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Boeing (re)hires, Hanford contaminates, Seattle backs down

Thursday, October 19, 2017




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing, reversing tide of cuts, rushes to bring back retirees as temps — Boeing has been shedding jobs for five straight years in the Puget Sound region, but this year the cuts seem to have gone too far. Now the jetmaker finds it’s short of people and is scrambling to entice some 500 to 800 retirees back on a temporary basis. And to abide by union agreements, workers who have been laid off in the required job classifications will have to be hired back ahead of any retirees returning to the same jobs. It’s unclear if this could be a definitive turn in the downsizing tide that began to swell in the fall of 2012 and has since then swept away 20,400 Boeing jobs in the state. The company signed an agreement with the Machinists union on Friday setting the terms by which it can hire back retirees on a temporary basis for up to six months. To lure the retired Machinists back to work, Boeing is taking the unusual step of paying bonuses.

ALSO at The Stand — Use state’s aerospace tax breaks to bring Airbus to Washington (by John Burbank) — Here in Washington we have the facilities, the personnel, the training pipeline and the popular interest. By law, we would offer the same tax incentives that we hand out to Boeing. But there would be a difference. While Boeing uses those tax incentives to ship jobs out of Washington, Airbus would use those tax incentives to actually create new jobs in our state.




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 31 Hanford workers test positive for radioactive contamination — Thirty-one Hanford nuclear reservation workers inhaled very small amounts of radioactive material after a take-cover order for a contamination spread June 8. An alarm sounded that morning at the Plutonium Finishing Plant when airborne radioactive contamination was detected as open-air demolition using heavy equipment was being done.

ALSO at The Stand — No safety net for workers at nation’s most dangerous worksite — Despite the recognized uniqueness of the risks, Hanford workers’ claims are denied at five times the rate of other self-insured employers. These realities highlight the need for an occupational illness presumption standard, and in the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers had the opportunity to implement just that. But HB 1723, sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) which passed the House on a strong bipartisan vote (69-29), was killed in the Senate Labor, Commerce & Sports Committee by its chairman, Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane).

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 6 Hanford workers report smelling possible chemical vapors — Six workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation reported an onion-like smell Wednesday afternoon that may have been chemical vapors.




► From Politico — Union threatens campaign against Sinclair — A union leader representing news employees at television stations across the country is threatening to lead a public campaign against the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger, highlighting the job losses and decrease in local coverage he claims would result from the deal… Dave Twedell, a business representative for IATSE Local 600, says he hopes to rally the public against the deal and compel members of Congress to act. He pointed to places like Seattle, one of 10 cities where both Sinclair and Tribune own stations, as potentially facing a drastic loss of local news coverage — and jobs — through consolidations.

ALSO at The Stand — Did Sinclair buy KOMO to shut it down? (by Dave Twedell)

► From Bloomberg — Sinclair may sell TV stations for up to $1 billion to satisfy FCC — Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. received bids for as many as 10 television stations that could fetch up to $1 billion as it takes steps to win approval of its proposed merger with Tribune Media Co., people familiar with the matter said.

► From Slog — City gives a break to airline catering company found to be stiffing workers — Nine months ago, the City of Seattle found that LSG Sky Chefs, a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, failed to pay workers the right minimum wage at its West Seattle facility. Seattle’s newly formed Office of Labor Standards issued a heavy mandate: The company would have to pay $335,000, most of that in back pay and damages directly to the workers. Now, the city has walked back those demands and signed a confidentiality agreement preventing city officials from explaining why… The city essentially waived the interest, damages, and civil penalties it initially said it would charge the company. The reduced penalty combined with how the city investigated the case “sets, at best, a troubling precedent—and at worst, a dangerous one,” according to a lawyer for the union representing the workers, Unite Here Local 8.

ALSO at The Stand — Join UNITE HERE immigration action on today in SeaTac

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Sequim School Board approves teacher contract — Board members unanimously approved the agreement, which SEA members voted and ratified the tentative agreement Sept. 28 with an 86 percent approval.




► From KNKX — Washington State Senate race breaks spending record — So far, 45th LD candidates, Democrat Manka Dhingra and Republican Jinyoung Englund, have have spent $2.4 million, breaking the previous spending record in a state legislative race was $1.5 million.

