Tuesday, April 28, 2015
WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY
► From AFL-CIO Now — Honor the dead, fight for the living — Today, on Workers Memorial Day, working Americans are gathering to commemorate those who have lost their lives due to workplace-induced illnesses and injuries and to demand stronger safety protections on the job.
ALSO at The Stand — Workers Memorial Day events honor fallen — Events today in Tacoma at 11 a.m. at Western State Hospital, in Bellingham at noon at the Workers Memorial Monument, and in Tumwater at 2 p.m. at the state Department of Labor and Industries office.
► From Huffington Post — The words of dead workers (by Leo W. Gerard) — For years during contract negotiations, the United Steelworkers union has pressed ungodly profitable oil companies to improve safety. This fell mostly on deaf ears. On Feb. 1, USW refinery workers began loudly voicing this demand by striking over unfair labor practices. Ultimately 7,000 struck 15 refineries. Within six weeks, all but five oil corporations settled. Marathon is a hold out. It wants to cut safety personnel. It does not want to hear about dead workers.
► From Reuters — Marathon Galveston Bay workers back leadership’s rebuff of offer — More than 800 striking workers at Marathon Petroleum Corp’s Galveston Bay Refinery voted on Sunday to back their leaders’ rejection of a last, best and final offer from the company to end a three-month work stoppage.
► From The Hill — Trade vote stirs angst on the right — Trade legislation is sowing discord among Senate Republicans that could make it tougher than expected to pass fast-track trade authority and the TPP. While much of the attention in the trade fight has focused on the divide between President Obama and liberal Democrats, Republican leaders are facing dissent within their own caucus because of currency manipulation and immigration concerns. “The polling is bad, and some people are getting nervous,” said a GOP senator who requested anonymity to talk about his conversations with colleagues.
► From Reuters — U.S. senator sticking by ‘poison pill’ tweak to trade bill — U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said on Monday he would strongly resist any attempt to override a human-trafficking amendment to trade legislation that some say could derail a Pacific trade pact.
► In today’s NY Times — TPP puts Harvard Law School rivals on opposite sides, again — Michael Froman, the United States trade representative championing the pact (pictured at right), keeps running into a familiar nemesis, the anti-globalization leader Lori Wallach.
► From The Hill — Obama wrong on TPP (by Bill Press) — Obama’s not just siding with Republicans, he’s doing their dirty work for them.
► From Huffington Post — The battle over the TPP, Fast Track gets hot (by Dean Baker) — The Obama administration could have made currency rules front and center in a trade deal, but that would have only made sense if its main concern was jobs and workers. Instead we have a deal that is a piñata for the corporations who were at the table, and who the Democrats are counting on to give generously in the 2016 campaign.
► From AP — ‘Hero’ teacher tackles shooter at North Thurston High School — A popular teacher is being hailed as a hero after tackling a 16-year-old student who fired two shots into the air Monday at North Thurston High School, police and students said. No one was injured after the teen shot toward the ceiling in the school commons before classes began, authorities said. Students say Brady Olson, who teaches Advanced Placement government and civics, stopped the shooter.
► In today’s News Tribune — North Thurston teacher ‘would step up in any situation’ — Teacher Brady Olson’s actions to derail a gun-toting student as school started Monday didn’t surprise his students or coworkers at North Thurston High School in Lacey.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Which brings us to…
► In today’s News Tribune — Teachers’ local collective bargaining targeted by Senate Republicans — A proposal by Sen. Bruce Dammeier (R-Puyallup) seeks to determine teacher salaries at the state level, and do away with local bargaining of pay entirely. The WEA, which calls the Senate Republican plan “draconian” and “punitive,” is opposing efforts to eliminate teachers unions’ ability to bargain salaries with their school districts.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — ‘Good discussion’ before special legislative session — After about 40 minutes of budget discussions with Gov. Jay Inslee and his budget chief Monday, legislative leaders emerged to declare they had made unspecified progress toward a two-year spending plan. “A useful meeting,” said House Appropriations Chairman Ross Hunter (D-Medina). “A good discussion,” said Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill (R-Redmond).
► In today’s News Tribune — State asks for more time for lawmakers to comply with McCleary education funding order — The state Attorney General’s Office is asking the state Supreme Court to wait until the Legislature has completed its work before deciding whether to impose contempt sanctions in an education funding case.
► In today’s News Tribune — 4-day break between legislative sessions means fundraising time in state House race — Shortly after the Legislature adjourned Friday, Democrats began working to raise money for a state House race that threatens to erode their already slim majority in that chamber.
► In today’s LA Times — High-priced work — Among the city workers who are currently threatening to strike amid contract negotiations that have stalled over pay and other issues, many collect salaries higher than those who do similar jobs in both the public and private sectors, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found. For example, security guards employed by the city last year made a median base salary of $57,501, compared with $23,330 in the private sector. For city janitors, median annual wages were $46,694, compared with $22,750 in the private sector.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Damn straight. And if more workers were in unions, we’d ALL have a greater share of this country’s considerable prosperity. Join the party!
► From Huffington Post — Democrats take aim at ObamaCare ‘Cadillac’ tax — A group of House Democrats are pushing to repeal ObamaCare’s so-called “Cadillac tax,” which they say unfairly targets people in more expensive areas like the Northeast and West Coast.
► From Reuters — Truckers strike four shipping companies at Southern California ports — Tractor-trailer drivers who haul freight from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike on Monday against four trucking companies, a Teamster union official said, in a move that could revive labor tension at the nation’s busiest cargo hub.
► From Reuters — Nurses union plans short strikes in California and Illinois — A union representing nurses in California and Illinois said on Monday 6,400 members planned to walk off their jobs later this week for a series of one- and two-day strikes amid contract negotiations.
► In today’s NY Times — Muting friends’ political views on Facebook as simple as clicking ‘unfollow’ — Many users are whittling away adverse viewpoints, resulting in the kind of polarization experience more often associated with MSNBC or Fox News.
EDITOR’S NOTE — You people have all liked us on Facebook, right? RIGHT?
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.