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Hanford vote, Ex-Im damage, disempowering ‘low-skill’ workers…

Thursday, October 1, 2015




► From AP — No increase in Washington minimum wage in 2016 — Washington state’s minimum wage will not increase next year, and the state will no longer have the highest statewide minimum wage as of January.

ALSO at The Stand — State minimum wage will be frozen for 2016

data-farm-Sabey► From AP — Revenue soars in Washington town that became data center hub — Washington is among several states that declined to disclose how much tax revenue it has forgone because of its incentives to data centers, but local officials are tracking gains. Quincy’s property tax collections have quadrupled in the past decade, with more than 70 percent of such revenue coming from data centers. Its sales tax revenue has risen from $665,000 to about $5 million, even with the state tax break.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Council chooses Kuderer to succeed Hunter in state House — Clyde Hill attorney Patty Kuderer has been sworn in to succeed Ross Hunter in the District 48 state House seat.




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford union workers to vote on agreement — Limited negotiations on collective bargaining agreements have concluded for union workers at four Hanford contractors, with union officials recommending members approve the deal. Workers are being sent letters with the details and will vote Oct. 22.

UW-corporatization► MUST-READ in today’s News Tribune — UW overrelies on corporate leaders as regents (by three UW professors) — For several decades, the increased corporatization of higher education has been accompanied by decreased funding from states and increased reliance on grants, gifts and tuition to finance education and scholarship. Eight of the 10 current regents are leaders of finance and industry, bringing a perspective that emphasizes profit-making, cost containment and growth. In choosing new regents, we support a more diverse selection… Tellingly, the companies and executives UW regents represent donated more than 10 percent of the money raised to defeat Initiative 1098, an income tax ballot measure in 2010 that would have raised significant new revenue for public higher education through an income tax on our state’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. This is a glaring conflict of interest, as the regents represented the interests of their own economic class rather than those of the UW.

► In today’s Seattle Times — City gives groups $1M for training about new labor laws — The Seattle Office of Labor Standards is divvying up $1 million among community organizations to assist workers with the city’s labor laws. Many of the groups are connected with immigrant communities in which workers don’t speak English as their first language. The emphasis will be on low-wage workers.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Documents reveal Regional’s past tough stance on charity care — Lawyers seeking a court judgment that Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center and its former owner violated the state’s Charity Care Act say the hospital built an elaborate system of incentives and policies encouraging employees to wring as much money out of poor patients as possible for the corporate bottom line.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Ruling means Shell oil rig could return to city — A city hearing examiner has ruled that using the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 to home-port the Polar Pioneer and its support vessels was a permissible cargo-terminal use.

► In today’s Columbian — Clark County to keep pursuing tax cut — Despite warnings from Clark County’s budget staff, the county council on Wednesday pushed ahead with plans to reduce the county’s property tax levy.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing may be about to lose its first big contract as a result of Ex-Im shutdown — The Ex-Im Bank’s inability to offer financing has delivered another hit to Boeing, this time threatening $1.1 billion in orders for 11 Boeing 737s from a South African airline. Comair Ltd. may have to turn to Airbus to meet its needs if it can’t find a way to affordably finance the 737s it ordered.

► A related story from the Hill — GOP lawmaker plots Ex-Im power play — A Republican House member on Wednesday initiated a seldom-used legislative maneuver aimed at forcing a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, sparking a new battle between backers of the institution and the GOP’s conservative wing.

WA-GOP-delegation-15EDITOR’S NOTE — Was it Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers or one of the other Republicans from Washington state who was willing to take on the party extremists for something that benefits our state?  Nope.  It was Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)  Well, let’s see if any of our GOP members have the guts to sign his discharge petition.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Air Force’s delayed $55B bomber contract could be a good sign for Boeing, Puget Sound region — The Air Force has delayed a public decision on its $55 billion bomber contract for at least two months, and there’s a good chance the result will be a favorable one for the Puget Sound region and for Boeing.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — New S.C. tech center could suck aerospace innovation from Puget Sound region — Boeing made a highly visible pivot toward South Carolina this week when, for the first time, the company made public the technological capabilities of its new Research & Technology-South Carolina Center.




