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‘Wal-Mart’ of school bus companies | Salary silence | Arrested for asking

Tuesday, January 9, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle school-bus drivers say longer strike ‘all but imminent’ — After rejecting the latest offer from Seattle’s school-bus contractor over the weekend, the union representing the bus drivers says a longer strike is “all but imminent” unless the company has another proposal. The bus drivers struck for one day in November, but negotiations continued after that.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Seattle school bus driver strike imminent after 85% reject offer — First Student driver Alex Benge: “This company is the Wal-Mart of school transportation, and we need to say it loud and clear: we are not okay with that. We cannot wait – we need to do this now.”

► From the People’s World — Group of young millennials at Tacoma kennel unionize with Teamsters — Federal statistics show the “millennials” are the least-unionized group of workers in the country. Many analysts conclude that’s because millennials don’t know what unions are, what they do, and how they help workers. That’s not the case among the six kennel aides at the Tacoma Humane Society — or Teamsters Local 117, which successfully organized them in late December. Once they learned how the union could help them — and the animals — the recognition vote was 6-0.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane firefighters get new compressors to fill air tanks, amid concerns of lead contamination — Two new compressors supplying Spokane firefighters with breathable air are expected to arrive in the next two months, as officials continue to investigate the source of lead contamination discovered last month.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing tops Airbus in 2017 with new jet-production record — Boeing delivered 763 jets in 2017 — a new production record, making it the world’s top airplane manufacturer for the sixth year in a row. Airbus reports its figures next week and is expected to have delivered just over 700 jets, though it will again top Boeing in orders.

► From the News Tribune — Sick leave law may boost public health (editorial) — This winter, local homes and workplaces are under unusually savage assault from flu, pneumonia and other viral supervillains. Public health risks are compounded when staff bring bugs to work because they can’t afford to take a sick day. With the arrival of 2018, however, there’s reason to believe Washington workplaces will see less of this “tough it out” mentality. The state’s new sick-and-safe leave law, which went into effect Jan. 1, wasn’t just a decent thing to do for struggling segments of the labor force, such as working-class parents with small children; it may very well foster healthier communities for all of us.

ALSO at The Stand — Happy New Year: Washington state gets raise, paid sick leave




► In today’s Seattle Times — We can fix our state’s broken, unfair tax system (by Ruth Lipscomb) — Six business days. That’s all the time Washington’s wealthiest residents need to pay their share of state taxes for the entire year. That day is today, Jan. 9. Working people need more than two months to accomplish the same task. In a state as prosperous and forward thinking as Washington, this reality is disgraceful. I speak as one of the few Washingtonians who benefits from our broken tax code.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — The rich are already done paying 2018 taxes

TAKE A STAND — CLICK HERE to support their cause are urge your legislators to clean up Washington’s tax code!

► From AP — Washington lawmakers kick off 60-day session — Washington lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Monday for a 60-day legislative session, tasked with passing a supplemental budget and expediting the final piece of an education funding mandate. More than 80 committee hearings were scheduled for this week on bills ranging from gender pay equity to measures seeking to stem opioid abuse. On Tuesday, before his annual state-of-the-state speech to a joint session of the Legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee is set to unveil the details of a carbon tax that was raised as part of his supplemental budget proposal.

ALSO at The Stand — Quick action planned on bills to boost voting

— Pro-worker bills will be heard in new Senate

► From The Stranger — Under this bill, your boss couldn’t stop you from talking about salary — One of the ways bosses can maintain low pay and gender or racial pay gaps is prohibiting employees from talking about how much money they make. Talking about salaries can reveal that you’re being paid less than a colleague with a comparable job, giving you a case to ask for more.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State regulators: Pass corporate tax cuts on to customers of investor-owned utilities — In a directive released Monday, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission asked all utilities to report the tax savings expected by the new law that lowered corporate rates from 35 percent to 21 percent.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Misleading marketing of opioids has cost local communities (editorial) — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is right to stand up to Purdue Pharma over what appears to be an ongoing campaign of misinformation downplaying the risks of OxyContin, a prescription opioid.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State Sen. Doug Ericksen says rumors about EPA job false — Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) says rumors of his appointment to a job with the Environmental Protection Agency are false and that he’s running for re-election this year.




