Friday, April 28, 2017 — Workers Memorial Day
► From the Stranger — The “Jackson Street Workers Mural” will be unveiled April 30 — There’s a new public art mural on the block (at the corner of Jackson and 16th, specifically), and just in time for May Day, the piece will feature bold, colorful scenes that tell the story of working peoples’ struggles for economic and social justice across the state. It took two days to install the huge panels depicting scenes from the region’s storied labor rights history — some well-known, like Seattle’s General Strike of 1919, the Everett and Centralia Massacres, 1999’s WTO protests, and the Japanese detainment. But other scenes in the mural capture a hidden history, too, including stories of farmworkers, migrant organizing, the Chinese expulsion, and more.
ALSO at The Stand — Jackson Street Workers Mural block party is Sunday, April 30
► In today’s Seattle Times — Anti-Trump sentiment could intensify Seattle May Day activism — May Day is shaping up like others in recent years, with a massive daytime march that historically has been mostly peaceful and the usual prospect of violence and vandalism in the evening. But there’s a major difference this year: the election of President Donald Trump.
ALSO at The Stand — Join May Day marches for immigrant rights
► A special report in today’s Seattle Times — ‘We were very lucky no one died’: What caused the flood at West Point — It was a disaster years in the making. A cascade of errors led to catastrophe at King County’s workhorse wastewater plant. Sheer luck spared workers’ lives.
► In today’s Columbian — Clark College may face $1 million deficit — Clark College could face a deficit of up to $1 million in the 2017-2018 budget, a year after a $2.2 million cut from the 2016-2017 spending plan. President Bob Knight attributed the deficit to declining enrollment.
► From AP — Robots called a solution to a growing apple-picker shortage — Harvesting Washington state’s vast fruit orchards each year requires thousands of farmworkers, and many of them work illegally in the United States. That system eventually could change dramatically as at least two companies are rushing to get robotic fruit-picking machines to market. The robotic pickers don’t get tired and can work 24 hours a day.
► From The Stranger — Fondue chain that charges ‘living wage’ fee donated to anti-minimum wage campaign — Fondue chain The Melting Pot, which charges customers a 3 percent living wage fee, donated money to an anti-$15 minimum wage group in 2014.
► In today’s Seattle Times — McCleary roundup: ‘At least legislators are sort of working’ — It’s day five of the special session, and the Washington Legislature still sounds like a broken record as partisan bickering continues to dominate budget and McCleary negotiations.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Panel considers pay raises for governor, lawmakers, judges — The Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials is recommending a 4 percent increase for legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee, half coming Sept. 1 and the other half in September 2018. The panel is seeking to give the insurance commissioner and all judges a 6 percent increase, 4 percent this fall and 2 percent next year.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Senate Republican budget plan short-changes state employees (March 21) — All of the state employee contracts included 6 percent wage increases spread over two years. For most state employees, Republicans are budgeting just $500 raises in each of the next two years, less than a third of the negotiated pay increases.
► In today’s News Tribune — No excuse for browbeating by Gig Harbor Rep. Jesse Young (editorial) — The Republican state representative is alleged to have acted rudely and communicated abusively with former legislative and campaign staffers. His behavior was viewed so badly, House administrators banned him from having a state-funded legislative assistant and a district office for at least a year — unlike all the other 97 members of the House. Gig Harbor area residents deserve better from their state representative, and from a legislative hierarchy that values silence over accountability.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Tax incentives for film production help local economies (letter) — Right now in Olympia there is a bill to renew the motion picture production incentive program. The program will go away on June 30 unless elected officials in Olympia act.
► In today’s NY Times — In new blow to Trump, health law fails again — An 11th-hour White House push to give President Trump a major legislative victory in his first 100 days in office broke down late Thursday as House Republican leaders failed to round up enough votes for their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
► From The Hill — Whip list: 21 GOP no votes on new TrumpCare bill — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3rd) is the only member of Washington’s delegation of Republicans listed as a “no” vote.
ALSO at The Stand — Call Congress! Urge ‘NO’ vote on new Trumpcare bill
► From The Hill — New bill tests GOP promise on pre-existing conditions — The revised Republican ObamaCare replacement bill is testing the party’s pledge to preserve protections for people with pre-existing health conditions. House Republicans’ own website states that people should “never” be charged more for having a pre-existing condition, but the revised bill would allow just that in states that are granted a waiver from ObamaCare’s protections.
► In today’s NY Times — Trumpcare 2.0: It’s even worse than the original (editorial) — The hopeful news is that many centrist Republicans, including members of Congress and governors from swing states like Ohio, have expressed grave reservations about the House bill, in particular the attack on people with pre-existing conditions. It will be up to them to stop their party from jumping off the deep end and jeopardizing the health care of millions of Americans.
