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SeaTac win (again), TPP’s friends, A Grim Bargain…

Wednesday, December 2, 2015




seatac-good-jobs-initiative► In today’s Seattle Times — SeaTac’s $15 wage law should apply to airport, Supreme Court affirms — The Washington state Supreme Court declined to reconsider its August ruling that the $15 minimum wage approved by city of SeaTac voters applies to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as well. That means that thousands of hospitality and transportation workers at Sea-Tac Airport should soon see their minimum wage bumped up to $15.24 an hour, the current minimum in the city of SeaTac… Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have not said whether they would appeal the decision further.

► In the Bellingham Herald — Former Haggen stores likely to reopen under former owners in early 2016 — While Albertsons, which acquired many of those stores last week in bankruptcy court, hasn’t announced a specific timetable for the startup of the closed stores, the company’s attorney told a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge last week they want to get those stores up and running as soon as possible next year.

sakuma-familias► In the Capital Press — Sakuma, workers near deal on lingering pay issue — Sakuma Brothers Farms and workers have reached a tentative agreement on compensating piece-rate pickers for rest breaks during the 2014 harvest. Washington state berry company Sakuma Brothers Farms has tentatively agreed to pay $87,160 to compensate pickers for rest breaks in 2014, resolving an issue left over from a federal class-action lawsuit that changed agricultural wage practices statewide.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The boycott of Sakuma berries continues until management agrees to negotiate with the union to resolve workers’ concerns about wages and working conditions. Get more info.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Still no new contract for Kadlec nurses — Kadlec Regional Medical Center nurses (WSNA) still don’t have a new contract after months of negotiations, and they plan meetings Dec. 7-8 to discuss their next steps. That could include an advisory vote on the possibility of a strike.

ALSO at The Stand — Stand united with Kadlec nurses in Tri-Cities (Nov. 3) — Union members and community members are invited to sign WSNA’s online petition in support of the Kadlec RNs and calling on management to “respect our nurses.”

► In the PSBJ — Seattle City Council to decide fate of Hansen’s Sodo Arena as early as January — Mayor Ed Murray sent a proposal to the City Council, asking for approval to hand over a chunk of Occidental Avenue South to the developers for the project. The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma have protested that decision. “The recommendation really doesn’t mean much more than that the mayor punting a dying Sodo arena deal to the new City Council,” said the ILWU in a statement.

► From IAM 751 — District 751 raises $284,000 for Guide Dogs of America — District 751 is one of the top fundraisers for the charity in North America. Over the past seven years, IAM 751 members have raised more than $2 million to help provide service dogs and training in their use for people who are blind or have impaired vision.




► From AP — Washington principals call teacher shortage a ‘crisis’ — In a survey of 730 principals representing 35 percent of the state’s public schools, 80 percent of principals said they have had to hire under-qualified teachers and 74 percent said they had to substitute for a classroom teacher within five days of when the survey was taken in October.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington State Ferries looking for 60 new deckhands — Deckhands are needed at Washington State Ferries to prepare for higher-ranking jobs, like captain, when aging crew members retire in coming years. Got sea legs?




peoples-climate-march-TPP_front► From Huffington Post — Environmental group assails ‘polluter-friendly’ Obama trade deal — The Sierra Club on Wednesday released a report on the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, concluding that the landmark trade deal would be a significant setback in efforts to combat climate change and protect the environment. “In its more than 6,000 pages of binding rules, the deal fails to even mention the words ‘climate change’,” the report reads.




► In today’s NY Times — Bipartisan talks yield $300 billion highway bill — Congressional negotiators clinched a deal on Tuesday for a five-year, roughly $300 billion transportation bill that would inject badly needed investments into the nation’s deteriorated highways and other infrastructure.

► From The Hill — Transportation deal includes Ex-Im renewal — A deal struck Tuesday on a long-term transportation bill contains language reauthorizing the federal Export-Import Bank for four years.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) hailed the inclusion Ex-Im renewal in the bill:

“This is so important to helping grow our economy from the middle out, not just the top down… I credit the small business owners in Washington state who’ve stood up to tell their stories so that my colleagues in Congress knew exactly what was at stake when they tried to put politics ahead of people.”

To hear today’s statement from the office of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who has refused to use her leadership position to stand up to the Tea Party caucus in her party on this issue, click here.

► In the PSBJ — A boon for Boeing: Ex-Im renewal moving through Congress

AFLCIO-cadillac-clunker-fact-sheet► From The Hill — Lawmakers seek late deal to scale back ‘Cadillac tax’ — Lawmakers are making a late push to repeal or scale back ACA’s “Cadillac Tax” by the end of the year, eyeing inclusion of changes in a broader tax package.

► From Forbes — Congress is back at the tax extender trough — For years, Congress has struggled with what to do with scores of temporary tax breaks that have come to be known as the “tax extenders.”   The usual resolution: Lawmakers fiddle for months. Then, sometime in December, they mindlessly continue the immortal mostly-business tax breaks for another year or two.

► From Politico — Ryan and Pelosi bear down on budget as deadline looms — Speaker Paul Ryan called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday morning with a somewhat urgent message: Time is short, and the House needs to speed up negotiations to fund the government.

► In today’s NY Times — Supreme Court denies states’ requests for filing extension in immigration suit — The Supreme Court handed the Obama administration a procedural but important victory Tuesday in its efforts to get the justices to rule next year on President Obama’s plan to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.




TRULY A MUST-READ in today’s Washington Post — A Grim Bargain — In Alabama and across the Deep South, communities where unemployment runs high are luring foreign companies with lavish tax breaks, plentiful land and cheap American labor. But in some cases, the jobs offer only a slightly better version of a hard life. The region’s weaknesses — a low-skill workforce that doesn’t expect particularly high wages — become its competitive strengths.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Bad trade policies, anti-union “right-to-work” laws and other low-road economic development policies have helped international corporations profit, but have condemned generations of Americans — particularly in the Deep South — to poverty, lower life expectancy, and hopelessness.

► From AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO EVP Tefere Gebre: ‘Refugees look like me’


► From CNN Money — HuffPost biggest digital newsroom yet to seek union — Editorial staff members at the website asked management to voluntarily recognize the Writers Guild of America as their collective bargaining representative.

► In today’s NY Times — How Mark Zuckerberg’s example helps fight stigma of family leave — New fathers in California have been more likely to take leave since the state began paying for it in 2004, a study says, but it is much less common among fathers than mothers.

► Our Oligarchy™ update from Al Jazeera America — The wealthiest dozen Americans own more than the bottom half — The intense concentration of wealth matters because it makes the economy less efficient, discouraging investments that create jobs while giving a relative handful of superrich Americans vast sway over the agendas that politicians pursue. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, provided nearly half the contributions to the presidential candidates in both parties, though giving was heavily skewed to Republicans.




► From AFSCME — Women describe the path forward for unions — In an extraordinary roundtable conversation with AFSCME President Lee Saunders, women who lead three of the nation’s largest unions — NEA’s Lily Eskelsen García, AFT’s Randi Weingarten, and SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry — describe how they became president, and the path forward for our unions’ partnership in fighting the attacks on public service workers, including the Supreme Court case in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.


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