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Labor Day redux, back in court, our appalling spectacle…

Tuesday, September 6, 2016




oly-labor-day-picnic► In the Olympian — Union members celebrate with Labor Day picnic — The picnic was about pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, a pirate ship bounce house and a Velcro wall. But the conversation was about labor and workers’ rights, with a little campaigning thrown in. About 500 people were expected for the annual Labor Day Picnic on Monday, sponsored by the Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council, at Tumwater Historical Park.

► From the Seattle P-I — Labor Day union support for Sound Transit 3 — The M.L. King County Labor Council officially declared support for the massive $52.8 billion Sound Transit 3 tax package on the November ballot. The Labor Council picked the holiday to back what secretary-treasurer Nicole Grant said “builds tens of thousands of incredible jobs” in years to come.

► A related story in the Seattle Times — Wishing workers a ‘Happy Labor Day’ isn’t enough (by Sean McGarvey) — American workers are clamoring for a comprehensive infrastructure bill within the first 100 days of a new presidential administration — not platitudes or patchwork approaches, but a real, comprehensive plan. And if members of Congress care at all about physically and economically strengthening American cities and communities, they’ll deliver.

► From KING 5 — 7th Congressional District candidates work labor picnic

► In the News Tribune — Union anthem “Solidarity Forever” still stirs spirits — Union members and supporters sing “Solidarity Forever” during an annual Labor Day gathering at Calvary Cemetery in Tacoma. The song’s lyrics, written by former Tacoma resident Ralph Chaplin, who is buried at the cemetery, are sung worldwide at union marches and rallies.


► In the News Tribune — Back to 1916 Tacoma: Remembering shots fired and a bloody, failed strike — To celebrate a convention of visiting retired longshore workers, a local union will re-enact events of the violent strike of 1916 in Tacoma.

► In the Seattle Times — Loss of union muscle widens nation’s income gap (by Jon Talton) — Without a strong union movement in the private sector, a critical balance in the market has been lost. No wonder labor’s share of national income has fallen to lows not seen since statistics began being kept in the late 1940s.




wafla-web-ad► In the Columbian — State’s farm worker survey gets redesign — After last year’s farm worker wage survey was flagged for investigation due to alleged bias from an industry group, the state has redesigned the survey with support from grower groups. The voluntary survey, which seeks to estimate prevailing wages so that the federal contracts for H2-A guest workers can be set in line with those rates, was launched this week by the state Employment Security Department. The 2015 results were called into questions after Wafla, a grower organization, advised members to report their minimum hourly wages instead of piece-rate wages, which allow skilled workers to earn more.

ALSO at The Stand — WSLC, others seek state probe of farm wage manipulation (Jan. 6)

WEA-education-funding► In the Olympian — Washington state is in court over school funding, again. Here’s what’s at stake — Washington state has been here before, but this time the stakes are higher. Attorneys for the state will appear Wednesday before the state Supreme Court to argue — once again — that lawmakers have complied with court orders to boost public school funding. On the other side of the courtroom will be attorneys representing the coalition of parents, school districts and education groups that sued the state almost 10 years ago and maintains that lawmakers still haven’t done enough.

► In the Seattle Times — McCleary decision is about equity for all children (editorial) — Too many Washington students languish in underfunded classrooms, many with underpaid teachers, sharing old textbooks with peers and without the benefit of modern computers.

coscto-ballot-1183-2► In the Spokesman-Review — Study finds many who voted to privatize liquor sales in Washington would now vote differently — According to an article published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 20 percent of people who voted for I-1183 in 2011 would change their vote now, compared with just 4 percent of people who voted against the initiative. That shift would likely have been enough to tip the vote against the initiative.




► In today’s News Tribune — Governor’s race: Should Washington copy Oregon’s minimum wage idea? — Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has thrown his support behind a ballot initiative that hikes the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 an hour. Republican Bill Bryant wants to have multiple minimum wages based on region of Washington and the strength of local economies.

► In the Seattle Times — Well-off Inslee, better-off challenger Bryant release tax returns

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Clark County Republicans vote against Herrera Beutler endorsement — The party’s chairman said the decision goes back to credibility and showing leadership.




