Friday, February 2, 2018
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle school-bus-driver strike: Here’s what you need to know — The First Student drivers want more affordable health benefits and a stronger retirement plan. On the picket lines, bus drivers told stories of having to declare bankruptcy, pay for expensive medication out of pocket or live paycheck to paycheck.
ALSO at The Stand — Picket lines hold strong in Seattle school bus strike
► From The Stranger — State fines Sarbanand Farms $150,000 for failing to give workers breaks — A week after two prominent law firms sued over working conditions at a Western Washington farm, the state Department of Labor and Industries announced Thursday it will charge the farm nearly $150,000 in fines. L&I says Sarbanand Farms, located near Sumas and the Canadian border, violated laws regarding employee breaks and meals. The penalty is the largest L&I has ever assessed for agricultural meal and rest break violations, according to the department. Last summer, about 70 workers at Sarbanand Farms went on strike after one of their coworkers, Honesto Silva Ibarra, was hospitalized. Silva Ibarra later died at Harborview Medical Center. The company fired the workers who went on strike.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — L&I investigation says Sumas farm not at fault in farmworker’s death — A Sumas blueberry farm was fined nearly $150,000 for violating laws related to employee breaks and meal periods for hundreds of migrant workers.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s 747 jet gets lifeline as UPS orders 14 — The deal comes weeks after Delta Air Lines parked the last of its 747 aircraft, marking the end of U.S. passenger service for the plane. It also rewards Boeing’s optimism that the jet would live on as a cargo-hauler.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle City Council should butt out of Tacoma’s proposed natural-gas depot (editorial) — The Seattle City Council should mind its own business and stop trying to scuttle an environmentally beneficial maritime project in Tacoma.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State Sen. Reuven Carlyle on ‘punitive’ property tax boost about to hit Seattle (podcast) — State Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) joins The Overcast to talk about big property tax increases about to hit Seattle and areas including Bellevue and Mercer Island. That’s courtesy of a plan to fund public schools, but Carlyle argues Republicans unfairly insisted on a tax that targets Democratic districts and the middle class.
► In today’s News Tribune — ‘We’re screwed.’ Some school districts feel like losers in new school-funding scheme — The Legislature’s court-ordered fix for school funding leaves some districts in the lurch, including Pierce County’s Bethel district.
► In today’s News Tribune — We agree: No place like home to build Boeing 797 (editorial) — The region and state must continue working hard to convince Boeing that the Puget Sound area remains the best place in the world to manufacture its next plane.
► From The Stranger — The 5th LD GOP website is a mishmash of conspiracy theories, lies, and insults — The site, which looks like it was constructed by someone who discovered GeoCities sometime in the mid ’90s and never learned another line of code, is a collection of fake news, anti-Hillary memes, and false and offensive statements about Democrats, women, Muslims, immigrants, and people of color… This anti-Islam rhetoric endorsed by the local party certainly seems in line with at least one of their representatives: Rep. Jay Rodne (R-Snoqualmie), who, KOMO reported, warned Americans to arm themselves from an incoming onslaught of Islamic terrorists after the ISIS attacks in Paris in November 2015. “Islam is incompatible with western civilization!,” he wrote on his personal Facebook page. “How anyone [sic] people need to die? In the interim, Amicans [sic], arm yourselves!!!!!”
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Lisa Brown surges in fundraising, but Cathy McMorris Rodgers widens money margin in Congress race — Democratic challenger Lisa Brown raised more money at the end of 2017 than the total earned by each of the previous four candidates seeking to unseat Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Alhough Brown remains well behind her opponent in campaign money raised in her bid to topple the GOP’s fourth-ranking Republican in the House, her campaign is pointing to contribution totals, volunteer recruitment and growing national interest in the race as evidence that momentum is growing to turn Eastern Washington blue.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Dino Rossi, Kim Schrier lead fundraising in race to succeed Rep. Dave Reichert in Congress — Republican Dino Rossi pulled in more than $740,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017, pushing his total money raised to more than $1,319,000. Kim Schrier leads the Democratic field, raising nearly $595,000, including about $320,000 in the fourth quarter.
► From The Hill — Federal workers on edge over Trump call for firing power — Federal employee unions are on edge after President Trump called on Congress Tuesday night to give agencies the power to fire federal workers at will. “I think it should be extremely alarming to federal workers and extremely alarming to the American public,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “It appears the president and others want to go back to a spoils system,” he said, referring to the 19th century system that allowed the winning political party to fill civil service jobs with friends and supporters.
► From Politico — Trump accuses top FBI, DOJ officials of politicizing probes as memo release looms — The president renewed his attacks on senior law enforcement officials, saying they favor Democrats.
► In today’s NY Times — The Republican plot against the FBI (editorial) — Donald Trump and the GOP lawmakers behind the soon-to-be released Nunes memo are harming the nation in ways that could be difficult to reverse.
► From HuffPost — Trump’s USDA could make hog workers’ jobs even more dangerous — The government agency proposed a rule that would eliminate line speed maximums at hog plants.
► From HuffPost — Congratulations on your $1,000 GOP tax reform bonus!* (*If you have 20 years on the job, that is.) — If you listen to Republican leaders these days, you’d think workers all over America were rolling around in big fat bonuses thanks to the GOP tax plan. But in a lot of cases, these one-time payouts aren’t nearly as generous as employers, politicians and even the news media are making them out to be.
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. added 200,000 jobs in January; jobless rate at 4.1% — The economy has produced 88 straight months of job growth, the longest such streak on record.
► In today’s NY Times — Why pay is lagging as job growth has continued — Increases in wages have barely outpaced inflation, one of the mysteries of an economic recovery now in its ninth year.
► In the LA Times — Why Trump’s bragging of record low black unemployment misses the mark (by Don Lee) — “When you look at these unemployment gaps and these earnings gaps, blacks have to have more education to make the same amount of money or get the same unemployment rate of whites who are less educated,” said William Spriggs, chief economist at the AFL-CIO.
► Jazz singer Eva Cassidy would have been 55 years old today had she not died of cancer at the age of 33. A virtual unknown outside of her native Washington, D.C., she was “discovered” after her death by British audiences and later by fans worldwide. She is the only artist to have three posthumous No. 1 albums in the UK. This Eva Cassidy performance, recorded by a friend on his camcorder just months before her passing in 1996, is among the few video recordings of her that exist. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.