Thursday, February 18, 2016
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing engineers, techs approve historic six-year labor agreement — Nearly three-quarters of Boeing’s Puget Sound-area engineers and technical workers approved a six-year contract extension Wednesday night, bringing a new era of labor peace to the area until 2022.
ALSO at The Stand — SPEEA units at Boeing OK 6-year extension
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing’s South Carolina workers aren’t just building 787s — In a rural area just outside North Charleston, a few hundred Boeing engineers are finding new ways to automate production, inspection and testing to squeeze time, labor and other costs out of commercial airplane assembly.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Muilenburg blunt about 787 past, bullish about its future — Boeing’s CEO was open about the $28 billion in deferred costs on Boeing’s books due to the 787’s difficult early years. But he said he’s not looking back.
► From AP — Revenue projections for Washington lower than expected — As lawmakers prepare to unveil a supplemental budget proposal, they learned that they have a little less money to work with in the current budget cycle and significantly less money than previously expected for the two years after that. The state revenue forecast showed that the current two-year $38 billion budget that ends in the middle of 2017 falls about $78 million short of what was originally predicted. The forecast lowered its expectations for the next two-year budget by $436 million.
► From KUOW — School funding conundrum may have just gotten harder — Democrat Hans Dunshee, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said existing taxes aren’t going to produce enough money for schools: “I mean there’s no way you get to that $4 billion in McCleary out of the existing bucket of stuff.”
► From AP — House passes bill aimed at reducing state teacher shortage — HB 2573, passed on a vote of 92-6, would require the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to create a statewide plan to bring in more teachers.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Olympia campaign finance reforms languish in election year
► In today’s Columbian — House bill on bistate bridge dies in Legislature
► From AP — SeaTac workers sue over $15 minimum wage — Workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport filed more than a dozen lawsuits on Wednesday, claiming they have not been paid a $15 minimum wage. Their lawyers estimate the employees are owed as much as $20,000 each in back pay since the higher wage went into effect more than two years ago. They say about 5,000 airport workers are affected by the minimum wage ordinance, which now requires an hourly wage of at least $15.24. An estimated 1,500 workers have not been paid the correct wage, the attorneys said.
MORE coverage in today’s Seattle Times.
► From Media Matters — New report undermines right-wing media claim that higher minimum wages threaten job creation — According to a recent report by the private payroll firm Automatic Data Processing, the state of Washington received the highest score in the nation on wage and job growth in the fourth quarter of 2015. The state’s outstanding performance runs counter to the doom-and-gloom scenarios pushed by right-wing media about the supposed side effects of elevated minimum wages.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Space Needle operator pays to settle labor-organizing case — The firm that manages the Space Needle agreed to pay former employee Fernando Jimenez $24,000 to settle a complaint alleging he was fired last March for taking part in union activities.
ALSO at The Stand — Space Needle settles, pays illegally fired union supporter
MORE coverage in today’s P.S. Business Journal.
► In today’s News Tribune — Demonstration against TPP in downtown Tacoma (video)
► From AFL-CIO Now — New AFL-CIO TPP report highlights lack of worker protections — “The consistency plans fall woefully short of ensuring that all 12 TPP countries will be in full compliance with the TPP’s labor standard on Day One of the agreement,” says AFL-CIO Director of International Affairs Cathy Feingold. “Vietnam will get a five-year free pass to deny freedom of association and there is no plan for Mexico at all.”
► From The Hill — Lawmakers eye crackdown on illicit trade — Lawmakers are seeking to crack down on the billions of dollars that flow through illicit trade ahead of a potential vote later this year on President Obama’s massive Asia-Pacific agreement.
► In today’s NY Times — Blacks see bias in delay of Scalia successor — After years of watching political opponents question the president’s birthplace and his faith, and hearing a member of Congress shout “You lie!” at him from the House floor, some African-Americans saw the move by Senate Republicans as another attempt to deny the legitimacy of the country’s first black president… “I guess many of them are using this in the strictest construction that Barack Obama’s serving three-fifths of a term or he’s three-fifths of a human being, so he doesn’t get to make this choice. It’s infuriating.”
