Monday, January 22, 2024
► From the WA State Standard — State lawmakers writing rules to govern collective bargaining with their staff — A clearer path is emerging for nearly 400 employees of the Washington Legislature to form unions and negotiate contracts starting this spring. Legislation under consideration in the House and Senate identifies which workers would be eligible to unionize and which topics could, and could not be, collectively bargained… Joe Kendo of the Washington State Labor Council told the House panel on Friday that by excluding overtime and “just cause” standards for hiring and firing from negotiations “you’re seriously killing the balance at the table” between workers and the employer:
“These are issues that have the most impact on people.”
► From the Public News Service — Farmworkers Tribunal provides critical platform in Olympia — Washington state farmworkers are converging on Olympia this week to call for better working conditions. The 11th annual Farmworkers Tribunal is being held on Tuesday at the state Capitol. Rosalinda Guillen, executive director of Community to Community Development, said the tribunal is an important part of democracy, where workers who are routinely exploited and paid low wages are given a platform.
From The STAND (today) — Support unemployment benefits for all who are excluded (by Edgar Franks) — Attend Tuesday’s Farmworker Tribunal to support unemployment insurance for undocumented workers and strikers.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Higher pay, higher taxes and a constitutional quarrel in Olympia — On Tuesday, Rep. Clyde Shavers (D-Oak Harbor) dropped a measure that would up the pay for paraeducators across the state. Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, HB 2380 and its companion, SB 6082, would increase the pay for full-time paraeducators by $7. By the 2026-2027 school year, the hourly wage of paraeducators would have to be at least $22.67.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Bill would up taxes on high-value home sales, boost affordable housing — For properties sold for over $3 million, an additional 1% transfer tax would be tacked on the original 3% excise tax, under Rep. April Berg’s HB 2276. The seller would pay the tax and the revenue would be routed to a fund to build affordable housing across the state.
► From the Spokesman-Review — ‘We’re doing our best’: High worker turnover, housing shortage plague supported living communities in Washington
► From the Seattle Times — Finally, WA no longer has the nation’s most unfair tax system (by Danny Westneat) — The latest “Who Pays” report by ITEP credits three shifts: the passage in Seattle in 2020 of a progressive payroll tax on high earners (aka the Amazon Tax); the new state capital gains tax on stock profits, which passed in 2021 and helps pay for schools; and the new state Working Families Tax Credit, also passed in 2021… It’s remarkable the Sisyphean struggle it took, even in a blue state, to make these modest shifts away from a clearly draconian system. Never underestimate the power of money in politics.
The STAND (Jan. 10) — Progress: Washington has 2nd worst tax code in U.S.
► From the Seattle Times — Boeing hit by quality lapses, certification delays; Airbus soars to dominance — While Boeing’s leadership scrambled to contain its latest crisis, top executives at Airbus confidently laid out the rival’s success in 2023 and its dominance of the commercial airliner business. The data on last year’s jet orders and deliveries released by both manufacturers shows Airbus was the world’s No. 1 airplane maker for the fifth straight year and pulling away from its U.S. competitor. That data combined with the new sense of crisis at Boeing has produced a bleak outlook among observers of the company. Longtime industry expert Adam Pilarski said:
“I cannot see how Boeing can continue like this. They are getting killed.”
► From Reuters — FAA calls for more Boeing 737 checks after bolt findings — The FAA has recommended airlines operating Boeing 737-900ER jets inspect door plugs, opens new tab to ensure they are properly secured after some operators reported unspecified issues with bolts upon inspections. The recommendation issued late on Sunday follows the FAA’s grounding of 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes after the Jan. 5 mid-air cabin blowout of a door plug on an eight-week-old Alaska Airlines MAX 9 jet.
► From Reuters — Details of Boeing 737-900ER fleet — Not all the older Boeing 737-900ER models have the door plugs and all 737-900ERs have had maintenance checks at least once since they were delivered, so checking them has not had the same urgency.
