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MAX shutdown? ● Corporations before workers ● ‘One job should be enough’

Thursday, July 25, 2019




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing says 737 MAX crisis could temporarily shut down Renton production — Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Wednesday that though the company’s “best estimate” is that the 737 MAX will return to service in October, a slip in that optimistic timeline could mean the Renton 737 production line would be temporarily shut down. “That’s not something we want to do, but something we have to prepare for,” he said on Boeing’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts and the press. Such a drastic step would mean temporary layoffs at the plant, which employs more than 10,000 people. “A temporary shutdown could be more efficient than a sustained lower production rate,” Muilenburg said. “That’s what we are thinking our way through.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Machinists (IAM) District 751 posted a statement to members on Wednesday that reads, in part, “It would be irresponsible for us or anyone else to speculate on what may or may not happen because no one has that information.”




► In today’s Seattle Times — Affirmative action likely headed back to Washington ballot — Backers of a referendum turned in petitions Wednesday to put Washington’s new affirmative-action law on the November ballot, potentially setting up a heated campaign over ideas about fairness and diversity.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Approve 88 coalition will defend I-1000, opportunity for all — “We can’t have shared success without shared opportunity,” said WSLC President Larry Brown and Secretary-Treasurer April Sims in a statement. “When certain people in our community are denied chances to succeed in our schools and workplaces because of who they are, those lost opportunities and wages hold us all back. We need to say ‘no’ to discrimination and demand better wages and jobs for everyone. We need to support I-1000 by approving Ref. 88 so that everyone in our state has better wages, jobs, and affordable, quality higher education.”




► From KING 5 — Public encouraged to weigh in on Tacoma’s LNG facility — The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has approved a permit application for the new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Tacoma Tide Flats. Puget Sound Energy said the $300 million plant will help control greenhouse gas emissions by providing cleaner fuel alternatives. According to an initial environmental impact study, the LNG plant would release about 1.39 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, compared to about 1.44 million metric tons if no action were taken and industrial maritime operations were to continue.

ALSO at The Stand — Labor-environment alliance still strong, getting major wins (by WSLC President Larry Brown) –Currently, ships delivering cargo to and from Puget Sound ports use harmful diesel-like bunker fuel. The WSLC believes this must end. Last year, delegates representing unions from across the state approved Resolution #16 affirming the WSLC’s “strong support for the utilization of LNG in the maritime industry as part of a just transition strategy.” They understand that the use of LNG over bunker fuel will reduce greenhouse emissions.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles firefighters receive raise — City firefighters (IAFF 656) are receiving a 2.5 percent cost of living raise this month as part of a new contract that the City Council approved last week.




► In the NY Times — Trump relies on populist language, but he mostly sides with corporate interests — History will record last week as a moment when Trump turned to raw racial appeals to attack a group of nonwhite lawmakers, but his attacks also underscored a remarkable fact of his first term: His rhetorical appeals to white working-class voters have not been matched by legislative accomplishments aimed at their economic interests. Since he became president, Trump has largely operated as a conventional Republican, cutting taxes that benefit high-end earners and companies, rolling back regulations on corporations and appointing administration officials and judges with deep roots in the conservative movement.

► In the LA Times — Trump has turned the Department of Labor into the Department of Employer Rights (by Michael Hiltzik) — No advocates for workers’ rights or labor were especially surprised last week when Trump nominated Eugene Scalia for Secretary of Labor, succeeding the utterly discredited Alex Acosta. Scalia — son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — had made his reputation in Washington as a lawyer for big corporations resisting labor regulations, after all. He had helped Walmart overturn a Maryland law mandating minimum contributions by big employers for workers’ health care, defended SeaWorld against workplace safety charges after a park trainer was killed by an Orca (he lost that case), and had written extensively against a federal regulation expanding ergonomic safety requirements.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s latest attempt to bar asylum seekers is blocked — A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to continue accepting asylum claims from all eligible migrants arriving in the United States, temporarily thwarting the president’s latest attempt to stanch the flow of migrants crossing the southern border.

► In today’s Washington Post — Mueller answers Trump taunts in testimony unlikely to change the political dynamic — Mueller clarified that his investigation and 448-page, redacted report did not, in fact, “totally exonerate” the president — contrary to Trump’s repeated claims — nor did it say there was no obstruction. He agreed that it was “generally” true that the Trump campaign built its messaging strategy around stolen documents, lied to cover it up and that the president’s written answers to Mueller’s team were not always truthful, either. But, ultimately, his turn as a reluctant and at times uncomfortable witness seemed unlikely to change the political dynamic.

► In today’s Washington Post — Democrats are now left with one option to end Trump’s presidency: The 2020 election (analysis)

► From The Hill — GOP blocks election security bills after Mueller testimony — Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure on Wednesday in the wake of former special counsel Robert Mueller warning about meddling attempts during his public testimony before congressional lawmakers.




► In the People’s World — “One job should be enough”—Airline food workers take their struggle public — Airline food preparation workers took their nationwide struggle against their bosses public with a July 23 protest that drew almost 1,000 people and virtually filled the old main hall at Washington National Airport. The workers, organized by Unite Here, demand union recognition, better wages and benefits, and an end to employer interference in their organizing drives at airports nationwide. SkyChef employs 11,000 food prep workers for American Airlines and Delta, while 4,000 more who toil for CafeGourmet, organized with the Teamsters, prepare food for a third airline, United. “One job should be enough,” was their frequent chant—the same one Unite Here hotel workers have used against the Marriott chain.

ALSO at The Stand — Airline food workers vote by 99.7% to strike (June 13)

► In the Detroit News — Handshake symbolizes struggle for worker rights (by UAW President Gary Jones) — This past Monday and Tuesday, the Big Three automakers sat down with UAW leadership for the ceremonial handshake — the handshake that historically starts off all contract negotiations. We’ve been negotiating contracts with these groups for more than 65 years, and each negotiation starts with this same handshake… When you see those contract negotiations, that ceremonial handshake, remember the almost 2,000 workers on a cold December day in Flint who made a decision to sit down, to stay sitting until they were recognized, to stay sitting through the event that the BBC called “the strike heard ‘round the world.’”




► In today’s NY Times — It is not enough to condemn Trump’s racism (by Rep. Ilhan Omar) — America has been a beacon of democratic ideals for the world. If we succumb to the fever of right-wing nationalism, it will have consequences far beyond our borders. The proudest moments in our history — from the Emancipation Proclamation to the civil rights movement to the struggle against fascism — have come when we fight to protect and expand basic democratic rights. Today, democracy is under attack once again. It’s time to respond with the kind of conviction that has made America great before.


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