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Holy unionization, Jesse’s fits, ICE cold, missing Prince…

Friday, April 21, 2017




► In today’s Olympian — Second faculty group votes to unionize at Saint Martin’s University — Tenured and tenure-track faculty members and librarians at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey have voted to form a union. They are the second group at the private Catholic university to unionize. Last June, Saint Martin’s adjunct and contingent faculty members also voted to join the SEIU… A spokesperson said university officials were “saddened to learn that SEIU unilaterally decided to hold a secret election during Holy Week, one of the most sacred periods of the Catholic religious calendar.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Pope Francis is an outspoken supporter of labor and the U.S. Conference of Bishops has written, “Workers, owners, employers, and unions should work together to create decent jobs, build a more just economy, and advance the common good” and “no one may deny the right to organize without attacking human dignity itself.” So Holy Week is a perfect time for a little human dignity. Interested in getting some at YOUR workplace? Learn how.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — 800-plus at Kadlec Medical Center organize with SEIU 1199NW

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Union membership is up again in Washington state (Jan. 27, 2017)

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — DOE invests in Hanford infrastructure to support decades more cleanup work — With environmental cleanup work expected to continue for decades, workers have completed replacing five miles of water lines. Most of the piping that was replaced dated from World War II, when Hanford workers were installing infrastructure to support the race to produce plutonium for the the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, to help end the war.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Parties in Hanford tank vapor lawsuit begin mediation




► In today ‘s (Everett) Herald — Without budget deal, lawmakers prepare for special session — Lawmakers are bound for a special session as House Democrats and Senate Republicans struggle to end an impasse blocking negotiations on a new state budget that will amply fund the public school system. On Thursday, leaders of the dueling caucuses continued blaming each other for the lack of progress thus far in reaching agreement.

► In today’s Olympian — Politicians in Olympia are accusing each other of having fake budgets, for very different reasons — The dispute highlights the wide gulf between House Democrats and GOP Senate leaders as they work to agree on a new two-year budget.

► In today’s News Tribune — ‘It was humiliating.’ Former staffers say Gig Harbor lawmaker prone to ‘screaming fits’ — State Rep. Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor) was talking with House staffers about his sensational idea to build a toll bridge made of retired Navy aircraft carriers. His legislative assistant feared a backlash about the idea so, according to accounts from two people in the room, the assistant repeatedly urged Young to get some community feedback. The suggestion didn’t go over well. Young unleashed a “heated” tirade, one ex-House staffer said, calling his young assistant stupid and telling him, using the f-word, to shut his mouth. Similar outbursts at staff members and others have been common for Young, according to interviews with five people who worked with him during his first two years in the Legislature or on the campaign trail.

► From AP — Legislatures passes, sends governor REAL ID measure — State lawmakers on Thursday gave final legislative approval to a two-tiered licensing system that seeks to bring Washington state into compliance with federal identification requirements… The compromise language approved Thursday makes the cost of the enhanced license $78 and also keeps changes made by House Democrats, including prohibiting the marked licenses from being used to determine or infer citizenship or immigration status or to spark an investigation or arrest that otherwise would not have occurred.

► In today’s Seattle Times — As part of McCleary fix, lawmakers may end disparities in pay for school administrators — When it comes to school administrator salaries in Washington, there’s no rhyme or reason to how much the state provides each district. But that all may change as the Legislature tries to resolve the landmark McCleary school-funding case.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Town hall moves forward without U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers — People stood to share their views on health care, military spending, internet privacy and Russian involvement in the elections with such passion that the absent congresswoman might as well have been standing in front of them. The room was crammed with nearly 200 people, some sitting, some standing, packed so tightly together that it was difficult for people to get to the front of the room for a turn at the microphone. People were given green cards to raise to indicate agreement and red cards to show disagreement.




► In today’s NY Times — Torn from their families for no good reason (editorial) — Anyone wanting vivid examples of the unjust consequences of hard-line immigration policy need look no further than Maribel Trujillo-Diaz, a mother of four children living near Cincinnati, who is her family’s main breadwinner and who has no criminal record. She doesn’t fit the profile of a “criminal alien” or threat to the homeland. On the contrary. Trujillo had applied unsuccessfully for asylum and had been ordered deported to Mexico. But ICE officials sensibly saw no good reason to remove her, and allowed her to remain and care for her children — who are 3, 10, 12 and 14, and are American citizens — as long as she checked in regularly with them. That she did, faithfully, until she kept her appointment under the new administration, which showed no compassion. Now she is gone… The hard-line policy of President Trump and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is spreading fear among immigrants and is not keeping us safe.