► From TPM — Outside groups warn GOP: Don’t even think about holding a SCOTUS hearing — Outside conservative groups with influence on Capitol Hill — and particularly those that inhabit its far-right flank — were quick to cement the line Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) drew.
► From Think Progress — Poll fails to support McConnell’s motivations for blocking Supreme Court nominees — A new poll from Rasmussen Reports, which is known to lean conservative in its results, finds that voters would prefer Obama to fill the vacancy rather than waiting until after the next presidential election.
► In today’s NY Times — Resetting the post-Scalia Supreme Court (by Linda Greenhouse) — The conservative majority has permitted the court to become an agent of partisan warfare to an extent that threatens real damage to the institution. Justice Scalia’s outsize role on and off the bench contributed to that dangerous development to an outsize degree. His frequent parroting of right-wing talking points in recent years may have reflected the contraction of his intellectual universe… (This) might help explain why someone as smart as Antonin Scalia seemed so un-self-conscious about his inflammatory rhetoric. He was simply giving voice to those he spent his time with. His world was one that reinforced and never challenged him.
► From The Hill — AFL-CIO withholding Clinton endorsement, report says — Many of the nation’s top unions have thrown their weight behind Clinton, but AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told members the federation is staying out of it. The AFL-CIO is likely to endorse a Democratic presidential candidate in the general election, he said, but doesn’t want to pick sides yet.
► From Huffington Post — Big win for Bernie: AFL-CIO holds off on presidential endorsement
► In today’s NY Times — Mainstream GOP field faces brutal delegate math — If the G.O.P. fails to settle on Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush or John Kasich by Super Tuesday, the delegate count will start to favor Donald J. Trump and Ted Cruz.
► From Vox — Moderate Democrats helped Wall Street avoid regulation in the ’90s. They’re doing it again. — A few moderate Democrats — like Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — are working on legislation that would severely curtail regulators’ power and make it easier for banks and other financial organizations to escape scrutiny, a move Elizabeth Warren and other liberal reformers are fighting.
► From Think Progress — All workers in this state will soon be guaranteed a paid day off when they get sick — On Wednesday, Vermont’s House approved a bill that would guarantee workers in the state the ability to earn paid sick days, sending it to Gov. Peter Shumlin (D)’s desk. Once the governor signs it into law, as he has said he will do, Vermont will become the fifth state in the country to ensure employees the right to a paid day off for their own illness or that of their loved ones.
ALSO at The Stand — Initiative 1433 campaign kicks off on Saturday, March 5 — I-1433 would raise Washington’s minimum wage incrementally to $13.50 and allow all workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick and safe leave per year.
► From Bloomberg — The Walmart case that could expand gay rights at work — Is anti-gay discrimination a form of sex discrimination? Walmart Stores, the biggest private employer in the U.S., is the target of a lawsuit that might soon provide an answer to that question.
► From Think Progress — Students, veterans turned away from polls under Wisconsin’s new Voter ID law — Some students and veterans were unable to cast regular ballots, because the state doesn’t recognize a federal veterans’ benefits card or a state university ID for voting purposes. Gov. Scott Walker (R) tweeted that the new law “worked fine.”
► In today’s NY Times — Racial gerrymandering in North Carolina (editorial) — Republicans in the state have used various machinations to disenfranchise voters.
► In today’s Oregonian — Hooters employee fired for cussing at work? Report says companies use swearing as a scapegoat — A new study shows that workers are often fired for cussing as an excuse to get rid of employees deemed troublesome by management. In one instance, a Hooters waitress is canned on the grounds she cussed out the winner of a wet T-shirt competition she thought was rigged.
► From The Nation — Why are poor Americans dying so much earlier than rich Americans? — .. s with economic prosperity, gains in physical health haven’t been spread equally. Instead, they’ve been increasingly skewed towards the wealthy—and a new analysis from the Brookings Institution indicates gaps in lifespan between the rich and the poor are getting worse, not better.studies have linked to shorter lifespans and a heightened risk of death from strokes, heart attacks, and other illnesses. The author accounts much of the disparity in death rates to what he calls “stress-related conditions.” People who aren’t secure economically are likely to experience high levels of stress, which
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