals an earlier court loss.
► In the Seattle Times — Vancouver Energy terminal: good for Washington and nation (by Lee Newgent) — Vancouver Energy would enable West Coast refineries to reduce foreign oil imports by 30 percent while providing all those other benefits like jobs and reduced carbon emissions. It won’t increase use of petroleum products but would make our oil supply more domestic and safer for the environment. It would also provide a transition to our energy future. Development of alternative fuels will continue to grow and that’s a great thing, but petroleum will continue to drive our economy for decades. All of us want safety and security. We should all be working together to ensure new energy infrastructure in Washington is built and operated in the smartest and most conscientious manner possible.
► From Bloomberg — Boeing settles suit over 401(k) claims as trial set to begin — Boeing Co. settled a lawsuit over claims that fees and expenses paid by a 401(k) retirement plan were illegal, averting a trial that was scheduled to begin (last) Wednesday. A Boeing spokesman said terms of the provisional agreement are confidential.
► In the P.S> Business Journal — State health insurance rate hike far lower than some other states — Though consumers might not like the sound of any health insurance rate increase, Washington state is experiencing a smaller increase than some other states as they figure out the best pricing strategy in the early years of health reform.
► In the Seattle Times — State memos showed child-labor concerns for WHL youth hockey — A complaint lodged with L&I in 2013 asserted that league players, mostly ages 16-20, are employees of the for-profit teams who deserve benefits they don’t currently receive, such as minimum-wage and child-labor protections. As L&I investigated, the Legislature in April overwhelmingly voted to exempt the league from many labor laws, which led L&I to issue the “no decision” this month.
► From The Hill — Enraging industry, labor board asserts its power under Obama — From the labor board’s bitter fight with Boeing, to the creation of new union election rules, the NLRB has repeatedly moved to the forefront of political debate, drawing in Congress, the White House and even the Supreme Court.
ALSO at The Stand — ‘Sensible’ NLRB decision expands definition of joint employers
► In today’s NY Times — A ruling with a bonus for fast-food workers (editorial) — The “Fight for $15” campaign is about more than higher pay for fast-food workers. It is also about fighting for the right of workers to form strong unions without retaliation. That goal looks much more achievable this week after a NLRB ruling that may force corporate parents, like McDonald’s or Yum Brands, to take responsibility for workers at franchises.
► In today’s NY Times — As his term wanes, Obama champions workers’ rights — With little fanfare, the Obama administration has been pursuing an aggressive campaign to restore protections for workers that have been eroded by business activism, conservative governance and the evolution of the economy in recent decades.
► From Kaiser Family Foundation — How many employers could be affected by ‘Cadillac Plan’ tax? — The potential of facing an high-cost plan tax assessment as soon as 2018 is encouraging employers to assess their current health benefits and consider cost reductions to avoid triggering the tax.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is a significant issue in the KapStone strike.
► In the National Journal — New legislation adds momentum to ‘Cadillac tax’ repeal — Both parties face tricky politics in repealing the tax. Republicans will be working to repeal something that is not only an anti-Obamacare talking point, but is also actually similar to components of conservative health care policy. And Democrats are dealing with a provision of Obamacare that’s unpopular with some of their constituents, yet one that helps pay for the law — something they want to continue to do.
► In today’s Washington Post — Federal workers on track to get 1.3 percent pay hike in January
► From the Latin Post — GOP anti-Latino rhetoric ‘hateful and racist,’ says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka — “Many Republican presidential candidates are expressing views and offering proposals that are nothing short of un-American. These Republican candidates, who all want to run our country, have made a point of attacking and assaulting Latinos and scapegoating all Latinos,” said Trumka, adding these the candidates have expressed “hateful and racist viewpoints… intended to demean and divide.”
► From the Hill — Scott Walker would consider building wall on Canadian border — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is open to the idea of building a wall along America’s northern border with Canada, he said on Sunday.
► In today’s Washington Post — What happened to Scott Walker? — His candidacy has wilted in the heat of a summer dominated by Donald Trump, with loyalists and supporters now calling for an immediate mid-course correction.
► From The Nation — The Pacific Coast farmworker rebellion (by David Bacon) — While the most dramatic protest this year has taken place in Baja California, the same anger is building among indigenous farm workers all along the Pacific Coast, from San Quintín in Mexico to Burlington, Wash., an hour south of the U.S. border with Canada.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.