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Haggen layoffs, Kelso deal, trade vs. elections…

Monday, September 28, 2015




haggen► In the Oregonian — Thousands of Haggen employees reeling as grocer announces additional closures — The news that the bankrupt Haggen grocery chain will close an additional 100 stores had employees up and down the West Coast reeling Friday. The closures, if approved by a Delaware bankruptcy court, will come on the heels of 27 store closures that had already been announced in August.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Haggen plans to lay off 612 workers in Washington state — Bellingham-based grocery chain Haggen has launched the layoff process in Washington state with plans to let 612 workers go. In Spanaway, the company plans to lay off 62 workers starting Oct. 13. Permanent layoffs of another 550 workers statewide are set to begin Nov. 24, a Friday notice on the state WARN database said.

ALSO at The Stand — Unions working to protect Haggen employees — See the letter to members sent by the unions representing Haggen workers.

MORE local coverage of proposed store closures in the (Aberdeen) Daily World, Bellingham Herald, (Everett) Herald, Peninsula Daily News, and (Tacoma) News Tribune.




► In the (Longview) Daily News — Kelso teachers union, school district reach agreement, school will resume Monday — The Kelso teachers union and Kelso school district have reached a tentative contract agreement, and the faculty ratified the pact Sunday evening. School will resume Monday with a two-hour late start for students. All 226 teachers present at a membership meeting voted to approve the contract. The agreement ends an eight-day teacher’s strike that started Sept. 16 and which was declared illegal by a Cowlitz County judge.

► From YouTube — Teacher addresses criticisms of strike





► In the News Tribune — Support for fuel terminals is support for state’s workers (by Rick Hicks and Lee Newgent) — The governor, the executives of King and Pierce County, the Seattle City Council, some members of the Tacoma City Council and others – including some of our union brothers and sisters – should seriously rethink their opposition to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal in Bellingham and the Millennium Bulk Terminal and Vancouver Energy export terminals in Vancouver.

► In the Tri-City Herald — Tri-City Goodwill votes to join Teamsters — The two dozen employees at seven Goodwill Industries of the Columbia stores in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Wenatchee are joining Teamsters Local 839 after a vote last week. The union said employees spoke out against low wages, substandard benefits and unsafe working conditions.

15-just-the-beginning► In the P.S. Business Journal — Court shoots down franchise group’s appeal of $15 minimum wage law — The City of Seattle has prevailed in efforts to protect its minimum wage law against an appeal lodged by the International Franchise Association. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the IFA a temporary injunction to block a portion of the law. This keeps in place a phased-in increase of the minimum wage, which started April 1.

► In today’s News Tribune — Pierce County executive proposes pay raises in 2016 budget — Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy wants to give county employees a cost-of-living salary increase and slightly boost staffing in 2016.

► In the Oregonian — Union negotiates first Oregon cannabis worker contract, hopes for more — UFCW Local 555 recently negotiated a three-year contract on behalf of employees at a Portland dispensary and hopes to broker similar deals across the state as the cannabis industry takes off




eyman-wait-what► In the Olympian — Tim Eyman inquiry goes to attorney general for possible criminal charges, civil penalties — The Public Disclosure Commission voted unanimously Thursday to refer the three-year-old case to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office to consider criminal charges or civil penalties more than the PDC can levy.

► A related article in the News Tribune — I-1366 lets legislative minority grab majority power (editorial) — I-1366, another product of the Tim Eyman initiative factory, is a threat to public education. And the problem it purports to solve — a Legislature that raises taxes at every turn — doesn’t exist.

► In the Olympian — State AG’s office sues SEIU 775 over political contributions — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office sued SEIU 775, accusing the politically active union of failing to properly report nearly $1.4 million in donations to its political-action committee.

► In the Seattle Times — ‘Fear mongers’ will not stop us from setting carbon cap (by Jay Inslee) — It is time for action based upon our optimism, our ability to build a clean energy economy, our love for Washington state, and our existing state clean air laws.




Nadella-Microsoft► In the (Everett) Herald — Tax tricks giving Microsoft, others a free ride (by David Sirota) — According to the SEC documents, Microsoft is sitting on almost $29.6 billion it would owe in U.S. taxes if it repatriated the $92.9 billion of earnings it is keeping offshore. That amount of money represents a significant spike from prior years. To put this in perspective, the levies the company would owe amount to almost the entire two-year operating budget of the company’s home state of Washington.

► From the Hill — Poll: 7 in 10 oppose shutdown over Planned Parenthood funds — While support for Planned Parenthood is split among party lines, fewer than one-quarter of all voters say they would support a shutdown if it meant defunding the group.

► From The Hill — Right sees power grow with end of Boehner era — Newly emboldened, the right is demanding significant concessions from Obama on raising the debt limit later this year, and is dismissing calls from members of both parties to break spending caps for defense and non-defense programs.

mcmorris-rodgers-L► From Politico — Scalise, McMorris Rodgers running for House majority leader — GOP Reps. Steve Scalise and Cathy McMorris Rodgers are both running for majority leader if the current occupant of that post — Kevin McCarthy — moves up to become speaker of the House.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Under normal circumstances, having members of Washington’s congressional delegation advance to leadership roles would be good for the state. But with her acquiescence to the demise of the Export-Import Bank, McMorris Rodgers demonstrated that she puts her leadership ambitions ahead of what’s best for Washington state.

► A related article in the (Everett) Herald — Reopen Ex-Im Bank; keep jobs here (editorial)

► In today’s NY Times — The Blackmail Caucus, a.k.a. the Republican Party (by Paul Krugman) — The Boehner era has been one in which Republicans have accepted no responsibility for helping to govern the country, in which they have opposed anything and everything the president proposes. What’s more, it has been an era of budget blackmail, in which threats that Republicans will shut down the government or push it into default unless they get their way have become standard operating procedure.




TPP-democracy► From Politico — Presidential politics complicate trade talks — Top trade officials from the United States, Japan and 10 Pacific Rim countries will be holed up in an Atlanta hotel this week to try to finish a giant trade deal against the backdrop of an increasingly raucous presidential campaign that could make it harder to win congressional approval. If negotiators had completed the pact two months ago in Maui as hoped, President Obama could have submitted the TPP to Congress as early as December, setting the stage for approval before Iowa and New Hampshire hold their presidential nomination contests in early February. Instead, it is facing the potential for increasing pushback from the left, with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton coming under intense pressure from progressives to reject the deal and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — a staunch foe of the TPP — rising in the polls.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Alternate headline: “Democracy complicates trade talks.” Elections always get in the way when you are trying to do something that’s unpopular.

► From Fortune — New study finds skepticism of corporations across ideological lines — The majority of Americans, including groups ranging from very liberal to very conservative, felt that the largest corporations in the country are “going in the wrong direction.”

► From The Onion — SAG develops retraining program for 30-year-old actresses aging out of workforce — SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard: “Too often, these performers are cast aside after their on-screen usefulness has run its course, and they fall through the cracks. We’re here to help them get back on their feet.”


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