Climate alliance, TPP pitch begins, Ex-Im cover…

Wednesday, October 7, 2015




► From AP — Groups form alliance to tackle climate change by initiative — A coalition of diverse groups is launching a new initiative effort to tackle climate change, raising the prospect that Washington voters could face two statewide ballot measures on carbon pollution next year. The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy on Tuesday announced plans to put a climate initiative before voters in November 2016. Their effort aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, put a price on carbon pollution and use that money to invest in clean energy, communities or other programs, though details have not been worked out yet.

ALSO at The Stand — Alliance plans climate initiative for 2016

► From KPLU — Broad-based coalition announces carbon cap initiative to fight climate change — More than 150 groups in Washington state have come together to form the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. It’s an effort to fight climate change that some are calling “historic in scope.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Second group plans state initiative on climate change — Meanwhile, backers of a competing measure have been gathering signatures for I-732, which would tax carbon emissions, but would take a “revenue neutral” approach — offsetting the new tax with cuts in business and sales taxes.

ALSO at The Stand — Wash. Machinists Council votes to oppose I-732 carbon tax

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Quincy wins big as Yahoo expands data center there — Yahoo this week announced plans to expand its data center in the Eastern Washington town of Quincy, a hotbed for server farms. It’s the latest data center development since the Port of Quincy successfully lobbied the Legislature to extend tax credits for companies looking to build in the city through 2024.

► From KPLU — As legal limbo continues, public funding still flows to charter schools — Though the state Supreme Court ruled last month charter schools violate Washington’s constitution, state education officials sent regular funding payments to the schools at the end of September.

► In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune — Rule enforced; lives saved — Farmers in Washington state have embraced the nation’s most comprehensive agricultural safety program, an initiative that contrasts sharply with the hands-off approach that prevails in much of the Midwest.

► In the Olympian — Olympia state Sen. Karen Fraser enters 2016 race for Lt. Governor — That means the longtime state senator won’t be seeking re-election to her Senate seat in the 22nd Legislative District, which she has held for more than two decades.




► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Profit could take a hit if Boeing slows Everett 777 production rate — A Goldman Sachs report argues Boeing won’t be able to keep building 777s at the current rate of 8.3 planes per month until the new 777X is in full production after 2020. That’s because Boeing doesn’t have enough orders for the older model. Instead, Boeing will have to slow Everett production to keep the line alive, just as Airbus is doing with its competing A330.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Probe of 777 engine’s explosive failure pinpoints its origin — After a British Airways 777’s jet engine broke up explosively on a runway last month, investigators have pinned down the precise location of the initial fracture in the innards of the GE-90 engine.




► In today’s Seattle Times — A socialist proves democracy at work in Seattle (by Danny Westneat) — When you find out who just broke the record for the richest campaign in Seattle City Council history, it might change your view on whether we really need to get “big money” out of city politics.




► From The Hill — Obama pitches TPP to business leaders — Business groups have expressed support for the TPP but said they will fully evaluate whether it meets their standards. There was a similar tone on Capitol Hill, with some pro-trade lawmakers rescinding their support over the emerging details of a final deal.

► From The Onion — Obama returns from trade summit with 5 stout ships full of cardamom, silk, and indigo

► MUST-READ from Touch Stone — The TPP good for workers? The big lie (by Owen Tudor) — The biggest lie of all is the suggestion that the TPP guarantees that the rights in the ILO’s core labour conventions will apply to all TPP signatory countries. The suggestion that freedom of association (i.e. the right to join a trade union of your choice) will apply to Vietnam is ridiculous, as is the suggestion that Malaysia will be free of forced labour or trafficking (although the U.S. government decided to upgrade the country’s status on the issue in July, against the arguments of the AFL-CIO, in a clear example of preparing the ground by moving the goalposts.) What’s even more disgraceful is that the USA itself doesn’t guarantee its own workers the rights set out in the ILO core conventions!

► In today’s Oregonian — TPP deserves full Oregon support (editorial)

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Nike sycophants at The Oregonian, like the Boeing ones at The Seattle Times, and the rest of the public have not yet been allowed to read the TPP. But you know, Trade Is Good!™  From what we already know, the vast majority of the TPP is not even about trade, it’s about corporate/investor rights.

► From ABC News — Biden backing Asia trade pact despite union opposition — Labor groups have a warning for Vice President Joe Biden as he lobbies for a major trade pact with Asia: We won’t forget this if you run for president.




