Thursday, May 21, 2015
► In today’s News Tribune — State workers rally for pay increases, approval of contracts — Call it a lunch break with a message. At least a thousand state employees took 15- to 30-minute “unity breaks” Wednesday to protest a Senate Republican budget proposal that would reject new labor contracts for state workers. State employees at about 90 job sites walked out of their offices at noon to rally against the Senate Republican plan, while urging the Legislature to approve their negotiated raises.
► From WFSE.org — May 20 Unity Breaks photo gallery
MORE coverage from the Bellingham Herald, KHQ, KOIN, KOMO, (Longview) Daily News, Olympian, Snohomish Times, and the (Vancouver) Columbian. Apparently, the Seattle Times didn’t deem this important enough to cover. But The Entire Staff of The Stand did. Here’s our photo of King County Executive Dow Constantine expressing his support of employees at the state Department of Labor and Industries office in downtown Seattle.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee boosts state climate goal as cap-and-trade action stalls — Gov. Jay Inslee has struggled to win legislative approval for a plan to meet state goals for greenhouse-gas reduction. But that isn’t stopping him from signing on to an international pact with even steeper targets.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — There’s no easy fix for funding state schools (by Jerry Cornfield) — Legislators are on track to provide the additional money required by McCleary. Now comes the hard part. They must unravel a half-century of legislative decisions on which the financing of public schools has built — illegally, it turns out.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane teachers approve May 27 strike
► A related story in the 4/25/13 Mason County Journal — Tim Sheldon on attendance: Senate is ‘more demanding’ — In November 2012, Mason County Commissioner Tim Sheldon was elected to his third term. But his schedule at his other job, the state Legislature, has kept Sheldon out of his seat in the Mason County commission chambers more often than not this year. So far this year, Sheldon missed all or part of every Monday commission briefing session and has showed up late, left early or missed eight of 16 Tuesday commission meetings. Sheldon makes $78,368 in take-home pay as a county commissioner this year. His salary and benefits total more than $105,000.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Sheldon has sponsored a bill — and performed this week at its three-ring Senate hearing — that would dock the pay of teachers for missing one day to join the walkouts over class size and compensation.
► From Freedom Socialist Party — Nestora Salgado on a hunger strike — Nestora Salgado, courageous champion of her indigenous community and a political prisoner in Mexico, is on a hunger strike. She began refusing food on May 5 and intends “to take this to the bitter end,” according to her attorney. The Freedom for Nestora Committee is seeking financial support to help win Nestora’s freedom at this critical juncture.
EDITOR’S NOTE — On Aug. 21, 2013, Renton resident Nestora Salgado, a naturalized U.S. citizen and leader of a legal indigenous community defense force in her hometown of Olinalá, Guerrero, was arrested. For 21 months, she has been imprisoned in Mexico on false charges. Also see:
Please donate as momentum builds to Free Nestora Salgado (Oct. 13, 2014)
After a year in prison, join the effort to Free Nestora Salgado (Aug. 19, 2014)
► From AdamSmith.house.gov — Rep. Smith, Sen. Murray urge immediate action on Nestora Salgado case — Upon hearing that Nestora Salgado was on a hunger strike, Congressman Adam Smith and Senator Patty Murray said:
We urge the United States government to take immediate action to secure Nestora’s release on humanitarian grounds. Nestora has been deprived from due process and justice by the Mexican government and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that she receives it.
Learn more at FreeNestora.org.
► From Ritchie for Congress — We can do better than the TPP (by Jason Ritchie) — Trade is essential in the global economy and accounts for more than 40% of Washington State’s economy. A good trade deal can grow our middle class and create living wage jobs. But we must demand transparency and accountability or we risk repeating the mistakes of the past.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Democrat Jason Ritchie is challenging Rep. Dave Reichert, who not only supports but is also actively advocating for Fast Track/TPP, for his 8th Congressional District seat in 2016.
► In today’s Washington Post — A trade deal at what cost? (by Harold Meyerson) — Increased trade with lower-wage nations over the past 30 years has resulted in both massive offshoring of manufacturing and wage decline for most U.S. workers… Is it any wonder, then, that virtually the entire base of the Democratic Party opposes the TPP and the fast-track bill that would ease its enactment? From coast to coast, Democrats are doing their damnedest to raise the very wages that globalized capital has depressed. Trade deals such as the TPP have contributed to economic inequality, so why President Obama should expect a party increasingly dedicated to diminishing that inequality to turn around and support the trade pact is a mystery with which future historians will have to grapple.
