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VOTE! Farmworkers take a stand, Clark needs capital, fired for flipping off

Monday, November 6, 2017




► TOMORROW (Tuesday, Nov. 7) is the deadline to mail or deposit your ballot in a local dropbox. Also check out the list of labor-endorsed candidates who have been vetted, interviewed and recommended based on where they stand on wages, health care, housing and other working family issues. If you have questions about how to vote or want to locate a ballot drop box near you, check with your county auditor’s office.




► From Teamsters 174 — Meeting between First Student, Teamsters Local 174 produces next steps; strike threat still looms — Last Thursday’s meeting was not a bargaining session; instead, it was an attempt to assess the lay of the land and discuss next steps as First Student strives to avoid a strike by over 400 school bus drivers in Seattle.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Strikes, work stoppages in Washington fields indicative of changing agriculture labor environment — In the long light of a late fall afternoon, Ulises Perez Gonzalez hesitantly cuts a Costco cake. The 23-year-old Mexican farmworker’s hands, roughened from months of farm labor, are not accustomed to the delicate work. About 15 Mexican workers watch Gonzalez. They’re celebrating an unlikely victory: a successful strike by foreign fieldworkers. On the cake, inscribed in icing are the words, “Sí se pudo.” “Yes we did it.” Most of these farmworkers came to the U.S. on a legal work visa from the small Mexican state of Nayarit. They went on a six-day strike in early September. They demanded better working conditions. Better access to health care. Better food. And they won.

► In the Seattle Times — You and your dentist may have a bone to pick with Delta Dental (by Craig Neal) — As the head of Delta Dental, CEO Jim Dwyer’s salary has more than doubled to $2.75 million. The board of directors are paid more than $100,000 for part-time service. Where’s the customer focus?

EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s also worth noting that Delta Dental is one of the many corporations in this state that has funded racist and demonstrable false campaign ads attacking state Senate candidate Manka Dhingra.




► In the Columbian — Capital budget impasse affects projects locally, statewide — The $4 billion budget approved on a bipartisan 92-1 vote in the House contained $105.7 million for projects in Clark County. But Republicans who control the Senate wouldn’t allow the funding package to advance without a fix to a state Supreme Court case that limited access to water for rural development. As a result, four months after the Legislature adjourned, local governments and nonprofits in Clark County are adjusting to the expected funding source being left in limbo.

ALSO at The Stand —  Senate GOP’s brinkmanship suspends construction, kills jobs (by Sen. Bob Hasegawa)

► In the Olympian — Legislature lax on sexual harassment (editorial) — Stories of sexual harassment at the Washington state Capitol are coming out of the shadows… Our Legislature now must move decisively to create a healthier workplace culture. Democratic Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Kent) already says she will push to exempt settled sexual harassment and assault cases from secrecy or gag rule agreements. But more training for legislators and legislative employees is also needed.




► In the Seattle Times — GOP’s tax-cut plan is an assault on the middle class (editorial) — Republican leaders would be hard-pressed to justify cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, then telling millions of middle-class workers and homeowners they need to swallow higher taxes to foot the bill — all while adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt. Many economists and critics say there’s no evidence that cutting the corporate tax rate by itself will boost wages and spur economic growth, as President Donald Trump has promised. The secrecy of the fast-paced negotiations has made it even more difficult to determine who wins and who loses. Republican tax writers need to reconsider this approach, and soon. If they don’t, voters should show them who they really work for when midterm elections roll around in 2018.

► From Bloomberg — House tax-cut plan hurtles toward Senate roadblock — The legislation to enact $1.41 trillion worth of tax cuts would run afoul of a Senate budget rule without substantive changes that would either raise more government revenue or scale back some of the benefits directed toward businesses and individuals, according to experts on Senate procedures.

► In today’s NY Times —  GOP tax plan burdens blue-state Republicans — Republicans hope a tax bill will lift their fortunes in 2018. In crucial states like New Jersey, with high local taxes, it could do just the opposite.

► In today’s —  Republican House members think $450,000 salary is middle class — House Republicans issued a fact sheet about their new tax cut plan that referred to Americans earning $450,000 a year as “low- and middle-income” — even though that income level would put those taxpayers in the top 0.5 percent of all individual Americans.

► In today’s Washington Post — The ticking time bomb in the House GOP tax plan — Some of the credits the plan extends to middle-income earners expire, so some of those taxpayers will see their burden increase after five years.




► In the Washington Post — At least nine people in Trump’s orbit had contact with Russians during campaign and transition — While Trump has sought to dismiss these Russia ties as insignificant, or characterized the people involved in them as peripheral figures, it has now become clear that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III views at least some of them as important pieces of his sprawling investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s presidential campaign.

► In the Washington Post — She flipped off President Trump — and got fired from her government contracting job — After the 50-year-old marketing executive gave her bosses at Akima LLC, a government contracting firm, a heads-up that she was the unidentified cyclist in the photo, they took her into a room and fired her, escorting her out of the building with a box of her stuff. “I wasn’t even at work when I did that,” Juli Briskman said. “But they told me I violated the code of conduct policy.” But wait. Her firing gets even more obscene…




► From HuffPost — Trump’s Mar-a-Lago obtains visas for 70 foreign workers — That’s a 9 percent increase from last year, when Mar-a-Lago hired 64 workers under the H-2B visa program. The new visas will go to 20 foreign cooks, 35 waiters and 15 maids and housekeepers for the 2017-18 tourist season.

► In today’s NY Times — A billionaire destroyed his newsrooms out of spite (by Hamilton Nolan) — The DNAinfo-Gothamist organizing campaign sparked a zealous anti-union campaign: Management threatened employees by saying that owner Joe Ricketts, who founded Ameritrade and owns the Chicago Cubs, might shut the whole place down if it unionized. Nevertheless, employees last week voted 25-2 in favor of unionization. And on Thursday, Ricketts abruptly shut the whole place down. He did not try to sell the company to someone else. Instead of bargaining with 27 unionized employees in New York City, he chose to lay off 115 people across America.


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

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