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UFCW on Haggen, Conner on China, Larsen on TPP…

Thursday, November 12, 2015




haggen-employees-presser_front► In today’s News Tribune — Union monitors L.A. auction of Haggen stores — “Representatives from UFCW locals and our international union are at the auction for the 95 Haggen stores taking place this week,” said the letter to members from UFCW Local 21 officials. “We are strongly presenting our position that these stores need to be bought by responsible store owners to ensure that our members can continue to provide for their families and give customers the great service that they expect.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Read the whole UFCW 21 message here, which includes the list of “core” local stores that have ben added to the auction.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Bids exceed expectations for Haggen stores — Haggen stores far exceeded many initial bids in a “spirited auction” this week at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles that saw the grocer offered roughly $5 million more than originally proposed, according to lawyers who attended.

stranger-seattle-uber-unions► From The Stranger — Can Seattle launch a movement for a new kind of workers’ union? — This city is a national leader in trying to make Uber and Lyft negotiate working conditions with their drivers. Which raises a question: In the new “on-demand” economy, what form would a unionized workforce take?

► A related story in today’s Wall St. Journal — On-demand workers need ‘portable benefits,’ tech and labor leaders say — The group called for new protections for contract workers — such as workers’ compensation and sick leave — that would provide a safety net if they get sick, injured or retire. With as many as 53 million Americans now self-employed, the letter states that benefits “have not kept pace with the rapid changes in the economy.”




► In the P.S. Business Journal — Ray Conner: To beat Chinese competition, Boeing must be ‘better’ — Boeing’s strategy is to make sure it can compete with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China: “What we have to do, we have to anticipate they’re going to be there,” Conner said. “We have to anticipate they’re going to be there with a product that is going to be competitive, both from the standpoint of performance and from the standpoint of price. And therefore we have to keep pushing ourselves to be better in every single way.”

Boeing-ChinaEDITOR’S NOTE — Boeing recently announced the it is opening a jet completion center in China, where it will train Chinese workers to install interiors, apply exterior paint, conduct flight tests and deliver 737s built at Boeing’s Renton plant. (All work that is done now by Machinists Union members.) It doesn’t sound the plan is to beat them, it’s to join them.




► From PubliCola — Once again, Democrats will turn to courts to challenge successful Eyman initiative — The legal challenge will likely come in three different arguments. One is that I-1366 violates the “single-subject rule.” Washington law requires that bills and initiatives affect strictly one unified subject; state Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle) says the unruly I-1366 mixes a tax decrease with a constitutional amendment. The second challenge would be a procedural argument that amendments can’t be approved by initiative. And the third, I-1366 gets in the way of the Legislature fulfilling the court mandate in McCleary that the legislature fully fund education; that be pretty difficult with a $10 billion shortfall over the next 10 years.




larsen-rick► In the (Everett) Herald — Rep. Larsen seeks input on TPP trade pact — Congressman Rick Larsen is doing something this week his congressional colleagues from Washington and around the country are not. He’s talking about the TPP and asking constituents for their opinion on it at town halls. On Saturday, the Everett Democrat will be at the Lynnwood High School theater at 9:30 a.m. and at the Clinton Community Hall at 2 p.m. Each event is slated to last 90 minutes.

ALSO at The Stand — Recess! Tell your Rep. what you think about the TPP

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Dislikes TPP (letter to the editor from one of Larsen’s constituents) — The TPP reads a lot like the old deals — bad for working people, bad for food safety, bad for our access to affordable life-saving medicines, bad for our Internet access, overriding local laws, derailing climate talks, privatizing everything. Rep. Larsen is holding a town hall meeting on Friday, Nov. 13, 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Bellingham City Hall. Let your voice be heard. There is not much time left.

secret-tribunal► From Vox — What the most controversial part of Obama’s trade deal really does — The most controversial part of the TPP carries a deceptively dull name: investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. It creates what is, in essence, an alternative judicial system where foreign investors can argue that they’re receiving unfair treatment — and have the argument decided by an international tribunal rather than a local judge… The reason ISDS is so controversial is because it’s a miniature, and more outrage-friendly, version of the broader argument over the TPP itself — the question it raises is whether multinational corporations already have too much power, and whether rules meant to make their expansion smoother and their lives easier are really a good idea.

► From Huffington Post — Why the TPP is too flawed for a ‘yes’ vote in Congress (by Jeffrey Sachs) — Perhaps most disappointing is the lack of creativity in the development, labor and environmental chapters. Yes, they rhetorically defend global economic development, labor standards and environmental sustainability, but they do so without specific enforcement powers. Why is it that companies can force arbitration tribunals to defend their investor rights, but workers have no such power? Why is climate change not even considered in the draft, despite the fact that it represents the most important environmental threat of the 21st century, and may have strong implications for future trade rules?




social-security-murray-cantwell-front► In the Seattle Times — Congress should pass the Save Benefits Act to help seniors and veterans (editorial) — In October, the federal government announced there would be no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients. U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have come up with a one-time fix that merits bipartisan support.

ALSO at The Stand — Sens. Murray, Cantwell propose to boost Social Security

► From The Hill — Talk grows of repealing ACA ‘Cadillac tax’ — Top senators from both parties say they see momentum building to repeal the “Cadillac tax” on high-end health plans, though they still have major questions about how to pay for it and what the negotiations would look like… Any bill to repeal or change the tax would likely require Democrats to concede on other unpopular parts of the ACA, such as agreeing to the repeal of the medical device tax.




apwu-logo► From The Hill — Sanders lands key postal workers union endorsement — The American Postal Workers Union endorsed Bernie Sanders for president on Thursday, giving the Vermont Senator an influential ally as he scraps to keep pace with Hillary Clinton in the race for labor support. APWU president Mark Dimondstein called Sanders a “true champion” for union rights and said his members will back the Vermont Senator because they’re tired of the status quo: “Politics as usual has not worked. It’s time for a political revolution.”

► From The Hill — Poll: Clinton now up 19 points nationally — Clinton leads Sanders by 19 points, 52 to 33 percent, among Democratic primary voters, according to the New York Times/CBS News survey released early Thursday.

► From The Hill — Trump doubles down on debate claim: ‘Wages are too high’ — Donald Trump on Wednesday doubled down on his argument that American wages are “too high” after making a similar claim during Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate.

trump-one-two► From AP — Trump touts program with dark history as deportation model — As proof that he can successfully and humanely deport the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally, Republican presidential contender Donald Trump often touts the efforts of the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s. But the program to which Trump refers, known as “Operation Wetback,” was a complicated undertaking largely viewed by historians as a dark moment in America’s past.




► From Al Jazeera America — Students across U.S. to march over debt, free public college — Students were set to walk out of classrooms across the United States on Thursday to protest ballooning student loan debt for higher education and rally for tuition-free public colleges and a minimum wage hike for campus workers.

mcdonalds-execs► From Vice — McDonalds gives its shareholders $30 billion as its workers protest for $15 an hour — During a McDonald’s investor meeting on Tuesday, the company parsed the results of its new all-day breakfast initiative and heard from CEO Steve Easterbrook about the bright future of the fast-food market. The burger joint is trumpeting a big recovery. Its shares have been trading at record highs for the past month, and by the end of the meeting Easterbrook announced that the company would pay out $30 billion in dividends to shareholders — a healthy bump from the previous year. Meanwhile, in cities across the country, thousands of fast-food and service industry workers walked off the job to demand that McDonald’s and other fast food operators start paying a living wage of $15 an hour.


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