Wildfires rage, teachers talk, fix OT, celebrate Hawaii…

Friday, August 21, 2015




► In today’s Seattle Times — Thousands fight relentless infernos — Wildfires continued to rage out of control Thursday, prompting state officials to seek firefighting help from volunteers for the first time in history.

ALSO at The Stand — Stay informed, safe amid deadly wildfires

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Confronting the new realities of wildfires (editorial) — A hastily scrawled sign on a fence outside a Twisp home implores: “Firefighters, this is just a house — please stay safe.” It’s a message made more heartbreaking by Wednesday evening’s news that three firefighters had died and four others were injured, one critically, while responding to fires near the Methow Valley town, one of scores of fires burning in Washington state and throughout the West.

► In today’s News Tribune — ‘A hole in our heart’ as state faces the new normal (editorial) — The deaths of three specially trained firefighters in the Methow Valley elevated the state’s wildfires from catastrophe to tragedy Wednesday.




► In today’s Seattle Times — State’s high court extends SeaTac minimum wage to airport workers — Nearly two years after residents in the city of SeaTac narrowly passed a historic law bumping the minimum wage up to $15 an hour, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the law applies to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as well. Because SeaTac’s minimum wage is adjusted yearly for inflation, the current minimum wage, as of Jan. 1 this year, is $15.24. Getting $15.24 an hour will be “a big change. It’s more money for me so I can feed my family,” said Abdirahmen Abudalli, who’s been making $11.50 an hour changing oil and fixing tires for Hertz at the airport. The 34-year-old father of two said his family has had to rely on food stamps and housing assistance to survive… One important issue left unclear: Is the pay hike retroactive?

ALSO TODAY at the Stand — SeaTac airport workers score major win

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Seattle port, Alaska Air say they’re reviewing court’s minimum-wage ruling — The state Supreme Court has ordered a higher minimum wage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but Alaska Air Group and the Port of Seattle were muted in their initial response.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Check out the cookie-cutter responses from Alaska Air and the Port of Seattle. It’s hard to distinguish which is the public and private corporate entity. The big question: will Alaska Air somehow continue its War on $15/Hour? What would Russell do?




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Negotiations continue in Pasco teacher contract dispute — Pasco teachers picketed in front of the Red Lion Hotel on Thursday where the Pasco Association of Educators met with the Pasco School District on contract negotiations. The two sides have yet to reach an agreement.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle teachers union, district still in contract talks — Contracts for teachers and school support staff expire Aug. 31, and it’s not clear whether the union and the district will agree on new contracts by then.

► From KING-TV — Seattle seawall delayed, millions over budget — The Seattle DOT now says it will take $409 million — more than 33% over the original budget — to complete. They also say it will take an additional year to build and won’t be completed until 2017.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Suit against $930M transportation levy withdrawn — A lawsuit against the ballot title for a $930 million Seattle transportation levy has been withdrawn because the campaign opposing the levy filed the challenge late.

► In today’s Seattle Times — King County needs smart solutions to fix crumbling roads and bridges (editorial) — The Metropolitan King County Council is rightly pursuing new ways of paying for roads and bridges, many of which are deteriorating.

► In the PSBJ — Providence to open up to 25 retail health clinics at Walgreens stores — The clinics will be owned and operated by Providence and its affiliates. Patients will be able to access health care on a walk-in basis or by same-day appointment at these clinics, which will be open seven days a week.

► In today’s News Tribune — State senator, county councilman to compete for Pierce County executive job — State Sen. Bruce Dammeier (R-Puyallup) plans to run for Pierce County executive next year and won’t seek re-election to the Senate. He will face Pierce County Councilman Rick Talbert, a Tacoma Democrat. Rep. Hans Zeiger (R-Puyallup) announced that he will seek Dammeier’s Senate seat next year.




