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UW strike vote | Supermajorities vs. schools | Tough talk on trade

Monday, April 30, 2018




► In the Seattle Times — Pay, sexual-harassment issues at stake as UW grad students vote to authorize strike — The contract expires on Monday. Under Washington state law, the terms and conditions of an expired contract carry forward for up to a year while efforts are made to agree to a new contract. Union officials say that of the union’s 4,500 members, 2,630 cast a ballot, and 96 percent voted in favor of authorizing the union’s leadership to call for a strike, if necessary. Andrea Canini, vice president of UAW 4121 and an anthropology graduate student, said one of the big sticking points is that the university lacks a mechanism by which individuals can report and prevent institutionalized discrimination and harassment.

ALSO at The Stand — 96% of UW’s Academic Student Employees vote to OK strike

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Millennium backers still confident despite web of legal challenges to coal terminal — Despite a growing tangle of litigation, backers of Millennium Bulk Terminals’ $680 million coal terminal in Longview are still optimistic that the project eventually will get built. In fact, the parent company behind the terminal is pursuing a new strategy to circumvent state regulation and force the project through.

► In the Oregonian — Uber, Lyft drivers deserve a voice (by Tom Chamberlain and Owen Christofferson) — In any business, the people who do the work deserve to have a voice in their working conditions. Drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft are no different.  By working with allies in the labor movement and in our communities, drivers are standing together to change the direction of this emerging industry. Earlier this month in Seattle we heard drivers speak up, which urged Seattle City Council to take a closer look at how companies like Uber and Lyft operate.  In Portland, we need similar action from Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland City Council to assess the conditions for app-based drivers and their passengers.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Before #MeToo, Washington state law laid groundwork for sexual-harassment protections — Washington state is considered a leader in extending protections for workers facing sexual harassment, because of court rulings that helped establish employer liability.

► In the News Tribune — State must end supremely bad supermajority for school bonds (editorial) — Last week’s defeat of a $220 million school bond dealt a demoralizing blow to families and educators in the Peninsula School District, trapping them in an uncertain future of overcrowded, potentially unsafe conditions. To win 59-percent support in the April 24 special election was no small feat, especially in a year when property tax sticker shock carried extra voltage. Nine percentage points above a simple majority should add up to a comfortable victory margin, at least under normal principles of democracy and fair play. Unfortunately, democracy and fair play in Washington are usurped by a “supermajority” rule, which requires capital bonds to receive a 60-percent affirmative vote. Basically, it gives outsized power to a minority of voters to thwart some tax increases. Washington needs to bury this relic of the Great Depression once and for all. It won’t be fast and it won’t be easy because the only route is by constitutional amendment. But legislators should make it a priority heading into 2019.

► In the (Everett) Herald — The work that remains for state’s ‘paramount duty’ (editorial) — State lawmakers took their responsibility seriously in increasing support for K-12 education. Their next tasks are to make the same ample provision for the classrooms and facilities where learning takes place and to reform a tax system that is making that paramount duty difficult to fulfill.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Who will pay for all those mandated new ballot drop boxes? — Snohomish and other counties want to be reimbursed by the state, whose lawmakers required them.




► In today’s NY Times — China prepares a hard-line stance on Trump’s trade demands — China will refuse to discuss President Trump’s two toughest trade demands when American negotiators arrive in Beijing this week, people involved in Chinese policymaking say, potentially forcing Washington to escalate the dispute or back down. The Chinese government is publicly calling for flexibility on both sides. But senior Beijing officials do not plan to discuss the Trump administration’s two biggest demands: a mandatory $100 billion cut in America’s $375 billion annual trade deficit with China and curbs on Beijing’s $300 billion plan to bankroll the country’s industrial upgrade into advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors, electric cars and commercial aircraft. The reason: Beijing feels its economy has become big enough and resilient enough to stand up to the United States.

► In today’s NY Times — U.S. allies brace for trade war as tariff negotiations stall — With only days left before the exemptions expire and punitive tariffs take effect, it’s dawning on foreign leaders that decades of warm relations with the United States carry little weight with a president dismissive of diplomatic norms and hostile toward the ground rules of international trade.

► In the Spokesman-Review — When it comes to budgets, bottom lines don’t lie (by Shawn Vestal) — Budgets, people in politics like to say, are moral documents. They reveal values clearly when the rhetoric doesn’t. Which is why the proposed changes to the food-stamp program, in the context of the recent tax cuts, provides a bright, clear X-ray of current Congressional values: More for those with the most. Less for those with the least.

► In the (Everett) Herald — U.S. House chaplain, a Snohomish County native, forced out — Paul Ryan’s office won’t say why the Rev. Patrick Conroy was asked to resign. It would be the first forced ouster in the history of the House. Democrats — and Conroy himself — have cited a prayer he offered last fall that called for fairness as the House debated tax cuts as a reason for GOP discontent with his performance.

► From Reuters — Democrats lose ground with millennials: poll — Enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning among millennials as its candidates head into the crucial midterm congressional elections, according to the Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll. The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall.

► In the Seattle Times — President Trump, drop your plans to privatize the VA (by Patrick Pilcher) — The debate over the proper function of government rages on now as it has throughout our history. If we were to outsource veteran medical services to the private, for-profit sector, it would fragment health care that is now consolidated within the VA system and shift the focus from simply caring for veterans to making a profit off veterans’ care… The historic precedence of a grateful nation providing assistance to war veterans is an integral part of our national consciousness. We have made a promise to veterans that in exchange for risking their lives to defend our democracy, we will take care of them. By maintaining a viable, government-run and veteran-focused system such as the VA, we keep our promise to those who have served.

► From Politico — ‘Who the hell is this person?’ Trump’s Mar-a-Lago pal stymies VA project — A West Palm Beach doctor’s ties to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago social circle have enabled him to hold up the biggest health information technology project in history — the transformation of the VA’s digital records system.




► From The Guardian — The teachers’ strikes prove it: the media is finally seeing America’s new labor landscape (by Mike Elk) — Fifty thousand teachers dressed in red closed down Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday – the latest in a series of strikes by educators across America. The media is abuzz with the strikes, finally waking up to the giant forces that seem to be reshaping the labor landscape in America.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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