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Raise Up WA, our oligarchy, SOTU and TPP…

Tuesday, January 12, 2016




RUW-filing-front► From AP — New statewide initiative introduced to raise minimum wage — Supporters of raising Washington state’s minimum wage filed a ballot measure Monday that seeks to incrementally increase the state’s rate to $13.50 an hour over four years starting in 2017, as well as provide paid sick leave to employees without it.

ALSO at The Stand — State minimum wage/sick leave initiative is filed

MORE coverage from the (Everett) Herald, KING 5, KPLU, P.S. Business Journal, and The Stranger.

► From Civic Skunk Works — WA coalition files initiative for $13.50 minimum wage, paid sick leave — This would benefit a huge number of people around the state. Today, more than 730,000 Washington workers make less than $13.50 an hour—more than half of whom are over the age of 30—and over a million workers don’t enjoy any paid sick leave. The state’s current minimum wage would place a family of three below the poverty line. This initiative would disproportionately benefit women and minorities, who are much more likely to work for minimum wage than white men.

► In the News Tribune — Home health care workers supports minimum wage initiative (video)

shea-matt► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State Rep. Matt Shea made ‘fact-finding’ trip to Oregon standoff — Shea and state Rep. Graham Hunt (R-Orting) were among the group that visited the refuge over the weekend.




► In today’s Olympian — State is right to shed light on Boeing’s tax breaks (editorial) — The Department of Revenue’s recent ruling means that in the future, the public will be able to see how much tax benefit a specific company is receiving whenever the new tax break is authorized, based on a promise or goal of economic development or jobs, said Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle).

► A related story from the P.S.Business Journal — Sources: Boeing to open data center in North Carolina — The Boeing Co. has an agreement with an Atlanta-based developer to build a data center in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, sources say.




scotus-friedrichs► In today’s NY Times — Supreme Court seems poised to deal unions a major setback — A ruling in the plaintiffs’ favor would affect millions of government workers and culminate a political and legal campaign by a group of prominent conservative foundations aimed at weakening public-sector unions. Those unions stand to lose fees from both workers who object to the positions the unions take and those who simply choose not to join while benefiting from the unions’ efforts on their behalf.

► In today’s Wall St. Journal — Unions work to retain, add members ahead of possible Supreme Court loss — Several public-sector unions have begun outreach campaigns to retain existing members and convert nonmembers who haven’t joined their workplace union. The efforts started before the high court heard arguments Monday where they appeared ready to rule against unions.

► In today’s NY Times — Strong unions, strong democracy (by Richard Kahlenberg) — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that losing fair share fees would not pose much of a problem; if workers really support collective bargaining, the so-called free rider problem someone like Friedrichs represents would be “really insignificant.” But humans enjoy getting benefits for nothing. In states that recognize a duty to bargain but prohibit fair share fees, 34 percent of teachers are free riders.


► In today’s Washington Post — Roberts Court finds a new way to stack the deck in favor of the rich (by Dana Milbank) — The five Republican-appointed justices are ready to upend a 40-year precedent guiding labor relations in favor of a new approach that will deplete public-sector unions’ finances and reduce their political clout… The only question is how big a loss Friedrichs v. CTA will be for the unions. It’s virtually certain to be another step toward American oligarchy. The court’s conservative majority, setting aside a professed respect for precedent and states’ authority, is putting a thumb on the scale of justice in favor of the wealthy donors who have purchased the GOP and much of the government.

► In the Guardian — U.S. Supreme Court must protect the right of teachers to speak in a loud voice (by Pankaj Sharma) — Powerful special interests like the Koch brothers are trying to silence teachers like me. The Center for Individual Rights, the group behind the case, and those aligned with it are making bold, baseless claims, such as that public employees are forced to join unions, or that they can be forced to pay for a union’s political action that they disagree with. But that’s already illegal — as it should be. This case won’t change that because that’s not what this case is about.




welcome-to-spokane► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Employers required to give workers up to 5 paid sick days by Spokane City Council — Most workers in Spokane will get three or five paid sick days under legislation approved by the Spokane City Council Monday night. “It is an accepted value,” said Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart. “We just need to codify it.”

ALSO at The Stand — Spokane City Council OKs paid sick and safe leave ordinance

► From Think Progress — The first city to guarantee paid sick leave in 2016 — Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address, Spokane, Washington passed a law guaranteeing residents the right to paid sick leave when they or their family members fall sick, or to deal with sexual assault and domestic abuse.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Arch Coal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — Arch Coal, a minority shareholder in Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposed $643 million export terminal, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday. Millennium officials said they’re confident their project will continue moving forward.

► In today’s Oregonian — Portland longshore workers paid $1.2 million to not work at Port of Portland — The longshore union has reaped the benefits for decades of a port-supported fund that pays members whether or not they work.




obama-state-of-the-union► From the Hill — Obama, Democrats at odds before State of the Union address — Recent clashes between liberals and the White House over high-profile issues as diverse as trade, Iran sanctions and deportations invite a different dynamic to this year’s speech, where Obama is expected to defend those policies as part of a concerted push to wrap up loose ends and burnish his legacy in the twilight of his presidency.

ALSO at The Stand — Protest TPP in Seattle Jan. 12 before State of the Union — Senior citizens, retirees and their allies are invited to Rally Against the TPP Trade Deal at noon Tuesday, Jan. 12 at the U.S. Federal Courthouse, 700 Stewart St. in downtown Seattle.

► From The Hill — Critics of Obama trade pact seize on Keystone dispute — Environmental groups, trade groups and labor unions say TransCanada’s attempt to secure $15 billion in compensation for the rejection of Keystone under the NAFTA is emblematic of how trade agreements favor corporate interests, harm workers and undermine U.S. law.

► From Politico — House Democrats slam White House for immigration raids — Dozens of House Democrats are rebuking the Obama administration over immigration raids targeting Central American immigrants in a letter to be released later this week, calling on the president to “immediately” halt the controversial operations.




► In today’s NY Times — ‘Sickout’ by Detroit teachers closes most schools — Most of Detroit’s public schools closed Monday in the face of a “sickout” by teachers who protested what they called unsafe, crumbling, vermin-infested and inadequately staffed buildings, and the failure of state lawmakers to agree on a plan to rescue a system teetering on the edge of insolvency.

► From Huffington Post — There are now more solar jobs than oil jobs in America — As of November 2015 there were almost 209,000 people who worked in the solar industry, 90 percent of whom only work on solar-related projects, according to a new report. There were only about 185,000 people working in oil and gas in the United States in December 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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