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Big Boeing bonuses ● Tax the rich ● ICE ignores sexual assaults

Monday, February 4, 2019




► In the (Everett) Herald — Boeing workers in Washington get $429M in annual bonuses — Boeing employees across Washington state will receive incentive bonuses totaling nearly $429 million this month, almost half of the $886 million in bonuses being paid companywide. But despite the record financial results Boeing announced this week, the bonus payments fall short of last year’s levels. The average payout to all 123,600 eligible employees worldwide is nearly $7,200… Members of the Machinists union are on a separate incentive plan based on measures assessing quality, productivity and safety, all of which were high in 2018. The IAM incentive plan will pay each union member 5.6 percent of their 2018 annual pay Feb. 28, just shy of the maximum 6 percent possible under the contract. Many of the Machinists will get an extra hefty bonus because they worked a lot of overtime in 2018 to build a record number of airplanes.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Didn’t get a raise or a bonus this year? Get a union! Union members earn more and get better benefits. Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your work. Or contact a union organizer today!

► In the News Tribune — They stopped the presses. Printing of The News Tribune and The Olympian outsourced. — The News Tribune, along with The Olympian, now will be printed by The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Washington. Feb. 2 saw the last Sunday TNT edition roll off a Tacoma press… The move to outside presses affected 67 positions related to printing and ad inserting at The News Tribune. Those jobs were eliminated as a result of the move.




► In today’s Seattle Times — New plan to build middle-class housing is a good start. We also need to rebuild the middle class. — CEOs have a lot of great ideas to increase housing for the middle class. But what’s missing is a plan to close the gap between the highest wage earners and everybody else… (Existing) income inequities are inexcusable. But some of the companies that have signed onto this call to action are in a fine position to help correct them, since they’re chiefly responsible for exacerbating them. Looking at you, Amazon and Microsoft.




► In the Boston Globe — Democrats push plan to increase Social Security benefits and solvency — After years of Republican-led debate over how to pare back Social Security’s rising costs, Democrats are flipping the script with an ambitious plan to expand the New Deal-era social insurance program while making gradual changes to keep it solvent for the rest of the century. The Social Security 2100 Act, which was introduced this past week in the House and the Senate, represents a sea change after decades dominated by concern that aging baby boomers would bankrupt the government as they begin drawing benefits from Social Security and other entitlement programs. It would be the first major expansion of Social Security since 1972 and the most significant change in the program since 1983, when Congress stepped in to avert a financial crisis by raising taxes and the eligibility age for Social Security.

► From Politico — Soak the rich? Americans say go for it — Surveys are showing overwhelming support for raising taxes on top earners, including a new poll released Monday that found 76 percent of registered voters believe the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes.

► In today’s NY Times — What’s really radical? Not taxing the rich (by David Leonhardt) — The extreme redistribution of income — upward — has multiple causes. Some of them, like technological change, stem mostly from private-sector forces. But government policy plays a crucial role. Tax rates on the wealthy have fallen sharply. Labor unions have been undermined. Big companies have been allowed to grow even bigger and more powerful. The United States has lost its lead as the most educated country in the world. More often than not over the past 40 years, our government has helped the rich at the expense of everyone else. As a result, economic inequality has reached Gilded Age levels.

► In today’s Washington Post — Bernie Sanders’s estate tax plan would reduce the federal debt and help even the playing field (editorial) — The 2017 GOP tax law doubled the inheritance tax exemption from $11 million per couple to $22 million per couple, driving the number of estates liable to pay the tax below a negligible 2,000 per year. Mr. Sanders wants to roll back the GOP reform — and more… Rich heirs would still be rich after paying a Sanders tax. But their unearned head start over their less fortunate cohort would be shorter, and the government would have more resources to help promote opportunity for everyone else.

► In today’s NY Times — Limit corporate stock buybacks (by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders) — Corporate self-indulgence has become an enormous problem for workers and for the long-term strength of the economy.

► From HuffPost — ICE let sexual assault reports slide at migrant detention centers run by contractors — Federal immigration officials are not adequately policing contractors running immigrant detention centers where serious problems are often going unreported, according to a report the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security released last week. In some cases, contractors ― including both private businesses and public operations, such as county jails ― failed to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement of sexual assaults and employee misconduct, the IG report said.

► From Politico — Poll: Democrats have reason to fret Howard Schultz — A new poll shows anti-Trump and Democratic voters are more open to supporting third-party candidates than Republicans — evidence supporting the prominent Democrats who spent the last week warning that a credible, well-funded independent could improve Trump’s chances of reelection.

► In the News Tribune — Howard Schultz is another fat cat who didn’t bother to vote (by Michael Hiltzik) — Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who thinks he might want to run for president, is the latest business big shot to enter high-level politics without having taken the time to exercise the fundamental franchise of a participant in a democracy – casting a ballot.




► From NBC News — Why Instacart and Doordash workers don’t always receive the tips you give them — Tips paid to workers at on-demand delivery services including Instacart and Doordash are being used to substitute a portion of employees’ wages rather than directly boosting their income, according to online forums dedicated to gig economy workers, and reports to worker rights groups.




► From Politico —Deborah Gist used to fight teachers unions. Now she’s marching with them. — Tulsa school superintendent Deborah Gist joined union members on the walkout last spring, and has consistently called for the state to not only pay teachers competitive salaries but adequately fund school districts routinely facing crippling budget cuts. It’s been a dramatic transformation for this longtime education reformer… Her shift from teachers’ union adversary to ally is part of a turning tide in the education wars. For most of the past two decades, those battles have been waged primarily among East Coast liberals over standardized testing and charter schools. But in the past few years—under a Republican Congress and a White House whose tax cuts for the wealthy have set the course for a trillion-dollar deficit, threatening deeper cuts to education—the battle lines have shifted to deep-red states, including Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arizona, where chronically low pay has starved schools and led to teacher walkouts. Now the fight is less about how public schools can achieve excellence, and more about how they can survive.


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