► In today’s NY Times — TPP talks resume, under fire from U.S. presidential hopefuls — Trade ministers for the United States and 11 other Pacific nations gathered in Atlanta on Wednesday to try to reach agreement on the largest regional free-trade pact ever. But knotty differences persist, and antitrade blasts from American presidential candidates have not eased prospects for any deal.

EDITOR’S POST — Dear commercial media: Opposition to the TPP is not “antitrade.” The majority of the TPP has nothing to do with trade, it’s about corporate/investor “rights.” Thanks in advance for making that clear in all your future coverage. Sincerely, The Entire Staff of The Stand.




band-aid► From The Hill — House votes to prevent shutdown — with 151 GOP ‘no’ votes — Congress sent President Obama legislation on Wednesday to prevent a government shutdown, following a 277-151 vote in the House that will keep federal agencies funded through Dec. 11. More Republicans voted against the spending bill than in favor of it, however.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Every member of Congress from Washington state voted “yes” to avoid the shutdown, except Rep. Dave Reichert (R), who did not vote.

► From AFP — Obama signs bill averting U.S. government shutdown

► From the Hill — GOP grapples over scope of budget deal — Senate Republicans are debating how far to go in budget talks with President Obama and Democratic leaders that would set spending levels for the federal government and possibly raise the debt ceiling. The big question is how far Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will go in wiping away the automatic spending cuts to defense and nondefense programs, known as sequestration.

band-aid► From the Hill — Obama signs six-month FAA bill — President Obama on Wednesday night signed into a law a bill to extend federal aviation funding, which had been set to expire, until March 2016. Supporters have said the six-month reauthorization buys Congress time to negotiate a long-term FAA measure.

► From the Hill — Franchisors descend on Capitol to fight labor ruling — As part of the International Franchise Association’s fly-in day, some 400 small business owners are lobbying against the NLRB’s new joint employer ruling. They’re meeting with 124 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.




UAW► From AP — United Auto Workers reject contract deal with Fiat Chrysler — United Auto Workers union members have rejected a proposed contract with Fiat Chrysler. The union reached a tentative agreement with the company two weeks ago that includes pay raises, the potential for increased profit sharing and a $3,000 signing bonus. But some members objected because the raises don’t bring an end to a two-tier wage structure in which workers hired after 2007 are paid less than veteran employees. The contract also allows the company to shift some car production to low-wage Mexico.

► From the New Republic — Some of America’s richest companies have pathetic paid leave plans — Five corporations announced on Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting that they will improve their paid family leave policies. So what about the top Fortune 500 companies — the ones that, it would seem, could afford to be generous about paid leave? For the most part, it isn’t pretty.

► From Think Progress — Why are the Teamsters reportedly trying to meet with Donald Trump? — The union said in a statement that  “the Teamsters look forward to meeting with Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders and any other candidate, regardless of party affiliation, who is committed to improving the lives of America’s working families.”

► From Huffington Post — Majority of Wisconsin voters has had enough of Scott Walker — Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) was forced to drop out of the presidential race in September amid plummeting primary poll numbers. Now, the governor is experiencing another set-back in the polls — this time with Wisconsin voters.




restaurant-waitress-L► In today’s NY Times — Do we value ‘low-skilled’ work? (by Brittany Bronson) –In the casino restaurant where I work, the rush arrives at 10 p.m. The nearby show releases, sending 30 guests into my section all at once. For the next three hours, my body is in constant motion, quickly navigating tables, balancing pint glasses between my fingers, managing a growing mental checklist without ever expressing panic… The terms “unskilled” and “low-skilled labor” contradict the care and precision with which my co-workers, who have a variety of educational backgrounds and language fluencies, execute their tasks… The labels “low-skilled” or “unskilled” workers — the largest demographic being adult women and minorities — often inaccurately describe an individual’s abilities, but play a powerful role in determining their opportunity. The consequences are not only severe, but incredibly disempowering: poverty-level wages, erratic schedules, the absence of retirement planning, health benefits, paid sick or family leave and the constant threat of being replaced. Instead of improved job quality, the rewards for task-oriented workers are pats on the back and the constant encouragement to aspire for something better.


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