Thursday, March 8, 2018
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Help on the way for ill Hanford workers — Ill Hanford workers will no longer have to prove to the state that their poor health was caused by working at the nuclear reservation. On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed sweeping legislation that should help more Hanford workers win approval for state worker compensation claims.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — WSLC’s Johnson hails new law protecting Hanford workers
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — On final day, lawmakers look to pass budget, property tax cut — State lawmakers will arrive Thursday for the final day of regular session looking to approve a budget that fully funds public schools and provides temporary property tax relief.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Senate Democrats try to push through property tax break for 2019 — Senate Democrats pushed through a plan to give property tax payers a break in 2019, but Republicans contend it is too meager and unconstitutional.
► From Slog — Legislator says Amazon lobbied to stop Seattle from enacting tougher pay equity law — Jeff Bezos has now become the first person to top Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people with more than $100 billion. Meanwhile, his company has reportedly been lobbying to limit efforts to address the gender pay gap in Washington state. In negotiations over the bill, Amazon has fought hard to bar cities like Seattle from going farther than state law in efforts to close the gender and race pay gap, according to Rep. Tana Senn. “Microsoft doesn’t care about preemption, the Main Street Alliance doesn’t care,” Senn told The Stranger. “It’s been led by Amazon.” Ultimately, Amazon and other business lobbyists failed to change Senn’s bill. After some back and forth, the final version of the bill does not include preemption language.
ALSO at The Stand — Historic equal pay bill heads to governor
► From KNKX — Lawmakers rush to pass compromise police accountability bill — An initiative backed by families of people who’ve been shot by police may not appear on Washington’s November ballot after all. That’s because sponsors of Initiative 940 and police groups have agreed on a new good faith standard for the use of deadly force.
► From the South Seattle Emerald — How Sen. Rebecca Saldaña gets things done in Olympia — Wrapping up her second session, the community organizer-turned-lawmaker is getting bills passed at breakneck speed. Her secret? Active-listening.
► In today’s Columbian — Analysis shows NRA spending in 17th leads state — Looking at a district-by-district breakdown, the state’s 17th Legislative District in Clark County received more in contributions in the 2016 election than any other. Sen. Lynda Wilson and Reps. Paul Harris and Vicki Kraft received a total of $5,850. All three are Republicans from Vancouver.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Lucky Friday miners vote against arbitration to end strike — Miners at the Lucky Friday Mine overwhelmingly voted against arbitration to end a strike that has dragged on for nearly a year. Miners at the underground silver property near Mullan, Idaho, have been on strike since March 13, after months of negotiations failed to produce a new contract.
► From The Stranger — 24 International Women’s Day 2018 events in Seattle
► In today’s NY Times — Trump prepares to finalize tariffs but floats exemptions — More than 100 Republican lawmakers implored President Trump to drop plans for stiff and sweeping steel and aluminum tariffs as the White House prepared to formalize the measures on Thursday afternoon. Officials said late Wednesday that the plan would initially exempt Canada and Mexico and could ultimately exclude other allies.
► From Reuters — Eleven nations, but not U.S., to sign Trans-Pacific trade deal — Eleven countries are expected to sign a landmark trade deal in Santiago on Thursday… The revised TPP agreement eliminates some requirements of the original TPP demanded by U.S. negotiators. Those include rules ramping up intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals, which governments and activists of other member nations worried would raise the costs of medicine.
► From The Hill — Federal court rules transgender people covered by law banning workplace sex bias — The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday once again held that workplace anti-discrimination laws extend to protections for transgender workers.
► In today’s Washington Post — Democrats to unveil $1 trillion infrastructure plan, seek reversal of GOP tax cuts to finance it — As the White House struggles to finance an ambitious infrastructure plan, Senate Democrats are proposing one alternative — albeit one unlikely to pass muster with President Trump: rolling back the recently passed Republican tax overhaul.
► From the Hill — House Dems offer bill to protect workers’ tips — House Democrats are pushing legislation to stop employers from being able to pocket a portion of workers’ tips. The Tip Income Protection Act introduced Wednesday is in response to a proposed rule from the Department of Labor that will allow employers to pool the gratuities earned by employees who make the full minimum wage and split them with non-tipped workers. The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to make all tips, even those that are pooled, the property of the employee not the employer.
► In today’s Washington Post — Democrats press DHS to speed up DACA renewals — A group of Democratic lawmakers are asking the Trump administration to accelerate the renewal of work permits for young immigrants protected by an Obama-era program that remains the subject of federal court challenges.
► From Politico — Forest Service chief resigns in wake of sexual misconduct allegations — Tony Tooke, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, stepped down from his post on Wednesday following reports of sexual harassment and retaliation at the agency that revealed the Agriculture Department was investigating misconduct allegations against Tooke himself.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump lawyer obtained restraining order to silence Stormy Daniels — President Trump’s lawyer secretly obtained a temporary restraining order last week to prevent a pornographic film star from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump.
WEST VIRGINIA TEACHER STRIKE
► From HuffPost — The West Virginia teacher strike was rare, militant and victorious — West Virginia teachers and school personnel just ended perhaps the most significant American worker strike in years ― and they did it in a state where public sector workers are supposed to have very little collective strength. The number of strikes per year in the United States is at a historic low, just like the share of workers who belong to a union. Massive strikes like the one in West Virginia almost never happen anymore. The work stoppage closed schools across the state for nine weekdays, and secured 5 percent pay raises for teachers and other public workers. It also provided a booster shot to the country’s weakened labor movement, and has prompted talk of similar teacher strikes elsewhere.
► In today’s NY Times — West Virginia walkouts a lesson in the power of a crowd-sourced strike — With no collective bargaining rights, no contract, and no legal right to strike, the teachers had managed to mount a statewide work stoppage anyway, and make their demands heard, marshal public support, and stick together until they won. And the rank and file, not union leaders, came to call the shots. Experts say the West Virginia teachers may foreshadow the future of organized labor, especially in the public sector, at a time when its power has been eroded in much of the country by anti-union legislation and by court challenges like the Janus case, now before the Supreme Court, which threatens the financial viability of collective bargaining.
► In today’s NY Times — The West Virginia teacher strike was just the start (by Steven Greenhouse) — The statewide teachers’ strike in West Virginia — one of the biggest in the nation in years — could signal the beginning of a new trend: a revolt against austerity policies.
► From The Guardian — International Women’s Day around the world – in pictures
► In today’s NY Times — Right-to-Work laws have devastated unions — and Democrats (by… some professors) — Next week’s special congressional election in southwestern Pennsylvania will test whether, deep in Trump country, union support can help elect a Democrat running on a middle-class economic agenda. A victory would remind Democrats of the electoral power of organized labor. Even though it has relied on unions’ electoral muscle for nearly a century, the party has often failed to shore up labor’s diminishing strength. Our research demonstrates what an enormous electoral mistake that has been… We have quantified the electoral effects of one kind of anti-union law, commonly called “right to work” legislation. Those bills allow workers to opt out of paying fees to a union at their workplace — even if those workers benefit from union bargaining and protections. The results are ugly for Democrats and for the working class.
► In today’s LA Times — Disneyland workers demonstrate at Walt Disney Co. meeting demanding ‘living wages’ — A group of workers from the Disneyland Resort waved signs, chanted and demonstrated outside of Walt Disney Co.’s shareholders meeting in Houston on Thursday, demanding the company provide a “living wage.”
► From KUOW — Airlines recruiting like crazy to address pilot shortage
► From The Atlantic — ‘Corporations are people’ is built on an incredible 19th-century lie — How exactly did corporations come to be understood as “people” bestowed with the most fundamental constitutional rights? The answer can be found in a bizarre—even farcical—series of lawsuits over 130 years ago involving a lawyer who lied to the Supreme Court, an ethically challenged justice, and one of the most powerful corporations of the day.
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