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For sale in Spokane, no more delay, Democrats’ mistaken identity…

Monday, November 21, 2016




► In the News Tribune — Will Tacoma General nurses go on strike? — Nurses at Tacoma General Hospital could vote in mid-December on whether to authorize a strike. The announcement comes amid talks between nurses and MultiCare Health System management over issues including the “break buddy” system, which allows a nurse to take two 15-minute breaks per shift while another nurse watches over both of their patients… The nurses have worked without a contract since late 2015.

multicare-ufcw21► In the Spokesman-Review — Deaconess, Valley hospitals buyer: ‘We’re committed to it being a good thing for Spokane’ — The $425 million sale of Rockwood Health Systems to MultiCare, a secular nonprofit that operates five hospitals and more than 130 clinics in the South Puget Sound region, is expected to close in spring 2017, pending state regulatory approval. Unions that represent workers at MultiCare hospitals offer starkly differing views on MultiCare as an employer. The Washington State Nurses Association, which represents nurses at MultiCare’s Tacoma General Hospital, is in a labor dispute over what the union describes as chronic understaffing and unsafe working conditions at the hospital. Federal mediators have been called in. Another union gives MultiCare high marks. “They are exemplary employers and a great partner for us in providing quality care for our patients,” said Diane Sosne, president of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.

► In today’s Seattle Times — How will mill jobs return to this Trump county in Washington state? — What would it take to reopen a veneer mill that sits idle in Skamania County? That question revealed some unexpected common ground between a vice president of the timber company that owns the veneer plant and a conservation biologist who watchdogs federal timber harvests. They both believe the mill can reopen without gutting environmental rules. And, they both point to a key obstacle: the Forest Service’s shortage of money — made worse by costs to fight wildfires — and shortage of staff to undertake all the environmental reviews and other work needed to boost timber sales from the nearby Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

kuow-nursing-usps► From KUOW — This mom’s choice: Nurse her baby or quit the Postal Service — Iesha Gray was 20, a mail carrier who drove a truck or van in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. She wasn’t given time or space she found acceptable to pump breast milk. So Gray was faced with a choice: Quit working and nurse little Daveah, or keep working and switch to formula.




► In the Spokesman-Review — Triumph to sell West Plains airplane parts factory — Triumph Group intends to sell its Spokane aircraft parts factory amid a companywide retrenching. It employs more than 500 people at the factory, including about 400 unionized Machinists. The union contract has successor language included to provide leverage and protect jobs in the case of a new buyer.

AP-Iran-Air► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing plan takes a hit as House votes to ban commercial-aircraft sales to Iran — The Republican-led House has voted convincingly to approve legislation that would bar the sale of commercial passenger aircraft to Iran. The House action seeks to counter the Obama administration’s decision to grant aviation giants Boeing and Airbus permission to sell the planes to Tehran. The proposed deals, which may involve more than 190 aircraft, could be worth billions of dollars.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington’s congressional delegation voted on party lines with Republicans voting to ban the sales and Democrats voting against the ban.

► From PSBJ — Rep. Larsen blasts House vote to shoot down Boeing’s huge Iran deal




WEA-education-funding► In today’s Seattle Times — No more delay in education-finance reform (editorial) — A consultant’s report presented to the Education Funding Task Force Tuesday confirmed an estimate that has been floating around Olympia for years. It will take another $3.5 billion a biennium or more to complete the work required by the 2012 Washington State Supreme Court decision on education finance known as the McCleary decision. The foundation for the work is two reform bills enacted in 2009 and 2010. The high court is holding the state’s feet to the fire to follow through. Now that the report is complete, lawmakers have no more excuses to delay this crucial work to improve the state’s education system and bring equity to the education of students in rich districts and poor ones. Going hand-in-hand with the finance reform must be vigilance to ensure the investments engender progress in student achievement.

