The Stand

Teachers to walk, Fast Track silence, words still matter…

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Monday, April 20, 2015

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

PSM-centralia2► From WFSE — State employees respect, protect Washington — and shouldn’t beg for pay — Libby Pitts drove all the way from Vancouver to attend Saturday’s “Public Service Matters” event in Centralia to send Sen. John Braun and other Senate leaders a loud and clear message. The Senate budget that rejected our contracts and negotiated pay raises — and a rule change that blocked the majority’s attempt to reverse that rejection — is out of line, said Pitts, a rehabilitation teacher at the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver. The modest pay raise after seven years of no raises “gives you a sense of worth, it would make us feel we’re valued,” Pitts said.

ALSO at The Stand — Message to Olympia: Public Service Matters!

► In today’s Olympian — Teachers unions staging strikes to oppose education proposals in the Legislature — Teachers unions throughout the state are staging one-day strikes to protest proposed changes to the class-size initiative voters passed last fall, as well as other education proposals floated by the Republican-controlled state Senate.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Teacher protest will cancel classes in Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale schools on April 24 — Bellingham, Ferndale and Blaine schools have canceled classes for Friday, April 24, because teachers are joining a protest of the state Legislature’s failure to provide ample funding for K-12 education.

► In today’s Seattle Times — In Olympia, not much talking in state budget talks — and the clock is ticking — With just a week before the legislative session officially ends April 26, talks have broken down over how to bridge the gaps between Democratic and GOP budget proposals.

► In the Peninsula Daily News — Sen. Hargrove aims at education funding; he’d hike capital gains tax by 1/10 of 1 percentHe introduced SB 6103 to raise the capital gains tax by one-tenth of 1 percent on the state’s 7,500 wealthiest residents, he said, and to grant some relief to people who pay property taxes. The Senate’s majority Republicans countered with a proposal to fund education by raising property taxes.

trade► From Politico — Don’t let TPP gut state laws (by Eric Scheiderman) — State laws and regulators are increasingly important as gridlock in Washington makes broad federal action on important issues an increasingly rare event. From environmental protection to civil rights to the minimum wage, the action is at the state level. Ironically, one thing that may get done soon in Washington is a trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has the potential to undermine a wide range of state and local laws. One provision of TPP would create an entirely separate system of justice: special tribunals to hear and decide claims by foreign investors that their corporate interests are being harmed by a nation that is part of the agreement. This Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision would allow large multinational corporations to sue a signatory country for actions taken by its federal, state or local elected or appointed officials that the foreign corporation claims hurt its bottom line.

ALSO at The Stand — Gov. Inslee wary of expanding investor rights in trade deals — (Dec. 16, 2014)

 


FAST TRACK

 

WA-congress-fast-track► From NW Public Radio — Many NW Democrats noncommittal on fast-tracking trade deals — So far, few Northwest Democrats are getting on board with a deal to “fast track” a pending Pacific trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership. On Thursday, Oregon’s senior senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, unveiled bipartisan legislation to clear the way and set sideboards around the biggest trade deal since NAFTA. In Seattle Friday, Washington Senator Patty Murray said she’s supportive given the importance of international trade to the Northwest. But she won’t sign on as a co-sponsor at this time.

► From KGMI — Demonstrations in Ferndale and around the world take aim at trade deals — Labor and environmental groups see them as corporate giveaways that will weaken labor, environmental and consumer protections.

wyden-ron► From Politico — How Ron Wyden became the left’s scourge on trade — Ron Wyden has long aspired to be a major Senate dealmaker, but one of his biggest breakthroughs to date — negotiating a landmark trade bill — has put him at odds with his Senate leader and Democratic friends, and has earned him scorn from liberals who think he’s sold out.

“Like a vote for the Iraq War or statements of support for the Social Security-cutting Bowles-Simpson plan, a vote for fast track and the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] will never be forgotten and will haunt members of Congress for years to come,” said Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America.

