Friday, January 20, 2017
► From EOI — Strong show of support for paid family and medical leave in House Labor Committee hearing — HB 1116, sponsored by Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett), would allow all Washington workers to use extended paid leave for events like the birth of a child, a personal health emergency, or to take care of an ill family member, like an aging parent. On Thursday, the House Labor Committee heard support for the proposal from Washington workers, parents, business owners, health care experts and community leaders.
► From KNKX — Paid family leave gains traction with Washington Republicans — The idea of giving workers paid time off to care for a new baby or an elderly parent has long been a priority of the left. But historically, Washington Republicans and their business allies have been wary. But that may be changing. “I think it has begun to change,” House Republican Floor Leader J.T. Wilcox said. “And we’re going to engage in the discussion about paid family leave. I think you’re going to see strong efforts to have a compromise.”
► A related story from the PSBJ — Starbucks expands parental leave in fight to recruit and retain workers — Starbucks has upgraded its paid parental leave plan for U.S. employees to at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave and as much as 18 weeks of fully paid leave. The move comes after amid intense competition to attract and retain employees.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Unions again working to tie Boeing tax breaks to job retention — The two largest aerospace worker unions will try again to tie the future of the state’s huge tax break for the Boeing Co. with the number of people the plane-builder employs in Washington. Officials with the Machinist and the engineer unions say a response is needed to the company’s steady shedding of jobs since the Legislature extended those tax incentives to help land the 777X program. They point to the company’s employment data showing there are 11,414 fewer Boeing workers in Washington than when lawmakers approved the extension in a hurried special session in November 2013. Meanwhile, Boeing used those incentives to save nearly $217 million in tax payments in 2014 and $304.8 million in 2015, according to state data. And it could add up to as much as $8.7 billion through 2040, they note.
ALSO at The Stand — Boeing cashes in on tax breaks, cuts 11K jobs in Washington
► From Crosscut — Behind closed doors, state GOP seeks school solutions — In interviews this week, a picture emerged of the Senate Republican caucus as faced with reconciling a range of members, from anti-tax hardliners to relatively moderate fiscal conservatives. And the accounts portray a leadership that generally let lawmakers make principled stands in private, often taking extra time to emerge from closed negotiations as a united front.
► In today’s News Tribune — No more transgender toilet wars (editorial) — Here we go again. Some Republican legislators want to brush off the rights of transgender individuals by banning them from gender-segregated restrooms. A wedge social issue like this has no place in Olympia this year.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The sponsors of this House bill (which, so far, has no Senate companion) are Reps. Taylor, Shea, McCaslin, Young, Klippert, J. Walsh, Haler, Short, Manweller, Hargrove, Pike, Holy, Rodne, Buys, Koster, and Schmick.
► In today’s News Tribune — Local hospitals: We’ll take some psychiatric patients off Western State’s hands — The state is looking for places to send the mental health patients it wants to divert from its two large psychiatric hospitals — particularly crowded Western State Hospital in Lakewood. In a twist, community hospitals that have rejected taking such patients in the past are now answering the call, in part because of a possible cash influx from the state.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Machinists union to file for new organizing vote at Boeing’s South Carolina plant — The Machinists union announced Friday that it will file for a new vote to organize production workers at Boeing’s manufacturing complex in North Charleston, S.C.. The IAM’s move to file for a vote indicates it has managed to get more than 30 percent of the workers to sign cards requesting union representation. Detailed arrangements for the vote among roughly 3,000 eligible workers must be agreed on by the union and company through the NLRB, a process that typically takes three to five weeks.
► In the PSBJ — Boeing supplier with hundreds of Puget Sound-area employees to be sold in $10.5B deal — More than 600 Puget Sound aerospace workers will have a much larger employer under a deal announced Thursday as the wave of consolidation continues among Boeing suppliers. Engine maker Safran launched a friendly $10.5 billion takeover bid for Zodiac Aerospace, the struggling airplane seats and cabin interiors supplier. Both companies are based in France.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Fast ferry partners Kitsap, King working on deal — Kitsap Transit delivered a draft agreement Wednesday for King County Marine Division to operate its fast ferries. Voters provided two big victories Nov. 8 — $54 billion in mass transit expansions called ST3 and cross-sound passenger-only ferry service from Bremerton, Kingston and Southworth to downtown Seattle.