AP-NC-black-vote-suppression► MUST-READ in the Washington Post — The ugliest, most appalling spectacle in American politics (by Eugene Robinson) — Every once in a while, the curtains part and we get a glimpse of the ugliest, most shameful spectacle in American politics: the Republican Party’s systematic attempt to disenfranchise African Americans and other minorities with voter-ID laws and other restrictions at the polls. If you thought this kind of discrimination died with Jim Crow, think again. Fortunately, federal courts have blocked implementation of some of the worst new laws, at least for now. But the most effective response would be for black and brown voters to send the GOP a message by turning out in record numbers, no matter what barriers Republicans try to put in our way.

► From NBC News — Biden and Kaine push union message in Pittsburgh — Ahead of this city’s Labor Day Parade Monday, Vice President Joe Biden sought to rally organized labor behind the campaign of Hillary Clinton, appearing alongside the man looking to take his place in Washington, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.

trump-rtw► From The Nation — Donald Trump is the anti-Labor Day candidate: Running against fair wages, worker rights, and unions (by John Nichols) — Donald Trump, the billionaire candidate who has argued that “having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country” and complained in a 2015 GOP debate that wages are “too high,” is running for president this fall on the most virulently anti-worker and anti-union platform in the history of his Republican Party.

► In the Washington Post — Help wanted: Phony populism doesn’t feed the family (by E.J. Dionne) — You would have thought that Labor Day 2016 would bring us a serious conversation about lifting the incomes of American workers and expanding their opportunities for advancement. But this is not the discussion we are having… This was supposed to be the election in which the interests of the non-elite finally got a hearing. We still have two months to make it happen.

► From AP — Mike Pence to release tax returns next week, no timetable for Trump’s — Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said he will release his tax returns this week and Donald Trump will follow suit — eventually.

► From The Hill — Trump says voters ‘don’t care’ if he releases taxes — “I think people don’t care,” Trump said. “I don’t think anybody cares, except some members of the press.”

ALSO at The Stand — Tax-free Trump says his returns are ‘none of your business’ (by Leo W. Gerard) — Rich guys in America don’t follow the rules that working guys must. In fact, fat cats like Donald Trump celebrate breaking the rules. And that’s why he won’t release his income tax returns. What Dodgin’ Donald doesn’t want workers to find out from those forms is that while they paid the IRS every week, he paid nothing. Or next to nothing.

► From Huffington Post — Trump living large on donors’ dime — The GOP nominee’s campaign is spending lavishly on Trump businesses instead of cheaper alternatives.




NW-Detention-Center► In today’s LA Times — White House considers ending for-profit immigrant detainee centers — The Obama administration is considering an end to the practice of keeping immigrant detainees in for-profit centers, weeks after the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced it would stop its use of private prisons. A decision to do so would mark a major victory for the coalition of civil rights groups and immigrant advocacy organizations that has sought to roll back the growth of the private-prison industry. But immigration officials have pushed back against the idea, arguing that they have no cost-effective alternative to the private facilities and that other choices could be worse.

► From NewsMax — AFL-CIO’s Trumka signals uncertainty over SCOTUS nominee — One of Hillary Clinton’s closest political allies, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, seemed to indicate Merrick Garland may not be the choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

► In the Washington Post — How big business lost Washington (by Steven Pearlstein) — With two months to go before the November election, there’s one group that already knows it will be a loser: big business. Indeed, one irony of the 2016 election is that populist antipathy toward corporate America seems to be peaking at precisely the moment when corporate influence on government policy is as low as anyone can remember.




► From Think Progress — Embattled for-profit college chain with 40,000 students is shutting down — ITT Educational Services, Inc. is officially shutting down its academic services. Most of the 8,000 employees working for the company’s for-profit college, ITT Technical Institutes  will lose their jobs.




► From Common Dreams — World’s largest strike? Tens of millions in India rise up against right-wing economic policies — Tens of millions of public sector workers in India went on strike Friday, Sept. 2 to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for privatization and other right-wing economic policies.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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