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Noel Canning strike, Equity Rally, go left…

Tuesday, February 21, 2017




► In today’s Yakima H-R — Noel Canning workers go on strike — About three dozen workers at Noel Canning went on strike at 5 p.m. Monday over what they say are unfair labor practices. About a dozen men on Monday night held picket signs that read “Teamsters Local 760 on Strike” at the company’s front gate. Local 760 says the ULPs include not allowing a union representative visit the company to attend to member grievances and other union practices, refusing to pay negotiated pension rates and signing bonuses, and discrimination against employees who wore items with the union’s logo.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Large crowd fearful of deportation files into Yakima meeting — At the three-hour-long Deport Defense Training that took place at the UFCW union hall, Elizabeth said she wasn’t surprised by the size of the crowd given the rhetoric throughout Trump’s presidential campaign about building a bigger wall along the Mexican border and his executive order seeking stiffer enforcement of immigration laws at the local level. “It’s a reflection of the community’s fear of our country right now,” she said. “People want to be informed. We have a plan to know what to do in case (deportation) happens.”

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Port Townsend paper mill, union working under new contract — Port Townsend Paper Corp. and United Steelworkers Local 175 have come to an agreement on a five-year contract after minor revisions to a deal that failed in January. The contract calls for a wage increase of 1.5 percent in March 2018 and increases of 2 percent in March of 2019, 2020 and 2021.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Report: Hanford quality control issue had cost, safety consequences — Shortcomings in the quality assurance requirements for Hanford subcontractors on cleanup projects along the Columbia River cost taxpayers and contributed to one near-miss incident that had the potential to injure workers, a new report said.




► In today’s Olympian — President’s Day draws education rally to Capitol — About 500 Washingtonians used their Presidents Day to gather at the Capitol Campus on Monday and demand equity in education, without sacrificing other services. While others watched, the group formed a human chain several people thick stretching from the Legislative Building to the Temple of Justice. Many carried signs demanding access to education, affordable housing and health care.

► From Crosscut — Uber, Lyft could score win in Olympia — A proposal in the state Senate would solidify the contractor status of drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft — a win for the companies — and set statewide regulations for the industry. Dawn Gearhart, policy coordinator for the App Based Drivers Association, said, “It’s part of Uber’s national strategy, which is basically to go around local regulations.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Jay Inslee for president? Governor’s profile is on the rise — Along with Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Gov. Jay Inslee has enjoyed multiple victory laps after the state’s legal wins in a lawsuit to block Trump’s executive order halting travel from seven mostly Muslim nations.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Inslee, Republicans spar over how to react to Obamacare changes — Legislative Republicans accused Gov. Jay Inslee of trying to scare people with the possible effects of repealing Obamacare. Inslee shot back that they should get fellow Republicans in Washington, D.C., to sign a pledge not to do anything to the law without a guarantee a replacement will be implemented.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Which brings us to…




► In today’s NY Times — What to watch: Republicans return to Town Halls, and protesters follow — Republicans home for the congressional recess have been greeted with an earful at town hall-style meetings. Many lawmakers have no such meetings scheduled — sparing them the possibility of a “YouTube moment,” but opening them up to criticism that they are ducking their constituents.

EDITOR’S NOTE — All four of Washington’s Republicans are in the latter “ducking” category. But you can join this week’s rallies outside their offices. The first is TODAY in Vancouver outside Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office at 11 a.m., Howard House, Officer’s Row, 750 Anderson Street #B.

► From Croccsut — Is Dave Reichert getting a bit comfy in his district? — Reichert is under pressure because, for whatever reservations he may personally hold, he has in practice avoided substantially speaking out against Trump. The Eastside representative has refused to hold any public meetings since President Trump’s inauguration, despite demands for public meetings from a growing number of his constituents.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — In phone-in town hall, Rep. McMorris Rodgers defends Trump — The Republican congresswoman answered 17 questions during the town-hall-style conference call, which ended after about 50 minutes due to “technical difficulties”… One woman pointed out that the uninsured rate in Washington has fallen by about 60 percent under Obama’s health care law and asked: “What are you going to do to guarantee that low-income families who have insurance under Obamacare will still be able to afford insurance under a new plan?” The congresswoman replied: “You know, we’re still working on putting this plan together.” …

One woman who participated in the conference call, Kate Bitz of Liberty Lake, said her question had to be screened with McMorris Rodgers’ staff, although she didn’t get a chance to ask it. “I really feel that she is restricting access to constituents in a way that I find unacceptable,” Bitz said. “I don’t see why she doesn’t hold a real town hall.”




