Monday, November 27, 2017
► In the Seattle Weekly — Want to fight sexual harassment and discrimination? Unionize. (by Sara Ainsworth and Marilyn Watkins) — In the wake of sexual assault and harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and other powerful men, women across the country and in every field have stood up and demanded an end to workplace sexual assault and harassment. In a timely coincidence, at the University of Washington, postdoctoral researchers in higher education recently exercised a critical tool to help them ensure that their workplace is free of harassment and to fight discrimination: they have petitioned to form a union.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Find out how you and your co-workers can join together in a union!
ALSO at The Stand — #MeToo power shift must be sustained by organized labor (by Lynne Dodson)
► In today’s Seattle Times — New CEO McAllister pushes Boeing to be ‘faster, nimbler’ as decision looms with new jet — Kevin McAllister was plucked from the executive ranks at GE a year ago to become the first outsider to lead Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He has in his hands the industrial future of the Puget Sound region: As CEO he will take the lead on when, how and where to build Boeing’s next all-new jet. Within 18 months, Boeing may launch the plane that will become the 797. With a fresh design and a new manufacturing system, it could be built anywhere. In the interview, McAllister offered no guarantees on jobs or future work here.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Providence hospice workers union says it will strike (brief) — Some 230 unionized staff of Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County say they will walk off their jobs for two days next month unless a contract agreement is reached. The workers, including nurses, case managers, chaplains, and other staff say are planning to strike Dec. 6-8.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Caregivers warn Providence Health & Hospice of strike Dec. 6-8
► In the Columbian — As paper mill’s presence fades, Camas grapples with identity, its future — It was only a generation ago that life in Camas seemed to revolve around its paper mill. The towering mill employed thousands of people and local government was filled with active or retired papermakers. It supplied Camas with 70 percent of its property tax revenues, bankrolling the city’s police force, parks and its now-vaunted schools. Most of the mill is going away now. Koch Industries’ Georgia-Pacific, which bought the mill in 2000, announced plans this month to shut down major divisions and lay off hundreds of workers in the process. Up to 140 employees could remain, but many view the mill as on its last leg.
► In the Columbian — Back to square one for Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 5 — Though it’s been only three weeks since his election, Don Orange’s appointment to the Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners has set the stage for an upheaval at one of the port’s most valuable assets.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State regulatory agencies are killing our jobs (by Lee Newgent John Stuhlmiller) — State agencies are creating regulatory unpredictability that is killing proposed ventures in rural communities and, along with the projects, jobs.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Hobbs gains key role in setting state transportation policy — As chairman of the Transportation Committee, Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) will have a bigger role in deciding what happens with tolling on I-405, Sound Transit car tab relief and funding replacement of the U.S. 2 trestle.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Five Republicans seeking open state Senate seat — Vying for Sen. Kirk Pearson’s open seat are former state lawmaker Elizabeth Scott, Sedro-Woolley Mayor Keith Wagoner, ex-Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman and party activists Georgene Faries and Randy Hayden.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Hans Dunshee lands new political gig in the nation’s capital — The ex-county and state lawmaker is now political director for the national Humane Society.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Legislature’s efforts to keep secrets from the public is shameful self-dealing (by Shawn Vestal) — When it comes to the 45-year-old sunshine law that Washingtonians passed by a landslide, the Washington State Legislature has simply exempted itself from the rules requiring the government to do its business in the light of day. This is extraordinarily convenient for secret-keeping – and the corrosive appearance of it – among the members of the most important legislative body in the state. The people who decide how billions and billions of your dollars are spent operate with a unique degree of exemption from the letter and the spirit of the Public Records Act, which broadly asserts the government and its operation are to be made as transparent as possible for citizens.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers should end their public record exemption (editorial) — By court decision or legislation, state lawmakers should be subject to the state’s transparency act.
TAX REFORM SCAM
► In today’s Washington Post — Senate GOP tax bill hurts the poor more than originally thought, CBO finds — Republicans are aiming to have the full Senate vote on the tax plan as early as this week, but the new CBO analysis showing large, harmful effects on the poor may complicate those plans. The CBO also said the bill would add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, a potential problem for Republican lawmakers worried about America’s growing debt. Democrats have repeatedly slammed the bill as a giveaway to the rich at the expense of the poor. In addition to lowering taxes for businesses and many individuals, the Senate bill also makes a major change to health insurance that the CBO projects would have a harsh impact on lower-income families.
► From Politico — Tax reform hangs in balance in critical week for GOP — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t appear to have locked down 50 votes for his party’s tax overhaul, with at least half a dozen GOP senators showing varying levels of concern about the legislation released earlier this month. Yet the GOP leadership has a narrow window to push through its tax bill in the Senate before lawmakers become consumed with spending fights that could trigger a shutdown, not to mention a special election in Alabama that could flip a reliable Republican vote to a not-so-reliable one — or even a Democrat.
