This week’s news includes an overwhelming union rejection, more election results, and the gift that keeps on giving: Obamacare. Here is your weekly round-up:
- Machinist union members have yet to realize that pension plans will no longer exist in the near future and that health care costs were going up for pretty much everyone. By a whopping 67%, union members rejected Boeing’s contract offer that would keep 777X in the Puget Sound on the basis of these two complaints. Boeing will not re-open negotiations with the IAM union. They began their search for alternative sites for 777X production shortly after the Machinists rejected their offer. Rumored areas include Huntsville, Alabama, Long Beach, California, North Charleston, South Carolina, Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Antonio, Texas—all of which have existing Boeing plants and are courting Boeing for more business.
- IAM union members issued a hurricane warning to their union leaders. Rank-and-file machinists “are angry that their local leaders allowed Boeing to force an ultimatum on them: Accept a contract full of concessions, or risk losing the 777X.” Members say that the forced ultimatum “could lead to a push to oust District 751 leaders.” One local union member illustrates the brewing tensions perfectly, “Today is the eye of the hurricane — calm after the storm. But the rest of the storm is coming.”
- Seattle looks more and more likely to elect the first socialist councilmember on the non-partisan City Council. Over the past few days, Kshama Sawant increased her lead over four-term incumbent Richard Conlin. She now leads by 1,148 votes.
- SeaTac’s Proposition 1 is headed for a certain recount. The measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour leads by a mere 53 votes.
- Washington State won’t play by Obama’s changed rules. Obama bent to political pressure yesterday and announced he was changing his health care law’s rules to allow insurers to extend individual health care plans by one year. Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler lost no time in negating Obama’s offer with an announcement that Washington state insurers will not have the opportunity to continue the canceled plans of more than 290,000 individual policy holders. Kreidler stated that following Obama’s new rules “would be very disruptive to our insurance market” because “allowing insurers to keep their old plans, which under old rules were free to reject anyone with serious health conditions, could skew the market such that new plans would be less likely to enroll healthy people… causing premiums to go up drastically…”
- We are glad that Kreider and his liberal counterparts are beginning to figure out that “insurance only works if you have a robust pool of good and bad risk,” but that is where our faith in their abilities end. After all, we still have to deal with Obamacare. Early nation-wide enrollment figures show little attraction of the young and healthy. In Washington State, about 23% of enrollees are between the ages of 18-34.
- Vowing to live and fight another day, the Yes on I-522 campaign finally conceded yesterday evening. The backers of 522 promised to return in 2016 for another attempt to pass their GMO labeling initiative. Yes on 522 co-chair Trudy Bialac believes that a 2016 ballot effort will set the odds in their favor “saying that a presidential election year would bring out more voters and younger ones with a more progressive outlook.”
- Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane plans to propose legislation to make Washington a right-to-work state. Right-to-work laws create optional union membership. Twenty-four states have enacted right-to-work laws—most recently, Michigan.
- Senator Andy Hill, R-Redmond continues to prove his commitment to education. The senator joined with state leaders in Bellevue on Tuesday to launch Washington’s new “IT Academy,” which provides free information technology training to Washington residents. Microsoft will pay for 90% of the program in partnership with the state.