Tuesday, December 15, 2015
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
► In today’s NY Times — Seattle will allow Uber and Lyft drivers to form unions — The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to approve a bill allowing drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing apps to form unions. Council members voted 9-0 in favor of the ordinance, the first legislation of its kind in the country. The decision was greeted with cheers in a City Council chamber packed with supporters holding placards that read “Driver Unity.” The measure is likely to be challenged in court.
ALSO at The Stand — Seattle’s for-hire drivers win in historic vote
► From AP — Seattle’s Uber unionization measure a new economy test case — Seattle has been seen as a leader on workers’ rights with moves that include gradually raising the minimum wage and requiring most employers to provide paid sick leave. Now the city has become the first in the nation to allow drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize over pay and working conditions. The legislation approved by the City Council Monday is seen as a test case for the changing 21st century workforce.
► From Working Washington — Uber’s lobbyists deactivated, workers’ rights surging — Now that we’ve set the standard for innovative workers rights legislation, other cities will likely consider similar proposals. But it started here in Seattle because drivers and passengers stood up to Uber and Lyft and demanded they respect our rights.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Omak mill closure to leave 175 people without work — Omak Wood Products produced veneer products for a related panel company in Shelton, which has sold and no longer needs the veneer. The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation owns the plant, which reopened in 2013 under a 25-year contract with independent operator Omak Wood Products.
► From My Northwest — Growing number of Seattle neighborhoods paying for private police — The Seattle neighborhood of Magnolia is joining a trend of communities buying additional security after growing frustrations with slow police response.
► In today’s Seattle Times — 2 years after breakdown, Bertha getting ready to drill again — Workers on the Highway 99 tunnel project are starting to cover Bertha with sand as they get ready to resume drilling the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct (and that was originally supposed to open this month).
► In today’s Washington Post — The 10 most liberal and conservative cities in the U.S. — as judged by campaign donors — No. 1 in America: Vashon Island, Wash.! Seattle ranks a mere 144th.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — It could cost $5.6 million to fix U.S. 12 — On Monday, officials with the state Department of Transportation estimated the cost of repairs at $5.6 million, and said crews are expected in a few days to have a better idea of how long the mountain pass will remain closed.
► From KPLU — These justices can’t get Washington state to pay McCleary fines — The fines now add up to about $12 million. So far, Washington state hasn’t paid a dime. That’s because only the Legislature can set up an account to make paying the fine possible. One excuse is that the Legislature hasn’t been in session. But when the high court asked lawmakers to return, they said no.
► From AP — Washington’s 1st charter school to go back to being private — The first charter school in Washington will go back to being a tuition-free private school after the state Supreme Court struck down the charter school law as unconstitutional, officials announced Monday.
ALSO at The Stand — Charter schools ruling is a rebuke of the privatization agenda
► In the P.S. Business Journal — U.S. trade complaint against China opens door to future clashes over airplane subsidies — Last week’s federal filing against hidden Chinese taxes on import aircraft may be just a harbinger of bigger fights to come. And this could catch Boeing in an uncomfortable crossfire. While China is one of the largest buyers of Boeing aircraft, the Chinese government is doing everything it can to become a global builder of its own commercial jets.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, Boeing recently announced it would establish a jet completion center in China.
► From AP — Boeing boosts dividend 20 pct, lifts stock buybacks to $14B — For the year to date, the stock is up 10 percent, versus a 2 percent decline in the benchmark S&P 500 index.
► From AFL-CIO Now — Burn the TPP (by Leo W. Gerard) — The measure of trade success should be improving broadly-shared prosperity, increasing family-supporting jobs and raising middle-class wages. Corporate profits should rise as well. But the first priority, in a democracy, should be people, not corporations. The proposed TPP fails this test.
► From the Hill — Ryan offers different tone from McConnell on trade pact — Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he wants to take a vote as soon as possible on an expansive Pacific Rim trade agreement if the pact proves beneficial for the United States.
► In From The Hill — Heritage Action opposes ‘Cadillac tax’ delay — The conservative group is calling on Republicans to resist the delay, arguing that it would stabilize ObamaCare and not undermine the law.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The right wing has finally found a tax they like, one that targets unionized companies and workers who have sacrificed higher wage increases to bargain for better health care coverage.
► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — The experts were wrong about the best places for better and cheaper health care — New data shows that places that spend less on Medicare do not necessarily spend less on health care over all. Health care researchers who have seen the new findings say they are likely to force a rethinking of some conventional wisdom about health care. In particular, they cast doubt on the wisdom of encouraging mergers among hospitals, as parts of the 2010 health care law did. Larger, integrated hospital systems can often spend less money in Medicare, by avoiding duplicative treatments. But those systems also tend to set higher prices in private markets, because they face relatively little local competition.
► In today’s NY Times — Chicago teacher approve call to strike as pension talks stall — The Chicago Teachers Union has voted overwhelmingly to authorize its leaders to call a strike, a move that clears the way for the union’s second walkout in four years and delivers another pressing political challenge for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
► From Think Progress — Justice Ginsberg’s ominous warning about creeping corporate power — Recent Supreme Court decisions, Ginsburg warns, “have predictably resulted in the deprivation of consumers’ rights to seek redress for losses, and, turning the coin, they have insulated powerful economic interests from liability for violations of consumer protection laws.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.