Friday, November 4, 2022
► From the Seattle Times — WA court pauses Albertsons’ $4B payout to shareholders amid Kroger merger — A King County court has temporarily blocked Albertsons from paying a controversial $4 billion dividend to investors as part of the retailer’s proposed merger with rival Kroger. On Thursday, King County Superior Court Commissioner Henry Judson approved a motion by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to temporarily block the dividend, scheduled to be paid Monday, until the court can more fully consider whether the payment violates antitrust laws.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In response to the judge’s motion on Thursday, UFCW 367, UFCW 3000 and Teamsters 38 posted this statement:
“We applaud Attorney General Ferguson and his team for presenting a strong case today and, at least temporarily, putting a pause on Albertsons’ $4 billion payout for rich stock holders instead of investing in lowering prices, improving store safety and increasing the wages of the workers in the store who made the stores function all during COVID.”
The Stand (Nov. 2) — State sues to block Albertsons cash-out with merger pending
The Stand (Oct. 14) — Grocery unions decry proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger — Unions representing grocery store workers — UFCW 7 in Colorado, UFCW 324 and UFCW 770 in California, UFCW 367 in Tacoma, UFCW 3000 across Washington state, and Teamsters 38 in Everett — say the proposed merger would be “devastating for workers and consumers,” and call on anti-trust regulators to block it.
► From the Kitsap Sun — ‘Zero candidates interviewing:’ No quick solutions offered in St. Michael staffing crisis — In a pair of public appearances this week, representatives for St. Michael Medical Center acknowledged lingering problems at the hospital, including the chronic short-staffing issues that have plagued the facility’s emergency department, but offered up little in the way of short-term solutions. Last week, UFCW 3000, which represents about 1,500 employees at the hospital, began circulating a “no confidence” petition that calls for the resignation of leadership at the facility.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Snohomish County-based battery maker awarded $100M federal grant — The $100 million grant will help finance construction of a manufacturing plant in Moses Lake. The company says it expects to hire 500 employees for the construction and operation of the facility.
► From the Yakima H-R — State officials visit solar farm sites on eastern edge of Yakima County — High Top and Ostrea, the two Yakima County projects, recently moved closer to final approval as a finding of land-use consistency was approved by the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council board last month. The land-use vote, along with an environmental impact statement issued Sept. 30 on the projects, are the two conditions needed for an expedited approval process. A vote on the expedited timetable is scheduled at the next EFSEC board meeting on Nov. 15.
► From the Seattle Times — Congressional candidate Joe Kent wants to rewrite history of Jan. 6 attack — Trump-endorsed Republican Joe Kent has vowed to flip the Jan. 6 investigation on its head if he wins the Nov. 8 election for southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District against Democrat and small-business owner Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. If he has his way, a GOP-led House next year would turn its gaze away from Trump and his allies who plotted to overturn the 2020 election. Instead, Kent wants to investigate the FBI, searching for evidence the agency secretly instigated the Jan. 6 attack.
► ICYMI from the Daily Beast — MAGA House candidate Joe Kent never worked for his pay, ex-staffer says — A Washington state congressional candidate The Daily Beast caught misreporting his employer in 34 public statements and disclosures in fact never worked at all for his six-figure pay, his former campaign manager claims.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In the 3rd District race for U.S. House, the unions that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO have endorsed Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. Learn more about the WSLC election endorsements at www.wslc.org/vote.
► A related story from Roll Call — Amazon, other PACs resume donations to electoral objectors — After suspending donations to Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election, a collection of PACs, including those of Amazon and Caterpillar, restarted contributions ahead of midterm elections in which the GOP is favored to win House control.
► MUST-READ from the NY Times — The GOP plot against Medicare and Social Security (by Paul Krugman) — The push to slash major benefit programs may be the ultimate example of an elite priority completely at odds with what ordinary Americans want. Political scientists have found several areas in which the wealthy want to see spending cut, while most voters want to see it increased. The biggest gap in views is on Social Security, where the rich, by a large margin, want to see benefits reduced while the general public, by an even larger margin, wants to see them increased. And Republicans are taking the side of the rich.
► From The Hill — Manchin calls for deal on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in new Congress — Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Thursday called for a broad bipartisan deal to protect the solvency of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, popular programs that face serious funding issues over the next few decades. In February, Manchin proposed addressing the projected Social Security shortfall by increasing the amount of income subject to taxation to fund Social Security from $147,000 to $400,000. He could have a negotiating partner in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has proposed broad
entitlement reform Social Security and Medicare cuts on several previous occasions.
► From Gizmodo — Your boss is spying on you. The NLRB might stop it. — Jennifer Abruzzo, general counsel at the NLRB, announced this week that she intends to push the job regulator to do everything it can to step in and protect workers from monitoring and tracking.
► From The Hill — Millions of Americans could receive money from the IRS; the deadline to file is Nov. 17 — If you recently received a letter from the IRS, don’t ignore it; you could be entitled to extra money. The tax agency announced, in mid-October, that it would begin sending out letters to more than 9 million people who may qualify for thousands of dollars worth of stimulus payments and tax credits.
► From the Washington Post — Clock runs out on efforts to make daylight saving time permanent — Early this Sunday morning, Americans will engage in the annual autumnal ritual of “falling back” — setting their clocks back one hour to conform with standard time. If some lawmakers had their way, it would mark the end of a tradition that has stretched for more than a century. But a familiar story unspooled of congressional gridlock and a relentless lobbying campaign, this one from advocates that some jokingly call “Big Sleep.”
► From the AP — U.S. employers keep hiring at solid pace, adding 261,000 jobs — America’s employers kept hiring briskly in October, adding a substantial 261,000 positions, a sign that as Election Day nears, the economy remains a picture of solid job growth and painful inflation. Friday’s government report showed that last month’s hiring remained near the robust pace it has maintained in the two-plus years since the pandemic recession ended. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% from a five-decade low of 3.5%.
► From the USA Today — Twitter sued for mass layoffs with zero notice days after Elon Musk’s takeover — Twitter Inc. was sued Thursday for a plan abruptly eliminating 3,700 jobs at the social media platform, just days after Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the company. A class-action lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, tabbed Cornet v. Twitter Inc., had signatures from workers who claim the company did not provide enough notice and is in direct violation of federal and California law.
► Today is Chris Difford’s birthday. Haven’t heard of him? He’s half of the incredible songwriting duo for one of The Entire Staff of The Stand’s all-time favorite bands: Squeeze. Best known for songs like “Tempted,” “Black Coffee in Bed” and “Hourglass,” most remember frontman Glenn Tilbrook’s smooth silky voice. But it was Chris Difford’s low, gravelly backup vocals that made Squeeze’s sound unique. Their songwriting partnership once had critics comparing them to Lennon and McCartney. (No pressure.) Here’s Squeeze performing on the television program of former band member Jools Holland accompanied by Paul Carrack on keyboards and Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello’s Attractions on drums. (Difford’s the one with the big red guitar.) Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.