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Accountability, strong public sector unions, plantation capitalism…

Tuesday, January 19, 2016




aerospace-tax-incentice-accountability► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Robinson’s bill would tie Boeing tax breaks to Washington jobs — An Everett lawmaker renewed her efforts Monday to tie the state’s huge tax break for the Boeing Co. with the number of people the aerospace giant employs in Washington. The House Finance Committee plans a hearing on her bill at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. TVW will broadcast and stream it live.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Judge to weigh legality of Eyman’s tax-cut ballot measure — The legality of Tim Eyman’s latest tax-cut ballot measure will be argued in a King County courtroom Tuesday, the first round in a battle the state Supreme Court might ultimately decide. Superior Court Judge William Downing will hear arguments on the validity of Initiative 1366, which slashes the sales tax by a penny in mid-April unless lawmakers put a tax-limiting constitutional amendment on the ballot for November. Attorneys said they anticipate a ruling within a matter of days, after which the losing side would most likely appeal directly to the high court.

► From AP — Proposal to fix Washington school funding gets hearing — Many spoke against Senate Bill 6195 for not saying how the Legislature will reduce its reliance on local school levies to pay for basic education, only making a commitment to try and solve the issue next year.

AP-fund-education-now► In today’s Olympian — Why do lawmakers say they need more data to fix school-funding crisis? — Lawmakers have convened at least six work groups in the past 12 years to analyze the way Washington state pays for education, a system the state Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional. Now, facing a 2018 deadline to fix those problems — along with mounting court sanctions — lawmakers say they need to create yet a another task force, because they still don’t have the data they need.

► In today’s NY Times — Proof that a price on carbon works (editorial) — Canadian provinces and some American states have shown that raising the cost of burning fossil fuels does not damage the economy.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Western State Hospital needs competent management (editorial) — The mess at Western State Hospital is untenable, putting patients, employees and the public in peril.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State lawmaker in Olympia asks teens about their virginity — State Rep. Mary Dye (R-Pomeroy) asked a group of high school students visiting Olympia with Planned Parenthood if they were virgins and suggested one was not.



speea-no-nerds-2000► In the Seattle Times — Revenge of the nerds bodes well for Boeing (by Danny Westneat) — Though engineers still have to vote on the deal, the progress to date has been kumbaya compared to the take it or leave it bullying that had been Boeing’s style the past decade, with workers, suppliers and state governments (the latter whenever it wanted some new factories or tax favoritism). What happened? “It’s the new CEO, I’m convinced of it,” says Stan Sorscher, a physicist, 35-year Boeing employee and labor representative with the union of 21,000 local engineers, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA). “You can’t have a potential sea change in culture like this without a new message coming down from the top.”




► From Slog — Thousands march on MLK Day in Seattle — Thousands of people marched from the Central District to downtown Seattle today as a part of a peaceful protest in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A Seattle Police Department spokesperson said there were no arrests.

MORE local MLK Day coverage in the Columbian, (Everett) Herald, News Tribune, Olympian, Spokesman-Review, and the Yakima H-R.

► In today’s Olympian — Report says 1 in 3 Washington households struggle to afford basic life necessities — The United Way has released a comprehensive report with data on Pacific Northwest households that earn more than the federal poverty level, but still struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing and child care. The nonprofit organization refers to these households as ALICE, which stands for “asset limited, income constrained, employed.”

► In the (Everett) Herald — Union, fire chief accused of misconduct have clashed before — The latest controversy over a firefighter’s allegations that fire chief Murray Gordon showed signs of being intoxicated at a fatal fire last month — something Gordon denies — underscores the years of contention between him and IAFF Local 46.




► MUST-READ in The Atlantic — Why some states want strong public-sector unions (by Charlotte Garden) — Many states want effective and well-resourced unions, even though those unions will be on the other side of the bargaining table. That much is apparent from California’s robust defense of its collective-bargaining law in Friedrichs, as well as the amicus briefs filed by 21 states and the District of Columbia and a list of cities, counties, elected officials, and school districts.

