Tuesday, November 17, 2015
FROM OUR CALENDAR
► WEDNESDAY — Drivers’ Rally at Seattle City Hall — Join drivers and community members as they deliver a petition calling on the Seattle City Council to pass legislation that will give Seattle taxi, for-hire and TNC (Uber, Lyft, etc.) drivers a voice and the right to collectively bargain. It will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave. Get details.
► WEDNESDAY — Protest at T-Mobile HQ in Bellevue — CWA encourages all union members and supporters to attend a protest at T-Mobile HQ in spport of employees speaking out against sexual harassment on the job. It will be Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 4 to 5 p.m. at T-Mobile HQ, 12920 SE 38th St. (at Factoria Blvd SE) in Bellevue. Get details.
► FRIDAY — Fair Trade fundraising breakfast — The Washington Fair Trade Coalition will host its annual breakfast fundraiser, featuring former State Representative and longtime anti-trafficking organizer Velma Veloria, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 at IAM District Lodge 751, 9125 15th Place S. in Seattle, WA. Get details and order tickets.
THE WAR ON WAGES
► From Lily’s Blackboard — Friedrichs is missing its warning label — My name is Tina Adams, and I am a school lunch lady in Mansfield, Ohio… The state legislature here has tried — and failed — to strip public workers like me of our collective bargaining rights. When that didn’t work, the legislature tried to kill our unions by introducing laws with names like “Right to Work.” That’s like calling bologna an artisan meat. We can see beyond their fancy, misleading labels, and we know their motives: They want to weaken our unions so they can cut wages and slash benefits to feed their own bottom lines, even if it hurts our children and communities… We need to rebuild the American Dream and our middle class, but there is a Supreme Court case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, that hopes to dismantle it.
► From AFL-CIO Now — What’s this Friedrichs case all about? — The main thing you need to know is that this is an attack on working people’s freedom to come together and form unions, plain and simple. Here’s a handy graphic you can share with your friends and family.
► From The American Prospect — Who’s behind Friedrichs? — The real force propelling Friedrichs’ gallop through the courts was the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), the right-wing pro-bono law group that is representing teacher Rebecca Friedrichs and her fellow plaintiffs: At each stage in the legal process, CIR attorneys asked the courts to rule against their own clients, with the apparent interest of moving the case up to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible… The list of foundations and donor-advised funds supporting the Center for Individual Rights reads like a who’s who of the right’s organized opposition to labor. A number of those funders, unsurprisingly, enjoy the support of Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who are principals in Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in the United States.. Think tanks and groups that receive either direct funding from Koch entities or are linked to the Koch brothers’ funding network also filed amicus briefs in favor of the Friedrichs plaintiffs.
EDITOR’S NOTE — One of those think tanks in the Koch-funded echo chamber that has filed an amicus brief is the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation.
ALSO at The Stand — Exposing Freedom Foundation’s ‘network of hatred, extremism’
► From AFSCME — States back unions in Friedrichs case — The attorneys general for 20 states and the District of Columbia — including Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson — have filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief supporting unions in the Friedrichs case pushed to the Supreme Court by corporate CEOs and special interests intent on destroying unions. Saying that “unions go hand-in-hand with a strong middle class,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the pro-union coalition.
LEARN MORE at the America Works Together website.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — South Carolina Boeing, union leaders engage in spirited debate via Facebook — The back-and-forth also seems remarkably friendly, quite unlike the intense anti-union rhetoric from the office of South Carolina governor Nikki Haley… South Carolina Site Manager Beverly Wyse admitted that her parents were union members, and she’s worked with unions for years, she said times have changed. “I’ve seen first-hand the damage to teammates, families, local communities, and businesses caused by strikes and labor disputes,” she wrote.
► From KUOW — Why does for-profit hockey in Washington not have to pay players minimum wage? — As of July, state law says that players in the Western Hockey League — meaning the Everett Silvertips, the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Spokane Chiefs and the Tri-City Americans — are not employees. They don’t qualify to get paid minimum wage and they also don’t fall under the state’s child labor laws.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — For-profit colleges a bad bargain (editorial) — Federal and state governments are intensifying efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars spent at for-profit colleges are benefiting students as much as the businesses.
GIVE ME YOUR TIRED… SUCKS TO BE YOU.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee: Washington welcomes refugees, including Syrians — “Washington will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice,” Inslee said. Via Facebook, state Rep. Jay Rodne (R-Snoqualmie) responds: “Governor Inslee should be worrying about protecting the residents of Washington state rather than following lockstep Obama’s policy of allowing unvetted Syrian migrants in.” In other messages and comments, Rodne has referred to Muslims as “barbarians” and accused Obama of wanting “to import 1.5 million muslims into the U.S.”
