Wednesday, February 24, 2016
► From Murray.Senate.gov — Sen. Patty Murray: Senate Republicans should put Constitution & country above partisanship & obstruction — “I am hopeful Republicans step back from this dangerous and partisan path they are on—and work with us to consider and confirm a nominee in a reasonable timeframe,” Murray said in a Senate floor speech Tuesday. “Families across the country deserve to have a functioning Supreme Court—and a Congress that works well enough to allow that to happen.”
ALSO at The Stand — Tell Senate GOP: Do your job and fill the vacancy! — Sign the petition to tell Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican leadership to do their job and work to fill the Supreme Court vacancy without delay.
► From Politico — McConnell: Not a ‘snowball’s chance in hell’ I’ll relent on SCOTUS — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a group of staunch House conservatives there isn’t “a snowball’s chance in hell” that he will back down from his opposition to confirming a Supreme Court justice before a new president is elected.
► From Medium — 24 times Mitch McConnell demanded the Senate vote on judicial nominees — In his 31 years as a senator, Mitch McConnell has argued that the Senate must fulfill its Constitutional duty and vote on a president’s judicial nominee at least 24 times.
► From Huffington Post — Poll signals trouble for GOP in blockading Supreme Court — Democrats predicted almost immediately that the GOP blockade of a new Supreme Court nominee would be a problem for swing state Republicans. A new poll shows they might be right, at least in Ohio, where former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) is the lead contender to challenge Sen. Rob. Portman (R).
► From AFL-CIO Now — Vermont becomes the 5th state to require paid sick leave — Last week, the Vermont Legislature gave final approval to a bill that would guarantee working people paid sick days. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is expected to sign the legislation. With his signature, Vermont will become the fifth state in the country to require paid sick days. An estimated 60,000 workers who don’t currently have access to paid sick leave will now have it.
TAKE A STAND! — Click here to volunteer to collect signatures to put Initiative 1433 on the ballot. I-1433 would allow all workers in Washington state to earn paid sick and safe leave and raise the state minimum wage incrementally to $13.50. Learn more.
► In the Yakima H-R — Why dairy workers need legislative protections (by Katherine Bell) — I learned much about hazardous working conditions among dairy workers, including those in the Yakima Valley, by carefully following and supporting HB 2484, the landmark dairy employee safety bill designed to prevent deaths and rising injuries among dairy workers. What a travesty that the powerful dairy industry — boasting $3.2 billion a year in economic impacts — pressured state lawmakers into killing this modest measure by Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D-Seattle) and 16 other lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 9. Now that HB 2484 is dead, there is an even more urgent need for consumers, retailers, faith activists, and laborers to act alongside United Farm Workers, the Washington State Labor Council, and others.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Growers adapting to rules on rest breaks for ag workers; nuances of pay subject of discussion — While budgeting for the upcoming season, Yakima Valley growers know they have to add a new cost to bring in the harvest: paying piece rate workers for their rest breaks.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Port of Longview cuts off talks with oil refinery proponent — Port of Longview commissioners Tuesday morning cut off talks with the proponent of a $1.25 billion oil refinery and a propane terminal, in effect killing the project. The 3-0 vote followed a determination that Texas-based Waterside Energy failed to prove it had financial backing for the project, according to the port.
► From The Seattle Globalist — How will your legislator vote on the TPP? — When the actual vote will come is still unclear. Technically, if the President introduces legislation right away and Congress takes it up without delay, it could be as early as mid-March. However, many are projecting later dates, possibly even after the November election, during the lame-duck session. If the vote does come soon, where do our state’s representatives stand?
► From AP — Trump clobbers Rubio and Cruz in Nevada, cementing his frontrunner status — Trump crushed the competition with 45.9 percent of the vote to Rubio’s 23.1 percent and Cruz’s 21.4 percent — even though he never bothered to build much of a Nevada campaign at all.
► From The Hill — Trump rides momentum into winner-take-all states — Trump’s challengers are holding out hope that they can overcome his early lead in the winner-take-all states that will begin casting ballots on March 15. But as the race stands today, Trump is the candidate with the best chance for a delegates windfall on that day.
► From Huffington Post — Trump says he’s chummy with unions. Then why’s he fighting one in Las Vegas? — “I have great relationships with unions,” Trump told Newsweek last year. A few hundred mostly immigrant hotel workers in Las Vegas might disagree.
► From AP — Sanders calls Senate obstruction a ‘racist effort to delegitimize’ Obama — “What you are seeing today in this Supreme Court situation is nothing more than the continuous and unprecedented obstructionism that President Obama has gone through” at the hands of Republicans, the Vermont senator said. “This is on top of the birther issue, which we heard from Donald Trump and others, a racist effort to try to delegitimize the president of the United States.”
► From Politico — Shuster lounges poolside with airline lobbyists as he pursues FAA bill — On Feb. 10, Nick Calio, head of the nation’s top airline trade group, Airlines for America, testified before Rep. Bill Shuster’s House Transportation Committee. The topic was a top priority for both men: A bill to overhaul the FAA, most controversially by putting air traffic control in the hands of an entity favorable to the airlines. Two days later, Shuster’s committee approved the measure. And the week after that, he and Calio escaped to Miami Beach, Florida, with Shelley Rubino, an Airlines for America vice president who is Shuster’s girlfriend.
ALSO at The Stand — Congress: Fix FAA funding, don’t privatize our airways
► From Huffington Post — As T-Mobile rises, questions emerge over treatment of workers, consumers — The company has rocketed past Sprint to capture the No. 3 spot in the U.S. mobile phone market. But T-Mobile has been hit by the kind of bad news that an image-conscious company can ill afford: government charges that it has illegally mistreated workers and sought to silence them. Indeed, a judge ruled in August that T-Mobile had illegally barred a female call center employee in Maine from talking with co-workers about a sexual harassment complaint she had brought against her supervisor. And that came after the NLRB accused T-Mobile of illegally firing several pro-union workers and after an NLRB judge ruled last March that T-Mobile unlawfully prohibited employees from talking with one another or the news media about wages, workplace investigations and other workplace concerns.
► From AP — Appeals court upholds limit on sharing of tips among workers — Businesses cannot collect tips given to waiters, casino dealers or other service employees to share with support staff such as dishwashers even if the tipped employees are receiving minimum wage, a federal appeals court has ruled. The 2-1 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2011 U.S. Labor Department rule.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Black workers see little recovery in most states (by Jon Talton) — While unemployment has come down dramatically since the Great Recession, rates continue to be high for African-Americans. The damage from the unemployment is long-standing and its causes are not entirely understood.
► In the Detroit Free-Press — Unions and the fight for civil rights — As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to remember the historical importance of organized labor to black workers and their families, and unionism’s continued relevance today… Organized labor has historically been the door through which African-Americans entered middle class status. States with Right to Work laws have been shown to have lower wages, lower rates of health coverage, higher poverty and infant mortality rates, less investment in education and higher workplace fatalities. Battles waged against unions disproportionately affect African-American middle class communities.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.