ALSO at The Stand — Help our ‘heroine’ Manka get the truth out — This is what Republican desperation looks like. They are spending millions of dollars on ads trying to scare voters into thinking a vote for Manka is a vote for bringing heroine (sic) addicts to their neighborhoods. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is urging all unions members to respond to these desperate dirty attacks by volunteering to tell fellow union members the truth about Manka Dhingra and why she’s earned labor’s endorsement. Your next opportunity:

SATURDAY, OCT. 21 in KIRKLAND — Meet at 9 a.m. at Teamsters Local 117, 14675 Interurban Ave in Tukwila for the Ballot Drop Walk and BBQ. Union volunteers will be dispatched for a neighborhood walk in Kirkland on behalf of Manka Dhingra and return to the Teamsters Building for a delicious BBQ sponsored by the WSLC, UA 32, and local building trades unions. For details or to RSVP, email Leanne or call her 206-290-7710.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Enough or not enough, that is the McCleary question (by Jerry Cornfield) — When the legal battle on education funding returns to the state Supreme Court Tuesday, the leader of Washington’s public school system will be closely monitoring this installment of the McCleary drama from his office down the street.




► In today’s NY Times — Congress, end the health care chaos. You have 9 million kids to protect. (editorial) — Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray on Tuesday announced a bipartisan deal that could help stabilize the ACA’s insurance markets and undo some of the damage Trump has done through administrative actions. In an ideal world, Congress would quickly pass that bill, which includes several Republican priorities, and, at the same time, reauthorize CHIP, which now covers nearly 9 million children. But with Trump in the White House and feckless Republicans leading Congress, it’s possible that none of this will get done, health care costs will be driven up and millions of children will be left without health insurance.

► From HuffPost — Congress at standstill over reauthorizing health insurance for 9 million kids

► From TPM — Despite bipartisan breakthrough, Senate remains stuck in health care hell — By Wednesday afternoon, after President Donald Trump had cycled through multiple positions on a deal to stabilize the ACA’s individual market — from qualified support to outright rejection and back again — the usually reserved Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) had had it. “The president has had six positions on our bill,” she said curtly as she power-walked through the Senate basement so fast reporters had to jog to keep up. “What I am focused on is putting forward a proposal that lowers costs for consumers and brings some stability to the market.”

► From The Hill — 24 hours later, Senate health deal all but completely dead

EDITOR’S NOTE — What are Washington’s Republicans doing to help avert a health care crisis for 9 million children and a 9 to 27 percent “Trump tax.” Absolutely nothing.




► From AP — Tax plan: Corporations get to keep deduction — Millions of Americans would lose a prized tax break under President Donald Trump’s sweeping revamp of the tax code, but corporations would get to keep it. The GOP proposal would eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a widely popular break used by some 44 million Americans, especially in high-tax, Democratic-leaning states like New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois. But corporations, which pay billions in local property levies and state income taxes, wouldn’t be affected.

► In today’s LA Times — Why tax cuts won’t generate as much economic growth as Trump hopes (analysis) — President Trump and congressional Republicans talk about their tax overhaul plan as if it’s a sure-fire bet for the economy. Far from it. There’s little historical evidence that tax cuts actually pay off in boosting economic growth long-term.

► From Vox — Republicans say they can’t figure out how to not cut taxes for the rich — The truth is that avoiding a tax cut for the rich is really easy. The reason Republican plans cut taxes for the rich is that Republicans believe rich people are paying far too much in taxes, not because there’s some conceptual barrier to not cutting their taxes.

► From The Hill — Longtime DNC officials ousted in shakeup: report — A common thread linking many of the ousted and demoted Democratic National Committee veterans is their support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who ran against Tom Perez for the chairmanship.




► From The Guardian — How big pharma’s money — and its politicians — feed the U.S. opioid crisis — Tom Marino might have withdrawn from consideration as Trump’s drug czar, but drug money is coursing through the veins of Congress – contributing directly to an epidemic that kills thousands of Americans each year. Nine out of 10 members of the House of Representatives and all but three of the U.S.’s 100 senators have taken campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies seeking to affect legislation on everything from the cost of drugs to how new medicines are approved… The impact of so much drug company money includes successful efforts to block competitors in India from making generic versions of HIV/AIDS medicines that are more affordable to developing countries, charging dramatically higher prices in the U.S. than other countries, and preventing the federal government from seeking bids for the manufacture of drugs and medical devices – a process used in other areas, such as defense spending.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Top 2016 recipient from Washington state: Sen. Patty Murray ($345,644), ranking Democratic member of the Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.


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