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WSLC announces legislative agenda for economic recovery
For workers in Washington State, the "Great Recession" is far from over. People are still afraid of losing their jobs in a persistently weak economy. Meanwhile, state and local government budget cuts and furloughs have shredded our social safety net, leaving our most vulnerable destitute, while targeting public employees as if they, and not Wall Street, had caused the recession. Not unlike the 1930s, it is time for the public sector to be creative and bold in its efforts to leverage economic recovery and help rebuild the middle class. The following 2011 Economic Recovery Agenda pursued by the Washington State Labor Council -- download printable version -- puts us on the high road by investing in jobs, reducing the footprint of tax exemptions and avoidance, creating budget and revenue accountability, and strengthening our social and workplace safety nets. Read more.
The Washington State Labor Council has announced the hiring of Teresa Mosqueda as its new Legislative and Policy Director. She joins the core WSLC lobbying team led by Government Affairs Director Rebecca Johnson and Field Mobilization Director Lori Province. "It is my great pleasure to welcome Teresa to our staff as Legislative and Policy Director," said WSLC President Jeff Johnson. "I have worked with Teresa for a number of years on health care and social justice issues. She brings great knowledge on health care policy and passion on issues important to working people. We are proud to have her join the labor movement." Read more.
► At AFL-CIO Now -- Jobless rate falls, but job creation falls short of what nation needs -- Even with expected holiday season hires, only 103,000 net new jobs were created last month. Economists had predicted 150,000 to 175,000 new jobs for December. The economy needs to add about 150,000 new jobs each month to keep up with the growth in the labor force. But to lower the nation's unemployment rate to 6% by 2013 and make up for the more than 8 million jobs lost due to the Bush recession, the economy needs to add 350,000 jobs a month.
► In today's LA Times -- Unemployment rate drops to 9.4%, but jobs show only modest gains -- Although the unemployment rate dropped dramatically to 9.4% in December, employers added only 103,000 jobs, below many analysts' expectations. The report on work hours also disappointed.
State government news:
► In today's Columbian -- Vulnerable rally for Medicaid benefits -- Many of the roughly 50 people who turned out in Vancouver for a "Candlelight Vigil and Rally to Restore Medicaid Benefits" on Thursday evening say they feel state cuts in health services have put their lives are on the line.
► In today's Seattle Times -- Gregoire: Create regional ferry district to manage system -- The governor proposes handing over the nation's largest ferry system to a new regional agency with taxing authority as a "bold" solution to the state budget mess, but her plan was met with deep skepticism.
► In today's Seattle Times -- State legislators join debate on citizenship -- Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) and Rep. Jim McCune (R-Graham) are part of a coalition challenging birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to parents who are neither citizens nor legal permanent residents.
► In today's (Everett) Herald -- Sen. Jim Kastama will try to block Nick Harper from being seated -- After weeks of uncertainty, it is clear that Everett Democrat Nick Harper will face a fight for his seat in the state Senate on Monday. And another Democrat is starting it. Sen. Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup) said he will try to bar Harper from being sworn into office because he's convinced Harper's triumph is a result of illegal actions by his political allies. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown opposes the effort, but Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) says she will support it
► Previously in the (Everett) Herald -- Senate should seat Harper (editorial) -- Nick Harper and the citizens of the 38th Legislative District aren't to blame for the unethical and admittedly illegal acts of a political consultant during this year's primary campaign. They shouldn't be punished for it.
► In today's (Everett) Herald -- Boeing finishes 2010 with 530 orders -- Demand for the Boeing jets increased in 2010 as it landed 530 net orders, up from 142 in 2009. But it already had planned to scale back production last year and saw decline in deliveries to 462 in 2010, compared with 481 the previous year. The increase in orders and fewer deliveries have boosted Boeing's backlog to 3,443, sufficient to keep Boeing workers and suppliers in the region busy for years to come.
► In today's (Everett) Herald -- Former Boeing worker wins lottery -- Jim McCullar of Ephrata, one of the winners of the $380 million Megamillions lottery jackpot, is a former Boeing worker.
► In today's Seattle Times -- $1.4 billion tunnel contract is signed -- After signing the $1.4 billion contract, the Spanish construction giant Dragados pledged to hire predominantly local workers to build the Highway 99 tunnel. The 5-year project still faces opposition, but a contract signing makes it that much harder to stop the state's political and legal momentum toward a possible construction start by August. The highway to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct is to be done by the end of 2015.
Negotiating with economic terrorists:
► In today's Yakima H-R -- Growers welcome push to remove Mexican tariff -- Early in 2009, the U.S. ended a pilot NAFTA program that allowed Mexican trucks to make deliveries over the border. To retaliate, Mexico slapped 20% tariffs on cherries, pears and other American products and later extended it to fresh apples, costing growers millions of dollars. Industry and congressional representatives are applauding an Obama administration proposal to end the tariffs by allowing Mexican trucks to enter the U.S. is the first substantial movement in the stubborn trade dispute.
► In today's NY Times -- Obama plans to ease Mexican trucking ban -- The Obama administration offered a proposal on Thursday to allow long-haul Mexican trucks to move cargo in the United States. It is the latest sign of a new willingness by the Obama administration to support free-trade measures backed by Republicans and by businesses despite objections from unions and other liberal constituencies. Teamsters President James Hoffa: "I am deeply disappointed in this proposal."
