Thursday, February 15, 2018
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford radioactive contamination grows: 6 workers, 2 offices, 36 vehicles — Another spread of radioactive contamination has been confirmed at the Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant. In addition, more Hanford workers have tested positive for inhaling or ingesting radioactive contamination from demolition of the plant. For the second time since workers were moved in January to offices away from the plant, contamination has been found on the steps of the new offices.
► In today’s Columbian — Mixed signals on Hanford (editorial) — Trump’s budget proposal calls for a $230 million cut to federal funding for Hanford in fiscal year 2019… If the nation’s most contaminated radioactive site sat along the banks of the Potomac River, we’re pretty sure the issue would be viewed with more urgency… people in Washington face endless frustration with the situation at Hanford, concerns about worker health, and the threat of waste leaking into the Columbia River. Our elected officials should view the president’s budget proposal as an opportunity to raise the specter of Hanford yet again.
► ICYMI in the Seattle Times — Sorry, Hanford: Your radiation leaks aren’t as important as tax cuts (by Danny Westneat) — The maddening disconnect in politics goes on, as politicians who just two months ago slashed taxes are demanding more money for the increasingly unstable and dangerous Hanford nuclear-waste cleanup. Check out the local congressman for the Tri-Cities, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th). He made headlines Tuesday by vowing to fight Trump’s proposal to significantly cut Hanford cleanup money: “Now is not the time to jeopardize worker safety or impede this vital cleanup,” he said.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — For school districts whose levies fail, what’s the next move? — The situation gets dicey in those districts. They can go back to voters with an April 24 special election. They have until Feb. 23 to get on that ballot. Their challenge is how do they change minds of enough voters in the next two months to get a different outcome?
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Democratic poll lauded by Lisa Brown — An internal Democratic poll has challenger Lisa Brown running neck-and-neck with U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, prompting optimism from the left and skepticism from the right. McMorris Rodgers commissioned her own poll in October of last year. Her campaign did not release any data of their own in response to questions for this story.
► From Crosscut — Under Trump’s EPA, pesticide workers pin hopes on state — Farm worker advocates say they welcome efforts to strengthen state pesticide regulations, but warn that improved safety and health hinges on pesticide notification and reporting requirements. Washington has no requirement to report their use of pesticide, unlike Oregon and California, although farmers must make records of usage.
► In today’s Olympian — Public employee privacy needs protection (letter from a state employee) — No political group, newspaper or scammer deserves to have information on my birth date. This is not a matter of government transparency; it is a basic norm regarding privacy.
JANUS v. AFSCME
► In the Sacramento Bee — Public sector unions are about to be gutted by Supreme Court conservatives (by Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC-Berkeley School of Law) — In a society where corporations have so much power and influence, weakening the protections for workers and unions as a counter-force is deeply troubling. There is no reason for the Supreme Court to overturn the choices of legislatures in California and elsewhere and no need to overrule four decades of precedents. The conservative justices should practice the judicial restraint that they so often preach. But I am not hopeful.
ALSO at The Stand:
► From The Atlantic — The bogus ‘free speech’ argument against unions — The latest attempt to use the Supreme Court to eviscerate a key liberal constituency seems like a thoroughly partisan operation.
► From Splinter — Behold the Orwellian right-wing propaganda behind the Supreme Court’s new anti-labor case — Here, via an email to supporters, are the talking points being distributed by the conservative State Policy Network regarding the Janus case — so when you see someone wearing a “Stand With Workers” hat on Fox News talking derisively about “Out of touch” “Big Labor” while carefully trying not to demonize all unions because polling indicates that is not resonant, know that that message is being brought to you by the best right-wing political influence firms that money can buy.
► In today’s NY Times — Senators strike deal on immigration despite veto threat — A bipartisan group of lawmakers reached an agreement on immigration even as President Trump suggested he would veto any plan that does not adhere to his harder-line approach.
► From The Hill — Senate Democrats not sold on bipartisan immigration deal — A bipartisan group, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), clinched an agreement that would protect immigrants brought into the country illegally as children in exchange for roughly $25 billion in border security. The fate of the parents and funding for a controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall are two sticking points viewed by some members of the Democratic caucus as “unacceptable.”
► From the AFL-CIO — Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act would strip working people of freedoms — Corporate-backed politicians and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have a new disguise to cut back worker freedoms, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, which would deny National Labor Relations Act protection to more than 600,000 workers. Congress should protect worker freedom and uphold the sovereignty of Native American tribes, not pit the two against each other. Working people must have a legally enforceable right to form unions and negotiate together with the tribal enterprises that employ them. It’s fair, it’s democratic and it’s one important step toward an economy that works for all working people.
► In today’s NY Times — VA chief faulted for business trip: Wimbledon, castles — There were “serious derelictions” in a trip taken by David Shulkin, the secretary of veterans affairs, and his wife, an inspector general’s report said.
► In the People’s World — AFL-CIO President Trumka tells unions it’s time to go on offense — Trumka told the UAW: “It’s time to drop our shield, pick up our sword and go on offense for a while,” to campaign for protecting pensions, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, to rebuild infrastructure and to “protect our water from becoming poisoned like it was in Flint, Mich.”
► From Bloomberg — Now arriving at America’s airports: Unions — During the first weeks of 2018, subcontracted service staff at Virginia’s Reagan National and Dulles International airports got a raise. So did baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair attendants at Boston’s Logan airport, who also staged a 36-hour strike to defend their right to organize. Soon, under laws passed last year, workers at other airports across the country, from Chicago to Los Angeles, will be getting wage bumps, too.
EVERY 60 HOURS IN AMERICA
► From The Onion — ‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens — PARKLAND, Fla. — In the hours following a violent rampage in Florida in which a lone attacker killed 17 individuals and seriously injured over a dozen others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Wednesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place… At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”
► From HuffPost — 2018: One school shooting every 60 hours
► In today’s Seattle Times — Everett teen arrested after grandmother finds journal detailing school-shooting plot, police say
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.