PSM-WFSE-contract-signing-frontOne might assume that eliminating public-employee unions would correspondingly eliminate public employees’ collective action. But this view misses what public unions can accomplish for their members: collecting and voicing workers’ priorities, pursuing them in bargaining, and enforcing the resulting contract. Not only do public employees value the improvements in wages and working conditions that unions win, but the opportunity to bargain itself makes workers more likely to buy into their employers’ missions and stay at their jobs. And, worker stability and voice are in turn linked to productivity gains, undermining Friedrichs’s counsel’s assumption that a strong union drives up spending. Even more important, when public unions fight for measures that help workers do their jobs safely and effectively—such as when firefighters bargain for better safety equipment or nurses bargain for lower staff-to-patient ratios — the public benefits too.

ALSO at The Stand — Bipartisan support for labor in Friedrichs Supreme Court case — The top attorneys for 22 states and the District of Columbia, including Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have filed a “friend-of-the-court” amicus brief supporting unions in Friedrichs. In addition, three prominent Republican state senators have joined with GOP colleagues from across the country and sided with public workers in the case.

► In today’s NY Times — Case could widen free-speech gap between corporations, unions — The Citizens United decision, which amplified the role of money in American politics, also promised something like a level playing field. Both corporations and unions, it said, could spend what they liked to support their favored candidates. But last week’s arguments in a major challenge to public unions illuminated a gap in the Supreme Court’s treatment of capital and labor. The court has long allowed workers to refuse to finance unions’ political activities. But shareholders have no comparable right to refuse to pay for corporate political speech.





► In today’s Washington Post — Supreme Court to review Obama’s power on deportation policy — The justices will decide whether the president has the authority to declare that millions of illegal immigrants be allowed to remain and work in the United States without fear of deportation.

► From The Hill — GOP field divided on trade deal — Trump, Cruz, Christie, Fiorina and Huckabee say they oppose the TPP. Bush, Carson and Kasich support it. Rubio and Paul won’t say. And Santorum, apparently, is still running.




► From AFL-CIO Now — Working people (and the facts) stand up to ‘Right to Work’ push in West Virginia — That didn’t take long. As the West Virginia Legislature opened Wednesday, the first bill out of the gates was “right to work” legislation that does nothing more than attack the rights of working people. As the video above shows, workers weren’t happy about the proposal and flooded the Capitol to express their opposition to the dangerous bill.

monopoly-pay-taxes► In today’s NY Times — Wealth inequality rising fast, Oxfam says, faulting tax havens — Just 62 people own as much wealth as the 3.5 billion people in the bottom half of the world’s income scale, the charity Oxfam reported on Monday in its annual study of inequality, which found that the gap between rich and poor has continued to widen at an alarming rate. The study noted that a global network of tax havens contributed to the divide by allowing the rich to hide trillions of dollars in assets from their countries’ governments.

► In today’s Washington Post — Not much unites Democrats and Republicans. Anger at Wall Street does. — Eight years after the start of the Great Recession, the anger at major financial institutions has grown in both parties.

► In today’s NY Times — How to protect female farmworkers (by José Padilla and David Bacon) — Immigrants working in the fields endure a nightmare of sexual violence, and it’s rare for their attackers to be prosecuted.




barber-moral-mondays► From Religion Dispatches — Challenging plantation capitalism: Rev. Barber’s holy cause (by Tefere Gebre) — America’s labor movement once showed the world that working class people could lead middle class lives. But in our lifetime we have become among the world’s most unequal societies, with an economy defined by wage stagnation. Close and sober analysis shows that the key political and economic driver of this sinister transformation has been the continued power of those who are still able to maintain plantation capitalism in the South while seeking to spread it elsewhere. As Rev. Barber says, the South is still where we as a nation will decide who and what we are


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

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