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Runaway CEO pay ● Eugene’s all business ● Wake up, Wilbur

Monday, July 22, 2019




► MUST-READ in the Seattle Times — Runaway executive pay is distorting the economy and aggravating inequality (by Jon Talton) — This is the result of the “shareholder value” movement, which began in conservative academia in the 1970s and became business orthodoxy in the 1980s. Maximizing shareholder value is the primary goal of publicly held corporations. Everything else is secondary, or doesn’t happen at all. The idea that these companies also have responsibilities to “stakeholders” such as employees, vendors, communities and the public good seems quaint today. Additionally, these all-important shareholders are mostly not individuals who take their ownership seriously and are in for the long haul. They are institutions demanding a quick buck. A 2013 Washington Post story explained the consequences well: “Together with new competition overseas, the pressure to respond to the short-term demands of Wall Street has paved the way for an economy in which companies are increasingly disconnected from the state of the nation, laying off workers in huge waves, keeping average wages low and threatening to move operations abroad in the face of regulations and taxes.”

► From Vox — Laboratories of democracy: what Seattle learned from having the highest minimum wage in the nation — Generally, those business owners who threatened to leave Seattle to evade the new wage haven’t been following through. “The restaurant industry moans and groans about minimum wage increase, but the Seattle newspaper every month has a story about 40 new restaurants opening,” said Jennifer Romich, a University of Washington social policy researcher. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in restaurants and bars in the Seattle area has grown from 134,000 to 158,000 since 2015.)




► In today’s Washington Post — Emerging budget deal likely to include few or no actual spending cuts while lifting debt limit for two years — White House and congressional negotiators rushing to hammer out the final details of a sweeping budget and debt deal are unlikely to include many — if any — actual spending cuts. The agreement appeared likely to mark a retreat for White House officials who had demanded major spending cuts in exchange for a new budget deal. But the process remained in limbo while negotiators awaited final approval late Sunday from Trump.

► In the Washington Post — Eugene Scalia has defended Wall Street, Walmart and SeaWorld. Now he’s Trump’s pick for labor secretary. — Scalia’s nomination as the Labor Department’s top lawyer during the Bush administration in 2001 was criticized by labor groups and Senate Democrats. The AFL-CIO said at the time that Scalia had “extreme views on key worker protections” and was “simply the wrong person for the job.” The Senate did not confirm him, but Bush used a recess appointment to install him in the job.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The mission of the Labor Department: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”

► From the AP — Nadler: Mueller hearing to air evidence of Trump wrongdoing — The House Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday that this week’s hearing with Robert Mueller will air “very substantial evidence” of wrongdoing by Trump and make a public case for impeachment. Days before back-to-back hearings Wednesday, both sides seemed to agree that Mueller’s testimony could be pivotal in shifting public opinion on the question of “holding the president accountable.”

► From The Hill — Senate to vote on 9/11 victims bill on Tuesday — The Senate will vote Tuesday on a House-passed bill to extend the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The bill, which passed the House in a 402-12 vote, would reauthorize funding through fiscal 2090. It’s expected to easily pass the Senate.

► From Politico — ‘It’s a disaster over there’: Commerce reaches new heights of dysfunction — Constant infighting among top officials. Sudden departures of senior staffers without explanation. A leader who is disengaged and prone to falling asleep in meetings. The Commerce Department has reached its apex of dysfunction under Wilbur Ross. The 81-year-old Commerce secretary spends much of his time at the White House to try to retain Trump’s favor, leaving his department adrift.




► From Campaign US — SAG-AFTRA and BBH reach agreement after 10-month strike — After a 10-month strike and media campaign against BBH by SAG-AFTRA, the ad agency has signed a newly negotiated commercial contract with the labor union. From here forward, BBH will produce all commercials under the new guidelines and provide union wages, pension and health contributions to all actors, actresses and performers. SAG-AFTRA members can now participate in BBH productions. “We are pleased to welcome BBH back to the SAG-AFTRA family,” said David White, national executive director of SAG-AFTRA, in a statement. “The tremendous solidarity of our entire membership is to thank for helping bring BBH back to the table. Our members look forward to once again collaborating with BBH and providing their professional talent to create innovative, memorable and award winning commercials.”

► From the AP — Labor groups rally against medical debt lawsuits — Labor groups have held a rally at Johns Hopkins Hospital to urge hospital officials not to sue low-income patients for medical debt and to let nurses unionize.

► In the Baltimore Sun — Demonstrators protest Johns Hopkins Hospital suing poor patients — “It may be 100 degrees out there, but we’re just getting started,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka shouted from an outdoor stage. “Nurses are the most trusted public servants in our nation, and they deserve a voice on the job.”

► From Bloomberg — BuzzFeed agrees to recognize union after monthslong standoff — BuzzFeed Inc. agreed to voluntarily recognize an employee union, ending a standoff that included a walkout and months of negotiations. After Bloomberg reported on the accord Friday, the union confirmed the agreement in a tweet.

► In the Guardian — ‘Our paychecks bounced’: U.S. workers in limbo as coalmines suddenly close — Blackjewel files for Chapter 11 in a move critics say is increasingly used to avoid paying workers what they are owed.


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