Albertsons wins, TPP push, GOP panic, RIP Allen…

Friday, November 13, 2015




► From AP — State Supreme Court: Legality of Eyman’s tax initiative unclear The state Supreme Court says the legality of Tim Eyman’s latest tax initiative, approved by voters last week, is unclear and the case can be argued before a lower court judge. The court wrote that opponents had not made a slam-dunk case that it was unconstitutional. But the justices said the opponents, including some lawmakers, do have a right to challenge the measure.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Albertsons wins 12 local Haggen stores in bankruptcy auction — Albertsons is the winning bidder for 12 Washington stores that Bellingham-based Haggen auctioned off in bankruptcy court this week. Six of those locations will be operated as Albertsons stores, and the rest will be Safeways. The one Washington store in the auction that did not go to Albertsons is in Liberty Lake, where the prevailing bidder was Yoke’s Foods.

► In today’s Seattle Times — UW’s new president will earn $910,000 a year

► In today’s News Tribune — Seattle’s public radio KUOW will buy KPLU




► In today’s NY Times — Obama pushes TPP ahead of Asia trip — As he prepares for a long trip to Asia, President Obama has opened an intense campaign to promote his new trade agreement.

► From AFL-CIO Now — What a new NAFTA complaint can tell us about the TPP — As the TPP debate intensifies, a coalition of U.S. and Mexican labor and civil society groups are taking an unprecedented legal approach to protect workers’ rights that will test the strength of labor protections in international trade agreements.

► In today’s NY Times — Utah senator, once a crucial ally for the TPP, now its biggest hurdle — Sen. Orrin Hatch is objecting to language that would limit brand-name drug makers’ monopoly protections abroad for cutting-edge medicines known as biologics. In recent days he went so far as to call for the agreement to be renegotiated. Now all sides are mulling whether his remarks are a potentially fatal blow to Obama’s chance of winning Congress’s approval of the TPP, or just his latest legislative bluff.

► From Reuters — White House to work with Congress on TPP vote timing — The TPP, which had a tepid initial reception from lawmakers, cannot come before Congress until March at the earliest and the administration is unlikely to bring it up for consideration if it is unclear whether there are enough votes to pass it.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lobbyists wrote global trade deal (letter to the editor) — When they tell you that nobody knew what was in the TPP, it’s only true for Congress and us. There were over 400 lobbyist from major corporations who knew what was in it, because they helped write it — over 6,000 pages.

► From Huffington Post — TPP ignores workers needs and fails to address weaknesses of past agreements (by Judy Gearhart of the International Labor Rights Forum) — The text of the proposed TPP finally became accessible to workers and the public last week. The result predictably values the rights of corporations over the needs of workers and fails to address the most glaring weakness of past trade deals: the utter failure of the parties to uphold their commitments to respect workers’ rights.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing considers faster construction rate for 777X — The company is making sure it can make about 125 777Xs a year if demand is that high. That would be a 25 percent increase over the production rate for its 777 classic. The number of workers at Boeing’s Everett plant, where the 777X will be assembled, could increase by as much as 3,000 due to the new airplane program, according to the Ecology document. About 40,000 people currently work at the Everett facility, which is adjacent to Paine Field.

► In today’s News Tribune — Congress passes defense budget with plums for Boeing, not much for JBLM — The biggest items for the Puget Sound are contracts for two Boeing-made jets that will receive a combined $5.3 billion in new funding next year.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Sen. Murray, Boeing’s Conner fight for Ex-Im as the clock ticks down — With only six weeks left in this year’s session in U.S. Congress, getting the Export-Import Bank renewed is a top priority for Boeing and for Sen. Patty Murray.




► In today’s Washington Post — Industry groups push to kill ruling that could make it easier for fast food workers to unionize — A wide swath of business groups is pressuring Congress to use a must-pass spending bill to block a recent victory for the labor movement that could give unions more power to negotiate with McDonald’s and other corporations that use franchises or contract workers.

► In today’s NY Times — The GOP at an immigration crossroads (by David Brooks) — It’s no exaggeration to say that the next six months will determine the viability of the Republican Party. Immigration is the key issue around which they will determine the course of their party.

► In today’s Columbian — Congress must act on ports (editorial) — Last year’s disagreement between port operators and workers extended far beyond the docks; it negatively affected businesses and consumers and, in this case, motorists throughout the Vancouver-Portland area. Because labor disputes do not occur in a vacuum, Congress would be wise to address the issue.




► In today’s NY Times — Time for panic? GOP elite worried Carson or Trump might win — There is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them. Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

► From Bloomberg — Labor for Bernie means headaches for Hillary — Labor for Bernie is loosely organized, earnest, and fueled by the sense that there should be a contest for the Democratic nomination. So far the group has secured endorsements from two dozen union locals and federations, and it says it drew 17,000 union members to a September conference call with Sanders.

► In today’s Washington Post — A beginner’s guide to understanding labor politics — On Thursday, Bernie Sanders received the endorsement of the American Postal Workers Union. When you see that, what is the impression you get? Is it that Sanders just scored a huge coup? That Sanders is vying for the labor vote? That you have no idea what to make of it? For the uninitiated — and really even the modestly initiated — here’s a guide to the role of labor endorsements in politics.




► From BuzzFeed — College protests over racial discrimination spread across U.S. — The campus-wide protests against racial discrimination at the University of Missouri that led to the resignation of the school’s top leaders and sparked threats of violence has reignited student-led movements at college campuses across the nation. From coast to coast this week, students at universities marched in solidarity with Mizzou students and showed their support online with the use of hashtags like #BlackOnCampus and #ConcernedStudent1950 — the latter phrase referencing the year African-Americans were first admitted to the Columbia, Missouri, university.

► In today’s Seattle Times — UW students rally in support of black students at University of Missouri

► From Think Progress — Walmart workers escalate Thanksgiving wage protests with weeks of fasting — Tired of being left to rely on the charity of others to feed their families, Walmart workers around the country are launching two weeks of fasting in the run-up to Thanksgiving to demand livable wages and full-time schedules.




► This week, America lost one of our great musicians and songwriters, Allen Toussaint. Not everyone recognizes the name of this New Orleans R&B hero, but you know his songs: “Working in a Coal Mine,” “Java,” “Brickyard Blues (Play Something Sweet),”and songs you’ve probably heard at a labor rally or two, like “Yes We Can Can.” Here’s one that Glen Campbell made famous, but Toussaint makes poignant. R.I.P. to a true legend.


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