► From Politico — Boeing’s new lobbying team prepares for a new crisis — Boeing cleaned house amid its last big aviation crisis. Now its latest safety debacle is raising questions about whether the company’s overhauled lobbying team can help it withstand government scrutiny any better than an old guard that was more steeped in aviation policy.
► From the Washington Post — Biden expands abortion, contraception protections on Roe anniversary — The White House on Monday is announcing new steps intended to ensure access to contraception, abortion medication and emergency abortions at hospitals. The move arrives on the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed abortion rights for nearly 50 years.
PREVIOUSLY at The STAND:
WSLC decries overturning of Roe v. Wade (June 24, 2022) — WSLC President April Sims: “Abortion rights are workers’ rights. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO forcefully opposes attacks on the bodily autonomy and rights of working people and threats to the safety of our families and communities. We will not be silent in the face of attempts to curtail the freedoms of people who can become pregnant, and to undermine the basic principle of equal treatment under the law that underpins our democracy and our movement.”
► From HuffPost — Report claims inflation woes driven largely by corporate greed — A new report from a progressive think tank argues that Americans’ recent inflation woes were driven by companies that kept their prices high even as costs have come down in recent months, in order to increase their profit margins. The Groundwork Collaborative’s report says that corporate profits are behind 53% of inflation over the second and third quarters of 2023.
► From Roll Call — Strong bipartisan showing in first test of tax deal’s support — The House Ways and Means Committee voted overwhelmingly Friday to approve a $78 billion tax package that would revive a trio of business tax incentives and expand the child tax credit. The panel backed the measure on a 40-3 vote, with unanimous Republican and strong Democratic support.
► From Politico — House GOP already considering a future without Johnson — Speaker Mike Johnson is beset with political challenges: At least two conservative lawmakers have begun threatening his job. The former acting speaker trashed Johnson’s performance this week. A border-policy showdown with the Senate and White House draws nearer every day. And then there’s the problem of the 2024 campaign.
EDITOR’S NOTE —
Nikki Haley Nancy Pelosi was the leader of the House Democrats from 2003 to 2023. Mike Johnson has lasted barely three months as the Republicans’ House Speaker and Kevin McCarthy lasted just 10 months.
► From Salon — Want to fix inequality, Democrats? The answer is wages, not education (by J. Paul Leigh) — Just as as the Republicans’ default solution to any domestic problem is “lower taxes,” Democrats insist on “more education, especially college education.” But this obsession with education is misplaced, and in some cases actually harmful to the project of building “a more perfect union.” A better tactic for Democrats would be to raise wages through government policies, especially those aimed at workers without college educations.
► From the Los Angeles Times — Thousands of CSU faculty vow to ‘shut down’ campuses in first systemwide strike — The union representing 29,000 faculty members at California State University, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, walked off the job for five days Monday, disrupting the first week of the spring semester for tens of thousands of students. The systemwide strike of professors, lecturers, counselors, librarians and coaches, who are demanding a 12% wage increase and other benefits, is the first ever across all of CSU’s 23 campuses.
EDITOR’S NOTE — California Faculty Association member Josh Grisetti’s explanation of how they got to this point is a must-see/listen: “This is my message for any university president that wants to defend any of this: If you want to be CEOs of private companies, go be CEOs of private companies! Get out of public service! I am taking a financial bath so I can contribute something to the next generation. If you are not in it for that reason, you are the problem.”
BREAKING: Nearly 30,000 faculty members at California State University are on strike.
They’re shutting down the biggest four-year public university system in the country to demand pay increases and better benefits.
Some faculty are food unstable, or have unstable housing. pic.twitter.com/pATyJhTlMm
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) January 22, 2024
► From The Guardian — Families condemn Koch brothers over ploy to avoid asbestos compensation — Asbestos victims, their families and attorneys are claiming a Koch Industries-owned company and its lawyers are using a controversial bankruptcy maneuver to avoid paying millions in compensation to its former employees.
► From the AP — German train drivers’ union calls a six-day strike starting Wednesday over pay, working hours — A union representing many of Germany’s train drivers called Monday for another strike to press its demands for better pay and working hours in a bitter dispute with the country’s state-owned main railway operator.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.