Tuesday, January 5, 2016
► From AP — State senators introduce charter schools proposal — Democratic Sen. Andy Billig and Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner, both from Spokane, filed SB 6163 to make charter schools accountable to locally elected school boards. In striking down the state’s voter-approved charter school law, the high court previously took issue that charter schools were supported with state dollars and governed by a board not elected by residents. If the bill is passed, a potential charter school would negotiate freedom from district policies like the length of a school day, policies regarding staff and curriculum.
ALSO at The Stand — Charter schools ruling is a rebuke of the privatization agenda (by Wayne Au — Sept. 17, 2015)
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima-based farmworker advocates ask for investigation over wage-rate survey — Columbia Legal Services wants officials to investigate the state’s recent findings that a wage-rate survey was biased by recommended answers given to growers. State officials have found evidence in the survey results that some apple growers had been influenced by recommended answers aimed at keeping wages low from the Washington Farm Labor Association.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Farm labor group says wage-rate survey was biased
► In today’s Olympian — More questions in prisoner release story (editorial) — The story about the state Department of Corrections’ computer error that let up to 3,200 offenders out of prison early just keeps getting worse.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Delay in fixing early release problem maddening, costly (editorial) — It’s the kind of news that shakes confidence in state government.
► From the NW Accountability Project — The Truth About the Freedom Foundation
► In today’s Seattle Times — Jim McDermott to retire; many consider a run, including another McDermott — Fourteen-term Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott will not seek re-election in 2016, setting off a lively scramble among Democratic contenders for the rare open seat in the liberal 7th Congressional District.
ALSO at The Stand — WSLC thanks McDermott for decades of worker advocacy
► In today’s Columbian — Oil terminal hearing starts at 1 p.m. today — A massive public hearing for the proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver kicks off at 1 p.m. at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Tunnel machine Bertha expected to bust out of vault this week — Tunnel machine Bertha crept ahead 6½ feet on Monday, setting the stage to break out of its concrete repair vault this week.
► From Huffington Post — How to tell the TPP is a bad deal (by SPEAA’s Stan Sorscher) — As we take on climate change and income inequality as global issues, we see that TPP is worse than a step in the wrong direction. TPP locks in toxic power relationships that will block positive change for a generation or two… House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said we should start over with a new paradigm for trade policy. She and many others would support a deal that does as much for workers and the environment as it does for global investors. That’s exactly what we should do.
ALSO at The Stand — Let’s reject this TPP, go back and get it right (by Jeff Johnson)
► From The Hill — Obama’s trade agenda gets big business boost — Powerful business groups are intensifying their lobbying efforts for an expansive Pacific Rim trade agreement, a crucial move needed to push the deal through Congress. Business groups, congressional Republicans and the White House have found common ground on trade, giving the Obama administration some hope that a deal can be done before a new president takes office.
► From Bloomberg — Analysis of NLRB elections finds quicker union elections, more union wins — The NLRB fit 31 more resolved elections into the four-month period following the rule change than it did into the same period a year earlier. What’s more, every one of those 31 additional elections was a victory for the union. There’s more. In May-August 2014, the median length of time it took a union’s representation petition to reach the election stage was 38 days. In May-August 2015, the median was only 24 days.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Given ineffective enforcement of laws that ban employers from intimidating and coercing workers who are voting on whether to form unions, such illegal harassment happens regularly. So it makes sense that speeding the election process, which gives employers ample time to make their case about unionization, but less time to identify, harass and fire union supporters, would lead to more union victories. The rule is working as intended: to uphold existing laws protecting the freedom to choose unionization.
► At YouTube — Richard Trumka comments on Donald Trump’s racist campaign
► In today’s NY Times — Even insured can face crushing medical debt, study finds — The number of uninsured Americans has fallen by an estimated 15 million since 2013, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act. But a new survey, the first detailed study of Americans struggling with medical bills, shows that insurance often fails as a safety net. Health plans often require hundreds or thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket payments — sums that can create a cascade of financial troubles for the many households living paycheck to paycheck.
► In today’s St. Louis P-D — Missouri speaker sounds doubtful over ‘right to work’ — When it comes to a GOP-led charge to make Missouri a “right to work” state, a top Republican is throwing cold water on one of the hot-button issues of the last legislative session.
► From CBS News — Hundreds of Muslim workers fired after dispute over prayers — Nearly 200 Muslim workers have been fired from a Cargill meatpacking plant in Colorado, for walking out after a dispute over prayer breaks. Praying five times a day is a must for many Muslims.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.