Friday, February 9, 2018
► From KUOW — Seattle Public School bus driver union to meet with First Student — One week into the Seattle Public School bus driver strike, the two sides may be edging closer to a resolution. Yellow school bus contractor First Student will enter into mediation with Teamsters Local 174 representing the drivers Thursday. This will be the first meeting between the two sides since the strike began.
EDITOR’S NOTE — IBT 174 posted the following update on Facebook:
“Brief First Student negotiations update: the two sides met with the federal mediator until late last night, and will be returning to the bargaining table today. We are hopeful there can be some progress made today. Meanwhile, the bus drivers remain on strike and we are still thankful for all the community support we have received! Stay strong!”
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Stemilt Ag settles farmworker class action for $464,000 — The settlement repays the money owed to 690 workers for rest breaks taken during their agricultural shifts in 2014 and 2015, and pays more than $168,000 in attorneys’ fees and administrative costs. It also includes a $5,000 payout to Francisco Flores Olivares, the lead plaintiff who pushed the case on behalf of himself and his fellow workers.
► From Civic SkunkWorks — Alaska Airlines invites you to fly the phlegmy skies (by Paul Constant) — A coalition of airlines are suing Washington state because they claim keeping track of employee sick time is too much trouble. Do their arguments have wings?
► In today’s Seattle Times — For Pacific Northwest jobs, is this as good as it gets? (by Jon Talton) — People keep moving here and finding work, much of the region having long since passed pre-recession job peaks. A job doesn’t fix inequality and the widening gap between big metros and smaller cities and rural areas. But it’s better than the scary employment situation that confronted us after the Great Recession.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Senate Democrats, Republicans clash in midnight showdown over future of home health-care workers — The long-raging fight between the right-leaning Freedom Foundation and Washington’s labor unions erupted on the state Senate floor over a bill to change the state contracting process.
► In today’s Olympian — Tensions flare at Capitol after Democrats try to pass pro-union bills after midnight
► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP Sen. John Braun defends schools plan that’s raising King County property taxes (podcast) — Taxes will rise by between 9 and 31 percent on the median home in King County this year, depending on where you live. Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) argues the “punitive” tax increases are the fault of Republicans who pushed a plan that taxes Seattle and other wealthy areas to fund schools in poorer districts. But one of the Republican architects of the tax plan, state Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia) defends the tax increases as the most realistic option available for lawmakers.
► In today’s Olympian — Wholesale anti-sexual harassment reforms suffer setback at Legislature — Legislators have taken some steps to alter policies and improve cultural issues in Olympia. But an effort to create a task force combining state House and Senate leaders with lobbyists and staff administration to discuss larger reform suffered a setback when rank-and-file staff members complained they were not adequately represented in the process.
► From KNKX — House considers state campaign finance reform bill — A bill that’s making its way through the Washington state House of Representatives would make campaign contributions more transparent. It passed the state Senate last month.
► From The Stranger — Fact Check: Dino Rossi did NOT balance the budget while protecting the vulnerable in 2003 — Rossi has been spreading this myth about balancing the 2003 budget while protecting the vulnerable all without raising taxes since his failed bid for governor in 2008… What’s alarming is Rossi’s willingness to walk around Washington’s 8th congressional district, look people in their eyes, and tell the same lie he’s been telling for a decade.
► In today’s Washington Post — Brief government shutdown ends as Trump signs spending bill — Congress moved to end a five-hour government shutdown early Friday morning after the House voted to support a massive bipartisan budget deal that stands to add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending on the military, domestic programs and disaster relief. The 240-to-186 House vote gaveled to a close just after 5:30 a.m., nearly four hours after the Senate cleared the legislation on a vote of 71 to 28, with wide bipartisan support.
EDITOR’S NOTE — For various and different reasons, voting “yes” were Sen. Patty Murray and Reps. Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Derek Kilmer, Dave Reichert and Denny Heck. Voting “no” were Sen. Maria Cantwell and Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith.
► In today’s NY Times — Republicans learn to love deficit spending they once loathed — Republicans propelled themselves to power in Washington by promising an end to fiscal recklessness. They are now embracing the kind of free spending and budget deficits they once claimed to loathe.
► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans’ fiscal flip-flop is breathtakingly ill-timed (by Katherine Rampell) — The federal government is on track to borrow $1 trillion this year, roughly double what it borrowed last year. The huge increase is partly driven by the ginormous, plutocratic tax cut Congress passed in December… Ramping up deficits today means we’ll have less room to maneuver when we actually need it — i.e., when (not if) we fall into recession again. Second, there will likely be fewer buyers interested in the massive and growing supply of U.S. debt for sale, which means our borrowing costs will rise and our debt could climb even faster than elected officials expect — leaving us even fewer options when (again, not if) we actually need them.
► From The Onion — Congress puts aside partisan differences for good of military contractors
► From The Hill — McConnell tees up immigration debate — The GOP leader early Friday morning teed up a House-passed shell bill being used as the vehicle for the Senate’s debate. He has said that he would use a non-immigration bill as the base for the debate, essentially letting the Senate start from scratch.
► In today’s NY Times — Union leaders protesting DeVos are left out in the cold — AFT President Randi Weingarten and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García were left out in the cold on Thursday as they tried to deliver 80,000 failing “report cards” to DeVos from educators across the country. The union leaders found locked doors as they tried to enter the Department of Education building to offer their assessment of DeVos’s first year on the job.
► From HuffPost — Top Democrat wants to be sure lower-profile industries are dealing with sexual misconduct, too — Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wants industries to be more transparent about workplace sexual harassment and assault, particularly businesses like hotels, restaurants and retail, where workers face steeper challenges in reporting incidents, seeking recourse and being heard, due to their economic inequality and relative anonymity.
► In the Washington Examiner — Union threatens to cut off Democrats who vote to keep unions from forming on tribal lands — UNITE HERE President D. Taylor has a message for Senate Democrats: If you vote in favor of an upcoming bill to limit the reach of federal government regulators on Indian tribal lands, he will cut you off completely. And he’s lobbying other labor leaders to do the same. “It is the height of hypocrisy and completely dishonest for Democrats to deny workers their right to have a union,” Taylor said, adding that he believed the Teamsters, USW and other unions felt the same about the legislation, called the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act.
► From the People’s World — Janus case: Workers push for the best, prepare for the worst — When it comes to the looming showdown case at the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation’s top four state and local government workers unions are campaigning for the best – and preparing for the worst. That’s because the lineup of justices on the High Court – 5-4 GOP-named – makes it probable, if not likely, that every single state and local government worker in the country could be a potential “free rider” after the tribunal issues its decision in Janus v AFSCME District Council 31. The leaders of the four unions are confident they’ll triumph in the controversial case, which started in Illinois. The court hears oral arguments on it on Feb. 26. But to show the justices where the public is, AFT’s Randi Weingarten, NEA’s Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry and AFSCME’s Lee Saunders said backers will mobilize for a Nationwide Day of Action on the issue two days before, on Sunday, Feb. 24.
ALSO at The Stand:
“When our voices are united — we win!” (Feb. 6) — Several hundred union leaders, staffers and rank-and-file members from around Washington state gathered in SeaTac on Feb. 5 for a labor summit about the challenges — and opportunities — presented by right-wing attacks on workers’ freedom to stand together. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO hosted “Building Strong Unions: Winning in a Right-to-Work Environment” to share best practices for internal organizing as conservative Supreme Court decisions, Republican-led legislatures, and right-wing billionaire-funded think tanks seek to reduce the power that workers have when they stand together in unions.
Court tees up right-wing assault on unions (Oct. 9, 2017)
► From MarketWatch — Workers are down $10 trillion, and the stock market is worried about a 9-cent an hour raise? (by Rex Nutting) — The investors on Wall Street and the policy makers on Constitution Avenue share a very strange view of the American economy. One of their biggest economic worries right now is whether workers may be getting too much money. Needless to say, workers don’t share this concern. Since 2000, workers have been underpaid by about $10 trillion, but the stock market is freaked out by a 9-cent an hour raise?
► On this day 54 years ago, the Beatles performed for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show. A record-setting 73 million people tuned in that evening, three-fourths of America’s total adult viewing audience, to see these four “moptops” from England for the first time and watch them perform what was the No. 1 song on the Billboard charts at the time. And thus began the “British invasion” of 1964, when pop and rock artists from the UK enjoyed unprecedented success on the American charts. But none were better than these guys. That’s right, The Entire Staff of The Stand prefers the Beatles to the Stones. So there. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.