► From Wonkette — In solidarity with Paris, Republican governors invite Syrian refugees to burn in hell — Looks like the terrorists are already winning. Following Friday’s attacks in Paris by eight terrorists, the governors of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, and Arkansas (a total of 26 GOP governors and one Democrat since this was posted) have announced that they won’t accept any Syrian refugees for relocation in their states, because they are terrified. Mission accomplished, ISIS.
► From Wonkette — Paris attacks making brave Americans soil themselves, quelle surprise — Refugees face a TWO-YEAR screening process, which starts with a recommendation for each refugee by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. Since we’re the U.S. of A, we get to pick the very best refugees, not that xenophobes will be comforted by the insanely high degree of security screening we’re subjecting refugees to. Out of an approximately 4 million Syrian refugees, we’re committed to taking in a piddling 10,000, yet even that shamefully small number is terrifying to Republicans…. One small problem for the governors busy drawing lines in the sand: Governors don’t have any authority to refuse refugees.
► Which brings us to… from The Hill — House to vote this week on measure to block Syrian refugees — The House is likely to vote this week on legislation to halt President Obama’s plan to allow thousands of refugees from Syria to resettle in the U.S., Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told lawmakers on Tuesday.
► In today’s NY Times — After Paris attacks, vilifying refugees (editorial) — The attacks should not be used as a pretext in the West to shut down borders and conflate refugees with terrorism.
► From Huffington Post — Look at these photos before you say we can’t take in Syrian refugees
► From The Hill — Obama’s trade deal is in trouble — Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) haven’t decided whether they’re going to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — even after they helped the president win fast-track authority in a bruising interparty fight that was meant to ease its passage. Republicans are deeply disappointed with the deal negotiated by Obama’s team, as are many business groups, which have yet to embrace it. Some are suggesting the administration may need to reopen the negotiations, even if that means seeking an accord with a smaller number of countries. Plus, the presidential race will only make lawmakers fight harder.
ALSO at The Stand — The TPP: Governance without governments (by Stan Sorscher)
► From the Hill — House passes short-term highway patch — The measure would extend federal transportation spending — currently set to expire on Friday — until Dec. 4. The Senate is expected to quickly take the patch up at the end of this week to prevent an interruption in the nation’s infrastructure projects.
► In today’s NY Times — Inadequate transportation bills in Congress — Legislation that could be approved by the end of this week may make traveling on American roads and railways less safe.
► From TakePart — This website exposes employers’ maternity leave policies — The United States is the only developed nation that does not mandate paid family leave for its workers. Fairy God Boss is a website that is trying to create transparency when it comes to company culture and policies, providing women a useful way to scope out companies they want to work at and giving human resources professionals a chance to improve. The site functions as a Yelp-like search engine, allowing women to anonymously review, comment, and answer questions about their employers and to learn more about potential employers.
► From AP — Hundreds of union members picket in strike at Kohler Co. — Hundreds of union members and their supporters picketed at the gates of the Kohler Co. on Monday in the first strike at the Wisconsin manufacturer in more than 30 years.
► From Huffington Post — Papa John’s franchisee gets jail time for wage theft — The owner of several Papa John’s franchises in New York City will serve 60 days in jail for failing to pay his workers the minimum wage and overtime. Two months isn’t a particularly long time in the hoosegow, but any jail time at all is notable in a wage theft case. Although unscrupulous business owners are often forced to shell out backpay, it’s rare that they spend any time behind bars.
► In today’s NY Times — Walmart’s income falls amid focus on wages, online retail — Walmart, whose stock is down more than 30 percent this year, has warned investors to expect lower profits next year because of its investments in its work force, part of its bid to reduce turnover, and efforts in online retailing, to better compete with the surging might of Amazon.
► From The Atlantic — Uber is not the future of work (by Lawrence Mishel) — While Uber and other new companies in the gig economy receive a lot of attention, a look at Uber’s own data about its drivers’ schedules and pay reveals them to be much less consequential than most people assume. In fact, dwelling on these companies too much distracts from the central features of work in America that should be prominent in the public discussion: a disappointingly low minimum wage, lax overtime rules, weak collective-bargaining rights, and excessive unemployment, to name a few. When it comes to the future of work, these are the aspects of the labor market that deserve the most attention.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.