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Session’s home stretch, gigs vs. jobs, Boeing buyouts…

Monday, March 7, 2016




ALSO at The Stand — I-1433 effort to Raise Up WA officially under way

► From KIRO 7 — Raise Up Washington supporters hit streets, collect signatures


►In the Detroit News — Report shows lack of sick days hinder low-wage workers — Amid the swelling national conversation about income inequality comes a new report spotlighting that the lack of mandatory paid sick leave in the U.S. disproportionately burdens Hispanics and low-wage workers, including the vast majority of food service employees.




► In the (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers turn to ‘big issues’ as end of regular session looms — With the 60-day session set to end Thursday, the House and Senate are still seeking agreement on how to pay for last year’s wildfires, shore up staffing at state psychiatric hospitals and address charter schools in Washington. They also are debating what steps to take to ease a shortage of teachers and state troopers, and to help an increasing number of homeless people.

protect-our-pensions► In the Peninsula Daily News — Sen. Hargrove opposes effort to merge public safety, teacher pensionsState Sen. Jim Hargrove (D-Hoquiam) opposes a Senate bill that would merge the pensions of police and firefighters in the state with a teachers’ pension fund that faces a shortfall.

► Meanwhile, the Seattle Times supports the idea — Pension surplus could solve a raft of problems, from education to mental-health reform (editorial)

► From AP — Automatic voter registration takes hold in other West Coast states — The change recently implemented in Oregon could increase the number of registered voters there by 13 percent by the November election. But it remains to be seen the newly registered will actually vote.




► In the News Tribune — MultiCare is putting profits before patients at Tacoma General (by WSNA’s Christine Himmelsbach) — At MultiCare Tacoma General, nurse staffing is so strained that in some departments it is nearly impossible for nurses to take the breaks they need – and are entitled to under state law and their contract. This is an issue that should concern everyone who could ever be a patient at Tacoma General.

► In today’s Columbian — Instafab, striking workers steel themselves amid long labor disputeAbout one dozen Instafab workers walked out on strike at the non-union company for the past year. But workers have not yet voted on whether to join the Ironworkers union, and company owner Bruce Perkins is refusing to meet with his striking workers.

seattle-uber-council-front► In the Washington Post — Big business takes up Uber’s fight in Seattle, seeing a broader threat — When the members of the Seattle City Council passed a law in December allowing for-hire drivers to form unions — meaning those who drive for Uber and Lyft as well as traditional taxi companies — they knew it was untested legal territory. The question wasn’t whether someone would sue the city over it, the only question was when. What the bill’s proponents didn’t necessarily expect was that the nation’s premier business lobbying group — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — would be the one filing the suit in federal court. As it turns out, a bill granting independent contractors the right to collectively bargain wasn’t just a problem for Uber and Lyft.




gig-economy► From Quartz — Most benefits of the gig economy are completely imaginary (by Rebecca Smith) — Companies like Uber, Lyft, Handy, Postmates, and Wonolo claim their business models are so innovative that they don’t need to treat the workers they rely upon as employees. Unfortunately, this claim is nothing new. For decades, whole segments of industries, including janitorial, trucking, home care, and delivery services, have adopted a strategy of labeling their workers as self-employed independent contractors. In this way, businesses are able to push many of their costs onto the shoulders of the low-wage workers who do their bidding.

Companies in the same industries that want to treat their workers lawfully have to struggle to compete with companies that save money by paying no Social Security, Medicare, workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance taxes and abide by no labor laws. It’s a great get-rich scheme for those at the top, but a stay-poor scheme for the workers at the bottom.




► In the (Everett) Herald — Boeing workers consider buyout offers from company — Boeing workers in Everett and other locations are weighing whether to take buyouts as the company aims to cut its labor costs while avoiding morale-sapping layoffs. Still, some workers are wondering “when do the involuntary layoffs come?” said one Boeing mechanic, who asked that his name not be used.

► In the Seattle Times — Boeing South Carolina no longer playing catch-up to local plants — The North Charleston complex, once a problem child, has grown into a capable operation with cutting-edge technology and a role in engineering, not just manufacturing. Its profile as both rival and collaborator for Boeing’s Puget Sound plants is rising with each new mission.




trump-donald► In today’s News Tribune — Will our state be a bystander to Hurricane Trump? — Washington’s needlessly late May 24 presidential primary might place voters in the excruciating role of bystanders to a shameful turn in American history. Regardless, Republicans in our state should not stay silent.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Local Republicans begin taking sides on Trump — U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th), gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant, and U.S. Senate candidate Chris Vance won’t say whether they’d vote for Trump. State Rep. Brian Dansel (R-Republic) likes Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville), Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), and Rep. Shelly Short (R-Addy) say they don’t like him, but would vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton. Only former U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt says he won’t vote for Trump.

► In the NY Times — In Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders pushes Hillary Clinton on trade and jobs — Sen.  Bernie Sanders, anxious that the Democratic nomination is slipping away from him, launched a series of cutting and sarcastic attacks against Hillary Clinton over trade, welfare reform and Wall Street in a debate Sunday night that often felt like a war over Bill Clinton’s legacy and the moderate Democratic policies of the 1990s.

your-vote-is-your-voice► In the NY Times — Can labor still turn out the vote? — With its shrinking ranks, organized labor, which tilts strongly Democratic, was already struggling to compete with Republican-leaning “super PACs” financed by wealthy conservatives like the Koch brothers, who have vowed with their allies to spend $889 million on this election. Now the labor movement is being buffeted by another force: Donald J. Trump, whose attacks on trade deals, illegal immigrants, Chinese imports and the shifting of jobs overseas are winning over white, blue-collar workers. Can a weakened labor movement still provide the money, voters and get-out-the-vote muscle to elect the Democratic nominee in crucial swing states, as it has in the past?

► In the Detroit News — UAW, Teamsters, AFL-CIO quiet on endorsements — When Michigan workers vote for presidential candidates in the state’s primary election Tuesday, they will do so without relying on endorsements from the United Auto Workers, Teamsters and AFL-CIO. None of the three have announced endorsements, even as Democratic and Republican presidential candidates toured the union-heavy state this week.




► In today’s NY Times — The end of American idealism (by Charles M. Blow) — Social injustice, income inequality and perpetual warfare eat away at the national spirit.


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