The Stand

A primary thrashing ● Teacher pay ● Caring about unions

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

 


ELECTION

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington’s primary-election vote puts Republicans on the spot in three U.S. House races — National political analysts downgraded Republican odds in some state congressional races, while leaders of both parties predicted increased attention to the state in the fight for control of the U.S. House.

YESTERDAY at The Stand — A fantastic day for labor candidates, causes

► In the News Tribune — Democrats celebrate ‘an embarrassment of riches’ from primary election results — A muscular showing had Democrats leading Republicans in races for at least 20 seats currently held by the GOP — 16 in the House and four in the Senate.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — After this primary thrashing, GOP could be SOL in Olympia

► In today’s NY Times — The wind at labor’s back (editorial) — The two-to-one margin by which Missouri voters overturned the so-called right-to-work law appears to be the latest sign of resurgent and effective labor activism. The vote comes months after teacher strikes around the country forced Republican-controlled legislatures in states like West Virginia and Oklahoma to hand out big raises to overworked and underpaid workers for the first time in many years.

► From Rolling Stone — Missouri’s labor vote was a historic win for the little guy — Voters in Missouri, a deep-red state that’s anything but a “labor stronghold,” not only vetoed the GOP’s union-busting, wage-slashing law, they did it by a mind-bending two-to-one margin. In the process, they changed the narrative of labor’s long slide toward irrelevance. As state AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Jacob Hummel, a Democratic state senator from St. Louis, tells Rolling Stone, “The corporations and Chambers of Commerce have the money. They don’t have the people.”

► From The Onion — Selfish Missouri voters reject anti-union law after everything bosses have done for them

 


LOCAL

 

► From AP — Tribune calls off $3.9B buyout by Sinclair — Tribune, which owns dozens of local television stations around the country including Seattle’s Q13 Fox, is on the hook for a $135 million breakup fee. It said that it is suing Sinclair for breach of contract.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing confirms it’s crunch time in Renton, fewer 737 deliveries next quarter — Boeing CFO Greg Smith says the planemaker will deliver fewer 737 jets in the third quarter than its nominal production rate, as it struggles with a logjam of unfinished planes parked around its Renton plant. He said that late deliveries of fuselages from Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., and jet engines from the U.S./France joint venture CFM International had already reduced the number of 737 deliveries last quarter and would do so again in the next three months.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing faces new production snarls for cash-cow 737 jetliner — The planemaker has about $1.8 billion of 737 inventory sitting on the tarmac at Renton.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Plutonium-contaminated equipment taken into Richland by mistake — A radiologically contaminated piece of equipment left the Hanford nuclear reservation and was taken into north Richland by mistake.

► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Salary increase discussions heat up between Aberdeen School District and teachers

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From KNKX — Washington made big changes to school funding. What does that mean for teacher pay? — Earlier this year, state lawmakers voted to put almost $1 billion toward salaries for teachers and other school staff for the school year starting this fall, adding to state dollars approved last year for basic education. Teachers’ unions across the state say that money is supposed to go toward their compensation. Some districts have agreed to salary increases in the double digits. For example, according to the WEA, Bainbridge Island has agreed to a 21 percent raise and Bellevue educators are getting a 17 percent raise, on average. But in other districts, bargaining has been harder.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Bids for new Mukilteo ferry terminal are millions too high — The state thought $65 million would be a good price, but the lowest bid came in at $72 million.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From Time — The last major TV factory in the U.S. is shutting down because of Trump’s tariffs — A South Carolina plant that assembles televisions using Chinese parts plans to shut down and lay off nearly all its employees because of new tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration, the company announced this week.

► From Splinter — The Trump administration just found a new way to hand big banks even more money — Do “financial services” include banking? Not according to the Trump administration, whose new rule, issued Wednesday by the Treasury Department, argues there is a difference — and then cites the alleged difference as a means of extending lucrative tax breaks to the banking industry. The new rule represents more than semantic hairsplitting and hands a huge windfall to the banking industry.