 


LOCAL

 

alaska-airlines-WRA-Seatac-suit► MUST-READ in the Seattle Times — Snoozing baggage handler? You get what you pay for (by Ron Judd) — While it’s unclear exactly what happened in this case, it’s a miracle that more sleep-deprivation airport mishaps don’t occur. Sea-Tac Airport workers of all kinds, due to cheapskate wages that allow stratospheric salaries for their employers, work endless overtime, or second or third jobs, just to make ends meet.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Rainier family illustrates challenges of making do on minimum-wage income — Jeremy and Kristin Hurring are barely scraping by on his minimum wage salary. The Rainier couple doesn’t have the money to replace the brakes on their car. They can’t afford disposable diapers for their 1-year-old daughter, Sarah. They don’t eat out. They can’t afford new clothes for themselves or Sarah. And just the gas to drive to the Woodland tulip festival was a splurge.

► In today’s News Tribune — Lives of Bonney Lake family killed by falling concrete to be celebrated Monday — EastPointe Pastor James Ludlow said the celebration of the Ellises’ lives will begin at 6 p.m. Monday (April 20) at the Puyallup Foursquare Church, 601 Ninth Ave. SE. (Josh Ellis, a member of PTE Local 17, worked as a Licensing Services Representative at the Kent office of the Department of Licensing.)

 


BOEING

 

► In the PSBJ — Boeing Machinists call off vote after union organizers threatened at gunpoint in S.C. — International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers said in a statement Friday that union members faced dangerous and violent confrontations with homeowners while they were canvassing for votes. Two organizers were threatened at gunpoint, the union said.

 


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

murray-ryan-budget► From Politico — Republicans look to lift spending caps — GOP congressional leaders are racing to approve a budget blueprint for the coming year that abides by strict spending limits, determined to show that the party can maintain fiscal discipline. But some rank-and-file Republicans are already expressing interest in a much bigger deal that would adjust those caps, sweep away the still-developing blueprint and ease the budgetary pressure on the Pentagon — and, grudgingly, domestic programs if necessary. Some staff on the Hill are already calling it Ryan-Murray 2.0.

► In today’s — Republican alternative to Obamacare is… Obamacare? — If the U.S. Supreme Court blows up the tax subsidies at the heart of Obamacare in June, Republicans hope to deliver on their promise to offer an alternative healthcare plan. But key parts of it may resemble the one Obama delivered five years ago in the Affordable Care Act, partly reflecting Republican concerns that they could pay a political price if insurance subsidies are yanked from millions of Americans later this year.

 


NATIONAL

 

walmart-high-cost-of-low-price► From Reuters — Workers claim Wal-Mart closed California store in retaliationSome employees accused Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Friday of closing a location in the Los Angeles area for six months in retaliation for workers demanding for better wages and benefits. The largest U.S. retailer denied the accusation, saying it was temporarily closing five stores in four states to address recurring plumbing problems.

► In the NY Times — Laid-off Walmart workers head to NLRB — A group representing Walmart workers laid off after the abrupt closing of five stores last week planned to seek an injunction on Monday from the National Labor Relations Board that would require the retailer to rehire all 2,200 affected workers.

► From The Hill — Why do blue-collar workers vote against their economic interests? (by David Russell) — It seems evident to the outsider that Republicans feel completely comfortable in voting against the interests of their constituents because they know they have either short memories or no memory at all.

► In the NY Times — Why Americans don’t want to soak the rich (by Neil Irwin) — With rising income inequality in the United States, you might expect more and more people to conclude that it’s time to soak the rich. Here’s a puzzle, though: Over the last several decades, close to the opposite has happened. New research offers a bit more evidence on what may be occurring. It doesn’t disprove either the conventional liberal or conservative argument. But it does show some of the ways that Americans’ attitudes toward redistribution are more complex than either would suggest.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

OKC-bombing► From Huffington Post — 20 years after Oklahoma City bombing, words still matter (by AFGE President J. David Cox) — It’s been 20 years since the horrific bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and much has been done since then to increase security and safety around federal buildings. Sadly, there has been no such progress in eliminating the types of anti-government sentiments that drove domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to target federal government employees on that fateful day.

 


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

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