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Boeing’s costly breaks ● Buying the House ● Unions vs. Amazon buildings

Thursday, September 27, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing saved $227M from state tax incentives last year while it cut 6,000 jobs — Boeing disclosed that Washington state’s aerospace industry tax incentives saved the company $227 million in 2017. The figures indicate that after subtracting the incentives, Boeing paid about $27 million in B&O tax, the major portion of its state and local tax bill. A separate Boeing filing that accompanies the tax information shows that during 2017 the jet manufacturer cut 6,052 jobs in the state, with total company employment here falling from 71,881 at the end of 2016 to 65,829 a year later. Those job cuts followed just over 7,500 jobs Boeing shed in 2016.

► In the Charleston Post-Courier — Labor union: We’re no threat to Boeing’s North Charleston plant or S.C. economy — The union that won an election to represent workers at Boeing’s plant in North Charleston says it isn’t a threat to South Carolina’s economy and it won’t bring about the downfall of the world’s largest aerospace firm. The International Association of Machinists used its latest filing with the NLRB to mock what it terms “preposterous and wildly speculative” predictions by anti-union groups for “all manner of disaster” that will occur if the May 31 vote is upheld.




► From Cannabiz Media — Labor unions gain a foothold in Washington cannabis industry — The cannabis industry is growing and labor unions want to get in. Last month, the UFCW union and cannabis retailer Have a Heart signed the state’s first cannabis collective bargaining agreement. In other words, the road is now paved for additional unions to organize workers in the state.

► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Montesano district and teachers enter mediation over contract — The first day of school in the Montesano School District was Aug 29. Since then, the teacher’s union has been working without a contract.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Spokane City Council sets employee salary cap, but it’s so high no one is affected — The council unanimously passed an ordinance that increases council oversight of city hiring and caps city employee pay at four times Spokane’s median household income.




► In today’s Columbia Basin Herald — Hammond calls on Manweller to resign now — Sylvia Hammond, Democratic challenger to embattled Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Cle Elum), has called on him to resign immediately in the wake of another accusation of sexual impropriety from a former high school student of the lawmaker’s, this time involving claims of statutory rape. “While I’m glad that Manweller is finally facing consequences for his actions, I continue to be disappointed in him for not accepting any responsibility for himself,” Hammond said in a statement Wednesday. “He offered no apology to the women affected by his behavior and no apology to the 13th Legislative District for bringing disgrace to the office of Representative.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — This summer, delegates representing unions across the State of Washington took the unusual step of voting not only to endorse Hammond’s candidacy, but also voting to oppose Manweller’s candidacy for State Representative in light of the repeated allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

► From The Columbian — Don Benton takes a trip to Hawaii, violates Hatch Act on the way? — The former state senator turned federal appointee recently spoke at a Republican Party fundraiser in Hawaii, in apparent violation of the ban on executive branch employees engaging in political activity.




► BREAKING from CNN — ‘Terrified’ Christine Blasey Ford on Kavanaugh: ‘I believed he was going to rape me’ — A “terrified” Christine Blasey Ford described in graphic detail how she says Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were teenagers, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee she “believed he was going to rape me” at an extraordinary hearing Thursday as the nation watched.

► From CBS — Merkley files lawsuit to halt Kavanaugh’s confirmation — Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, citing what he believes to be unconstitutional presidential interference. Merkley said via Twitter that he plans to sue President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.




► In today’s NY Times — Trump berates Canada, threatens car tariffs as NAFTA talks falter — President Trump said he rejected a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada during the UN General Assembly this week and threatened on Wednesday to punish Canada by taxing the cars it exports into America, signaling a new low in relations between the two nations.

► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP is buying the House. Literally. (by Dana Milbank) — If Republicans succeed in keeping the House in November, it will have been bought for them by corporations and the rich — quite literally. President Trump recast the Republican Party as a vehicle for the forgotten man. But these putative populists passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut that, according to a poll this month for the Republican National Committee, is now seen, by a 2-to-1 margin, as a benefit to “larger corporations and rich Americans” over the middle class. And now these same friends of the little guy are running a campaign for the House bankrolled almost entirely by corporate interests and those who can afford to write four-figure checks to politicians.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump administration appeals ruling striking down anti-union orders — The Justice Department has filed notice it is appealing a ruling by a federal judge that invalidated key provisions of a set of executive orders aimed at weakening federal employees’ union representation and easing their firing. The case will now go before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

► From Politico — Trump says he’ll avert government shutdown — President Donald Trump on Wednesday committed to signing an $852 billion funding bill that would avert a partial government shutdown on midnight on Sunday.




► From The Progressive — How Verizon is trying to bust its workers’ union — For seven years, Jazmin Warthen-Sypher has worked at a Verizon retail store in Brooklyn, New York, one of the few corporate-operated stores in the United States that has union representation, through CWA. Since the union first formed in 2014, Warthen-Sypher and other Verizon employees have struggled against Verizon’s union-busting tactics, including a forced decertification vote with the NLRB last month.

► In today’s NY Times — No longer anonymous, former NFL cheerleaders demand more to protect women — Some of their former teammates publicly called them liars and traitors and attention-seekers who disrespected every woman who had ever worn the Washington Redskins cheerleading uniform. Yet, even as their allegations caused an outcry and prompted calls for change, the five former Redskins cheerleaders who spoke anonymously to The New York Times in May about what they called an environment of sexual harassment and intimidation on the job silently endured the insults.




► From Gizmodo — Amazon’s aggressive anti-union tactics revealed in leaked 45-minute video — Amazon, the country’s second-largest employer, has so far remained immune to any attempts by U.S. workers to form a union. With rumblings of employee organization at Whole Foods — which Amazon bought for $13.7 billion last year — a 45-minute union-busting training video produced by the company was sent to Team Leaders of the grocery chain last week. Recordings of that video, obtained by Gizmodo, provide valuable insight into the company’s thinking and tactics… Here are a few of the (extensive) examples “that can indicate associate disengagement, vulnerability to organizing, or early organizing activity,” according to the video:

  • Use of words like “living wage” and “steward”
  • Distribution of petitions and fliers
  • Associates raising concerns on behalf of their coworkers
  • Wearing union t-shirts, hats, or jackets
  • Workers “who normally aren’t connected to each other suddenly hanging out together”
  • Workers showing an “unusual interest in policies, benefits, employee lists, or other company information”
  • Increased negativity in the workplace
  • “[A]ny other associate behavior that is out of character”

Amazon teaches managers that, where talking to subordinates about unions is concerned, “almost anything you say is lawful,” even providing some examples of what statements are completely kosher even if they’re clearly meant to inspire fear of organization (emphasis ours):

“You would never threaten to close your building just because associates joined a union. But you might need to talk about how having a union could hurt innovation which could hurt customer obsession which could ultimately threaten the building’s continued existence.

While warning managers that activities like threatening employees cross a line, giving personal opinions that accomplish nearly the same are within their rights. “Opinions can be mild, like, ‘I’d rather work with associates directly,’ or strong: ‘Unions are lying, cheating rats.’ The law protects both!”


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