Thursday, April 26, 2018
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Here’s why Kadlec caregivers are picketing
ALSO at The Stand — Providence urged to keep promises at Kadlec
► From KNKX — Drivers spar with airport taxi company over fleet reduction — Taxi drivers at Sea-Tac Airport are upset over what they’re calling a “pay-to-play scam.” The company they contract with, Eastside For Hire, has asked drivers to subsidize voluntary buyouts to try and reduce the airport fleet. The company sent a notice to drivers earlier this month giving them the option to either leave or stay and pay to compensate those who did leave. The notice said drivers who stayed would be asked to pay up to $9,000 each. The move caused drivers to hold a one-day strike last week, backed by Teamsters Local 117.
ALSO at The Stand — Eastside for Hire airport taxi drivers protest ‘pay-to-work’
► From The Oregonian — New Seasons Market isn’t living up to its brand (by Oregon Rep. Rob Nosse) — As a company, New Seasons has professed that it is important for agricultural workers to be paid appropriately or for coffee growers in other countries to be treated fairly for their labor. They support fair trade brands. They advocated for an increase in our state’s minimum wage… Yet when New Seasons’ own workers began talking about organizing into a union to improve their working conditions, New Seasons hired the Trump Hotel’s “union avoidance consultant” and, according to employees, it intimidated employees who favored having a union. This hardly seems ethical or progressive or even friendly to me.
EDITOR’S NOTE — New Seasons is expanding operations into Washington state. The company is getting ready to open its first Seattle store on May 9 in Ballard. Save the date, and make plans to join grocery workers and city leaders as they deliver a message to New Seasons that we take workers’ rights seriously here: 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9 in front of the new store at 951 NW Ballard Way (right across the street from the Post Office and Fred Meyer).
► From KUOW — For farmworkers’ kids, country air means dust, pesticides and asthma — Most people think of asthma as a city kid problem — but it turns out rural kids are just as likely to have asthma. And the children of the people who grow our food are especially vulnerable. Researchers at the University of Washington and the Yakima Valley Farm Workers’ Clinic are working on a new approach to solving the problem.
► MUST-READ from The Stranger — Evicted over $49: What happens when Seattle’s poorest tenants can’t make rent — Eviction is a destabilizing experience for anyone, but the stakes for those in public housing are particularly high. The Seattle Housing Authority and the King County Housing Authority primarily serve people making $28,800 or less for a family of four. Rent is usually set at 30 percent of income. Because of that, public housing tenants can face eviction for financial sums that appear surprisingly small but can quickly become insurmountable… For those lucky enough to sign a lease with SHA, getting kicked out can be financially disastrous. The ripple effects of eviction are particularly severe in public housing cases. Back rent, legal fees, and other charges add up quickly. One tenant who fell behind $95 ended up owing the housing authority nearly $2,000. Nonpayment of those debts can effectively lock tenants out of both private and public housing.
► From KNKX — Parents, teachers call for Kent School District superintendent to resign — One mother has started an online petition calling for the resignation of Superintendent Calvin Watts. The Kent School District has been struggling with deficits.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Potential initiative would require Legislature to ‘balance’ tax code, make wealthy pay equal share — Washington’s tax code has been ranked the most regressive in the U.S., meaning the poor pay a much higher portion of their income in taxes than the wealthy. An initiative that may be headed for the 2018 ballot would order the Legislature to equalize the tax burden by 2020. Backers of the proposal, including union leaders and outspoken venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, have a history of support for a progressive state income tax to boost what the rich pay, while easing the burden on lower-income residents.
► From The Stranger — Police group that agreed to deadly force compromise says it won’t support original ballot measure — Lawyers for the legislature and De-Escalate Washington are appealing Judge Schaller’s ruling that ordered that the original initiative, I-940, go to the voters in November. But one police group that supported the deal, the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police, has also come out and said it would fight I-940 if the appeal doesn’t flip the judge’s decision.
► In today’s NY Times — Majority of justices signal support for Trump’s travel ban — By the end of the argument, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed ready to defer to President Trump’s national security judgments and discount his campaign promises to impose a “Muslim ban.”
► In today’s NY Times — Fed officials worry the economy is too good. Workers still feel left behind. — Ann Jacks quit her job as a restaurant chef in North Carolina, started her own business and worked 80 hours a week for two years, before exhausting herself and her patience. She shut down the company and, in November, returned to her old job. It paid a dollar an hour more than it did when she left it. Jacks, who now earns $22,000 a year and said she couldn’t afford her health insurance deductible, is one of many Americans still waiting to feel the effects of an improving economy nearly a decade after the Great Recession.
► In today’s Washington Post — Ronny Jackson withdraws as Trump’s nominee to lead Veterans Affairs — President Trump’s embattled nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs withdrew from consideration Thursday amid mushrooming allegations of professional misconduct that raised questions about the White House vetting process.
► From The Hill — McMorris Rodgers seeks to tamp down unrest — Aides to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the No. 4 Republican leader, have reached out to some of the millennial GOP lawmakers who have raised complaints about the conference’s messaging and accused them of anonymously criticizing McMorris Rodgers in the press, these lawmakers said.
► In today’s NY Times — America is obsessed with the virtue of work. What about the virtue of rest? (by Elizabeth Bruenig) — Here in the United States, we already work more hours per year than our English-speaking counterparts in Britain, Canada and Australia — not to mention those enviable denizens of European social democracies, who enjoy the kind of leisure time only our highest-paid workers can afford… Many victories of the labor movement were premised on the precise notion that the majority of one’s life shouldn’t be made up of work: It was the socialist Robert Owen who championed the eight-hour workday, coining the slogan “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.” For Owen, it was important not only that workers had time to sleep after a hard day’s labor, but also that they had time to pursue their own interests — to enjoy leisure activities, cultivate their own projects, spend time with their families and so forth. After all, a life with nothing but work and sleep is akin to slavery, and not particularly dignified.
► In the NY Daily News — Columbia University graduate students go on strike over union fight — Graduate students at Columbia University began a one-week strike Tuesday right as finals preparation kicks off. The over 500 graduate students overwhelmingly voted earlier this month to walk off the job to protest the university’s decision against bargaining with the union.
► From The Economist — A study finds nearly half of jobs are vulnerable to automation — A wave of automation anxiety has hit the West. Just try typing “Will machines…” into Google. An algorithm offers to complete the sentence with differing degrees of disquiet: “…take my job?”; “…take all jobs?”; “…replace humans?”; “…take over the world?”
► In today’s Washington Post — ‘They are so underpaid’: School support staff scrape by on meager earnings — Jessica Morales gets to Prairie Queen Elementary in Oklahoma City before the bell rings. In class, she is a lifeline for recent immigrant students, translating lessons they cannot understand. Her job as a teacher assistant is more fulfilling than the one she held at a meatpacking plant, but it pays far less: $12 an hour.
► In today’s NY Times — We are Republican teachers striking in Arizona. It’s time to raise taxes. (video)
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.