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SPEEA gets ready, poor ignored, Saint Warren…

Thursday, November 19, 2015




SPEEA-days-of-action► In the P.S. Business Journal — It’s still 10 months away, but Boeing engineers are already gearing up for a contract battle — SPEEA members are still smarting from the wrenching defeat during their last contract negotiations in 2013, when under pressure from Boeing they voted to end pensions for new hires, but retained pensions for current workers. Now, retirement benefits are top of mind for the engineers and technical workers as they prepare for union contract negotiations next summer. Their current four-year contract ends Oct. 6, 2016.

► In today’s Columbian — Boeing isn’t the point (editorial) — Boeing officials are not about sit still if lawmakers try to scale back the (tax incentives) deal, nor should they. A deal was negotiated, and Boeing is living up to the letter of that deal, if not the spirit… If lawmakers really want to make a difference in how Washington approaches corporate tax incentives, they should focus on future deals rather than revisiting the Boeing plan. And they should ensure that such deals include metrics for actually tracking job creation.




► From AP — State budget outlook predicts shortfall in next cycle — Washington state lawmakers are facing a projected budget shortfall of nearly $500 million for the next two-year budget ending in mid-2019, according to new numbers released Wednesday, not counting the expected financial obligation needed to increase funding for education as directed by the state Supreme Court.

chopp-frank► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Younger, moderate recruits bolster Republican ranks (by Jerry Cornfield) — Longtime House Speaker Frank Chopp could be handing over the gavel and the Democratic Party ceding its majority in the House because Republicans keep adding to their numbers. Several factors are fueling the Republican revival, starting with the recruiting of candidates… Another challenge facing Chopp and the House Democratic Campaign Committee is a sense of entitlement or complacency among a few members, a product of 13 years of uninterrupted rule.




► From AFL-CIO Now — Trumka: Refugee crisis demands American leadership — “I join working families across the United States in sending our thoughts and prayers to the people of Paris, Beirut and all communities affected by the brutality of ISIS and global terror,” says the AFL-CIO president. “At the same time, we stand in solidarity with all those who face violent upheaval around the world and pledge to resist the xenophobic rhetoric of lawmakers who seek to prey on our fears to promote isolationist responses.”

rodne-jay► In today’s Seattle Times — Truth Needle: Is Obama trying to import 1.5 million Muslims? — A Facebook post by Rep. Jay Rodne (R-Snoqualmie) stated that President Obama “wants to import 1.5 million Muslims into the U.S.” We rate the claim as false.

► From TPM — How the Paris attacks turned anti-refugee sentiment into full-blown hysteria — The assaults — conducted largely, it is believed, by French and Belgian nationals — turned into fodder for Republicans to amp up their attacks on the Obama administration’s previously announced plans to accept more Syrian refugees next year.

refugee-xmas-meme► From Politico — House poised to approve Syrian refugees bill — The House is set to approve a bill Thursday that would block refugees from Syria or Iraq from entering the country unless they pass stricter background checks. The bill will see near unanimous support from Republicans and broad support from Democrats.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Refugees from those nations already must pass strict background checks in a process that takes 18-24 months.

► In today’s NY Times — Refugees from war aren’t the enemy (editorial) — This measure represents election-year pandering to the xenophobia that rears up when threats from abroad arise. People who know these issues — law enforcement and intelligence professionals, immigration officials and humanitarian groups — say that this wrongheaded proposal simply would not protect Americans from “foreign enemies.”

► In today’s Washington Post — Before citing Japanese American internment, recall what it was like — Some may see the World War II camps as a precedent for barring refugees, but they’re examples of how paranoia and ethnic bias can lead to actions the country will later regret.

► In today’s NY Times — They are us (by Nicholas Kristof) — Our disgraceful response to Jews fleeing Germany during World War II risks being repeated with Syrian refugees.

► In the Seattle Times — A portrait in bravery: The Syrian scapegoat next door (by Danny Westneat) — The scapegoating of Syrian refugees this past week has been a sorry spectacle. One local Syrian talks about what it’s like to be suddenly considered public enemy number one — when in reality he’s just an engineer in Lynnwood.