► From Vox — How ‘secrecy’ is hurting Obama’s trade deal (by Ezra Klein) — Michael Wessel used his unusual status as a “cleared advisor” for the TPP to uncork a pretty brutal one-two punch on the administration: he said both that he’s read Obama’s trade deal and it’s terrible, and that some of the trade deal has been kept secret from him and perhaps that part is even more terrible… The impression of secrecy around the TPP has been a disaster for the administration.
► From Reuters — Sen. Menendez will fight to keep human trafficking rules in trade bill — Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said on Tuesday he will fight any attempt to delete a human trafficking amendment, dubbed a poison pill for a Pacific trade pact, from a key trade bill.
► In the PSBJ — Port contract approved by operators; union ratification is last step to end year-long dispute — The Pacific Maritime Association has approved a new five-year contract with the dockworkers union after more than a year of tense negotiation between the parties that resulted in widespread port slowdowns. The agreement still needs to be ratified by members of the ILWU. The union is expected to approve the deal in a membership vote by Friday.
► In today’s Oregonian — Whistleblower videos reveal helicopter spraying workers with weed killers — The photos and videos provide damning proof of what can happen deep in Oregon’s forests when no one is looking.
► From Politico — Senate may put brakes on House highway plan — House Republican leaders, eager to find new money to pay for decaying highways, are eyeing a massive tax reform-transportation package that taps $2 trillion in corporate profits parked offshore as a way to cover the costs. But the plan faces a major obstacle: Senate Republicans.
► From Yahoo News — What presidential candidates need to understand about income inequality (by Matt Bai) — To put Robert Shapiro’s new study in its plainest terms, the American Dream that’s at the center of our national identity is not, in fact, in danger of slipping away. For most Americans, it’s already long gone, like Oldsmobiles and New Coke… Shapiro’s study lays bare a stark and underlying truth. No candidate should expect to change the tenor of American politics if he or she doesn’t have a genuine plan to stem the decline of the American household.
► In today’s Washington Post — The conservative case against picking on unions, courtesy of Missouri Republicans — A bloc of GOP legislators kept a right-to-work law from winning a veto-proof majority in the state. It’s a consequence of Missouri’s political geography, with moderate Republicans being elected in fast-growing exurban counties that might be socially conservative but whose residents are still largely members of trade unions. Said Republican state Rep. Kathie Conway. “They might be with you on lots of other issues, but if you try and mess with their livelihood, they would not be with you.”
► In today’s NY Times — A $15 minimum wage bombshell in Los Angeles (editorial) — Low-wage workers who have been demonstrating for higher pay are leading politicians where they need to go, and the real leaders among those politicians are following the workers.
► From AFL-CIO Now — Raising wages champion Jim Kenney wins Philadelphia mayoral primary — Jim Kenney, a former union dishwasher and son of a firefighter, won the Democratic primary in Philadelphia after running a campaign as a strong raising wages champion.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Contract workers struggle as on-demand tech companies soar — As the valuations and profits of on-demand tech companies like Uber and TaskRabbit soar, few benefits are trickling down to their contract workers, creating a workforce that lacks the security of employee benefits and struggles with financial uncertainty.
► From Huffington Post — Why I stood up to Lear Corporation’s CEO (by Latisha Irby, a Lear production workers in Selma, Ala.) — Lear should be setting an example for the rest of the industry, but instead they are paying us barely enough to make ends meet. Lear can afford to treat their workers with respect. By choosing not to, Lear is forcing my family, and others like mine, to live from paycheck to paycheck.
► From AFL-CIO Now — Make it a union-made Memorial Day barbecue — Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to the summer holiday season. While the day honors those who have given their lives defending the nation, the weekend also marks the start of grilling season. Here’s some union-made food and drink to get your barbecue off to a great start.
► In The Onion — Pros and cons of raising the minimum wage — PRO: Bargain compared to cost of creating actual social safety net. CON: Workers will grow complacent and lazy if they can afford basic human needs.
► From Talking Points Memo — Study: Lawmakers assume voters are way more conservative than they are — Researchers from UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan found that on three issues — universal healthcare, same-sex marriage, and welfare — lawmakers’ assumptions about what their constituents believed were “15-20 percent more conservative, on average,” than the actual base of public support for such issues. Most striking, both liberal and conservative lawmakers assume their voters are much further to the right than they actually are.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.