► In today’s Washington Post — White House struggles to silence talk of Trump’s mental fitness — The White House is struggling to contain the national discussion about President Trump’s mental acuity and fitness for the job, which has overshadowed the administration’s agenda for the past week. Trump privately resents the now-regular chatter on cable television news shows about his mental health and views the issue as “an invented fact” and “a joke,” much like the Russia probe, according to one person who recently discussed it with him.

► A related story from HuffPost — Trump named world’s No. 1 oppressor of press freedom

► In today’s NY Times — U.S. orders out nearly 200,000 Salvadorans — The Trump administration decided that Salvadorans no longer qualified for temporary protection from deportation that had been granted after two devastating earthquakes in 2001.

► From the AFL-CIO — Ending Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador undermines our freedom to fight for all working people — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “Today’s decision will force hundreds of thousands of hardworking people who have lived in our country and played by the rules for decades into the shadow economy. This decision will not only destabilize families, communities and workplaces, particularly in the construction, hospitality and service industries, it will undermine our freedom to fight together for better wages and equality at work for all working people.”

► From The Hill — Trump’s border wall becomes flashpoint in shutdown fight — Trump’s core campaign promise to build a wall on the Mexican border is now the biggest sticking point in complicated negotiations with Congress to prevent a government shutdown. Both sides are digging in ahead of a White House meeting on Tuesday aimed at narrowing the differences on immigration between the president and lawmakers of both parties. The reemergence of the border fight comes as Congress has less than two weeks to clinch a deal to fund the government and address a laundry list of other issues.

► From NBC News — Number of OSHA workplace safety inspectors declines under Trump — The number of federal workplace safety inspectors has fallen under the Trump administration, according to new data obtained by NBC News, raising questions about the government’s efforts to protect workers and the long-term impact of the White House’s move to slow hiring.

► In today’s NY Times — Failing America’s children (editorial) — Health coverage for nine million kids is still at risk as congressional leaders refuse to reauthorize CHIP.

► From The Hill — GOP anxious with Trump on trade — Republican senators from farm states are stepping up pressure on President Trump ahead of a key round of trade negotiations scheduled later this month. These GOP lawmakers are growing increasingly worried that a break with trading partners could reverberate in the 2018 midterm elections.

► From Politico — Puzder resurfaces in Trump’s White House in spite of #MeToo movement — The former CEO of Carl’s Jr. withdrew from his nomination as Labor secretary in February after the revelation of old domestic abuse allegations, but now he’s under consideration for a White House role. In a written statement, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said that “at a time when so many women are speaking up about sexual harassment and discrimination on the job, empowering someone with a history of objectifying women… would be shocking if it wasn’t par for the course under President Trump.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — This dirtbag was the guest of honor at the anti-union Freedom Foundation’s annual fundraiser last fall in Bellevue.

► From TPM — After Trump Commission setback, voter fraud alarmists may get boost from SCOTUS — Now that President Trump has dissolved his shady voter fraud commission, a Supreme Court case being heard Wednesday represents fraud alarmists’ next best chance to boost their voter purge campaigns. The case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, is a challenge to Ohio’s scheme for purging people who haven’t voted recently from the voter rolls, a scheme the state implemented under pressure from conservative legal activists, including one who later joined the Trump voter fraud commission.





► From The Hill — Teacher handcuffed, removed from school board meeting after asking about teacher pay — A middle-school teacher in Louisiana raised questions about the school board considering a $38,000 raise for the superintendent, saying she felt that giving raises to any person of leadership was a “slap in the face” to all the teachers. She was told she was out of order and that the public comments portion of the meeting was not a question and answer period.

► In today’s NY Times Magazine — Why are our most important teachers paid the least? — Many preschool teachers live on the edge of financial ruin. Would improving their training — and their pay — improve outcomes for their students?

► From The Intercept — A Dollar General voted to unionize — then a manager asked about it, and was fired — When a group of workers at a Dollar General store in Auxvasse, Missouri, voted to unionize in early December, employees at nearby stores wanted to know whether the move would affect them. Margeorie Nation, the manager at a Dollar General in nearby Glasgow raised her concerns with other store managers. Shortly thereafter, she lost her job.


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

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