► From KUOW — Staff cuts under way at EPA — The Trump administration has lifted its hiring freeze for the federal government. But the Environmental Protection Agency remains frozen, according to internal documents obtained by KUOW. The Trump administration has proposed cutting EPA’s budget by 31 percent, more than at any major federal agency, and scrapping 56 programs there, including funding for Puget Sound restoration.

► From Politico — White House demands disrupt shutdown negotiations — Congressional leaders’ efforts to hatch a massive spending deal have been thrown off course by the Trump administration’s 11th-hour intervention, leaving the bipartisan bill teetering on the brink of collapse just a week before a government shutdown deadline. administration officials’ hopes of giving President Donald Trump a win during his first 100 days, such as border wall funding or a crackdown on sanctuary cities, have complicated what had been a relatively smooth, bicameral, bipartisan negotiation, according to staffers in both parties.

► In today’s Washington Post — White House turns up heat on Congress to revise the Affordable Care Act — President Trump is pushing Congress toward another dramatic showdown over the Affordable Care Act, despite big outstanding obstacles to a beleaguered revision plan and a high-stakes deadline next week to keep the government running.

► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP’s latest health-care plan is comically bad (by Eugene Robinson) — Under their latest plan, there would no longer be a prohibition, however, against charging “high-risk” individuals more — so much more, in fact, that they would potentially be priced out of the market. We would go back to the pre-ACA situation in which serious illness could mean losing a home or filing for bankruptcy. This may satisfy GOP ideological imperatives, but it is atrocious policy, even if you put aside considerations such as compassion and community.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump roars again on trade, reviewing steel and chiding Canada — His outburst in the Oval Office toward a friendly neighbor punctuated a week when tough talk on trade took center stage in a White House deeply divided over how aggressively to erect the trade barriers that Trump promised during his campaign.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In this photo, USW President Leo W. Gerard (at Trump’s immediate left) does a masterful job maintaining a straight face as Trump goes off script. (Gerard was there is support of an executive order intended to boost domestic steel production.) The forlorn looks from the rest of them are priceless.

► From TPM — Sessions ‘amazed’ that judge on ‘an island in the Pacific’ blocked Trump travel ban — Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t believe that a federal judge based on “an island in the Pacific” — what the rest of us simply call Hawaii — was able to block President Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from a handful of majority-Muslim countries.

► In today’s NY Times — IRS enlists debt collectors to recover overdue taxes — In a program that consumer advocates fear has the potential for abuse, private firms are poised to begin calling taxpayers who owe money to Uncle Sam.

► From Yahoo News — Rep. Chaffetz floats the idea he may resign before term ends




► In today’s NY Times — ‘Pivotal moment’ for Democrats? Gerrymandering heads to Supreme Court — A bipartisan group of voting rights advocates says the lower house of the Wisconsin Legislature, the State Assembly, was gerrymandered by its Republican majority before the 2012 election — so artfully, in fact, that Democrats won a third fewer Assembly seats than Republicans despite prevailing in the popular vote. In November, in a 2-to-1 ruling, a panel of federal judges agreed. Now the Wisconsin case is headed to a Supreme Court that has repeatedly said that extreme partisan gerrymanders are unconstitutional, but has never found a way to decide which ones cross the line.

► From The Nation — Back at the Carrier plant, workers are still fighting on their own All in all, some 850 jobs will disappear from this square mile over the next few months, and with them 850 union members from the rolls of USW Local 1999 — with more likely to follow. As the city braces for the shock, the workers are facing this fate largely on their own… Trump’s tax break was not enough. Truly addressing the plight of the American working class means confronting the problems of global capitalism.




► One year ago today, we lost one of The Entire Staff of The Stand’s favorite artists, Prince Rogers Nelson. In his honor, we present his 1989 performance on the 15th anniversary special for Saturday Night Live. From the Batman movie soundtrack, “Electric Chair” is not one of his greatest songs and somebody went a little heavy on the stage smoke, but we always loved this because it included all the hallmarks of a great ’80s-era Prince performance: funky beat, shredding guitar work, great dance moves (including choreographed ones with the band), and plenty of Susanna Hoffs-style sideways glances.

This excellent Prince tribute by David Schmader from a year ago in The Seattle Times said it best: “He blended disparate cultures (black and white, R&B and rock, queer and Christian) en route to that rarest peak — a one-of-a-kind musical genius who also becomes a pop superstar. It happened with the Beatles and Bob Dylan, it happened with Prince, and it’s the best the pop world can offer: fearless innovators with enough people-pleasing instincts that their inventions hit the world like destiny.”


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