The Stand

Spokane face time, WA teacher talks, WI teachers walk…

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TOWN HALLS

 

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers defends GOP line on economy, Medicare — Now in her fourth term, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th) has been under pressure to host an unscripted town hall meeting in Spokane. When she did, she faced a crowd just as split as the Congress and the country. When Walt Kloefkorn called McMorris Rodgers’ vote in favor of the House Republican budget bill an effort to replace Medicare with a voucher system for seniors, she defended her vote. She said she was trying to save the popular program, not dismantle it. Many in the room groaned or jeered her answer. Kloefkorn asked her if she would exchange her congressional insurance coverage for a voucher system. McMorris Rodgers never directly answered his question.

EDITOR’S NOTE — At least McMorris Rodgers had the guts to face her constituents, unlike Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.

 


TEACHER CONTRACTS

 

► In today’s News Tribune — Teacher pay cuts vary by district — some ‘fortunate’ — Teachers in many school districts have avoided the 1.9% pay cuts that were prescribed in Olympia and are on the table in Tacoma. Pierce County’s three other largest school districts – Puyallup, Bethel and Clover Park – found other ways to make up for state budget cuts. Educators elsewhere will take a hit. Unions have agreed to reduce pay in Federal Way, Peninsula and Franklin Pierce school districts, as part of deals that also allow employees to work fewer days. Seattle teachers agreed to one-and-a-half unpaid furlough days that started with a day off Wednesday. Still other districts, from Spokane to Sumner, remain at the bargaining table with teachers.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Bellingham teachers to go on strike starting Friday –Teachers have voted to go on strike, meaning classes may not start Tuesday, Sept. 6, as scheduled. The teachers’ union, the Bellingham Education Association, took the strike vote Wednesday night, the same day the contract with the school district expired.

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Central Kitsap teachers, district at odds over class sizes — Central Kitsap teachers have rejected a “last and final” contract offer from district administrators mainly over a proposed increase to class sizes, their union leader said Wednesday.

► In today’s News Tribune — Teacher strike would create unconscionable family distress (editorial) — Teacher strikes are not like other strikes; unlike most striking workers, teachers do not put their jobs or compensation at risk. It’s nearly impossible to replace them, and districts can’t move schools to South Carolina.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ah, if only, my wistful conservative friends.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lynnwood to lay off 14 — In addition to the 14 layoffs, the city plans to eliminate 13 vacant positions. Another five positions are set to be adjusted or reassigned. Among the vacant positions eliminated will be seven with the police department.

 


AMERICA WANTS TO WORK

 

► In The Hill — Trumka says new PAC will empower nation’s ‘silent majority’ — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the new political group will be an “independent advocacy arm” of the labor federation that will help the group reach out to workers who aren’t already union members. “This advocacy arm will help build the power of America’s silent majority,” Trumka said. “It will not directly fund political or politicians’ campaigns. Nor will it match the endless flow of cash from corporations. But it will be an effort by and for working people.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Also see yesterday’s posting at The Stand — AFL-CIO to mobilize across nation for new 6-point jobs plan

► At Politico — Chamber, AFL-CIO ready to rumble over jobs — Seizing on Labor Day’s approach, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO each issued dueling six-point job creation proposals on Wednesday, most likely foreshadowing a bitter fight ahead of the 2012 election.

► In today’s NY Times — Obama moves jobs speech after skirmish with Boehner — Any hopes that a kinder, gentler bipartisan Washington would surface once Congress returns after Labor Day were summarily dashed on Wednesday when President Obama and Speaker John Boehner clashed over, of all things, the date and time of the president’s much-awaited speech to the nation about his proposal to increase jobs and fix the economy.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Sound foolish? Read on…

► In today’s Washington Post — Obama’s paradox problem (E.J. Dionne column) — Remember: The core GOP argument is that government can’t do much good and generally makes everyone’s life worse. Democrats are the ones who insist that government can solve problems and improve people’s lives. If government isn’t doing that — if it is discredited and made to look foolish — guess whose side of the debate is weakened?

 


NATIONAL

 

► At TPM — Teacher exodus in wake of anti-union law in Wisconsin — About double the number of Wisconsin public school teachers have retired this year when compared to the past two years, before Scott Walker’s anti-union law — which stripped away most collective-bargaining rights for public-sector unions, and required greater contributions by public employees for their healthcare and pensions — was ever proposed or much less passed.

► In The Hill DOJ’s move to block AT&T merger could be headache for Obama — The economy is widely expected to be the major issue on the 2012 campaign trail, and DOJ’s efforts to suffocate the deal are not winning the White House any friends in organized labor. Plus, the move reopens what has been a rich vein of attack for Obama critics — that the White House is meddling in the work of the nation’s businesses to the detriment of the economy.

► In today’s LA Times — Bill that would regulate health insurance in California is shelved — A bill that would allow California officials to regulate health insurance rates for millions of consumers has died in the Legislature after forceful lobbying campaigns by insurers, healthcare providers and other groups.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► At Politico — Poll: Union divide hits new record — As unions have come under fire in states across the country, the differences in opinion between how Republicans and Democrats view organized labor has grown to historic margins, a new poll shows. This year’s Gallup poll on labor unions, released Thursday, shows that the gap between Republicans and Democrats on labor union approval is 52%, up from 37% last year.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. Make this electronic “clip service” your first stop each morning! These links are functional on the date of posting, but sometimes expire.


 

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