► From The Atlantic — Trump’s loud silence on unions — President Trump just spoke at a Boeing factory in South Carolina that had just rejected unionization—but he didn’t bring it up. He never does. Instead he stuck to pattern, praising workers and promising better wages, but ignoring — though not opposing outright — the efforts unions expend on the same goals… Since the start of his campaign, he’s never picked a fight with unions en masse; doing so could alienate the slice of his working-class base that enjoys union protections.

► From Politico — Seattle mayor wants to sue Trump — Mayor Ed Murray will officially demand answers on the creation and intention of Trump’s executive orders, as well as his plans for DACA and sanctuary cities. If the administration doesn’t respond within the allotted 20 business days, Murray says, he’ll sue.

► From Huffington Post — Here’s one reason why Trump’s legislative agenda is failing — Trump has no apparent patience for the boring, slow work of politics — like developing detailed policy plans, or working them out with congressional leaders. It’s a big reason why infrastructure investment has slipped farther and farther down on his political agenda.

► From Think Progress — Trump’s first month of travel expenses cost taxpayers just less than what Obama spent in a year — The three Mar-a-Lago getaways, combined with the hundreds of thousands of public dollars spent on Secret Service protection during two international trips Trump’s adult sons have taken to promote their father’s business, cost taxpayers about $11.3 million over the first month’s of Trump’s presidency, according to the UK-based Independent. President Obama, by contrast, spent an average of $12.1 million on travel each year.

► From The Onion — Mar-A-Lago member complains about loud, obnoxious Cabinet meeting at next table — “I just wanted a nice, quiet dinner, but this rowdy table of high-ranking government officials keeps rudely shouting about classified policy initiatives,” said Walter Forsyth.

► From Yahoo News — More than 1 million sign White House petition for Trump’s tax returns, breaking record — Trump has taken to saying that no one cares about his taxes. But the drumbeat of interest in them is not going away and on Monday, the White House petition calling for him to release his tax returns passed more than one million signers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The White House has 30 days to respond that fraud by illegal signers means we need to crack down on petition security. Sad.




► From TPM — White House denounces wave of threats to Jewish community centers — Following a new wave of threats to JCCs across the United States, the White House on Monday issued a brief statement condemning the threatening phone calls. At least 11 JCCs in the country received bomb threats over the phone on Monday.

► From AP — Dozens of headstones toppled at Jewish cemetery in Missouri

► In today’s NY Times — No, robots aren’t killing the American Dream (editorial) — Since today’s middle class is in the midst of a prolonged period of wage stagnation, it is especially vulnerable to blame-the-robot rhetoric… The problem with automation isn’t robots; it’s politicians, who have failed for decades to support policies that let workers share the wealth from technology-led growth.




► In today’s NY Times — Move left, Democrats (by Steve Philips) — The Democratic National Committee will choose its next leader on Saturday, and when it does it should choose a leader who will resist the pressure to pursue the wrong white people. Hundreds of articles have been written about the imperative of attracting more support from white working-class voters who supported Barack Obama in 2012 but then bolted to back Donald Trump. The far more important — and largely untold — story of the election is that more Obama voters defected to third- and fourth-party candidates than the number who supported Trump. That is the white flight that should most concern the next DNC chairman, because those voters make up a more promising way to reclaim the White House. The way to win them back is by being more progressive, not less…

Keith Ellison, a D.N.C. chairman candidate, has a proven record of engaging core Democratic voters rather than chasing the elusive conservative whites, and the party would be in good hands under his stewardship.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The AFL-CIO has endorsed Keith Ellison.


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