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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

 


THE WAR ON UNIONS

 

► From SCOTUS Blog — Argument analysis: Gorsuch stays mum on union fees — None of the eight justices who were on the court in 2016, when it deadlocked on this same question, said anything during today’s oral argument that would indicate that they had changed their minds. If so, that would leave the decision in the hands of Gorsuch, who said nothing at all today. We likely will have to wait until the end of June to find out whether Gorsuch will follow in the footsteps of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom Gorsuch succeeded and who seemed to side with the challenger in Friedrichs, which was argued shortly before Scalia’s death.

► In today’s Washington Post — The Supreme Court is poised to deal a sharp blow to the labor movement (analysis) — Central to Janus v. AFSCME, is the question of whether government employees who are covered by a union contract — but who are not members of the union — should have to contribute to the union’s costs for contract negotiations. More broadly, though, the court will eventually decide whether to strike a significant blow to one of the few areas of strength for the wobbly labor movement — and, even more broadly, to a centerpiece of Democratic Party power in the United States.

ALSO at The Stand — Washington state’s union members vow to stick together

► From Think Progress — Justice Anthony Kennedy spent his morning impersonating Rush Limbaugh — As the argument progresses, Kennedy grew less and less patient — and less and less judicial — in his questioning of (the unions’ lawyers). Indeed, at one point, Kennedy slips into the kind of rant that is more commonly heard on Fox News than in a courtroom of any kind. The unions are advocating for “massive government” and ‘increased taxes,” an irate Kennedy complains.

► From NPR — Supreme Court hears fiery arguments in case that could gut public sector unions — “You’re basically arguing, do away with unions,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued at one point in questioning the attorney for the National Right to Work Legal Foundation.

► From Medium — Five ways unions are helping you right now… even if you’re not a member — The outcome of Janus v. AFSCME could have huge implications for your future… even if you’re not a union member.

► In today’s NY Times — We all must live with Mitch McConnell’s proudest moment (editorial) — Legally, this should be an easy win for the unions. The Supreme Court upheld fair-share fees four decades ago in a unanimous ruling it has reaffirmed repeatedly, and on which more than 20 states have relied in negotiating thousands of contracts covering millions of public employees, including firefighters, teachers and police officers… Whatever the justices decide in the Janus case, the drama that preceded it is another reminder of the importance of every Supreme Court appointment, and of the degree to which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have altered the course of history with his cynical ploy (by refusing to confirm Obama’s Supreme Court nominee).

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

In an unprecedented coordinated effort, several daily newspapers across Washington state are running editorials today on their front pages that call for Gov. Jay Inslee to veto the bipartisan ESB 6617, the bill passed last week that keeps some legislative records private while releasing others for the first time. It passed the Senate 41-7 and the House 83-14, both veto-proof majorities, but the newspapers want Inslee to veto it anyway on principle.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Governor Jay Inslee must stand up for the people and veto legislative-secrecy bill — Gov. Jay Inslee must veto a bill that would allow Washington lawmakers to conceal more of their working documents than almost every other government official in the state.

MORE similar editorials appear in today’s Bellingham Herald, (Everett) Herald, Olympian, (Spokane) Spokesman-Review(Tacoma) News Tribune, Tri-City Herald(Vancouver) Columbian, Wenatchee World, and the Yakima Herald.

YESTERDAY at The Stand — Public Records Act expands disclosure, but protects privacy (by Sen. Jamie Pedersen)

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO has taken no position on ESB 6617, nor on the disclosure of legislative records in general. The WSLC will continue to advocate at the Legislature on behalf of working families as we always have — clearly, openly, honestly, and tenaciously. The WSLC posted Sen. Pederson’s opinion column to inform and drive discussion, and not as a matter of advocacy.

► In today’s News Tribune — Are legislators telling the truth about the controversial public records bill they just passed? Not so much (by Sean Robinson)

EDITOR’S NOTE 2 — It is not clear if this is an opinion column on “news story,” but it is a point-by-point fisking of the case made in favor of ESB 6617 by Sen. Pederson and other legislators — a case never presented to the readers of any of these newspapers. Just sayin’. Meanwhile, The Entire Staff of The Stand looked but couldn’t find any newspaper articles about anything else that happened in Olympia on Monday, the cutoff deadline for bills to pass from fiscal committee.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Olympian — Inslee confronts Trump on arming teachers, suggests ‘a little less tweeting … and a little more listening’ — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee engaged in a televised clash Monday with President Donald Trump over the idea of arming some schoolteachers.

