Tuesday, April 3, 2018
► From The Stranger — As UW laundry workers advocate to keep their jobs, 15 employees get layoff notices — On Wednesday, workers from the University of Washington-run laundry that services UW hospitals and clinics gathered with supporters on the university campus. They fear they could lose their jobs as the university moves to privatize the laundry. They used the rally to highlight that fear and call on the school to reconsider. The next day, 15 of the laundry’s roughly 100 employees got a new reason to worry: They received notices that they will be laid off in 60 days.
► In the Seattle Times — Seattle bans lower wages for people with disabilities — Since Seattle adopted its minimum-wage law in 2015, employers have been allowed to seek special certificates to pay people with disabilities less. The City Council voted Monday to end the exceptions. “We’re saying that all work has dignity and all workers deserve the same respect,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Uber drums up opposition to Seattle City Council minimum-fare proposal — A Seattle City Council draft resolution proposes setting a base fare for transportation networking companies, which an Uber representative says would be the first such regulation in the country. Uber is rallying its passengers to oppose the effort. The renewed attention to the issue comes against the backdrop of an ongoing legal challenge to the city’s 2015 ordinance allowing TNC drivers to bargain collectively, and other efforts to resolve pay and benefits issues for the growing ranks of contingent and “gig” economy workers.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Ill Hanford workers and families can get answers at new center — A new center opened Monday to help guide Hanford workers, retirees and their families through the maze of available Hanford health screening and compensation programs. Help at the new center is free. It is at 309 Bradley Blvd., Suite 102, and appointments can be made by calling 509-376-4932. The center is open 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Bold plan: Create 25,000 jobs in Arlington-Marysville — Planners are asking the public to weigh in on the next steps in developing an area that could be home to 25,000 jobs by 2040.
THE MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA
► In today’s Seattle Times — Turmoil inside KOMO News as conservative owner Sinclair mandates talking points — Amid a national outcry over Sinclair Broadcasting and its mandate to insert conservative talking points on local TV news, several journalists at KOMO News — Sinclair’s Seattle-area station — describe a newsroom in turmoil. For KOMO journalists there’s no easy escape route: Most are under contracts and are barred from jumping ship to a competing TV outlet.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In addition to KOMO, which Sinclair bought in 2017, Sinclair owns KUNS-TV (Univision) in Seattle/Tacoma, KIMA and KEPR (CBS) in Yakima/Tri-Cities, KUNW (Univision) in Yakima/Tri-Cities.
► From HuffPost — Confessions of a former Sinclair news director (by Aaron Weiss) — Sinclair knows its strongest asset is the credibility of its local anchors. They’re trusted voices in their communities, and they have often been on the air for decades before Sinclair purchased their stations. The must-run stories, however, barely passed as journalism. More than one script came down that, had it come from one of my fresh-out-of-college reporters, I would have sent back for a complete rewrite. But Sinclair executives made it clear that the must-run scripts were not to be touched by producers or anchors… During my time with Sinclair, while on a conference call with other news directors, someone asked if we could ever run local commentary during newscasts. The answer was a firm “no.” The only opinions Sinclair allows on air are the opinions that come out of headquarters, because the company will not risk giving local audiences a dissenting view. That “no” was telling. Being afraid of a variety of viewpoints is, in the words of Sinclair’s now-infamous “must-run,” extremely dangerous to a democracy.
ALSO at The Stand — Did Sinclair buy KOMO to shut it down? (Oct. 18, 2017)
► And this morning from the Hill — Sinclair station in Oregon tells employees to not talk to press about script — A Sinclair-owned station in Portland, Ore, has ordered its employees to not talk to the press about a controversial script decrying “fake news” that was read by anchors around the country. The memo said that “giving statements to the media or sharing negative information about the company can have huge implications.”
► In today’s News Tribune — Washington state apple, cherry industries wary of trade war — Cherry and apple growers in Washington state are worried their exports to China will be hurt by a trade war that escalated on Monday when that country raised import duties on a $3 billion list of products.
► In today’s News Tribune — State throws its weight behind wildland firefighter who was detained by ICE (by Matt Driscoll) — Dreamer Noe Vazquez wants to help Washington’s Department of Natural Resources fight wildfires. The DACA debate complicates matters.
