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WPAS strike continues, DACA defended, teacher pay lags

Tuesday, September 12, 2017




► Three weeks into the strike at Welfare and Pension Administration Services (WPAS) in Mercer Island, the picket lines are holding strong and labor/community support has been steady. Call Welfare & Pension Inc. owners and tell them to settle a fair contract NOW: 1-800-732-1121 or 206-441-7574; Richard Kafer at ext. 3940; Dennis Kirkpatrick at ext. 3920; and Tony Ibrahim at ext. 3100. Also, show your solidarity with these OPEIU members by joining their picket line at the WPAS office at 7525 SE 24th St. in Mercer Island. Pickets will be active from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until the contract fight is satisfactorily resolved. Here’s a new video by OPEIU Local 8 with WPAS workers explaining why they are out on strike.


► In today’s Yakima H-R — H2A Workers strike Larson Fruit orchard — A crew of immigrant apple workers hired to work a rural Quincy orchard has undertaken a strike, complaining of threats from supervisors, health and safety concerns and retaliatory firings.

► In the Seattle Times — Bikini baristas sue Everett, say bare-skin ban violates their freedom of expression — The city’s new ordinances effectively ban bikini baristas, but attorneys for the plaintiffs say fighting the law is not about coffee or bikinis. “It’s about women’s rights and the U.S. Constitution. The City of Everett violated these women’s rights across the board,” said one attorney.

► From The Stranger — What is ‘anal cleft’? The bikini baristas suing the City of Everett are wondering, too — The city’s new rules prohibit women from showing “more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola” and the “bottom one-half of the anal cleft.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Maybe we should ask Ted Cruz.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Prosecutor rules against Eyman’s use of ‘B.S.’ in voters pamphlet — “Mr. Eyman is free to write letters to the editor of local papers, send mailings to registered voters, or speak to the media using whatever manner of language he sees fit,” Roe wrote in his decision. “However, the local voters pamphlet still remains a limited public forum where decorum and discourse are respected and valued.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — If only all his B.S. was banned.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Get wise to fake news (editorial) — Fake-news headlines fool American adults about 75 percent of the time. The Seattle Public Library — and The Seattle Times — are trying to end that. The two-hour class is well worth the time to learn how to evaluate information, how to identify fake news and how to recognize personal biases and vulnerabilities that open the door to fake news.




► In today’s Olympian — Don’t click that email. State workers targeted with phishing scam, union says — State workers are being targeted with scam emails in the aim of scoring personal information, officials with Washington’s largest public employee union said Monday. Organization leaders with the the Washington Federation of State Employees said they’re investigating “phony emails” they believe are from “malicious actors targeting public service workers.”

ALSO from WFSE — Phishing scam targets state employees




► From the Hill — Employers, colleges rush to protect DACA — Leading corporations and colleges and universities are mobilizing to protect recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors. President Trump is winding down the program over the next six months, saying it’s up to Congress to do something about the nearly 800,000 people who are enrolled.

► From Microsoft — DREAMers make our country and communities stronger — We are deeply concerned by news reports about changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that are under consideration. These changes would not only negatively impact thousands of hardworking people across the United States, but will be a step backwards for our entire nation.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — WSLC: “We stand tall with the Dreamers”

► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans’ tax-cut myth is about to crumble (by Jennifer Rubin) — Ask Republicans how to turn things around and they will intone, “Tax cuts.” What does the White House expect will turn around President Trump’s fortunes? Tax cuts. Ask donors or GOP activists how they can hold the party together in the Trump era and they will knowingly tell you, “Tax cuts, of course.” … Given that the GOP has devoted so much energy to the prospect of tax cuts, failure to attain that prize in all likelihood will leave the party more divided and dispirited than ever before.

► From AP — Another Republican jumps ship amid dissatisfaction in Trump era — With President Donald Trump willing, if not eager, to buck fellow Republicans and even directly attack them, a number of lawmakers no longer wish to be involved. The latest is two-term Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.) He joins a string of moderate Republicans, including Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who are not seeking re-election.




► From Education Week — Teachers’ pay lags farthest behind other professionals in U.S., study finds — Young college graduates have a lot less incentive to become K-12 teachers in the United States than in other countries, according to the latest data from the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation. While American educators out-earn teachers in other countries, they trail those with similar education levels in other professions more than teachers in any other OECD country… U.S. teachers make less than 60 cents on every dollar made by others with their education level, the biggest gap of any OECD country. And at every grade level, U.S. teachers work longer hours than their international counterparts. In America, for example, a 7th grade teacher puts in 1,366 hours at school each year, including more than 980 hours of teaching—which is nearly 270 more hours of teaching than the international average.

► In the Washington Post — A Pizza Hut told Irma-fleeing employees they could be punished for skipping shifts — A manager of one Pizza Hut in the path of Hurricane Irma threatened to discipline workers who evacuated for the storm outside of a designated time frame — and the brand has come under fire on social media for the “shameful” policy.

► In the Washington Post — Yes, you can be fired for missing work while fleeing a hurricane — Terminating a city employee who shirked hurricane duties is legal in Florida, as it would be in other states. So is dismissing many workers who fail to show up for work at a private business, even if they’d hit the road to avoid floods. In the United States, there is no such thing as disaster leave. Union contracts protect some workers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As long as corporate interests continue to hold sway over all levels of government in this country, the best way to protect yourself and your rights at work is to stand together in union with your co-workers. You’ll also earn more money and get better benefits. Get more information today!




► In today’s NY Times — Demonstrators in France protest labor changes — Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, and union workers went on strike across France on Tuesday to protest government plans to overhaul the country’s labor regulations. The rallies were the first major protests faced by President Emmanuel Macron, and they will test how he and his government respond to opposition to his plans to revamp the French economy.


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