Tougher tanker inspections ● Levy-lid layoffs ● Tax bill: $0 ● Panic!

Friday, April 12, 2019




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s other problem: Much-needed Air Force tanker keeps hitting snafus (by Jon Talton) — The U.S. Air Force twice stopped deliveries of the KC-46A Pegasus in recent months because of loose tools and foreign debris discovered in closed compartments of the plane. On Tuesday, the Air Force decided to start accepting new KC-46s again, subject to tougher inspections.

► Three months ago in the Seattle Times — Boeing overhauls quality controls: more high-tech tracking but fewer inspectors — One element of what Boeing is calling its “Quality Transformation” has unnerved the Machinists union and current quality inspectors: The company told the union last month it will eliminate thousands of quality checks as no longer necessary. Boeing said it will cut about 450 quality-inspector positions this year and potentially a similar number in 2020. In the Puget Sound region, there are now just over 3,000 Boeing Quality Inspectors, who typically work as a second set of eyes. For each of the tens of thousands of jobs that go into assembling an airplane, they formally sign off that it has been completed and done right. By the end of next year, Boeing’s plan would bring that down to not many more than 2,000 people.

► From the AP — Southwest removes 737 Max from flight schedule until August — Southwest is removing flights with the troubled Boeing 737 Max aircraft from its schedule through Aug. 5, a period that includes the peak of the airline’s busy summer travel season.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane schools issues 325 layoff notices amid budget shortfall — One of every 12 employees at Spokane Public Schools could lose their job before the next school year. Facing a projected budget deficit of about $31 million next year, school district administrators on Thursday began notifying 325 teachers and other personnel that they could be laid off at the end of this school year. “This is a difficult time for SPS, one that is playing out statewide following the unprecedented change to the mix of local and state funding,” Superintendent Shelley Redinger said.

Spokane’s deficit and those of other districts are partly attributable to another byproduct of McCleary: the levy cap of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value. Along with budget negotiations, the Legislature is also discussing – but has yet to vote on – changes to the levy laws that could either allow districts to ask voters for a higher levy or increase the formula for assistance to certain districts. “The levy bills are still alive. They will be debated in the next two weeks,” said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane).

► From the AP — Spokane schools blames McCleary laws for deficit, layoffs — The school system said the McCleary legislation boosted statewide funding but limited money districts could raise through local levies, creating the shortfall.




► In the News Tribune — Two of Tacoma’s top educators are leaving. The reasons why should serve as a warning. (by Matt Driscoll) — At a low-income high school like the one they’ve both taught at for many years now, they’ve seen how teachers are asked to do more than teach. They say their positions have often meant acting as social workers, therapists, college counselors and even food bank operators at varying times. They’ve also been active community members in a progressive city they, nonetheless, see as routinely failing its people of color. The weight of all this has taken its toll.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Union reps’ push for private negotiations reason enough to raise questions against such secrecy (by Jon Talton) — Fully transparent contract negotiations between the city administration and the unions may not be practical or worthwhile – I’m agnostic on the point thus far because I support openness in government and am resistant to the arguments that such openness, in and of itself, will hurt the process. And yet, I’m wary of union-busting Trojan horses bearing noble titles. Ultimately, though, local union reps and labor backers have to do better than our lawmakers have done if they want to make a persuasive case to the public.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Start work on regional response to climate change (editorial) — The costs of climate change — which, in addition to government costs, will include the loss of life, impacts to public health, and drags on the economy — must get a fair accounting next to the costs of solutions and responses to climate change. The alarms we’re hearing at a global level and in our own communities are a call to action.




► From HuffPost — 60 top corporations paid ZERO in federal taxes under Trump tax law — The new tax law aided corporations so radically that twice as many companies paid no federal taxes whatsoever in 2018, despite billions of dollars in profit, according to a new study. Amazon, Netflix, Chevron, Eli Lilly, Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, General Motors, IBM and Goodyear were among the tax-free corporate titans, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

► In today’s Wall St. Journal — Mexican lawmakers approve pro-labor changes — Mexico’s lower house passed a landmark labor reform on Thursday that empowers unions to bargain more effectively on behalf of workers and clears one of the last obstacles to ratifying a deal signed last year to replace the NAFTA.

► In today’s Washington Post — White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes — White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against Trump’s political adversaries. The attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE, with a top official responding that it was rife with budgetary and liability concerns, and noting that “there are PR risks as well.”

► In today’s Washington Post (not The Onion) — ‘She’s very good with numbers’: Trump says he considered his daughter Ivanka to lead the World Bank




► In today’s Hartford Courant — Stop & Shop stores across Connecticut reopen Friday as employees walk picket lines — Stop & Shop stores reopened with replacement workers Friday morning, a day after 31,000 employees in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island went on strike. Workers represented by five locals of the UFCW union, have been working without a contract since late February. It is the first strike by store employees in more than 30 years.

► In today’s Sacramento Bee — Hundreds of teachers at Sacramento City Unified walk out on one-day strike — Hundreds of teachers across the Sacramento Unified School District walked out of their classrooms and onto picket lines Thursday morning for the first time in 30 years, staging a one-day strike alleging unfair labor practices by the district.

► From Business Insider — Pilots who fly for Amazon Air are protesting poor working conditions and pushing for a better contract — Pilots for Atlas Air, Southern Air, and ABX Air, carriers that power Amazon Air, are set to protest poor working conditions and stalled contract negotiations on Thursday. The Airline Professionals Association said they were overworked and underpaid, earning 33% less than their counterparts at UPS and FedEx for flying the same planes.

► In the San Antonio Express-News — Texas Senate approves bill to strike down local paid sick leave ordinances — After the vote, the Texas AFL-CIO criticized the move as stripping workplace benefits from Texans. “An overwhelming majority of Texans support local power to provide a fair shot for working families,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said.

► From Marketplace — The writer-agent dispute that is shaking up Hollywood — For decades, agencies have “packaged” writers, actors and directors for television projects in exchange for a large paycheck from the studios. The Writers Guild is now calling this a conflict of interest and drafted a new code of conduct that eliminates package deals and brings back the standard 10 percent commission.




► The Entire Staff of The Stand wishes a very happy birthday to Brandon Urie, lead singer of Panic! at the Disco. Here he is performing the band’s highest-charting hit before a bunch of young ‘uns, including one at 1:11 who refuses to let Urie’s admirable performance distract him from his phone. Enjoy.


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

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