Friday, April 15, 2016
► From WFSE — TAKE ACTION to protect our privacy! — The Freedom Foundation, an organization funded by out-of-state wealthy interests, is demanding the state release the personal information of state employees — including their birthdays! Why? So they can spam public employees with anti-union email.
TAKE A STAND — Click here to send a message to your state legislators urging them to protect our state employees’ privacy.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State Republicans’ prison probe is hopelessly partisan (editorial) — The Senate majority caucus billed its fact-finding mission as a “truly independent” alternative to Inslee’s DOC investigation, but it has now become hopelessly mired in election-year squabbling.
► In The Atlantic — What follows the Fight for $15? — In recent years, low-wage workers and labor groups have agitated for higher wages, paid sick days, and other rights and protections that typically aren’t afforded to those working in industries such as fast food, big-box retail, and janitorial services. In Seattle particularly, this labor movement has had a great deal of success in generating not just public support, but legislation… After these successes, labor activists in Seattle have set their sights on a facet of low-wage work that sounds dull but is critically important to workers’ quality of life: how employers schedule their workers’ hours. As a result, Seattle’s city council has recently begun drafting scheduling regulations, and since the initiative has the public support of a majority of councilmembers as well as the mayor, it’s expected to pass sometime this summer.
► In The Stranger — ‘FACE of Amazon’ group says it’s starting a unionization drive for Amazon workers — FACE is changing its enigmatic name to something more concrete: the Amazon Employees Internationally Organized Union, or AEIOU. The group writes, “Amazon is great from A to Z for its customers, so we’re going to force it to fill in the gaps in employment quality for our fellow mistreated employees through the formation of AEIOU.” AEIOU is collecting signatures for their unionization drive online.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Premera has laid off about 165 employees in strategic reorganization — Premera has cut about 165 employees since November in a strategic reorganization of the Mountlake Terrace-based insurance company.
► From Politico — Trump holds tongue on Verizon strike — On the one hand, Trump has been saying he can make America great again by curbing the corporate practice of laying off U.S. workers and sending their jobs overseas. But on the other hand, Trump has not answered queries from POLITICO or any others about whether he supports the Verizon workers striking in his own back yard over Verizon’s plans to offshore its call centers.
► From Think Progress — Hillary Clinton widens her embrace of $15 minimum wage — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated a new position on the debate stage in New York on Thursday night: If Congress were to pass a bill mandating a $15 minimum throughout the country, as president she would sign it. While rival Bernie Sanders has come out strongly in favor of a national $15 minimum wage, Clinton has previously said she supports cities and states that pass $15 minimum wages, but has said she thinks the federal level should be lower, at $12 an hour.
► In today’s NY Times — Retirees rally at Capitol, protesting pension cuts — Some 400,000 retirees who worked in the trucking, parcel delivery and grocery supply industries face drastic pension cuts on July 1 as a result of a little-noticed measure attached to a huge end-of-year spending bill passed in December 2014. Many members of Congress say they were not given the time to read the provisions or did not grasp the ramifications at the time, and they now say they would not have voted for the legislation.
► From TPM — Blown budget deadline shows Ryan’s got a Boehner-sized problem — Just months after being elected as speaker with the promise he’d return the House to what is called “regular order,” Ryan will miss an April 15 deadline to pass a budget even as he still seeks to find consensus around one.
► From TPM — What Scalia’s death means for SCOTUS’ blockbuster immigration case — All eyes at Monday’s oral arguments will be on Chief Justice John Roberts to gauge how he will navigate his court through an already hyper-political case that the vacant seat further complicates.
► In today’s NY Daily News — A Verizon worker: Why I’m striking (by Isaac Collazo) — Many people wonder how I can afford to strike. I can’t. It’s because of my boys that I have no choice but to strike. Verizon is pushing to eliminate good, middle-class jobs and make it impossible for someone like me, a technician with an associate’s degree, to earn a decent living for my family in New York. Despite making $39 billion in profits over the last three years, Verizon is looking to outsource our work to low-wage contractors. That might make sense if you’re trying to pump up short-term profits, but it’d be a disaster for our network and our customers… And Verizon isn’t just threatening job security. It wants to be able to force technicians to transfer far from home for two months at a time. How can I, as a single father, be away from home for months at a time?
ALSO at The Stand — Verizon strikers standing up for all workers
► In today’s Washington Post — California appeals court upholds teacher tenure, a major victory for unions — A California appeals court on Thursday upheld the state’s laws regarding teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs, handing a major victory to teachers unions. The ruling overturns a lower court’s 2014 decision that found after a 10-week trial that job-protection statutes for teachers had created illegal inequalities.
► From Huffington Post — Mississippi jails are losing inmates, and local officials are ‘devastated’ by the loss of revenue — County officials across Mississippi are warning of job losses and deep deficits as local jails are being deprived of the state inmates needed to keep them afloat. The culprit, say local officials, is state government and private prisons, which are looking to boost their own revenue as sentencing and drug-policy reforms are sending fewer bodies into the correctional system.
► From Workday Minnesota — Labor movement pledges to challenge bigotry, bridge racial divisions — With the country facing serious questions of racial justice – and bigoted political rhetoric intended to divide people – the labor movement hopes to foster dialogue and solidarity, leaders of the AFL-CIO and affiliated unions said Thursday.
► From AP — Poll: Americans prefer low prices to items ‘Made in the USA’ — The vast majority of Americans say they prefer lower prices instead of paying a premium for items labeled “Made in the USA,” even if it means those cheaper items are made abroad, according to an AP poll. A mere 9 percent say they only buy American.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This should come as no surprise in a nation that, for decades, has embraced policies that actively suppress wages and encourage/subsidize offshoring. For many Americans, buying cheap foreign stuff is their only option. As this article notes, “Nearly three in four say they would like to buy goods manufactured inside the United States, but those items are often too costly or difficult to find.”
► From AFL-CIO Now — Bangladesh: Garment workers, unions demand justice on anniversary of activist’s murder — Four years after the tortured, lifeless body of Bangladesh garment worker–organizer Aminul Islam was discovered in a ditch, his killers have yet to be arrested. Yesterday, Bangladesh workers and unions demanded that authorities find and bring Aminul’s killers to trial.
► Paul McCartney is performing at Seattle’s KeyArena on Sunday. The Entire Staff of The Stand loves Sir Paul, but it’s not a $250-per-ticket kind of love, so we won’t be there. (Those of you who will, please rattle your jewelry.) The… most experienced… among you may be amazed to spot yourselves in this clip from 40 years ago at the Kingdome, in which Paul pioneers the mullet. Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.