Friday, October 9, 2015
► In today’s Seattle Times — 6 dam workers hurt in Grant County explosion, 5 airlifted to Harborview — An explosion at the Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River on Thursday injured six public-utility workers. Five of the workers were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to be treated for burns. The blast around 4:15 p.m. was due to an electrical malfunction and did not compromise the hydroelectric dam’s structure, according to officials.
► From Teamsters 117 — Thank the Seattle City Council for passing Drivers’ Bill of Rights out of committee — On Oct. 2, drivers in Seattle’s for-hire industry took another huge step towards having dignity and a voice at work! Let’s thank the members of the City Council who voted to support this groundbreaking legislation.
ALSO at The Stand — Support for-hire drivers’ rights in Seattle
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Talent trumps taxes for businesses looking to grow, relocate (editorial) — Idaho’s outgoing Department of Commerce director surprised legislators Tuesday with the problematic message that talent trumps taxes. Jeff Sayer, an entrepreneur who will return to the private sector at year’s end, told a working group on taxation that tax rates seldom come up in conversations with businesses considering expansion or relocation. Further up the list of priorities, he said, is the availability of skilled workers. Some are shelving plans to grow in Idaho because they do not see an adequate talent pool. None that he has spoken to even raised the tax issue.
► In today’s Olympian — Union worker seeks state House seat — Dylan Carlson, 32, who works as a staff representative with an AFSCME local announced his campaign for the seat being vacated in 2016 by Rep. Sam Hunt, who is seeking the Senate seat opened up by Sen. Karen Fraser’s bid for lieutenant governor.
► From Politico — House Republicans push for Ex-Im renewal — A large number of House Republicans took to the House floor Friday morning to sign a petition that would force a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The move may increase the likelihood that the bank, dormant since July, will be reopened.
EDITOR’S NOTE™ UPDATED!® — According to this running list, a bipartisan majority of 218 U.S. Representatives have now signed the petition to allow a vote on the Ex-Im bill! Washington GOP Reps. Dave Reichert and Dan Newhouse joined Washington Democrats Suzan DelBene, Rick Larson, Derek Kilmer, Jim McDermott, Adam Smith and Denny Heck in signing. But alas, at press time, neither Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers nor Jaime Herrera Beutler were willing to risk the ire of the House Freedom Caucus teabaggers by supporting this legislation that’s so important to manufacturers in Washington state.
► From Time — The TPP is a bad deal for American workers (by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka) — There’s been a lot of talk about winners and losers in various aspects of this deal. Spoiler alert: Corporations seem to win at every turn at the expense of working people. As my friend Steelworker President Leo Gerard said, “TPP may be the final blow to manufacturing in America. Our producers and workers are under siege from other nations’ massive overproduction, foreign currency devaluation, our own lack of long-term infrastructure investment and the strong dollar.”
► From The Atlantic — How the TPP threatens America’s recent manufacturing resurgence — trade agreements, at their heart, create winners and losers, and the TPP will likely create some U.S. manufacturing losers at a time when economists worry that the country is becoming too service-oriented.
► From Above Average — What does the TPP mean… for our relationship? (by Dan Chamberlain) — Even if you and I spend our golden years not in a seaside cottage as we had dreamed of, but instead scavenging in the landfills and poisoned rivers; digging through heaps of old Minions Happy Meal toys in a desperate hunt for potable water under the jackboot of our new global government, that’s fine by me because we will be together. I love you, and they can’t copyright love. Unless they already have, but I’m not sure because nobody is allowed to read the TPP agreement.
► In the KC Star — At White House, KC burger worker calls for higher wages — Terrence Wise, 36, has been working in the fast food industry for more than 20 years. He earns $8 per hour working at two jobs, one at Burger King, the other at McDonald’s. On Wednesday, he introduced Obama at a forum on labor issues in the East Room of the White House. A father of three, he works seven days a week. His fiance, who earns $10 an hour, also works every day. Still, Wise said, “the wages are so low, we skip meals.”
ALSO at The Stand — The White House Summit on Worker Voice (video)
► In today’s Washington Post — It’s been a while since anybody in the White House talked this much about unions — President Obama called for fixes to labor law that would help independent contractors organize and gain access to benefits normally offered by employers. He endorsed the WAGE Act, which would increase penalties on companies for retaliating against union organizers. But there was also a recognition that the labor movement has some reaching out to do.
► From Gawker — The White House can’t win the class war (by Hamilton Nolan) — Not even the White House is powerful enough to make those American middle class dreams come true. No savior will be coming down from Washington to win the class war. So we have to win it ourselves.
► From Politico — Pleading for Paul Ryan — House Republicans are frantically lobbying Ryan to run for speaker after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly ditched his bid Thursday for speaker, leaving a gaping hole atop the fractious Republican Conference and no obvious successor to John Boehner.
► From Think Progress — This document reveals why the House of Representatives is in complete chaos — This House Freedom Caucus “questionnaire” makes it impossible for any candidate to both: 1) Get elected speaker, and 2) Not send the entire country over a cliff. The agenda of the House Freedom Caucus makes a difficult job effectively impossible. Agreeing to their demands means presiding over a period of unprecedented dysfunction in the United States.
► From The Hill — GOP drama hurls budget talks into disarray — Congress has less than a month to raise the nation’s debt limit and only two months to find a deal to avoid a government shutdown. Meanwhile, many in the GOP are unsure who is representing the House majority at the table.
► From Huffington Post — Urban Outfitters’ call for free labor is just its latest shameful move — The retailer’s parent company, URBN, asked some of its salaried employees to volunteer at a fulfillment center in Pennsylvania in anticipation of a busy month. What this means is that employees at the URBN home office were being asked to work for free in order to help make sure customers got their orders speedily.
► From AP — NY minimum wage push spurs U.S. debate, faces hurdles at home — New York’s plan to give fast-food workers a $15 minimum hourly wage is spurring similar efforts in other states even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to enact a $15 wage for all workers faces vocal opposition at home.
► John Lennon would’ve been 75 today if he hadn’t been gunned down in 1980. This clip from the documentary “Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon’s Imagine Album” shows him recording the vocals for one of his classic songs. A notorious studio cut-up and clown, here’s he’s just as sincere and serious as can be, singing a song about a common issue with relationships. No peace. No politics. Just a beautiful song. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.