► In the PSBJ — Boeing’s new Charleston paint shop hints at possible future growth there — This week the company celebrated completion of the steel structure of its new paint shop at its North Charleston Boeing 787 Dreamliner assembly plant. When completed late next year, it will allow the company to paint all the 787s it plans to make in Charleston, and maybe future aircraft as well.




► In the PSBJ — Health exchange directors question Legislature’s demand for salary data — Salaries of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s employees will soon become public, and some board members are questioning whether that’s a good idea.




► From Think Progress — Why are some Americans still uninsured? — A new study finds that more than half of uninsured Americans currently live in (Republican-controlled) states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Residents of the non-expansion states who fall in the coverage gap — with incomes that are too high the Medicaid eligibility mark but too low to qualify for subsidies — account for nearly 23% of Americans without coverage. More than two-thirds of Americans without coverage do qualify for Medicaid or subsidies to help them purchase plans through insurance marketplaces. Even so, more than 60% of the uninsured designated affordability as their primary reason for not obtaining coverage, a data point that the Urban Institute’s Adele Shartzer describes as indicative of financial hardships burdening people across the country.

► In today’s NY Times — Gay couples are eligible for Social Security benefits, U.S. decides — The Justice Department said the Social Security Administration would apply the Supreme Court’s June ruling declaring marriage a constitutional right retroactively.

► From Think Progress — Bernie Sanders to introduce legislation to ban private prisons — Sanders said that he will introduce legislation to abolish private prisons, one piece of his comprehensive racial justice reform package that has won praise from Black Lives Matter activists.




► In today’s NY Times — Bernie Sanders draws big crowds to his ‘political revolution’ — By overtaking Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire in some polls and drawing tens of thousands of people to his events on the West Coast, as well as thousands in Iowa and Nevada, Sanders has recaptured the enthusiasm that fueled the 2008 Obama campaign, with T-shirts that say “Feel the Bern” and show an image of floppy white hair and glasses replacing the famous image in the Obama “Hope” poster.

► From AP — Labor unions facing tricky choice in Democratic primaries — The choice facing labor unions in the Democratic presidential race boils down to hearts or heads — Bernie Sanders, who embraces their forceful opposition to a big trade deal, or Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is a strong favorite for the nomination. Unions that endorse Clinton this year might gain more clout if she wins, but some union leaders may risk a backlash from rank-and-file members who have been drawn to Sanders’ blunt, anti-establishment message.

► From TPM — Kasich: If I were king, I’d get rid of teachers’ lounges so they can’t complain — Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said that he would like to get rid of teachers’ lounges to reduce how much teachers worry about losing their jobs.




► From Huffington Post — Raise your voice to raise wages (by LCLAA’s Hector Sanchez) — Fortunately, the public, not Congress, now has a chance to weigh in on whether to raise wages for millions of working people… The proposed regulatory change on overtime pay could directly benefit 13.5 million people, including 2.1 million working Latinos, according to the Economic Policy Institute. That means higher wages for more than one-third of Hispanic salaried workers. Expanding overtime protections is the right thing to do to boost wages for our community. Join me in contacting Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to show your support for expanding overtime pay. Visit FixOvertime.org (in English) or MisHorasExtras.org (in Spanish) to write to DOL Secretary Perez and support the overtime proposal.

► From AFL-CIO Now — Allegheny Technologies unfairly locks out Steelworkers from their jobs — The more than 2,200 steelworkers at 12 work sites across the country have offered concessions, but ATI’s management is demanding that workers submit to massive cuts that would jeopardize family-sustaining jobs. And last Friday, ATI unfairly locked out the workers.




► Happy Hawaii Admission Day! It was on this day in 1959 that President Eisenhower signed a proclamation that officially made Hawaii the 50th state. To celebrate, The Entire Staff of The Stand presents that state’s 32nd Greatest Song. It’s a one-take marvel recorded during a 1988 demo session by the late Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole and then forgotten until five years later when he added it to one of his albums. Since then, it’s been a ubiquitous presence in movies, TV shows and commercials. So one more website can’t hurt. Enjoy!


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

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