Monday, August 25, 2014
► In the Yakima H-R — Federal judge rules against Yakima in voting rights case — After two years of litigation, a federal judge has ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union in its voting rights lawsuit against the city of Yakima, bringing potentially dramatic change to Yakima city politics. In a summary judgment issued Friday afternoon, the judge said the ACLU’s case was strong enough to vacate a trial and should move directly to the remediation phase, where both the ACLU and the city will present proposals for changing the way City Council members are elected. The ACLU already has proposed all-district voting for the seven council members.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — A changing political landscape (editorial) — On Friday, a federal judge issued a sweeping summary judgment, presaging a more representative political landscape in Yakima. It’s a case study in democracy, in the occasional need for litigation to prod the better angels, and in the weight of Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. It also signals a sea change in the business-as-usual, pay-no-attention-to-the-changing demographics of Northwest politics… In the next legislative session, lawmakers need to make passage of the Washington Voting Rights Act a priority. If the arc of the moral universe is long, it still bends toward justice — and democracy.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Delegates representing unions from across Washington unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Voting Rights Act and will work to get it passed in 2015. Meanwhile, as advocates fight for a better democracy…
► In the (Everett) Herald — Snohomish Co. has worst voter turnout in state — The county’s final turnout figure was 25.6 percent.
► In the News Tribune — Pierce Co. is 38th of 39 counties for voter turnout — 27%.
► In today’s Olympian — State wants more time to stop ‘parking’ mental patients in ERs — Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration says it has identified an extra 145 beds at a cost of up to $30 million and asked the Washington State Supreme Court for more time to add them.
► In the Spokesman-Review — State’s fiscal choices far from easy (editorial) — As the political campaigns begin in earnest, voters should ask tough questions about how they expect Washington to meet all its obligations. Until this biennium, the answer was tuition increases at state universities. That’s the wrong answer for the state’s middle class, and the aerospace, and information and biotechnology industries that are the key to the state’s future.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing wins 82-jet order from BOC Aviation — Singapore-based BOC Aviation ordered 50 737 MAX 8 and 30 Next Generation 737-800 aircraft from Boeing. The order is valued at $8.8 billion at list prices, but buyers get large discounts on big orders so the real price is likely around $4.3 billion.
► In today’s Oregonian — Disputed reefer jobs back in play as Port of Portland cancels deal with longshore union — Nine months after the Port of Portland awarded two hotly disputed jobs at the Port’s Terminal 6 to members of the longshore union, the Port has taken them back. In a letter to ILWU Local 8, Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt said the Port was terminating the contract with longshore workers because of their low productivity. The union says, “Productivity at the ICTSI facility is directly related to ICTSI’s irresponsible and incompetent management. Nothing more.”
► In the News Tribune — County executive wants authority to pay employees up to two hours for bad-weather days — The change aims to provide flexibility while avoiding having to shut down county facilities and pay workers for their entire shift, as happened in 2012.
► From AP — Burger King in talks to buy Canada’s Tim Horton’s to dodge U.S. taxes — Burger King is in talks to buy doughnut chain Tim Hortons and create a new holding company headquartered in Canada, a move that could shave its tax bill. Such an overseas shift, called a tax inversion, has become increasingly popular among U.S. companies and a hot political issue. Burger King was founded in 1954 with a single restaurant in Miami, where it is currently based.
► In The Hill — As Obama returns, advocates look for executive action — Obama’s two weeks on Martha’s Vineyard were plagued by dual crises, in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo. But his break was also something of a blackout period for news about actions the White House is weighing on immigration reform and so-called corporate “inversions,” a business maneuver companies use to reduce their tax burdens.
► In the Seattle Times — Amazon at odds with Germany over strong union tradition — Every few months for the past year, 400 or more workers have walked off their jobs at two massive Amazon.com warehouses that sit near the geographic center of Germany. On a sunny June day, as the protesting workers grill bratwurst and listen to a guitarist playing union songs, the rants aren’t the hot-button issues that often fuel strikes in the United States. Sure, the workers here want better pay and job security for zipping off boxes of books, shirts, razors and more to customers. But often, the first complaint these Amazon strikers raise is simply that the company doesn’t respect their rights as Germans to form a union and engage in collective bargaining. They want Amazon to come to the table because, they say, that’s what companies in Germany do.
► At Gawker — A Walmart manager describes Walmart mismanagement — In a series of emails, a Walmart manager describes how the company incentivizes its managers to keep employees from getting enough hours to make a decent living. The company does this even at the expense of understaffing its stores… Regarding his routine 60-hour work weeks without receiving overtime pay, he write:
It’s become obvious to me that Walmart purposefully does this to make up for the chronic under-staffing. I’ve often had to cut associates hours in order to ensure that all of the salaried managers would receive our annual bonuses. This practice is one of the most corrupt Walmart uses — they tie the payroll costs to salaried managers bonuses.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.