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Strike solidarity, Moeller steps up, Republicans vs. overtime pay…

Thursday, May 19, 2016





► At IAM Eastern Washington — Triumph picket line lunch with SPEEA (photos)

ALSO at The Stand — Labor and community back Triumph strikers

PeaceHealth-Vancouver-AFT-tech-workers► In the NW Labor Press — Workers to vote on union at PeaceHealth Vancouver hospital — American Federation of Teachers is ramping up a campaign to represent 310 licensed technical workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. Nurses there are represented by WSNA, but previous attempts to unionize among the hospital’s support workers have failed. If licensed technical workers unionize, they would become members of PeaceHealth Southwest Caregivers United, a unit of Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, an AFT affiliate. After AFT filed the petition seeking an election, SEIU Local 49 also expressed interest, so workers will choose between AFT, SEIU and remaining nonunion.

► In today’s Olympian — KPLU-radio’s backers earn public’s help (editorial) — A fight over the future of public radio station KPLU is worth paying attention to and supporting in this era of shrinking numbers of news outlets.

chicken-little-l► In the P.S. Business Journal — Seattle ranks No. 3 among best cities for jobs — Seattle is ranked behind only San Jose and San Francisco when it comes to being the best city for jobs, according to the survey. Glassdoor looked at the number of job openings in a city, along with the cost of living and worker satisfaction.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Let’s see… Seattle and San Francisco, both of which passed $15 minimum wage ordinances, have among the highest minimum wages in the nation. And San Jose isn’t far behind with a $10.30 minimum. Weird.

► In today’s Olympian — Minimum wage backers slam Olympia council with poetry — All the world’s a stage, including the Olympia City Council meeting, where supporters of a higher minimum wage played their parts in a politically-charged poetry slam. Supporters from Working Washington have been weekly fixtures at the council’s public comment period to advocate for a $15 minimum wage in Olympia and beyond. They took it to the next level Tuesday in what could have been the first organized poetry slam at an Olympia council meeting. Nine speakers — one after another — used their allotted three minutes to grieve openly about their struggles to survive on low wages or harshly criticize the council through prose and poetry.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane County contracts with Alabama firm to provide jail medical services for $2.6 million —  The inability to recruit nurses at the Spokane County Jail prompted officials to sign a six-month, $2.6 million contract this month with a company specializing in medical treatment for inmates. NaphCare has faced legal issues in the past for its standard of care. Earlier this month, the family of a Virginia man who died at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail sued the company for $60 million alleging he starved to death in his cell under NaphCare’s watch.




hill-poker-chips-front► In today’s Seattle Times — Clash over a number foils agreement on state budget outlook — In what may be a first, the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council couldn’t get the votes Wednesday to approve Washington’s budget-forecast outlook. The reason? A political divide on whether to formally acknowledge the billions of dollars that lawmakers expect they’ll have to come up with to comply with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. That ruling says K-12 education is not being fully funded as required under the state constitution. Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) and chief GOP budget writer, said he was unwilling to put a number on an elusive solution to correct the levy system.




moeller-jim► In today’s Columbian — Moeller to run for Congress against Herrera Beutler — State Rep. Jim Moeller announced Wednesday he’s jumping into the race for the 3rd Congressional District with the hopes of unseating U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. “My No. 1 goal is the community gets the representation it deserves,” Moeller said. “And unfortunately that’s not happening in Washington, D.C., and I plan on changing that.”

► From KPLU — Washington GOP chair expects party to coalesce around Trump — “It’s going to happen eventually and I believe that Donald Trump is going to win this state in November,” said Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison. “And I think that in doing so he’s going to improve our chances up and down the ballot.”

► In today’s Washington Post — A fractured Democratic Party threatens Clinton’s chances against Trump — Two realities seem to be fueling it all: The nomination is, for all intents and purposes, out of Bernie Sanders’s reach yet his supporters are showing no signs of wanting to rally behind Hillary Clinton.




► From The Atlantic — Overtime pay for millions more workers — Labor unions have praised the new rules, with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka saying that the changes “mark a major victory for working people that will improve the lives of millions of families across America.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has criticized it.

ALSO at The Stand — New overtime pay rule is a victory for middle-wage workers, all of us (by John Burbank)

biden-BFD► From Huffington Post — What Obama’s new overtime rules mean for you — As the vice president might say, this is a BFD. But you might be wondering: Will this BFD affect me? That all depends.

► From AP News — Biden rips Trump for suggesting American wages are too high — After delivering remarks at a Columbus, Ohio, event to explain the Obama administration’s new change to overtime rules, the vice president said, “All this stuff coming from Trump, you know, ‘American workers are getting paid too much?’ Where the hell does he live?”

EDITOR’S NOTE — In a related story, a new poll finds that two-thirds of Americans would struggle to come up with a $1,000 emergency expense.

► From Think Progress — Paul Ryan commits to fighting overtime rule — Hours after the White House announced a final rule that will change overtime protection so that it covers millions more Americans, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) vowed to fight it. But just months ago, Ryan was calling for the very sort of raises that the new rule will ensure.

► In today’s NY Times — Making overtime fair again (editorial) — Because the rule has been issued near the end of the Obama administration, Republican leaders in Congress could try to use end-of-session maneuvers that would let them vote next year to repeal it. A repeal would be vetoed if a Democrat won the White House, but it is unclear what the presumed Republican nominee, Donald Trump, would do. For now, in a rare victory for fair pay, the new rules are on their way to becoming a reality.

► From The Hill — GOP moves to block union ‘persuader’ rule — The House Education and Workforce Committee in a 21-10 party-line vote approved Republican legislation that would block the DOL’s so-called persuader rule, which requires employers to disclose information about attorneys and consultants hired to sway workers against unionization.




worker-misclassification► In the NW Labor Press — Workers increasingly shackled by non-compete agreements — The White House has begun raising the alarm about a growing employer abuse: “non-compete agreements” which workers are pressured to sign, promising not to do the same kind of work in the same area for another company within a certain period of time after leaving a job. Research suggests that 30 million U.S. workers are currently covered by non-compete agreements, even though many of those agreements are unenforceable in court.

► In the Chicago Tribune — Laid off Oreo bakery workers question Mondelez CEO on job cuts — “We are a global company. We compete in 165 companies around the world. And continuing to focus on efficiency and productivity is essential to our ability to create value for our shareholders,” CEO Irene Rosenfeld said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Rosenfeld raked in $19.7 million in total compensation last year, and $21 million the year before. Is that a value for shareholders? Click here to find out how to make sure the Oreos, Ritz and other Nabisco products you purchase are supporting good jobs in America.

► From The Hill — Verizon negotiations go forward with DOL mediator — The Labor Department said in a statement that the parties had met with Secretary Perez as well as federal mediator Allison Beck. It said that the conversations would go forward throughout the week.

► In the NW Labor Press — Teamsters oppose beer mega-merger — Anheuser-Busch Inbev last November announced plans to merge with SABMiller. The merged company — with 60 percent of the American beer market — would be able to use its dominance in production and distribution to curb competition.

► From AFL-CIO Now — New report shows the middle class is shrinking across the country — The shrinking of the middle class in the United States is something that you hear pundits talk about frequently. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that problem is not just a real one, but one that is widely distributed across the country and is hurting not just the Rust Belt, Appalachia and the Deep South, but also hits nearly every metropolitan area in the country.

► From The Onion — Wealthy socialite falling for unrefined but beautiful lower-class populace


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