Wednesday, February 7, 2018
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle teachers union members plan walkout on fifth day of school-bus driver strike — Seattle teachers union members will stage a walkout Wednesday to show solidarity with the district’s school-bus drivers, who have been on strike since last Thursday.
ALSO at The Stand — Join SEA rallies today for striking bus drivers
► From Teamsters 174 — As bus drivers continue to strike, Teamsters Local 174 calls on Seattle School District to fine First Student as promised — On Oct. 31, Seattle Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Operations Pegi McEvoy sent a letter to First Student making it clear that in the event a labor dispute caused First Student to miss bus routes, Seattle Public Schools would be fining them to the maximum extent allowed under their contract — a potential cost of $1.2 million per day. Teamsters Local 174 now calls on Seattle Public Schools to follow through on that promise.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 60 Hanford workers expected to be laid off — Up to 60 employees at the Hanford vitrification plant project are expected to receive layoff notices this week as most of the engineering, purchasing and construction work is being completed for the vitrification plant’s Low Activity Waste Facility, Analytical Laboratory and about 20 support facilities.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 2nd day in a row. Possible chemical vapor smell reported at Hanford — Two Hanford workers reported the odor in the morning outside the SY Tank Farm in central Hanford.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane-based Vandervert Construction placed in receivership — It is unclear whether the general contractor responsible for hundreds of projects throughout the Pacific Northwest in the past 40 years is headed toward liquidation or a financial restructuring that could save it. Its financial troubles are rippling through the construction industry. The company owes money to about 300 subcontractors.
► From KUOW — Litigation over Seattle law allowing unionization for ride-share drivers continues — A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Monday in two lawsuits against Seattle’s law allowing drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to unionize.
► In today’s News Tribune — Bad news for women: Pay gap, rising house prices make buying a home tougher here — Median home prices in the Puget Sound area continued to rise in January, and a new report shows men are able to afford more of those homes than women based on median pay.
► In today’s Washington Post — Oregon legislator groped, grabbed women right on the state Senate floor, says official report — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has called on Republican state Sen. Jeff Kruse to resign after the report.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — After stellar 2017, Boeing workers to get $600M in bonuses — The large payouts reward aerospace employees for helping Boeing deliver a record number of commercial airplanes and reach new highs in other categories for business performance in 2017, the company said. “We are proud of what our members do every day,” said IAM District 751 President Jon Holden. “Our members have shown they have earned this incentive pay and more by creating great value for this company with their hard work.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — King County property taxes rising between 9 and 31% — depending on your city — Countywide, the 2018 property tax bills will be 17 percent higher on average than last year’s — due in large part to a school-funding plan approved by the state Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee last year. A spokesman for the county assessor said Tuesday the 2018 boost is “the largest property-tax increase in King County in modern history.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t forget… members of both parties may have voted for these tax increases, but it was Senate Republican leaders who insisted last year on raising property taxes higher in “property-rich” areas of the state — read: Democratic-leaning populous areas in Western Washington — to fund schools. Democrats proposed raising the revenue via capital gains and other taxes targeted toward the wealthiest, and not middle-class and low-income families. But Republican negotiators rejected that plan. Washington already has the most upside-down, regressive tax code of any state in the country, where the rich pay the least and the poor and middle class make up the difference. The Democratic proposal would have been much more fair to Washington’s working families.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Glitch in Washington’s motor-voter program prevented thousands from being registered to vote — Now, election officials are rushing to get ballots to nearly 7,000 people who didn’t already register through other means before the Feb. 13 special election for local ballot issues across the state.
► In today’s Columbia Basin Herald — Legislative Republicans unimpressed with Democratic majority
EDITOR’S NOTE — Not exactly “man bites dog,” is it?
► In the Chicago Tribune — Government set to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year, an 84 percent jump from last year –The U.S. Treasury expects to borrow $955 billion this fiscal year. It’s the highest amount of borrowing in six years, and a big jump from the $519 billion the federal government borrowed last year. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said tax receipts are going to be lower because of the new tax law… This is the first time borrowing has jumped this much (as a share of GDP) in a non-recession time since Ronald Reagan was president.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Republicans in Congress just passed $1.5 trillion in Trump tax cuts — mostly for the rich and corporations — to “stimulate the economy” at a time when unemployment is low and corporate profits are high. To pay for it, we are borrowing more money, much of it from China, that our children and their children will have to pay back. What could possibly go wrong?