 

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump gets a seminar on federalism as governors push back on arming teachers — President Trump crossed his arms and looked annoyed as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee spoke out against arming teachers.

► From the NEA — NEA: Parents, educators ‘overwhelmingly reject’ idea of arming school staff — NEA President Lily Eskelsen García says: “Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.

► From The Hill — Labor board vacates key ruling over conflict of Trump appointee — The NLRB on Monday vacated a decision that made it harder for workers and unions to hold corporations responsible for the actions of their franchises. The NLRB’s decision follows an inspector general’s report that said William Emanuel — a lawyer appointed to the board last year by Trump— should have recused himself from the case that overturned the Obama-era rule.

► From Politico — Congress loses key immigration deal ingredient: A deadline — The already-dwindling political urgency for Congress to reach an immigration deal all but collapsed on Monday when the Supreme Court took a pass on the issue. It’s a blow to President Donald Trump, whose order to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has already been put on hold by two federal court rulings. And now there’s little bite left in the March 5 deadline Trump gave to lawmakers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s starting to look like Democrats in Congress were smart not to take the GOP “deal” of saving DACA in exchange for wasting billions on a stupid border wall and imposing dramatic new restrictions on legal immigration. Maybe now that Republicans have lost their bargaining power, they’ll do what 9 out of 10 Americans say should happen without making that conditional on inhumane, unAmerican immigration policies. Which beings us to…

► From The Hill — GOP senators: ‘Dreamers’ deal will likely end up in funding bill — Republican senators are predicting that a fix for DACA will end up in next month’s government funding bill, as they search for ways to break a months-long stalemate.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s tax cuts in hand, companies spend more on themselves than on wages — So far, companies are using much of the money for something with a more narrow benefit: buying their own shares. Those so-called buybacks are good for shareholders, including the senior executives who tend to be big owners of their companies’ stock. A company purchasing its own shares is a time-tested way to bolster its stock price. But the purchases can come at the expense of investments in things like hiring, research and development and building new plants — the sort of investments that directly help the overall economy.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From USA Today — West Virginia schoolteachers’ strike enters fourth day as they protest pay among the worst in the nation — Thousands of striking schoolteachers who have shut down West Virginia classrooms for days are demanding a face-to-face meeting with the governor and legislative leaders on their pay grievances. Teachers rallied Monday outside the state Capitol amid pledges to continue the walkout that began Thursday. The state’s average teacher pay ranks among the lowest in the nation and teachers are balking at proposed increases they say are too stingy.

► From Bloomberg — Labor talks heat up for Disney park workers on both coasts — Employees have picketed outside Walt Disney World and complained in writing about being shut out of Disneyland for the annual holiday party. Last week, unions representing park workers in Florida and California filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board over Disney’s decision to withhold a special $1,000 tax-reform bonus while contracts talks are under way, saying the company discriminated against those staffers. “Here is a company that has the best movies about how we’ve got to help one another and how racism is wrong and how we’ve got to take care of our toys,” said Glynndana Shevlin, a 58-year-old who’s worked for almost 30 years at Disney. She makes $15.70 an hour serving wine and is among those waiting for her bonus. “I don’t feel like they take care of me when it comes to my own life.”

► In today’s Columbian — Wages finally going up, just not for middle class — Across the country, wage gains have been very uneven, according to Labor Department statistics. They’re concentrated at the both ends of the pay scale — well-paid executives at one end, lower-paid workers at the other. By and large, the broad middle of the labor force has not seen much of a raise, mirroring a long-running trend of income polarization and a shrinking middle class in America.

 


BRAVE CADET BONE-SPURS

 

► In the Washington Post — Trump said he would charge a gunman. Here’s what he’s actually done in the face of danger. — President Trump’s assertion that he would have run toward the Parkland, Fla., gunman had he been near the school would have been a bold claim for just about anybody to make… Given Trump’s public track record in the face of proximate danger, his words instead ended up underscoring a separate truth: His actions have, at times, read differently than his tough talk.

 

 


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

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