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B-Boys vs. cities, attack on PLAs, GOP eyes Social Security cuts…

Wednesday, January 27, 2016




► In today’s Seattle Times — Lawmaker proposes striking down local minimum-wage laws — Calling higher minimum wages “a disaster for small business owners,” GOP state Sen. Michael Baumgartner Tuesday introduced a bill to strike down local laws like Seattle’s $15-per-hour measure.

baumgartner-michael► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Baumgartner, Stuckart spar over plan to limit city workplace laws — Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) wants to keep other cities from mandating paid sick leave as the Spokane City Council has, or from raising the minimum wage higher than state law requires. “The state cannot afford to have labor laws made city by city by liberal city officials chasing progressive fads,” he said. Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart shot back that Baumgartner doesn’t respect local voters, who last year elected members of the council running on platforms that included family and medical leave for local businesses.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Baumgartner’s bill, SB 6578, has just one co-sponsor: Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia). And naturally, these poverty-wage supporting B-Boys are the Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. Why, you ask? Because that’s just how that Grand Ol’ Party rolls.

senn-tana► In the P.S. Business Journal — Washington could revise its equal pay law for the first time since 1943 — Women make 77 cents on average for every dollar a man makes in Washington state. HB 1646 could help close that pay gap by preventing companies from discriminating in pay and promotions based on gender. The bill also prevents companies from denying employees the right to discuss compensation. “Women often don’t even know if they’re being underpaid,” said state Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Is.) who introduced the bill. “Women can’t ask for more or resolve the difference if there’s pay secrecy.”

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima Valley educators take teacher shortage concerns to Olympia — Speaking to legislators Tuesday, Yakima School District Superintendent Jack Irion recalled meeting with two high school students worried they wouldn’t score high enough on math placement exams for college courses. Their fear stems from not having a math teacher; their class has been taught by a substitute. “It continues to haunt me,” Irion said.

► In today’s Olympian — Community college pay was shorted in budget (by Timothy Stokes, Amy Morrison Goings, and Eric Murray) — We were pleased that tuition was reduced by 5 percent for our students, and that the state funded compensation increases for our staff (including the first cost of living increase since 2008). However, the final budget didn’t include enough money to pay for the two policies. The community and technical college system was left short by $12.88 million. So, while it looks like our state community and technical colleges received additional support for our students and staff, we in fact are still facing budget cuts.




alcoa-intalco-works► Today from KUOW — Wither aluminum smelting’s future in the Northwest? — Once upon a time, the Northwest was home to ten massive aluminum smelters. As of today, just one still operates. And the Alcoa company plans to idle that smelter near Ferndale, Washington, indefinitely in June. Is the end for a one-time pillar of the Northwest economy or merely a pause?

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Bellingham Herald reports that, if power costs continue to decline, the Alcoa smelter west of Ferndale might stay open.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Crucial vote looms for Group Health acquisition by Kaiser — Members of Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative will begin voting Saturday to decide whether the longtime care and coverage provider should be acquired by California’s Kaiser Permanente.

ALSO at The Stand — SEIU 1199NW nurses at Group Health endorse Kaiser deal

► In today’s Seattle Times — Albertsons shutting Safeway bakery plant in Bellevue — Forty-five employees will lose jobs as the grocery giant, which now owns Safeway, shifts production to Clackamas, Ore.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford guards approve contract with signing bonus — The Hanford Guards Union voted Tuesday to accept a proposed new contract with Mission Support Alliance after three contract extensions during negotiations.




► From AP — Boeing’s 2016 outlook disappoints; 777 output-cut announcement expected — Boeing’s fourth-quarter performance beat analysts’ estimates, but the company’s 2016 outlook came in well below Wall Street’s expectations. Boeing is also likely to announce another production rate cut, this time for the 777 program.

► From Reuters — Boeing forecasts 2016 earnings below estimates; shares tumbleBoeing forecast 2016 core earnings below estimates on Wednesday, and said it expected to deliver fewer commercial planes this year, sending its shares down 6.5 percent. The company expects to deliver 740 to 745 planes in 2016, its centenary year, down from 762 in 2015.




PLAs-work► From IBEW — Anti-union bill aims to kill government PLAsAnti-union legislation seeking to limit the use of project labor agreements met determined resistance in January when the IBEW joined forces with signatory contractors and other unions to oppose it in Congress. The deceptively named “Government Neutrality in Contracting Act” seeks to prohibit the use of project labor agreements on government-funded construction projects and revives a decades-old tit-for-tat between Democratic and Republican administrations over the use of the pre-construction agreements.

EDITOR’S NOTE — More than 100 Republicans have co-sponsored this bill, but none are from Washington state.

► From The Hill — Dem mayors line up for Obama trade deal — Some Democratic mayors are lining up in favor of President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade deal, which is opposed by most Democrats in Congress and the Democratic presidential field.

socsec-medicare-not-entitlements► From The Hill — Rising red ink poses challenges for the GOP — Grim new projections on the federal deficit are creating a challenge for Republican leaders, who have vowed to tackle entitlement reform cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security ahead of the November elections. Republican leaders are facing mounting pressure from conservatives to slow the growth of largely popular programs. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has already vowed to pursue major changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.




► From AFL-CIO Now — Pro ‘right-to-work’ politicians in West Virginia attack working people on the State Senate floor — West Virginia state Sen. Robert Karnes (R) doesn’t think too highly of every day working people trying to create a better life and earn wages to sustain a family on. In fact, he called the concerned citizens who attended a recent “Right to Work” bill debate “free riders.”

► From AP — Watchdog: Too few air traffic controllers where needed most — There are too few fully qualified controllers at more than a dozen of the nation’s busiest air traffic facilities stretching from Atlanta to Anchorage, according to report released Tuesday. The 13 airport towers, approach control facilities and en route centers have fewer fully trained controllers than the minimum number established by the FAA specifically for each facility.




BlackWorkersMatter► From Gawker — Poverty and racism aren’t the same, but black people are getting screwed by both (by Hamilton Nolan) — The facts tell the story: minority households, particularly black, are losing in virtually every measure of economic health. This sort of inequality is a trap that feeds itself. Black people are born with less family wealth, earn less income, have a harder time buying a home, and therefore have a harder time getting credit that might offer them a lifeline out of poverty. We can talk about The American Dream all we want, but this is the American reality.


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