► From BuzzFeed — Poll says promising a minimum wage hike would boost voter turnout — Two thirds of low-wage workers who are registered to vote say they would turn out for a presidential candidate who supports a $15 an hour minimum wage and a union.

► From The Hill — Sanders calls for overhaul of labor law — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled sweeping new legislation that will make it easier for workers to organize unions. “Our job is to make it easier for workers to join unions, not harder,” said Sanders. “If workers in this country want to exercise their constitutional right to join a union, they must be allowed to do that.”




► In today’s Wash. Post — Why sell off the Postal Service if it’s still making money? — The two largest postal unions have said for a long time that the Postal Service’s billion-dollar deficits are artificial. Yes, the volume of First Class mail is in a downward spiral. Yes, the recession brought still steeper losses. But if not for Congress’ unusual pre-funding mandate, required by no other public or private entities, the post office would be making money today, with the recession over and its package business booming.

► From Reuters — House effort to force Ex-Im vote to stall in Senate, says McConnell aideA bid by some House Republicans and Democrats to force a vote to revive the U.S. Export-Import Bank is likely to stall in the Senate, leaving the trade bank’s supporters to pin last-ditch hopes on attaching it to a Senate transportation bill.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The majority leader of the Senate, which has already passed the Ex-Im bill, tries to nix hopes for the “discharge petition” in the House. Why? To create some political cover for House Republicans like those from Washington state, who should be signing that petition and supporting jobs in their state. They should sign it anyway. Remember when, at the behest of Boeing boss Jim McNerney, Sen. Maria Cantwell cut that deal with Sen. Mitch McConnell? She handed over her critical vote for Fast Track in exchange for his promise to allow an Ex-Im vote. Good times, good times.

► From AP — Senate to vote on massive defense bill — The Senate is poised to vote Wednesday on a $612 billion defense policy bill that President Barack Obama says he’ll veto over a larger dispute about government spending.

► From The Hill — Heritage blasts ‘union buyoff’ in oil export bill — The conservative lobbying group is blasting House Republicans for inserting into a crude oil export bill a provision to increase payments to certain unionized maritime shipping companies.

► In the Washington Post — ‘Cadillac tax’ is bad for working families (letter by Richard Trumka) — This harmful and unnecessary tax is fundamentally flawed. It will hollow out health-care plans and drive up costs because people will not get the care they need until it is too late. Instead of asking industries and corporations that benefit richly from health-care reform to make a fair contribution, the editorial board wants to increase what working people have to pay out of pocket. This means cutting benefits for those who need them the most. That’s bad policy and bad for working families.




► In today’s NY Times — Teamsters pension fund warns 400,000 of cuts — A prominent Teamsters pension fund, one of the largest, has filed for reorganization under a new federal law and has sent letters to more than 400,000 members warning that their benefits must be cut. Cutting retirees’ pensions has generally been illegal, except under the most dire circumstances. But the executive director of the Central States fund said that reducing payouts to make the money last longer was the only realistic way of avoiding a devastating collapse in the next few years.

► In today’s NY Times — UAW warns Fiat Chrysler to make deal or face strike — The union has set a Wednesday-night deadline for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to agree to a new contract or risk a nationwide strike by the company’s 36,000 hourly workers.

► In The Guardian — No PR campaign will save Walmart from being ‘Exhibit A’ of bad worker policies (by Richard Trumka) — The Walmart model – low wages and the suppression of workers’ rights – is a relic of the past. Today working people are coming together through collective action, and many employers are starting to listen. There is momentum for a high-road, high-wage economy that gives workers a fair process to make their voices heard. Walmart should get with the times.

► In the Wash. Post — Al Jazeera writers continue unionization streak in digital media

► From Huffington Post — Huffington Post employees in talks to unionize




► From Foreign Policy in Focus — ‘Being tortured has been the best experience of my life’ — David Ayala-Zamora was a young labor organizer in El Salvador during the civil war of the 1980s when he was arrested and tortured by security forces. After a couple of months, legal bumbling by his captors and an attorney with connections led to his release. He was able to escape through Mexico to the United States. Settling in the Pacific Northwest, Ayala resumed his work as a union and community organizer. He also advocated for peace in Central America. Since then, he’s devoted many years to organizing day laborers, immigrants, and airport workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. “Being tortured is like running a marathon,” he says. “It taught me how committed I am in the struggle for justice. And it’s kind of fortified me in some ways, because you learn how much capacity you have in this body.”


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