► From ProPublica — The shadow rulers of the VA — How Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter and two other Mar-a-Lago cronies of Donald Trump’s — none of them have ever served in the U.S. military or government — are secretly shaping the Trump administration’s veterans policies.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From the AFL-CIO — Support locked-out Boilermakers in Montana — On Aug. 2, Imerys locked out members of the Boilermakers and brought in replacements at its talc plant in Three Forks, Montana. The lockout comes after Imerys consistently has refused to back down from its anti-worker contract proposal. Here are six ways you can help the locked-out workers…

► From AP — Puerto Rico acknowledges more than 1,400 people killed by Hurricane Maria — Puerto Rico has conceded that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people on the island last year and not just the 64 in the official death toll. The government acknowledged the higher death toll with no fanfare in a report submitted to Congress this week in which it detailed a $139 billion reconstruction plan for the island.

► In today’s Washington Post — The revised death toll in Puerto Rico makes Trump’s comparison to Katrina look even worse — It only took an hour or two for President Trump’s attempt to downplay the death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to be undercut by more accurate data. On Thursday, that effort looks even more starkly misguided with the release of new, much-higher estimates of mortality after the storm.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Rite Aid, Albertsons agree to abandon merger in the face of opposition — The Rite Aid pharmacy chain announced Wednesday that it had called off its proposed merger with Albertsons, the grocery retailer, after the deal appeared to lose the support of its shareholders.

► From Vanity Fair — ‘What have we done?’: Silicon Valley engineers fear they’ve created a monster — Gig-economy companies like Uber and Instacart are on the verge of overtaking the traditional economy. And the only people who understand the threat are the ones enabling it. As Silicon Valley struggles to come to terms with the gig economy’s corrosive underpinnings, a new vein of disquiet has wormed its way into the Slack chats and happy-hour outings of low-level rank-and-file engineers, spurred by a question that seems to drown out everything else: What have we done?

► In today’s NY Times — New York hits Uber with cap, taking lead in crackdown — The New York City Council voted to halt licenses for ride-hail vehicles for a year while it studies the booming industry, the first legislation of its kind for a big U.S. city.

► NOT from The Onion, but in today’s Chicago Tribune — Gov. Rauner drinks chocolate milk to demonstrate his commitment to diversity — an awkward onstage appearance this week, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner drank a glass of chocolate milk to demonstrate his belief in diversity. “It’s really, really good,” Rauner said after taking a sip of the sugary drink. “Diversity!”

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In the NY Times — Why you should care about unions (Even if you’re not in one.) by Meagan Day and Bhaskar Sunkara — Unions improve wages, benefits and working conditions for their members. But it’s not just to members’ advantage. Collective bargaining affects pay standards across entire industries, meaning even nonunion workers benefit. Unions also secure legislation that protects all workers, from workplace safety guidelines to a guaranteed weekend. And they reduce gender and racial wage gaps across industries, which contributes to broader equality in society.

Owing largely to a sustained political assault on unions, their memberships have been declining since the mid-20th century — a trend that, not coincidentally, maps neatly onto rising economic inequality and falling wages. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME is the latest blow to unions, effectively instituting a nationwide “right-to-work” regime for public-sector unions. Right to work forces unions to represent even those who don’t pay dues or claim membership, discouraging workers from joining and contributing. In short, it kills unions by attrition.

ALSO at The Stand — Want to show true post-Janus solidarity? Join a union! (by John Burbank) — In our state there are plenty of unions that would be happy to help organize your workplaces. Other possibilities are Working America which enables workers who don’t have a union at their place of work, or are exempt from those collective bargaining units, to join and show their personal support and solidarity. The Washington State Labor Council can also connect you with associate memberships in several unions.

JOIN TOGETHER! — If you are interested in hearing how you and your co-workers can join together to win better wages and working conditions — and respect on the job — contact a union organizer today!

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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