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Union gigs, Trumpcare trap, resist or assist…

Wednesday, March 15, 2017




► MUST-READ In today’s Seattle Times — Uber, Lyft and unionizing the gig economy (by Jon Talton) –Whether workers in the gig economy have a chance at being more than app-based serfs is on the line in Seattle’s unionization ordinance. If gigs are the future for more and more Americans, will they fall back to conditions of the robber baron era — becoming a vast multiplier of the inequality and falling share of labor income already hurting us? Or will the gig future carry the worker empowerment that especially comes from unions? It’s romantic to think the individual needs no laws, no unions, no balancing institutions to protect him or her in the economy. But that only happens in Ayn Rand’s fiction.

► In today’s Seattle Times — A new age of resistance: People are taking political action for first time in their lives (by Nicole Brodeur) — People packed a community center to watch a live stream of “Resistance Training” from the ACLU. Many of them were taking political action for the first time in decades — or ever.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Kaiser Permanente expands in Washington, plans more growth (brief) — Following the completion of its acquisition of Group Health on Feb. 1, the company plans to invest $1 billion for expansion and modernization over the next decade.

► From Tribune News Services — Construction students to compete in statewide event — A small group of Aberdeen High School students studying advanced construction are busy building their entry for a statewide competition later this month in Olympia: A tiny homeless shelter. The event is the state’s first Career and Technical Education Showcase of Skills Homeless Shelter Project. The competition on March 27 will occur within walking distance of the State Legislature. It’s purpose is to serve as a demonstration that allows state lawmakers and the media an opportunity to learn about the importance of CTE programs.

ALSO at The Stand — Students will build shelters at CTE Showcase of Skills




► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington loses under Republican answer to ACA (editorial) — Washington state stands to lose more than $1 billion a year in federal dollars if the House Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act becomes law. The proposed cure for the Affordable Care Act is worse than the illness. Congress should be focusing on giving more people access to health care for less money — as the president promised — instead of taking insurance away from millions.

ALSO at The Stand — Join Saturday vigils to reject GOP health plan — NOTE: The location of the Spokane vigil has been changed to Cowley Park.

► In today’s News Tribune — Stop and think on health care, Republicans (editorial) — Republicans need to step back, rethink their approach, and put in the hours and analysis necessary to get a workable consensus. What they do will affect health care for a generation.

► In today’s Columbian — Don’t dismiss CBO report (editorial) — Returning to a system in which the uninsured rely upon emergency rooms for health care and do not have access to preventative care will only increase the bills for everybody else. Sen. Patty Murray: “It’s astounding that any elected official could support an effort to throw tens of millions of people off of coverage, spike premiums, gut Medicaid, target seniors for higher health care costs, and throw our health care system into chaos.”

► Today from AP — More than 12 million people signed up for Obamacare even as Congress debates repeal — The government says more than 12 million people have signed up for coverage this year under former President Obama’s healthcare law, even as the Republican-led Congress debates its repeal.

► From The Atlantic — How Trumpcare would affect people insured through work — The CBO projects that 2 million fewer people would get insurance through work because Trumpcare would repeal the ACA’s individual mandate, so some people might not sign up for their employer’s health plan, with no threat of penalty. But also, the GOP bill might induce more employers to stop offering health insurance.

► From The Hill — Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 — Trumpcare could loom large over the 2020 elections, when both President Trump and a handful of GOP senators in Medicaid expansion states will be up for another term. If the current legislation passes, millions of Americans who receive health insurance through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion are projected to lose coverage a year before the critical election, creating the potential for political backlash at the ballot box.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump allies call GOP health-care plan ‘a trap’ — A simmering rebellion of conservative populists believes the plan being advanced by Republican congressional leaders to replace the Affordable Care Act is deeply flawed, and are warning the president to abandon the proposal.

► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP’s strange new politics: Going after seniors (by Danny Westneat) — People 60 and older don’t get picked on much in politics. Seniors have long been a sort of untouchable “third rail.” That just changed with the GOP health bill… “If I was a 62-year-old Trump supporter, of modest means as I am, I would be going ballistic right now,” Christian Holtz said. “Is this what they signed up for — huge medical costs for them, and tax cuts for the rich?” Good question, but man I don’t know the answer. I’ve never seen a bill this ugly. But I also think we’ll all die waiting before Trump supporters acknowledge what really happened here. Which is that they’ve been conned.




► From KNKX — Washington lawmakers seek to limit non-compete agreements — The latest bill would void non-compete agreements for independent contractors and people who get laid off. It also provides broader protections for employees looking to challenge a non-compete agreement and requires employers to present the agreement earlier in the hiring process.




► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s court pick has web of ties to secretive billionaire — Neil Gorsuch represented the mogul Philip F. Anschutz as an outside counsel and has links to other executives at his companies. Democrats have based much of their criticism of him on the argument that his judicial and economic philosophy unduly favors corporations and the wealthy. But his relationship with Anschutz, whose fortune is estimated to be $12.6 billion, has received scant attention.

► From Yahoo News — The wall around Donald Trump’s taxes cracks, a little — One of the most closely guarded secrets in politics — Donald Trump’s income taxes — became a little bit less mysterious late Tuesday as prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston and MSNBC published a partial copy of the president’s 2005 federal filing. The two-page disclosure shed little light on the entrepreneur’s complex financial dealings, showing he paid about $38 million on income of roughly $150 million, an effective tax rate of 25 percent. The documents, whose publication drew howls of outrage from the White House, did not include the most important financial data that might be collected from Trump’s full returns, including the sources of his income, his partners, to whom he paid interest, and other relationships that might feed concerns that he faces unprecedented conflicts of interest.

► From Huffington Post — Ivanka Trump imported 53 tons of Chinese goods during her dad’s ‘Buy American’ speech — More than 53.5 tons of Ivanka Trump-branded shoes, bags, and clothes were sailing to American ports in eight shipments “even as he spoke,” according to customs receipts obtained by French news organization Agence France-Presse.

► From Think Progress — Jared Kushner’s Chinese miracle — President Donald Trump has made his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the administration’s primary point of contact with the Chinese government. Now a Chinese firm with mysterious ownership structure and suspected ties to the Chinese government has made an “unusually favorable” deal with Kushner’s family real estate company. The deal, an investment in a Manhattan office building, includes a $400 million cash payout to Kushner Companies.



► From AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO Executive Council launches new national good jobs campaign — The council came out of its annual winter meeting reinvigorated and reorganized around the principle that every worker deserves a good job and the power to determine their wages and working conditions. The federation will accomplish this through a new national good jobs campaign to call out corporations that ship jobs overseas; work toward renewed and expanded public investment in our schools, transportation, energy and communications systems; access to quality health care, including through Medicare and Medicaid; and a secure and dignified retirement for all workers.

► From The Atlantic — Unions are wondering: Resist or assist? (by Charlotte Garden) — Labor unions face a decision about how best to serve their members going forward: Should they try to get along with Trump, in the hope that they will be able to help guide his efforts to court working-class voters? Or should they take to the streets alongside progressives calling for workplace-based actions, like the recent nationwide strikes by women and by immigrants? Union leaders have diverged on their answers to these questions.


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

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