► In the News Tribune — Tacoma immigration center already at maximum, not likely to change under Trump — For the moment, it doesn’t appear that operations at the privately run immigration detention facility on the Tacoma Tideflats will be greatly altered by President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to dramatically increase deportations.

► In the Seattle Times — Proposed bill attacks First Amendment rights to protest (by Sen. Sharon Nelson) — Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), the deputy director of Trump’s campaign in Washington state, has a bill for the coming legislative session that would allow felony prosecution of people expressing their First Amendment rights. It wasn’t that long ago that Ericksen’s bill would have been laughed at, but this sort of nonsense isn’t funny anymore.





► In the LA Times — Obama confronts an uncertain future on trade with the likely death of his signature TPP deal — The debate over the TPP, the accord among the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim economic powers, has turned from whether it will be put in place to the question of what the apparent political realignment means for the future of trade… “Stopping TPP is only one small piece of what we need to do together,” said Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO. “This isn’t about being anti-trade or being anti-globalization. It’s about rejecting the model of globalization that our government, both Democratic and Republican administrations, have been putting forward.”

ALSO at The Stand — WFTC: Path forward on trade is pursuing policies that benefit all

► In Yes Magazine — How a battle over affordable medicine helped kill the TPP — A small international group of affordable-medicine advocates undermined TPP’s passage in a years-long drama that pitted consumer advocacy against corporate interests. By relentlessly pointing out how proposals by the USTR would hike drug prices, those advocates helped delay the deal long enough to make it vulnerable to political attack.




► In today’s Washington Post — Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it. — Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions — these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control in January.

WA-GOP-uninsured► From Politico — Obamacare repeal plan stokes fears of market collapse — GOP lawmakers say they plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office, including a transition period of a year or two before it takes effect. That way, they satisfy their base while giving notice to 20 million Obamacare customers that they must find other coverage options. But repealing the law without a replacement is likely to spook health insurers, who might bolt from the markets prematurely to avoid losses as some people stop paying their premiums, while others rush to have expensive medical procedures before losing coverage. Insurers would have little incentive to stick around without knowing what to expect at the end of the transition. And that could spell chaos for consumers.

► In the Spokesman-Review — With I-735, Washington voters called for campaign reform, but Republicans in Congress unlikely to take action — Washington voters told their congressional delegation to come up with a constitutional amendment to rein in campaign spending. So what kind of action can voters expect? In the short term, not much. But supporters say they’re building a movement that won’t go away.

► In today’s NY Times — Build he won’t (by Paul Krugman) — We already know enough about Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan to suggest, strongly, that it’s basically fraudulent, that it would enrich a few well-connected people at taxpayers’ expense while doing very little to cure our investment shortfall. Progressives should not associate themselves with this exercise in crony capitalism.

► From TPM — Sanders urges supporters: Ditch identity politics and embrace the working class — “The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won,” Sanders said. “And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down… It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That is not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”

nyt-liberalism-diversity► In the NY Times — The end of identity liberalism (by Mark Lilla) — How should our nation’s diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and “celebrate” our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy — but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing… We need a post-identity liberalism, and it should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism. Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them.




union-card-cold-dead-hand► From AP — Appeals Court upholds local ‘right-to-work’ law in Kentucky — A federal appeals court has upheld a county right-to-work law in Kentucky, clearing the way for the some of the country’s first local ordinances banning companies from requiring workers to join a labor union pay a fee for representation by the union. The decision by a three judge panel reverses a lower court ruling that overturned the law in Hardin County. The labor unions who sued to block the law say they will ask the full appeals court to reconsider the decision.

► From Huffington Post — Chicago O’Hare Airport workers vote to strike, just in time for Thanksgiving — About 500 airport workers who voted to strike last week will announce on Monday when they plan to take action. The workers, which include airplane cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, janitors and wheelchair attendants, are trying to bring awareness to their fight to earn $15 an hour, improve what they describe as unsafe work conditions and obtain union rights. Currently, the workers are employed by subcontractors hired by the airlines.


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