Inslee’s about-face ● Trump vs. ACA ● Uber vs. labor laws

Tuesday, March 26, 2019




► From Crosscut — WA House Democrats look to tax ‘extraordinary profits’ to pay for education, mental health — The House proposal would rely on a mixture of new taxes, including a tax on “extraordinary profits,” to pay for about $2.3 billion in new policy investments. House leaders said much of the new money that has filled state coffers in the past two years — about $4 billion — is needed to finish phasing in K-12 education investments the Legislature already approved in 2017.

ALSO at The Stand — WSLC applauds House Democrats’ budget plan

MORE coverage of the House Dems’ budget in the (Everett) Herald, Olympian, Seattle Times, and from the AP.

► From Crosscut — Jay Inslee’s about-face on Boeing’s big tax break — As governor, Inslee pushed hard for Boeing to get an $8.7 billion tax deal. Now, as he runs for president, he compares the experience to being “mugged”… Larry Brown, the president of the Washington State Labor Council, said he was aware there was intense pressure on Inslee and state lawmakers to pass the Boeing package back in 2013. At the time, Brown was the legislative and political director of the Boeing Machinists union, which was asked to approve a new contract extension as part of the deal with the company to keep the 777X wing and final assembly in Washington state. Brown said he doesn’t recall Inslee expressing regret at the time when the tax package passed the Legislature. “He was very enthusiastic about the deal back then,” Brown said. But Brown said he understands why Inslee’s attitude might have shifted in the years since. After all, he said, it didn’t take Boeing long to start moving jobs out of Washington after the deal was passed. “To be fair, he probably didn’t think his reward for doing this would be all these jobs leaving the state,” Brown said of the governor.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Airbus secures $35 billion China deal in new blow to Boeing — Airbus secured a $35 billion jet deal from China during a state visit by President Xi Jinping to the French capital, dealing a blow to Boeing as it grapples with the grounding of its best-selling jet. The mammoth order consists of 290 A320-series narrowbody planes and 10 A350 wide-bodies.

FROM Quartz on Dec. 16, 2018 — Boeing’s new plant in China just delivered its first plane — Boeing, America’s largest exporter, delivered its first plane finished in China this weekend. Built for Air China, the 737 Max was completed and delivered on Saturday at a new facility in Zhoushan, outside of Shanghai.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing has 737 MAX software fix ready for airlines as DOT launches new scrutiny of entire FAA certification process — Boeing said Monday it is finalizing the proposed update. Some airline pilots flew 737 simulators with the updated system software in Renton on Saturday. A company spokesman said the MAX software fix will be offered to airlines “free of charge.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Free of charge!)

► In today’s NY Times — In test of Boeing jet, pilots had 40 seconds to fix error — During flight simulations recreating the problems with the doomed Lion Air plane, pilots discovered that they had less than 40 seconds to override an automated system on Boeing’s new jets and avert disaster.




► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima School District paraeducators land unprecedented bargaining agreement — Less than three months before the end of the academic calendar, the Yakima School Board has approved an unprecedented bargaining agreement with the district’s nearly 400 paraeducators. The three attending board members unanimously approved the three-year agreement retroactively to August. It guarantees a 10 percent pay increase for this academic year, as well as at least 2.5 percent increases the following two years.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Want a raise? Get a union! Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Skinnier Hanford budget proposal criticized for not making ‘meaningful progress’ on cleanup — The Trump administration last week proposed a budget cut of $416 million for the site, which is contaminated from the past production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. The budget would drop from about $2.5 billion this fiscal year to $2.1 billion next year under the funding request submitted by the administration to Congress. “These budget request numbers would fall short of fulfilling the federal government’s obligation to clean up the Hanford Site,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) in a statement.

► In the Columbian — Pacific Northwest timber industry: As prices slide, job fears grow — Lumber prices have plummeted over the past 10 months, casting an uncertain pall on a sector that’s been a harbinger of economic downturn in the past. It’s worrying news for Cowlitz County, home to more forest product jobs than any other county in the state.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Kelso schools propose cutting 16 teachers to offset $4M shortfall — The Kelso School District proposed cutting about 16 full-time teaching positions and 16 other full-time positions, among other cuts, to balance a $4 million budget gap in 2019-20. Officials said they believe it is possible without any layoffs or major change in class sizes.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — McKinley Paper applies for permits for new equipment — The company announced plans in September to reopen the former Nippon Paper Industries USA paper mill this September.