► From McClatchy — New poll shows small business owners skeptical of GOP tax plan
► From CNBC — Wavering GOP senators must face three hard truths on tax reform — Studies agree that the Republican tax proposals would only modestly boost economic growth but would significantly increase the national debt and give the most money to the richest Americans. But, pitted against these realities and polls showing public resistance, are warnings from GOP leaders and donors that failure on tax cuts guarantees calamity in 2018 elections.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It boils down to a choice between caving to billionaire donors and doing what’s right for the economy and for working-class Americans.
► In today’s Washington Post — McCain could save the country from this terrible tax bill (by E.J. Dionne) — Over the past few months, he really has been the conscience of the Senate. This summer, he gave a remarkable speech during the Obamacare debate in which he chided the party’s leadership for “asking us to swallow our doubts and force [the bill] past a unified opposition.” He added, “I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.” It definitely shouldn’t work on this Pay-Off-Our-Donors tax cut.
► From The Guardian — Trump reaffirms support for ‘accused child molester’ Roy Moore — Donald Trump on Sunday restated his support for Roy Moore, the Republican Alabama Senate candidate who is accused of sexual misconduct with four women, one of whom was 14 when the incident is alleged to have occurred. In response, two Republican senators said Trump was wrong to make a “political” decision to back Moore, rather than take into account the “character of our country”.
► In today’s NY Times — Congress returns to intense pressure to end secrecy over sex harassment — Lawmakers are facing mounting pressure to end Capitol Hill’s culture of secrecy over sexual harassment as they return from a holiday break, with members of both parties calling for Congress to overhaul its handling of misconduct claims and to unmask lawmakers who have paid settlements using taxpayer money.
► In today’s NY Times — Plan to let religious groups play politics, and stay tax-free — Conservative Christian leaders have long worked to repeal a ban on political activity by tax-exempt nonprofit groups like churches. The provision has passed the House, and may find its way into the Senate version of the bill.
► From The Hill — Surge in Affordable Care Act signups surprises experts — The number of people signing up for ACA has surged in the first few weeks of open enrollment this year, contrary to dire predictions. The spike in sign-ups is good news for supporters of the health-care law.
► In today’s NY Times — ICE’s courthouse arrests undercut democracy (by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández) — This immigration enforcement tactic scares people away from courthouses and harms us all.
► From Daily Kos — Coal mining fatalities up sharply as Trump cuts safety regulations, cripples MSHA — Deaths in U.S. coal mines this year have surged ahead of last year’s, and federal safety officials say workers who are new to a mine have been especially vulnerable to fatal accidents.
► From AP — Missouri right-to-work law headed for public vote — Following a review Missouri’s Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has certified that a new right-to-work law will be put to a public vote next year. Aschroft on Wednesday certified the measure after his office and local election officials verified that enough registered voters signed a petition to get it on the ballot.
► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — ‘Right to work’ designed to keep black workers poor (by Lew Moye) — To claim that labor unions continue to exclude minorities and are detrimental to working people is ridiculous and erroneous in the face of the facts. The truth is, enacting “right to work” and other anti-worker laws would only hurt the minority communities right-wing conservatives seek to “protect” by lowering wages, reducing benefits and limiting career opportunities.
AMAZON’S CYBER MONDAY UPDATE
► In the UK Mirror — Timed toilet breaks, impossible targets and workers falling asleep on feet: Brutal life working in Amazon warehouse — As the UK’s top retailer, it made £7.3billion last year alone. But a Sunday Mirror investigation today reveals that success comes at a price – the daily ordeal of its workers… I spent five weeks at the firm’s newest warehouse in Tilbury, Essex, armed with a secret camera bought from Amazon’s own website. I found staff asleep on their feet, exhausted from toiling for up to 55 hours a week. Those who could not keep up with the punishing targets faced the sack – and some who buckled under the strain had to be attended to by ambulance crews.
► From The Stranger — Amazon workers in Germany and Italy are on strike — Trading “Black Friday” for “Strike Friday,” workers in Amazon distribution centers across Germany and Italy went on a one-day strike.
► From NBC News — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now worth $100B thanks to Black Friday boom — The online retail mogul this week surpassed Bill Gates on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, advancing almost $11 billion past the Microsoft co-founder.
► In the Seattle Times — This City Hall, brought to you by Amazon (by Danny Westneat) — Chicago has offered to let Amazon pocket $1.32 billion in income taxes paid by its own workers. This is truly perverse. Called a personal income-tax diversion, the workers must still pay the full taxes, but instead of the state getting the money to use for schools, roads or whatever, Amazon would get to keep it all instead. “The result is that workers are, in effect, paying taxes to their boss,” says a report on the practice from Good Jobs First. But a review of some of the bids to woo Amazon’s HQ2 to other cities and states shows it’s not all about the money. In some cases democracy itself is a bargaining chip. Fresno promises to funnel 85 percent of all taxes and fees generated by Amazon into a special fund. That money would be overseen by a board, half made up of Amazon officers, half from the city. They’re supposed to spend the money on housing, roads and parks in and around Amazon. The proposal shows a park with a sign: “This park brought to you by Amazon,” with the company’s smiling arrow corporate logo.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.