► In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka slams Trans-Pacific trade deal — A groundswell of workers demanding their share of the nation’s wealth faces “sophisticated and ruthless” opposition from the rich, and the Pacific Rim trade deal is a crucial, symbolic battle in that ongoing war, said Trumka.

► From AM950 — Trumka on the best way to take action against the TPP


► From AFL-CIO Now — TPP Daily Debunk #2: Are TPP critics anti-trade? — When trade reformers are characterized as “anti-trade,” by those who support the current corporate trade agenda, this glosses over the huge issues at stake in the TPP.




► From the BNA — House OKs bill to exempt tribal businesses from labor law — The House Nov. 17 passed by a 249-177 vote the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, which would exclude “any enterprise or institution owned and operated by an Indian tribe and located on its Indian lands” from the labor law provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.

ALSO at The Stand — State’s Democrats split on exempting tribes from NLRA




ap-poor-children► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — Electing to ignore the poorest of the poor (by Eduardo Porter) — The first few primary debates of the presidential election season are in. We can see where the economic policy discussion is going. Republicans remain wedded to the fantasy that there is no problem tax cuts can’t fix. Democrats offer a more varied policy tool kit, hoping to lean against widening inequality and give a leg up to struggling workers. But both parties, focusing most of their concern on the middle class, appear to be ignoring the Americans who need their attention most: the deeply, persistently poor. Nearly 16 million Americans still fall below 50 percent of the poverty line, measured by the Census Bureau’s revamped poverty measure that includes the effect of government support. No other advanced nation tolerates this depth of deprivation. It amounts to one in 20 Americans.

► From The Hill — SEIU hits GOP field on immigration — The union, fresh off its endorsement this week of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, is launching a multimillion dollar advertising campaign blasting GOP candidates for their “anti-immigrant attacks.”




► From CNN Money — Airport workers strike for $15 an hour — Airport workers demanding $15 an hour have gone on strike at seven major airports in the U.S. The workers, mostly cabin and airport cleaners, were picketing Thursday morning at John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York City, as well as airports in Newark, N.J., Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale, Fl., according to the SEIU.

► From Al Jazeera America — VW skilled workers in Tennessee to get UAW vote — The NLRB has granted the United Auto Workers’ petition for a union vote for skilled-trades workers at the German automaker’s lone U.S. plant in Tennessee.

► In today’s NY Times — Results of UAW vote show Ford pact losing — United Automobile Workers leaders said voting on a new labor agreement is tight at Ford, leaving the deciding votes in the hands of workers at three big plants.

ap-black-lives-matter► In today’s NY Times — One slogan, many methods: Black Lives matters enters politics — Black Lives Matter began as a hashtag and grew into a protest slogan — after prominent police killings of blacks over the past year — and became an Internet-driven civil rights movement. The phrase is as much a mantra as a particular organization, with the general public lumping numerous groups under the Black Lives Matter banner, even if they are not officially connected. Yet amid the groups’ different approaches has been a swirl of political activity. Local affiliates of the Black Lives Matter organization have disrupted numerous Democratic presidential campaign events, pushing the candidates to support policies to end mass incarceration and police brutality.

► In today’s NY Times — Ta-Nehisi Coates wins National Book Award — Coates won the nonfiction award for “Between the World and Me,” a blunt exploration of being a black man in America, published in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations.




saint-warren-buffett► In today’s Washington Post — Where the billionaire gets paid and the blue-collar workers get canned (by Allan Sloan) — If you want to see how a billionaire can prosper at the expense of blue-collar workers’ jobs, take a look at Warren Buffett. On Nov. 5, the Kraft Heinz food conglomerate, which Buffett’s backing helped create five months ago, said it was cutting 2,600 Kraft jobs in North America and closing seven factories. The following day, Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, reported its biggest-ever quarterly profit. Close to half of it — $4.4 billion of $9.4 billion — came from an accounting gain on Berkshire’s stake in Kraft Heinz, which it financed heavily and in which it is the largest single shareholder… Why is Buffett backing the job-slashers at 3G Capital? It’s pretty straightforward: It’s very profitable for him. Although Buffett has a social conscience, when he does business, he’s focused on making money, not on doing good.


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