Friday, April 20, 2018
► From Crosscut — Is a strike looming at the University of Washington? — Just under two weeks until their contract is set to expire, academic student employees at the University of Washington plan to wield the threat of strike should negotiations run awry. Beyond the wage questions, the student employees are seeking contract language that codifies a hefty, hours-long sexual harassment training program to be developed and administered by union members.
ALSO at The Stand — UW’s ASEs begin strike vote over sexual harassment issues
► In today’s Seattle Times — Metals-forging firm near Boeing Field closing after 8 decades so real estate can be sold — A spokesman for Jorgensen Forge said the owners see “much more opportunity in redeveloping this land.” Some of the 110 union employees (IAM) at Jorgensen Forge have worked there for decades and aren’t sure what comes next.
► In the Seattle Times — Amazon workers’ median pay in 2017: $28,446 — Amazon for the first time disclosed average worker pay, as part of a report mandated by federal Wall Street reform legislation passed after the 2008 financial crisis. The data is a reminder that while the technologists, business managers and marketers at Amazon headquarters can make more than $100,000, in most of the country, Amazon is a blue-collar logistics company where workers take home far less.
► In the Spokesman-Review — If Boeing builds new jetliner in Washington, Spokane manufacturers would benefit, leaders say — If Boeing builds a new, mid-sized airplane in Washington, Spokane could land high-paying manufacturing jobs. Aerospace is already a $270 million industry in Spokane County, employing about 4,300 people. Many of those workers have jobs at companies that make parts for Boeing’s massive supply chain as part of its client mix. “Spokane has one of the largest aerospace clusters in the nation,” said Rick Bender, the Washington State Labor Council’s former president. “We’re hoping if we land this new, mid-market airplane, it will help expand existing jobs and attract new aerospace businesses.”
► From the Tri-City Herald — Here’s what’s known about the next multi-billion-dollar Hanford cleanup contract — The Department of Energy has released a preview of the work to be done under the next multi-billion-dollar contract for central Hanford cleanup.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Durkan tells Seattle council what she’s looking for as new tax on employers takes shape — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is willing to work with City Council members on a new tax on businesses to help address homelessness, she says, but she wants them to consider her views as they craft a measure that could raise tens of millions of dollars a year.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Ferris’ Mandy Manning named National Teacher of the Year — In a ceremony Friday morning at the White House, Ferris High School’s Mandy Manning was as the National Teacher of the Year. Manning, who was named Washington state teacher of the year in September, was instrumental in helping several refugee students, some who are fleeing war-torn countries, to learn English and receive an education. She’s also learning sign language to help two deaf Syrian students learn a language for the first time.
► From the Visual Capitalist — Washington ranked as No. 1 best state economy — We use 27 metrics to rank state economies that are grouped into three major categories: 1) Economic Activity: GDP growth, startup activity, exports per capita, and three other metrics; 2. Economic Health) Labor force changes, median household income, unemployment, and 13 other metrics; and 3) Innovation Potential: Entrepreneurial activity, R&D investment, patents per capita, and three other metrics.
EDITOR’S NOTE — West Coast states, all of which have relatively high minimum wages, unionization rates and progressive labor laws, rank in the Top 10 on this list. All five of the worst performing states have so-called “right-to-work” laws that discourage unionization.
► From CNBC — Tax cut riches have gone to execs and investors over workers by nearly 3-to-1 margin — Employers appear to be using proceeds from corporate tax cuts to continue the practice of rewarding shareholders and executives over workers. In the first quarter of 2018, corporate America dedicated $305 billion to stock buybacks and cash takeovers compared with $131 billion in pretax wage growth.
► In the NY Times — Voters and the tax cut (by Paul Krugman) — Polling suggests that only a minority – and probably a declining minority — of the public considers the Trump tax cut a good idea. Most people don’t see any benefits from the tax cut in their paychecks. And Republicans have pretty much given up campaigning on the tax cut.
► In the Washington Post — Labor and civil rights organizations call for EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s ouster — Now a number of other nonprofit outfits not usually known for environmental advocacy, including the NAACP, are joining the calls against the EPA administrator. In an advertisement running in three newspapers Wednesday, a coalition of labor and civil rights organizations joined green groups in calling for Pruitt “to resign, or be removed.”
► From The Stranger — Sens. Murray, Cantwell demand Pruitt’s resignation
► From Reuters — Unions, business groups weigh in on NLRB election rules — Business-backed groups have told the NLRB that rules designed to speed up union elections infringe on the rights of companies and workers and should be scrapped, while unions and worker advocates have urged the board to keep them intact.
► In today’s Washington Post — GOP judges warn of ‘tyranny’ as they block Trump on ‘sanctuary cities’ — The president’s latest courtroom defeat offers yet another civics lesson about checks and balances for the first U.S. president who lacks any governing or military experience.
► From Politico — McConnell aims to reshape courts in case Senate flips — The Kentucky Republican is laser-focused on confirming conservative judges in what may be his last months as majority leader.
► From The Hill — GOP in retreat on ObamaCare — Less than a year after the GOP gave up on its legislative effort to repeal the law, Democrats are going on offense on this issue, attacking Republicans for their votes against it.
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
► In today’s Washington Post — The leaked Comey memos just blew up in Trump’s face (by Greg Sargent) — The memos confirm that Trump did, in fact, try to exert a level of control over his FBI director, and over an ongoing investigation into his and his cronies’ conduct, that is wildly at odds with norms dictating that law enforcement should be free of political and/or presidential interference… Importantly, the Republican response shows not a scintilla of concern about the Trump conduct that was actually documented by Comey — zero concern about Trump’s demand for his FBI director’s loyalty or his effort to influence the probe. We don’t know what special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will determine about Trump’s intent or about whether he obstructed justice. But what we do know is that these senior Republicans are not even slightly troubled by the misconduct that Comey has already documented, quite credibly.
► From NPR — Arizona teachers vote to strike, sparking first-ever statewide walkout — Teachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched a first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise — instead demanding increased school funding. The Arizona Education Association and the grassroots group the Arizona Educators United announced that teachers will walk off the job April 26.
► From NBC — Hundreds of school walkouts happening Friday — The protests come on the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School, which left 13 people dead in Littleton, Colorado, and energized the gun-control debate and became a haunting symbol of gun violence in schools. Students from more than 2,600 schools planned to hold moments of silence in honor of the Columbine victims as well as the 17 people killed during the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which prompted national protests demanding change.
► Today from the NY Times —Wells Fargo pays $1 billion to federal regulators — The fines against the bank settle investigations into its lending practices. They are the biggest bank penalties imposed under the Trump administration.
EDITOR’S NOTE — That still leaves them another $2.7 billion in savings from the Republican tax scam next year to spend on stock buybacks and executive bonuses while they close American call centers and kill jobs. Rally against Wells Fargo greed and in solidarity with Wells Fargo call center workers on Tuesday, April 24 at Seattle’s Westlake Park!
► From the AFL-CIO — JetBlue in-flight crew members overwhelmingly vote to join TWU — In-flight crew members at JetBlue overwhelmingly voted to join the Transport Workers. With more than 86% of eligible employees participating in the vote, more than two-thirds voted in favor of joining TWU.
► From HuffPost — Staff at George Soros’ foundation secures union contract — Staffers at the New York-based foundation last week ratified their first collective bargaining agreement, making salaries and work responsibilities more transparent and giving employees a new measure of job security. Despite the liberal policy leanings of some other private foundations, OSF appears to be the first in the U.S. whose workforce has union representation.
► From The Stranger — Report: Leaked restaurant industry poll shows support for raising the minimum wage — A poll funded by the restaurant industry found people overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour and many aren’t buying the industry’s talking points.
► From CNN — The ways companies silence women at work — More than 60 million Americans are bound by forced arbitration agreements, which state that an employee can’t sue the company or participate in a class action. Instead, the employee would have to bring a complaint to an arbitration forum with the company, rather than disputing the matter in front of a jury in a traditional court.
► From The Onion — Impoverished Kenyan bean picker can’t wait to see what Starbucks has to say about racial sensitivity — At press time, sources confirmed Mwangi had been beaten unconscious on the job after being inspired by Starbucks to engage his fellow farmhands in a discussion about racial injustice in all its forms.
► On this day in 1996, British R&B singer Mark Morrison had his first UK No.1 single (#2 in the U.S.) when “Return Of The Mack” started a run at the top of the charts. Like most people, what the Entire Staff of The Stand loves about this song is the beat, which was sampled from Tom Tom Club’s excellent “Genius of Love.” Enjoy, and turn it up!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.