Subway sign | Dreamers in limbo | Protect us from voter purges

Thursday, January 11, 2018




► From Working Washington — Saw the sign? — The far-right-wing, anti-minimum-wage crew at the Washington Policy Center seem to think they stumbled on something powerful when they got word of this sign in a Seattle Subway shop… After bellyaching for years throughout each campaign to improve wages and working conditions in the city, Subway owner David Jones is back with a ludicrous sign which blames prices on a whole host of things (including “the Highest Minimum Wage in the Nation”)… and then he promises he’ll come up with a dollar-off coupon anyway. To most anyone but a right-wing policy shop, that’s in fact, great news. It’s an excellent reminder that creative business owners can find a way forwards while providing good jobs that create demand and lift up the whole economy.

► A related story in the NY Post — Struggling Subway is facing franchisee revolt — Its $4.99 footlong deal is in danger because of a revolt by franchise owners, who fret that doubling down on discounts will further shave their already thin profits. More than 400 of them have signed a petition protesting the two-month footlong deal that’s slated to begin in January. “The national promotional focus over the past five years … has decimated [us] and left many franchisees unprofitable and even insolvent,” petitioners led by Virginia franchisee Mitesh Raval complained in the Dec. 6 letter to Subway.

FUN FACT — The minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25/hour.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s bid to buy Embraer could see Brazilian engineers work on the 797 — Its renewed move on Embraer could herald the acquisition of engineering talent to work on its next new jet, the 797.

► In today’s Wenatchee World — Hospital tech workers reject contract — About 200 Central Washington Hospital workers voted unanimously on Tuesday night to reject a new three-year contract with Confluence Health, citing pay, understaffing and a lack of appreciation for their difficult hours. “Not one person voted ‘yes,’” said Monica Roberts, a surgical technician at the hospital, and a UFCW 21 bargaining team member.

LEARN MORE at ufcw21.org.




► In today’s Washington Post — Dreamers’ remain in limbo after court ruling; lawmakers say they’re nearing bipartisan immigration bill — The Trump administration vowed to fight a federal injunction that temporarily blocked its plans to rescind work permits for young undocumented immigrants. Meanwhile, lawmakers said a bipartisan proposal on “dreamers” could come today or Friday.

► From The Hill — Left fears Democrats will give too much on immigration — Senate Democratic negotiators are getting pushback from pro-immigrant activists and other base constituencies who worry they are poised to give too much away in a deal protecting “Dreamers.”

► In today’s NY Times — House Republicans’ hard-line immigration stand clashes with Trump overture — Prominent House Republicans stepped forward on Wednesday with a vision of immigration policy that clashed fiercely with President Trump’s recent overtures of bipartisanship and highlighted how difficult it will be for Congress and the president to reach accord in the coming weeks.

► From NBC News — Immigration agents raid 7-Eleven stores nationwide, arrest 21 people in biggest crackdown of Trump era — Some 98 of the convenience stores nationwide — from Los Angeles to New York — were targeted by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whose top official described the raids as a warning to other companies that may have unauthorized employees on their payrolls.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Perhaps they should raid Trump’s construction projects next.




► From KNKX — Bill would open scholarships to some undocumented students in Washington — The future of the DACA program remains in doubt, but some Democratic lawmakers in Washington state want to ensure that undocumented people in college will be able to continue their education even if the program ends. HB 1488, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) would allow undocumented students who meet certain criteria to qualify for the state’s College Bound Scholarship program even if DACA ends.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers may be facing last chance to price carbon their way (by Jerry Cornfield) — Absent action by the legislators in the next two months, an initiative written by others is almost certain to be in front of voters this fall. The threat of an initiative could give the governor leverage in his conversations with legislators. It seems likely a ballot measure will be less friendly to businesses than his proposal.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State attorney general says lawmaker records are subject to public disclosure — A coalition of news organizations is challenging state lawmakers’ assertion that they are not subject to more stringent public disclosure under the state’s public-records act.

► In today’s News Tribune — More state budget transparency in 2018? Not with these loopholes (editorial) — Democrats, now in charge of the Washington state Senate by a single seat, have changed some rules for the 2018 session. While we’re glad to see them learn from last year’s missteps, the new rules don’t go quite far enough.

► In today’s NY Times — States push back after net neutrality repeal — Lawmakers in at least six states, including Washington, have introduced bills in recent weeks that would forbid internet providers to block or slow down sites or online services. Gov. Jay Inslee reiterated his support for a state law in a speech this week. Rep. Norma Smith (R-Clinton) has introduced one of two net neutrality bills in Washington. “This is not a partisan issue here,” she said.




► In today’s Washington Post — Trump administration opens door to let states impose Medicaid work requirements — The Trump administration issued guidance to states early Thursday that will allow them to compel people to work or prepare for jobs in order to receive Medicaid for the first time in the half-century history of this pillar of the nation’s social safety net.

► In today’s Washington Post — Decision to exempt Florida from offshore drilling sparks a bipartisan uproar — The carve-out for Florida, which came after a meeting between Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the state’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, generated a torrent of ridicule and anger from governors and senators in other coastal states.

► In today’s Washington Post — Interior Dept. plans to move thousands of workers in the biggest reorganization in its history — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to shift tens of thousands of workers to new locations and change the way the federal government manages more than 500 million acres of land and water across the country.

► From NBC News — Democrats to invite sex misconduct victims to Trump’s State of the Union

► In today’s NY Times — Is Mr. Trump nuts? (editorial) — It’s the wrong question. Efforts to diagnose the president from afar are damaging to real efforts to address his unfitness.




► In today’s USA Today — Protect us from voter purges (by Richard Trumka) — This week, the United States Supreme Court will hear lawyers for the A. Philip Randolph Institute argue that Ohio’s purge process violates the National Voter Registration Act, which makes it clear that states cannot remove voters from the rolls “by reason of” their failure to vote… The simple fact is this: Just like freedom of speech and religion, the right to vote is not a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. Federal law prohibits purge procedures like Ohio’s and protects voters from being removed from the rolls because they did not vote. The Supreme Court should side with APRI, the voters of Ohio and by extension, our entire democracy.

► From AP — Walmart raises starting wages, handing out bonuses — Walmart, the world’s largest private employer, is boosting its starting salary for U.S. workers to $11 an hour, giving a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000 to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits. The company is crediting the Republicans’ corporate tax cuts for the move.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In Washington state, the minimum wage is $11.50/hour, all workers earn paid sick leave, and paid family leave standards are on the way.

► From AP — Less than meets eye: Bonuses, not raises, from U.S. tax cuts — The bonuses are one-time payouts, not the permanent pay raises that Trump and congressional Republicans have said will eventually result from the corporate tax cuts. Over time, bonuses are far less valuable to employees than wage increases.

► In today’s USA Today — Indiana Carrier plant to lay off 215 workers on Thursday — Carrier has announced that another 215 workers will lose their jobs at its Indianapolis heating and air conditioning plant this week. In July, Carrier laid off 340 workers at the plant. Retired United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones said the president hasn’t followed up on his campaign talk of stopping the country’s loss of manufacturing jobs. “We haven’t seen anything that would indicate that he plans on living up to those promises and commitments,” Jones said.

► From AP — Local governments won’t say what they’re offering Amazon — Public records laws around the country vary, but when courting businesses, governments generally aren’t required to disclose tax breaks and other incentives during the negotiating phase.


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

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