► From McClatchy — Senate confirms Alexander Acosta as labor secretary — The 60-38 vote largely fell along party lines, though eight Democrats voted in favor of his confirmation. Though at first unions were favorably disposed to the former public servant, several came to criticize his responses during his Senate confirmation hearing as insufficient proof that he would support workers. The AFL-CIO, which initially praised Acosta as Trump’s pick, expressed “serious questions and doubts.”
► In today’s Washington Post — Lawmakers poised to approve one-week spending bill to keep government open — Lawmakers prepared to vote on a one-week spending bill Friday to keep government open after backing down from an effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act that had threatened the deal.
► From Huffington Post — GOP-backed measure would let coal companies transfer cost of sick miners to U.S. taxpayers — Under a new measure being floated in the House, coal companies would be able to shift their obligations to cover the health care costs of retired coal miners on to the federal government, which already pays for other retirees’ coverage.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Time running out for Congress to act on mine workers’ benefits (April 6)
► In today’s NY Times — Trump tax plan would shift trillions from U.S. coffers to the richest — President Trump’s proposal to slash individual and business taxes and erase a surtax that funds the Affordable Care Act would amount to a multitrillion-dollar shift from federal coffers to America’s richest families and their heirs, setting up a politically fraught battle over how best to use the government’s already strained resources… (The plan) runs directly counter to the populist themes that animated Trump’s campaign. He has often stated his concern for ordinary working men and women who he contends were forgotten under previous administrations but have risen to the top of the priority list under his leadership.
► In today’s Washington Post — In Canadian lumber town, real fears over a U.S. trade war — New tariffs threaten livelihoods in Quesnel, which is so reliant on U.S. trade that it flies an American flag at its visitors center.
► Exclusive in today’s Washington Post — ‘I was all set to terminate’: Inside Trump’s sudden shift on NAFTA — President Trump was set to announce Saturday, on the 100th day of his presidency, that he was withdrawing from the NAFTA — the sort of disruptive proclamation that would upend both global and domestic politics and signal to his base that he was keeping his campaign promise to terminate what he once called “a total disaster” and “one of the worst deals ever.” There was just one problem: Trump’s team — like on so many issues — was deeply divided.
► In today’s NY Times — White House of Grifters (by the always-excellent Timothy Egan) — Donald Trump’s presidency may look like a theater of incompetency: armada going in the wrong direction, forgetting what country he bombed but remembering what he had for dessert, major promises broken with a shrug. But one thing Trump has accomplished in his first 100 days is ensuring that his family can use the vast reach of the federal government for private gain. By God, they seen their opportunities and they took ’em.
► From The Hill — Uber’s problems multiply in Washington — A recent report that claims Uber was tracking customers even after users deleted the app is catching the eye of Congress and federal regulators because of the serious privacy implications.
► In today’s Seattle Times — The shocking decline in American economic mobility (by Jon Talton) — It’s not just anecdotes or polls. The most extensive research yet shows that the chances the next generation will get ahead have diminished drastically over recent decades… The response would certainly not be more tax cuts for the richest, as the Trump administration is proposing. One can also blame the financialization of the economy, the so-called shareholder rights movement, concentration of industries and union busting for the lower mobility.
► From The Hill — First-quarter economic growth slowest in three years — The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 0.7 percent rate in the first three months of the year, the weakest performance in three years, as consumer spending fell to only 0.3 percent after a solid 3.5 percent increase in 2016’s fourth quarter.
► From Variety — AFL-CIO strongly supports Writers Guild in negotiations with strike looming — With a possible writers strike coming May 2, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the statement Thursday while negotiators were meeting behind closed doors for a third straight day. He cited WGA estimates that the major entertainment conglomerates made $51 billion in profits last year.
► From WLOS — ‘Right to work’ could become part of North Carolina Constitution — HB 819/820 passed the House on Tuesday. If it passes the Senate, it would put the question to the state’s voters in the November 2018 election.
► In the NY Post (where else?) — Court says its OK to call boss ‘nasty motherf–ker’ during union battle — A worker at a Chelsea Piers catering hall has won a Manhattan federal court ruling that said he had a legal right to drop an F-bomb on his supervisor in an angry Facebook rant because he and fellow employees were in the middle of a union battle.
► This week, we lost the man responsible for the greatest concert film ever made when Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married) passed away at 73. It is the Talking Heads’ concert film Stop Making Sense for which The Entire Staff of The Stand will always remember him. The band’s frontman, David Byrne, wrote a heartfelt tribute to Demme this week: “Jonathan’s skill was to see the show almost as a theatrical ensemble piece, in which the characters and their quirks would be introduced to the audience, and you’d get to know the band as people, each with their distinct personalities. They became your friends, in a sense.” R.I.P., Mr. Demme, and thank you.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.