► In today’s Seattle Times — About those bonuses? There’s now proof they’re going straight onto the national credit card (by Danny Westneat) — It’s shocking how fast the rate of borrowing by the federal government has shot up. But in all the giddiness, nobody seems to care anymore about soaring deficits — if they ever did.
► In the Washington Post — Don’t let pay increases coming out of tax reform fool you (by ) — Egged on by the White House, corporate America has spent the past few weeks touting how it is sharing its big Trump tax cut with employees in the form of bonuses and pay increases — an apparent validation of the trickle-down approach to economics espoused by the president and his Republican allies. But when we look at the numbers, we see the opposite: The nation’s workers are getting woefully little, at least relatively speaking. Peeking beyond the PR, our analysis finds that major corporations are planning to spend more than 30 times what they are putting in the wallets of employees on buying back their own stock — a practice solely meant to lift the fortunes of shareholders.
► From Politico — House GOP passes stopgap bill to avoid shutdown — The top four congressional leaders believe they are close to clinching a budget deal that significantly boosts defense and domestic spending and ends the cycle of temporary funding measures.
► From The Hill — Trump: ‘I’d love to see a shutdown’ if Dems don’t meet immigration demands — “We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,” Trump told law enforcement officials and members of Congress at the White House.
► From TPM — Immigration talks stymied by question of what to do about ‘Dreamers’ parents — The nearly 800,000 young immigrants who have been enrolled in DACA have never been able to sponsor any family members for legal status or citizenship. But if DACA holders are allowed to obtain green cards and eventually citizenship as part of a new immigration reform bill, they may in the future be able to do so.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump’s paid family leave plan would punish those who choose to have kids (by Elizabeth Bruenig) — Trump’s plan would allow parents to draw from their Social Security benefits early to fund their parental leave, then require them to delay the collection of retirement benefits by some yet-to-be-calculated period of time. This would punish the elderly for their decision to have raised families and penalize bigger families more than smaller ones.
► From Quartz — The Democrats’ fastest-rising star is a woman unafraid of her own power — Despite being a fresh face on the Hill, Rep. Pramila Jayapal has established herself as a bastion of bold change and moral clarity in Congress. Through her first year in Washington, she has relentlessly petitioned on behalf of the DREAM Act, condemned a tax bill that hurts the middle class, and called for a hearing on the sexual-misconduct allegations against Trump. Jayapal has become one of the Democrats’ most powerful progressives and a champion for women of color in a field that has too few. Most recently, instead of attending the State of the Union, she spoke to the state of women in America, declaring to huge applause, “I’m proud to be an immigrant, someone who was born in another country. I’m proud to be an organizer. The future is female!”
► In today’s NY Times — A driver’s suicide reveals the dark side of the gig economy — On Monday morning, Doug Schifter, a livery driver in his early 60s, killed himself with a shotgun in front of City Hall in Lower Manhattan, having written a lengthy Facebook post several hours earlier laying out the structural cruelties that had left him in such dire circumstance. He blamed politicians and their acquiescence to the rich… He had lost his health insurance and accrued credit card debt and he would no longer work for “chump change,’’ preferring, he said, to die in the hope that his sacrifice would draw attention to what drivers, too often unable to feed their families now, were enduring.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Puerto Rico needed 30 million meals; contractor delivered 50,000 — The mission for FEMA was clear: Hurricane Maria had torn through Puerto Rico, and hungry people needed food. Thirty million meals needed to be delivered as soon as possible. For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job. By the time 18.5 million meals were due, her company had delivered only 50,000.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Heckuva job, Brownie.
PATH TO POWER!
— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) February 7, 2018
ALSO at The Stand — Path to Power candidate training will be March 28-30 in Yakima — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is once again partnering with the national AFL-CIO to host Path to Power: A Political Candidate Training Program on March 28-30 in Yakima. This training provides union members and local community activists with the tools and tips to run a successful political campaign and get elected in an effort to build power that will positively influence our communities.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.