► In today’s Washington Post — Trump administration asks court to completely invalidate Obama’s Affordable Care Act — In a significant shift, the Justice Department now says that it backs a full invalidation of the Affordable Care Act, the signature Obama-era health law. It presented its position in a legal filing Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, where an appeal is pending in a case challenging the measure’s constitutionality. If the Justice Department’s position prevails, it would potentially eliminate health care for millions of people and cause disruption across the U.S. health-care system — from removing no-charge preventive services for older Americans on Medicare to voiding the expansion of Medicaid in most states.

► From HuffPost — Pentagon transfers $1 billion in funding for Trump’s border wall — Noting that the Pentagon requests “billions in mid-year transfers” every year to address “unexpected shortfalls in paying our troops, providing training, maintaining their equipment and accelerating new technologies,” the lawmakers said the reprogramming of funds “constitutes a dollar-for-dollar theft from other readiness needs of our Armed Forces.”

ALSO at The Stand — Rep. Heck decries potential cuts of state military projects for wall

► In today’s NY Times — Supreme Court set to again weigh voting maps warped by politics — The Supreme Court returns to the subject of partisan gerrymandering on Tuesday, considering for a second time in two years whether drawing election maps to help the party in power can ever violate the Constitution.

► From Forbes — Team Trump’s losing NAFTA bid (by Phil Levy) — It is exceedingly difficult to imagine that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would move USMCA legislation with the active opposition of these leading labor groups – or that many Democrats in the House would support the bill if she did… If Lighthizer’s gambit of placing all of his chips on USMCA passage was intended to shock members of Congress into lining up behind the new NAFTA, it did not seem to pay off. Instead, he just laid bare the serious problems facing the Trump trade agenda.

ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO announces opposition to NAFTA 2.0 in its current form

► From the WSJ — Trump signals support for Mueller report’s release as Democrats dispute ‘exoneration’ — Trump signaled he would support the public release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which he says exonerates him, while Democrats contested that interpretation and pressed for more information on its findings.

PLUS editorials calling for full release of Mueller Report from Bloomberg News, New York Times, (Vancouver) Columbian, Washington Post, and in the Seattle Times, which is headlines “Make full Mueller report, not Trump’s tweet, the final word.” Even Trump loyalist Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) says it should be released. And yet…

► From The Hill — McConnell blocks resolution calling for Mueller report to be released publicly — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday blocked a resolution that passed the House 420-0 calling for special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report to be released publicly.

► From the New Republic — Nihilist in Chief: The banal, evil, all-destructive reign of Mitch McConnell — Even with Republicans losing the House, McConnell has another two years to complete his life’s work: a pipeline, sucking donor money out of the plutocracy and refining it into a judiciary that will someday declare it unconstitutional to levy property taxes on a billionaire’s climate change-adaptation bunker.




► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — Uber, other gig companies maneuver to shape labor rulesIt was a potentially sweeping proposal from a Texas regulator: Companies that use a “digital network” to dispatch workers the way Uber does could label them contractors rather than employees. The proposal, made in December, was a turning point in a campaign that has played out in legislatures and courts in numerous states, and even in Washington, D.C., as Uber and other gig-economy companies have risen to prominence in recent years.

Lobbyists involved in this state-by-state effort have worked behind the scenes to provide rule makers with a template. Hanging in the balance could be billions of dollars in costs, and even fundamental business models, as more gig companies move toward public stock offerings. When such companies are able to classify workers as contractors, they don’t have to contribute to unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation, or heed minimum-wage and overtime laws. Industry officials estimate that a work force of employees costs companies 20 to 30 percent more than a work force of contractors — a sum worth many hundreds of millions of dollars per year to Uber.

► From Bedford + Bowery — New Yorkers mark Triangle Shirtwaist anniversary, push for permanent memorial — On Monday, union members, activists, city officials and others gathered outside the landmarked site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to honor the 108th anniversary of the historic blaze that revealed abhorrent working conditions but ultimately strengthened the labor movement.

► From History.com — How the horrific tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire led to workplace safety laws — The March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was one of the deadliest workplace catastrophes in U.S. history, claiming the lives of 146 workers, most of them women immigrants in their teens and twenties. The fire was so horrific it shocked the conscience of New Yorkers and others across the nation and, ultimately, led to changes in safety regulations and more diligent efforts to enforce them.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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