► In the Wall Street Journal — New quotas for immigration judges as Trump administration seeks faster deportations — The Justice Department has notified immigration judges that it will begin evaluating their job performance based on how quickly they close cases, aiming to speed deportation decisions and reduce a lengthy backlog.
► From Politico — Foreign visas plunge under Trump — The United States is granting fewer visitor visas to people from around the world — not just Muslims — as President Donald Trump ratchets up his anti-immigration rhetoric. By one measure, the U.S. granted 13 percent fewer visitor visas over the past 12 months when compared with fiscal year 2016, according to State Department data analyzed by POLITICO — a downward trend that appears to have accelerated in the past six months.
► In the Washington Post — A nugget of bipartisan policymaking in the dysfunctional spending bill (editorial) — This year, the Labor Department proposed a regulation that could have resulted in restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for employees, depriving those employees of as much as $5.8 billion a year in income, according to an estimate by the Economic Policy Institute… In recent weeks, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) took up the servers’ cause, and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta agreed to negotiate. The result is a repeal of the Trump rule — you can find it on Page 2,025. The provision also amends federal labor law to clarify that tips belong to workers and may not be diverted into management’s coffers, although they can go to the back of the house when servers get full minimum wage. Everyone — worker advocates and the restaurant lobby alike — says they’re satisfied.
► From AP — Oklahoma teachers walk out for second day for higher pay, funding — Many schools will remain closed for a second day in Oklahoma Tuesday as teachers continue to rally for higher pay and education funding in a rebellion that has hit several Republican-led states across the country. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week granting teachers pay raises of 15 to 18 percent. But some educators — who haven’t seen a pay increase in 10 years — say that isn’t good enough and walked out.
► From the BBC — Oklahoma teacher strike: ‘I have 29 textbooks for 87 pupils’
► In today’s Washington Post — Why teachers are revolting against low pay and inadequate school funding — In West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma — places not necessarily known for union activism — teachers are closing down schools to protest funding cuts for public education.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Angry teachers turning into a political force with wave of walkouts in red states — The next red state to join the protest movement could be Arizona, where there is an open Senate seat and where thousands of teachers gathered in Phoenix this past week to demand a 20 percent pay raise and more money for schools.
► In today’s NY Times — In a private prison, blood, suicide and poorly paid guards — A trial in Mississippi provides a rare glimpse into a world where mistreatment of inmates is commonplace, at a time when the Trump administration wants to expand the use of private prisons.
► In today’s NY Times — No sweatpants in public: Inside the rule books for NFL cheerleaders — Across the NFL, teams even try to place extensive controls on how cheerleaders conduct their lives outside work. This includes limiting their social media activity as well as the people they choose to date and socialize with. Restrictions are placed on their nail polish and jewelry.
► In the Washington Post — Trouble in Candy Land — The 95-year-old company that makes Peeps, Just Born Quality Confections, wants to block new employees from enrolling in the multi-employer pension it has offered workers for decades, a retirement plan it funds along with roughly 200 other companies. While many other companies facing similar pressures have left pensions in recent years, Just Born wants to bar new employees from the plan without paying a $60 million fee required under federal law, saying it must do so to remain competitive. The fee exists to ensure future retirees’ benefits are covered, and if Just Born succeeds in escaping it, union officials fear the unprecedented ruling would prompt thousands of other firms to do the same. This chain reaction could divert workers and money at a time when new employees are seen as crucial to ensure ample funding for the wave of retiring baby boomers — putting payouts for millions of pensioners at risk.
I AM A MAN 2018
► From the AFL-CIO — Martin Luther King Jr. championed civil rights and unions — Kentuckians, including many union members, will march Wednesday in Frankfort in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was murdered April 4, 1968, in Memphis. “The MLK Memorial March to Move” will travel along Capitol Avenue and conclude on the Capitol steps.
► In the NY Times — How Memphis gave up on Dr. King’s dream (by Wendi C. Thomas) — It was Dr. King who said: “Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice.” What have we done with Dr. King’s sacrifice? Too little. Inequality is created and maintained by those who benefit from the labor of underpaid workers. Those people have names. Their names should be known.
► In today’s NY Times — What the Supreme Court doesn’t get about racism (editorial) — In the last speech of his life, on April 3, 1968, in Memphis, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out the case for the dignity and equality of African-Americans as simply as he could. “We aren’t engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people,” he said. “All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.