► In today's Washington Post -- CBO: Health care repeal would deepen deficit -- Rescinding the federal law to overhaul the health-care system, the first objective of House Republicans who ascended to power this week, would ratchet up the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next decade and leave 32 million more Americans uninsured, according to congressional budget analysts.
► In today's NY Times -- Republicans reject cost estimate of health law repeal -- House Speaker John Boehner rejected the report, saying it was based largely on chicanery by Democrats. His remarks hold wide implications, effectively putting him on a war footing with the independent analysts whose calculations generally guide discussions about the projected cost or savings of any legislation.
► In today's NY times -- Business background defines Obama's new Chief of Staff -- William Daley is a top exec at JPMorgan Chase, where he is paid up to $5 million a year and supervises lobbying efforts of the nation's 2nd largest bank. He also serves on the board of directors at Boeing and Abbott Laboratories, the global drug company, which has billions of dollars at stake in the overhaul of the health care system.
► At Time.com -- Trumka sidesteps Daley criticism -- AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the Obama administration "will ultimately be judged by results" and that he's "hopeful that the new chief of staff's priority is to achieve the strong economy that working people desperately need."
► At AFL-CIO Now -- An open letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (by former WSLC intern and UFCW 21 staffer Mitch Seaman, now a California Labor Federation lobbyist) -- "You delivered letters to more than 150 corporations, trade associations and conservative think tanks, requesting a list of their least favorite 'existing and proposed regulations' that you could help eliminate. (This) amounts to nothing more than a partisan sideshow. In reality, the workplace safety regulations you demonize don't kill jobs; they keep jobs from killing people.
► In today's Washington Post -- Let's kill GOP's "job-killing" canard (Steven Pearlstein column) -- Republicans these days can't get through a sentence without tossing in their new favorite adjective, "job-killing." What's so curious is that it's hard to find almost any Republican concern about employment homicide during 2008, when George W. Bush was president and the economy was shedding 4.4 million jobs. Given the lag with which economic policy works, the biggest net job loss that could credibly be assigned to Obama during his two years in office would be less than a million.
► At Huffington Post -- Two
House Republicans miss oath of office to attend fundraiser -- Incumbent
Pete Sessions and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick missed the swearing in because
they were at a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitors Center. Despite not being
sworn in, the two cast votes as members of the
112th Congress, a violation of the Constitution that the GOP had read from
For workers in Washington State, the "Great Recession" is far from over. People are still afraid of losing their jobs in a persistently weak economy. No wonder; state unemployment rates remain staggeringly high, the poverty rate is rising, food banks are stretched to the limit, foreclosures and homelessness plague our communities, and employers are shifting health care costs to their employees. Meanwhile, state and local government budget cuts and furloughs have shredded our social safety net, leaving our most vulnerable destitute, while targeting public employees as if they, and not Wall Street, had caused the recession.
While there are no shortcuts to recovery, there are dead-ends. Austerity budgets and government downsizing further impedes economic recovery. Simply slashing budgets for education, health care, public safety, infrastructure, and other critical services -- or continuing to cut wages and benefits of the people who provide those services -- is the most short-sighted, destructive course to follow. The buzzwords among those who support this low-road agenda is to "reset government." In truth, they are asking the citizens of this state to reduce (not "reset") expectations for our children's educations, for the safety of our families, for access to affordable health care, and for a retirement with dignity. They are asking us to "reset" our quality of life -- and our values.
Not unlike the 1930s, it is time for the public sector to be creative and bold in its efforts to leverage economic recovery and help rebuild the middle class. The following 2011 Economic Recovery Agenda pursued by the Washington State Labor Council puts us on the high road through investing in jobs, reducing the footprint of tax exemptions and avoidance, creating budget and revenue accountability, and strengthening our social and workplace safety nets. (Download 4-page printable version.)
Teresa Mosqueda joins WSLC lobbying team
The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO announced today the hiring of Teresa Mosqueda as its new Legislative and Policy Director. She joins the core WSLC lobbying team led by Government Affairs Director Rebecca Johnson and Field Mobilization Director Lori Province.
"It is my great pleasure to welcome Teresa to our staff as Legislative and Policy Director," said WSLC President Jeff Johnson. "I have worked with Teresa for a number of years on health care and social justice issues. She brings great knowledge on health care policy and passion on issues important to working people. We are proud to have her join the labor movement."
Prior to joining the WSLC, Mosqueda has served as Health Care Reform Specialist for the Community Health Network of Washington, Legislative Relations Director and Health Policy Coordinator for the Children's Alliance, and as Legislative and Policy Coordinator for the Community and Family Health Division of the Washington State Department of Health.
Among her priorities in the 2011 legislative session will be to push for implementation of federal health care reform regulations at the state level that promote access to quality, accessible and affordable health care coverage.
"I'm honored to join the Labor Council and have the opportunity to advocate for Washington's working families," Mosqueda said. "During this time of economic crisis and destructive cuts in state and local government services, it is a critical time to defend working families and fight to protect our quality of life in Washington state. I look forward to the challenge."
Mosqueda can be reached at the WSLC Olympia office at 360-943-0608.
Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO