Tuesday, March 13, 2018
► From The Stranger — Murdock Trust’s surprising ties to anti-LGBTQ Groups (by Marsha Botzer and Monisha Harrell) — While applauding its own arts and culture programs, the Vancouver, Wash.-based M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is much more quiet about its less popular agenda. Murdock provides millions to anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, and anti-worker groups including: $212,000 to a gay conversion therapy provider, the Portland Fellowship; $1.24 million to Focus on the Family; and nearly half a million to the anti-worker Freedom Foundation.
ALSO at The Stand — Watchdog group to New Seasons: Cut ties with hate group funder
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Walkouts can keep focus on school safety, firearms (editorial) — The nation’s youths and young adults aren’t letting this go. Students at a number of high schools and even middle schools in Snohomish County are planning to walk out of classes at 10 a.m. Wednesday as part of a national school walkout, protesting gun violence and seeking action by state and national leaders to make schools and communities safer. They should be encouraged in their efforts.
► In the Seattle Times — Ex-players’ testimony paints unflattering picture of WHL — The Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League play “major-junior” hockey, which is different from other junior levels in that players get paid a stipend and are not considered amateurs by the NCAA. In recent years, the pay given major-junior players ages 16 to 20 has been criticized as sub-minimum wage — often less than $100 per week — and exploitative toward minors in the United States and Canada. In Washington, the Legislature in 2015 granted minimum-wage exemptions to the Kent-based Thunderbirds as well as the Silvertips, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. But in Oregon, owners of the Portland Winterhawks unsuccessfully tried to have the state’s Legislature categorize their players as amateurs, an attempted end run around demands Portland players be paid minimum wage and was being opposed by several organized labor unions. The process included alarming testimony by former WHL players.
► In today’s Columbian — East Clark County firefighters union takes issue with staffing level — A dispute in staffing size between the east county firefighters union and the Camas-Washougal Fire Department has gone public after the union wrote about its issues in a Facebook post that has been seen more than 180,000 times since it was published March 7.
► From KING 5 — Sexual harassment claims filed against South Kitsap Fire Department — The suit alleges the fire district engaged in a hostile work environment. The women firefighters are asking for damages and attorney fees.
► From Reuters — New Boeing jet to accelerate services shake-up — Unlike Boeing’s last all-new design, the 787 Dreamliner, its proposed new mid-market plane will not bring a flood of revolutionary technical designs to the drawing board. But it will give the world’s largest planemaker a chance to test its new business approach of designing the plane so that it generates lucrative services revenues for Boeing while also offering efficiencies to airlines over the aircraft’s decades-long lifespan.
► From AP — Legislature sued over how it changed police deadly force law — A frequent ballot initiative promoter sued Washington state on Monday over the constitutionally suspect way lawmakers voted to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — $1 million in tax money earmarked to help mushroom company set up Sunnyside plant — Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger) said the state’s supplemental capital budget includes $1 million for the Port of Sunnyside to offset the construction of Ostrom’s Mushroom Farms growing facility in the Lower Valley economic development district.
► From The Hill — U.S. records biggest budget deficit since 2012
EDITOR’S NOTE — File under: Things Conservatives Used to Care About.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump ousts Rex Tillerson as secretary of state — President Trump asked the embattled diplomat to step aside and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate outreach to North Korea.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Tillerson was fired just hours after reports were published that he cast the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain as part of a “certain unleashing of activity” by Russia that would “certainly trigger a response.” Coincidence? Maybe. But it sure looks like a guy can get away with calling his boss a “moron” (read: speaking truth to power), but not badmouthing Mother Russia.
► In today’s NY Times — Republicans in House say no collusion, but Mueller’s case grows — House Intelligence Committee Republicans are ending their investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, even as Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, is pursuing new directions in his inquiry.
► From Politico — GOP Rep. Rooney on Russia report: ‘We’ve lost all credibility’
► In today’s Washington Post — ICE spokesman resigns, citing lies by Sessions, agency chief about Calif. immigrant arrests — The now-former spokesman, James Schwab, told news outlets that his resignation stemmed from statements by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan that potentially hundreds of “criminal aliens” evaded ICE during a Northern California raid in February because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned the immigrant community in advance.
► From Politico — Trump’s VA is purging civil servants — Last June, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by signing a bipartisan bill to make it easier to fire employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The law’s effect was nearly instantaneous: Firings rose 60 percent during the second half of 2017, after the law took effect, compared to the first half of 2017. But if top officials were the target of the law, a ProPublica investigation suggests the legislation misfired. In practice, the new law is overwhelmingly being used against the rank and file. Since it took effect, the VA has fired four senior leaders. The other 1,700 terminated people were low-level staffers with titles such as housekeeper (133 lost their jobs), nursing assistant (101 ousted) and food service worker (59 terminated).
EDITOR’S NOTE — Before this purge, about one-third of Veterans Affairs employees were veterans themselves.
► MUST-READ in the NY Times — The tipping equation — The balancing act plays out every day in restaurants across America: Servers who rely on tips decide where to draw the line when a customer goes too far. They ignore comments about their bodies, laugh off proposals for dates and deflect behavior that makes them uncomfortable or angry — all in pursuit of the $2 or $20 tip that will help buy groceries or pay the rent. In the restaurant industry, the cultural reckoning over sexual harassment has felled celebrity chefs like Mario Batali and spotlighted pervasive misbehavior by managers and co-workers. But servers and bartenders also face abuse from another front: the millions of Americans who dine out every year and who, because of the custom of tipping, wield outsize influence over one of the largest groups of workers in the country — three million strong, according to federal data. Their workplaces are casual environments where alcohol lightens the mood and erodes boundaries. A “customer is always right” ethos often tilts the equation — creating the kind of power imbalance that has become front and center in a broader conversation about sex and gender in the workplace.
► In the NY Times — Wage theft in restaurants (editorial) — New York could soon join seven other states that have done away with the unjust policy of letting employers pay waiters, bartenders and other tipped workers less than the minimum wage, a move that would help lift thousands of low-income families out of poverty.
► In the Chicago Sun-Times — Unions, hotel workers discuss sex harassment: ‘A lot of ladies go through this’ — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and others were in Chicago for a Midwest AFL-CIO strategy session and opted to meet with the union members while in the city. “It’s our belief that sexual harassment is a workplace safety issue,” Trumka said. “We, as a labor movement, are dead serious about changing the culture of the workplace.”
BACK TO BASICS
► From Teen Vogue — What a labor union is and how it works — Unions give workers the power to improve their workplaces, and have a long history of creating lasting, progressive changes, from the institution of the eight-hour workday to health and safety regulations. Maybe someone in your family — a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent — is in a union, or you’ve seen people talking about the successful West Virginia wildcat teachers’ strike on Twitter. But the news can all get confusing, with all the talk of bargaining and contracts and fees, so we’re here to explain what unions are, how they work, and what the outcome of this Janus case could mean.
► In the Boston Globe —Millennials, white-collar workers bringing new life to unions — The ranks of organized labor have been shrinking for decades, and an upcoming Supreme Court decision is expected to further sap the movement of much-needed funds. But signs of life are flashing in unexpected places. Millennials and professionals are bringing new energy to the movement, especially in New England, where more than half of union members are doctors, lawyers, teachers, architects, and other white-collar employees.
► From WBUR — Paid sick leave? A union can give you that (by Rich Barlow) — Having missed a couple of work days recently as a casualty of this nastier-than-normal flu season, I’ve been thinking that what we need, besides better vaccines, are unions.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Sick of working for low pay and few benefits? Contact a union organizer to get information about how you and your co-workers can join together to form a union!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.