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Election 2015, TPP sellout, WeWork win…

Monday, October 19, 2015




15-Gregory-Hickel► In today’s News Tribune — All eyes on state House race in Federal Way’s 30th Legislative District — Both parties see the contest between Democrat Carol Gregory and Republican Teri Hickel as one that could put Democrats a step away from losing control of the state House — or, alternatively, help Democrats hang on to their slim majority in the Legislature’s lower chamber.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Union members can download a candidate comparison flier explaining where the candidates stand on the issues, and why Gregory earned labor’s endorsement in this race.

► In the (Everett) Herald — I-1366 would result in a mess (editorial) — I-1366 offers a choice between two paths: Amend the constitution to require a two-thirds majority for tax increases and even revenue-neutral tax reforms, or face a budgetary crisis.

ALSO at The Stand — WSLC urges rejection of Eyman’s I-1366

► In the Seattle Times — Tim Eyman’s legal woes, K-12 funding loom over supermajority initiative — The vote on I-1366 arrives amid a cloud of highly publicized ethics allegations against Eyman, who is accused by state election watchdogs of illegal profiteering off initiative campaigns.




IAM► In the Bellingham Herald — Union approves contract extension at Alcoa Intalco Works — Union workers at Alcoa’s Intalco Works (IAM District 160) have accepted a contract extension that will provide labor stability through March 2017. The workers had gone into the negotiations with high expectations for changes, including potential wage increases, but recognized that current market conditions made it difficult for the company to offer anything more than an extension. The members opted to go with a shorter 18-month extension with the hope that market conditions will improve.




► From Think Progress — Washington’s largest psychiatric hospital struggles with staff shortages, funding cuts — Federal regulators are mulling over millions of dollars of cuts to Western State Hospital, Washington’s largest psychiatric hospital, even as staff warn they’re stretched too thin and episodes of inter-patient violence make the headlines.

► From KUOW — The strange short story of Washington state’s income tax




► In the Seattle Times — Will 787 program ever show an overall profit? Analysts grow more skeptical — Boeing’s projection of an eventual profit for the Dreamliner depends on very aggressive assumptions, given $32 billion in sunk costs already, and more expected in Wednesday’s earnings report.




TPP-secrecy► In the Int’l Business Times — Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown slams Obama-backed TPP as ‘massive sellout of American workers’ — Brown is now urging voters to sign a petition demanding Obama immediately release the text of the TPP, which was finalized earlier this month. The Obama administration is obligated to release the full text of the agreement before any congressional vote on the TPP,  but the administration recently went to court to keep the text secret for the time being. Brown asserted that as a legislator, he needs to see the text immediately.

► From Politico — Budget talks stall before they even begin — Republicans are demanding changes to entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare, a request that’s already been rejected by Democrats. Democrats want boosts in domestic spending without painful cuts, a nonstarter for the GOP. Meanwhile, there’s no House speaker scheduled to serve past October. And private staff-level talks are making little headway.

► From Politico — The Freedom Caucus’s unprecedented insurgency — There hasn’t been a bloc like the Freedom Caucus for at least a century. Normally, a caucus of insurgents that refuses to work with its own party leadership would be willing to reach across the aisle. But that presupposes an interest in governing.

► From AP — House Republicans return to Capitol to face leadership mess — Attention is focused on Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, who is under pressure from party leaders to run for House speaker — a job he repeatedly has made clear he does not want.




schaitberger-harold► In Sunday’s NY Times — Firefighters’ union owes clout to its free-spending chief — The International Association of Fire Fighters is a small union of just under 300,000 members with political influence far beyond its size. The obvious reason for this is the respect many Americans have for firefighters, who consistently rank as some of the country’s most admired professionals. The less obvious reason is Harold A. Schaitberger, a tall, barrel-chested man with meaty hands and rheumy eyes, who has served as the union’s general president for over 15 years.

► And today’s sign of the apocalypse, in the NY Times — Walmart chief defends investments in labor — In the last year, Walmart has… raised its minimum starting wage to $9 an hour. Now, progressives may be cheering, but Wall Street is not. Investors fear that Walmart’s heavy investments in labor, in the Internet and in discounts will weigh on the retailer’s short-term earnings — and many are running the other way.




wework-janitors► In the NY Times — WeWork ends combative dispute with former janitorial workers — WeWork, a $10 billion New York start-up that offers temporary office space in several cities with perks like arcade games, showers and coffee bars, said it would now use unionized contractors to provide janitorial services for its locations in New York and Boston. The agreement, which comes after months of protests from former WeWork cleaners who were paid as little as $10 an hour through a nonunion contractor, is being praised by labor experts. It represents an abrupt turn for WeWork, which was facing criticism from its members — the individuals and businesses who rent space — many of whom sympathized with the laid-off janitors.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D-Seattle), who has used WeWork office space for his Seattle campaign office, was among those who worked with SEIU local 6 to organize letters of support for the janitors from Seattle. Nice job, Brady!


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