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Bargaining rights at stake, losing health care, there’s no plan

Thursday, June 8, 2017




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Talk and tension rise over collective bargaining reform — Teachers in the Everett School District incited quite a stir with their talk of striking on the first day of school this fall if the education funding solution being negotiated by lawmakers doesn’t solve the problem. They are gravely concerned that what is getting hammered out behind closed doors will seek to amply fund the public school system, as demanded by the state Supreme Court, and bring new rules on their ability to collectively bargain on wages and working conditions.

ALSO at The Stand — Fact check: Senate REJECTED state contracts — Several senators in the ruling majority have gotten the facts wrong and it’s not clear if that is intentional or just careless, but they are suggesting the the Washington Federation of State Employees’ claim that the Senate rejected state employee contracts and raises is false. Or that they might offer a little of what was negotiated… The truth is they voted on March 24 to reject state employee contracts and raises. And they broke the law by dictating the terms of any renegotiation.




► In the News Tribune — Hundreds of new jobs coming to massive UPS warehouse in Tacoma — About 800 to 1,200 new jobs could come to Tacoma when United Parcel Service moves into a large warehouse on the Tacoma Tideflats. These are new jobs coming to the region, a UPS spokeswoman confirmed. The company will hire in time to support the 2017 holiday shipping season. UPS also has a freight-handling facility in Kent and a small customer service center in Fife. Both will remain open.

► In today’s Columbian — Fire chiefs sue, say city of Vancouver owes overtime — A group of Vancouver Fire Department battalion chiefs is suing the city for allegedly not paying them overtime they were owed. The suit claims the city of Vancouver violated the FLSA, a federal law establishing overtime pay requirements.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing revs up robots for 777X in Everett factory, signals that a 797 awaits — Before this month’s Paris Air Show, Boeing executives showed the complex refashioning of its Everett manufacturing facility for the forthcoming 777X has made rapid progress and offered strong hints that a medium-range 797 plane is waiting in the wings. And a top executive offered strong hints that Boeing has made detailed plans for the future launch of an all-new 797 jet —  built in a radically different way that will be “transformational” for the company and could have crucial ramifications for Washington state.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing studies planes without pilots, plans experiments next year




► From The Hill — Key GOP centrists open to ending Medicaid expansion — Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have proposed a seven-year phase-out of federal funding for the Medicaid expansion, beginning in 2020 and ending in 2027. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) proposed a shorter, three-year phase-out that would end in 2023.

► From Kaiser Family Foundation — Changes in insurance coverage in rural areas under the ACA: A focus on Medicaid expansion states — People in rural areas face particular challenges in health insurance and access, including limited access to employer-sponsored coverage and low incomes. Following implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion in 2014, there were increases in insurance coverage for people in states that expanded their programs, including those in rural areas. Nationwide, nearly two million people in rural areas in Medicaid expansion states gained insurance coverage between 2013 and 2015. These coverage gains in rural areas occurred in expansion states across the political spectrum.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In Washington state, the uninsured rate in rural areas of the state dropped by 54 percent with 108,800 people gaining coverage thanks to the Medicare expansion that was part of the Affordable Care Act. As they debate the House-approved Trumpcare — which a non-partisan analysis says will cost 23 million Americans their health coverage — Senate Republicans are considering whether to phase out that Medicare expansion over three years or seven years. In other words, Senate Republicans are debating whether 108,800 Washingtonians should lose access to health care by 2020 or 2024.




► In today’s NY Times — House poised to pass bill taking aim at Dodd-Frank regulations — Since the Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law nearly seven years ago, Republicans have promised to make it their mission to repeal the legislation, which they say is strangling the financial industry and killing jobs. They will take their most significant step on Thursday when the House of Representatives votes on a bill that would gut major elements of the regulatory legislation, drafted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

ALSO at The Stand — Tell Congress: Don’t put economy at risk by deregulating banks

► From AP — Air traffic privatization plan hits turbulence in Congress — President Donald Trump’s plan to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system is running into bipartisan opposition in Congress, where Republicans fret that it could raise costs for air travelers and hurt small airports.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump keeps pretending his infrastructure plan is real. It’s not. (by Matt O’Brien) — President Trump’s “$1 trillion infrastructure plan” isn’t $1 trillion and it isn’t a plan. It’s a $200 billion plan to have a plan that hasn’t advanced beyond that stage for six months now… It’s not just that Trump doesn’t have much of an infrastructure plan. It’s that he doesn’t have much of a legislative plan to pass it either.

► From The Hill — Labor Department rescinds Obama-era guidance on joint-employers — Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Wednesday rescinded Obama-era guidance that defines a “joint-employer.” The informal guidance was similar to a 2015 NLRB ruling now being challenged in court, but impacted different laws.

► In today’s Washington Post — A new bill could boost pay for the disabled–to at least the minimum wage — The Raise the Wage Act, sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Reps. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), aims to increase the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour nationally by 2024. However, the bill would also mean the elimination of a long-standing provision that would allow employers to pay a “sub-minimum” wage to workers in service industries (like restaurants), jobs filled by teenagers… and the disabled.

► From The Hill — GOP lawmaker talked stocks with colleagues — Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) has boasted about how much money he’s made for other members of Congress by tipping them off to an Australia-based pharmaceutical company in which he is the largest stockholder, two GOP lawmakers told The Hill.




► In today’s Washington Post — Latino Democrat wins open House seat in California, as progressives make gains — California Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez triumphed Tuesday in a runoff for the state’s Los Angeles-centered 34th Congressional District, a victory for Latino and progressive groups that overcame low turnout and election fatigue.

► In today’s NY Times — Visa shortage spurs vacancies, for jobs, at a tourist getaway — The tourism industry on Mackinac Island, Mich., and other regional industries that define the American summer are stuck in the middle of a struggle over jobs and who should be doing them.


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

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