► In today’s News Tribune — Teamsters school bus drivers approve contract — School bus drivers in Tacoma approved their contract with Durham School Services, an Illinois-based private company that Tacoma Public Schools pays to transport an estimated 6,000 students each day. Employees had previously rejected three earlier contract offers.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Hanford contractor agrees to pay $5.3 million to settle timecard fraud — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that a contractor has agreed to pay $5.3 million to settle allegations that it knowingly bilked the government through a time-card scheme that lasted for five years at Hanford.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Obamacare ‘saved the farm,’ and Spokane man wonders: What now? (by Shawn Vestal) — John Hancock has 14 months until he reaches age 65 and qualifies for Medicare. A self-employed consultant who relies on health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, he wonders if he’ll make it to Medicare before losing his current insurance — or if he’ll return to the ranks of America’s uninsured one last time. He is trying to remain hopeful that the health care system will be improved and not destroyed. “The ACA was a first step down the road toward universal health care, not the end of the road,” he said. “I think the ACA was the first bite of the apple that helped me and helped a lot of people.”
The fact that our representatives in Congress cannot speak with any degree of specificity about possible changes and improvements, after years and years of obstinate opposition, is telling. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers – who has gone fishing unsuccessfully online for Obamacare horror stories more than once – has been typical on this point. “I sent a detailed appeal to Cathy last week,” Hancock said, “and didn’t get a response.”
ALSO at The Stand — Don’t destabilize our health care, economy (a letter from dozens of state organizations to Washington’s congressional delegation)
► In today’s NY Times — Donald the Unready (by Paul Krugman) — The typical Trump nominee, in everything from economics to diplomacy to national security, is ethically challenged, ignorant about the area of policy he or she is supposed to manage and deeply incurious. This isn’t a team that will compensate for the commander in chief’s weaknesses; on the contrary, it’s a team that will amplify them… So there you have it: an administration unprecedented in its corruption, but also completely unprepared to govern.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump nominees make clear plans to sweep away Obama policies — There is no doubt that Trump’s nominees collectively will lead an effort to undermine Obama’s legacy on the environment, health care, immigration, civil rights and education.
ALSO at The Stand — Urge our senators to oppose nominees Puzder, DeVos, Price
► FROM Politico — Senate Dems will only allow two Trump nominees to be confirmed on Day One — Senate Democrats are prepared to allow two of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to be confirmed on Day One — retired Marine Gens. James Mattis to lead the Pentagon and John Kelly to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — but for them, that’s where the senatorial comity ends.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Senate should take its time, be thorough in vetting Trump nominees (editorial) — The U.S. Senate should not rush to approve Trump cabinet nominees before ethics office has finished its work.
► Case in point, in the NY Times — Steven Mnuchin, Treasury nominee, failed to disclose $100 million in assets — Mnuchin failed to disclose nearly $100 million of his assets on Senate Finance Committee disclosure documents and forgot to mention his role as a director of an investment fund located in a tax haven, an omission that Democrats said made him unfit to serve in one of the government’s most important positions.
Mnuchin failed to disclose $95 million in assets. When a 90-year-old woman underpaid by 27 cents, he took her house. https://t.co/g6uTS1GIlH
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) January 19, 2017
► From CNN — Uber to pay $20 million for misleading drivers — Uber will pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission for misleading drivers about how much they could earn on the platform. Uber claimed its drivers could earn a median income of more than $90,000 per year in New York and more than $74,000 in San Francisco. In reality, the FTC said, less than 10% of drivers earned that.
► From Reuters — Impact of job-stealing robots a growing concern at Davos — Open markets and global trade have been blamed for job losses over the last decade, but global CEOs say the real culprits are increasingly machines. And while business leaders gathered at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos relish the productivity gains technology can bring, they warned this week that the collateral damage to jobs needs to be addressed more seriously.
► Yesterday, The Entire Staff of The Stand’s daughter sent us a link to this video, simply adding, “Wow.” We agree. And another moment passes when you realize that you must have done something right because your child has great taste in music. In her case, she also appreciates some good acoustic guitar work. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.