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Reject New Seasons | Bernie backs unions | Our ‘horrifying’ VP

Thursday, May 10, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — New Seasons greeted by curious shoppers and protesters as it opens Ballard store —  Labor and community groups criticized New Seasons for its labor practices and the gentrification that often follows the opening of high-end grocers. Marty Hernandez, a New Seasons worker from Portland involved in a union organizing effort, took to a stage set up in the back of a pickup to implore the company to improve worker treatment. “Just live up to your core principles,” Hernandez said.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Rally on May 9 in Seattle to reject New Seasons Market

► In the Seattle PI — Community rejects New Seasons Market for union busting and anti-LGBT connections (by Charlette LeFevre) — A union rally in front of the Ballard New Season Market grand opening outnumbered customers as dozens of groups were calling attention and awareness to reject New Season’s substandard treatment of employees, hiring of a union busting company and its funding of anti-LGBT legislation.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Mayor Durkan not satisfied with Seattle head-tax plan, still at work on deal — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is still working on a deal with City Council members pushing a new tax on large employers and with business leaders who argue the tax for subsidized housing and homeless services would be misguided. In its current form, the proposed legislation “doesn’t meet the requirements I have as mayor,” she said… Union home-health, hotel and supermarket workers are advocating for the measure, while union construction workers are opposing it over worries it could slow development.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Labor-backed group asks Washington state AG Bob Ferguson to charge Amazon with felony over head-tax threat — Working Washington compared Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to “a subprime mob boss lording it over a company town” and cited the state law making it illegal to threaten politicians and other public employees with bodily harm or other damages, including financial harm, in an attempt to sway a vote or other official action.

► From The Stranger — Should the workers who deliver Amazon packages make the minimum wage? Seattle is looking into it. — Seattle officials are reviewing whether Amazon Flex, the app-based program that contracts with workers to get packages to customers’ doors, should be subject to the city’s labor laws.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Six states back Lighthouse’s federal lawsuit over coal terminal — The legal battle over the proposed Millennium coal export terminal in Longview widened into a much broader national issue Tuesday.





► In today’s News Tribune — House Democrats suspend Tacoma lawmaker from committee post after evidence from ‘credible allegations’ — Rep. David Sawyer’s suspension follows a February story by The News Tribune, The Olympian and public radio’s Northwest News Network, which detailed accusations from eight women that Washington state Rep. Sawyer engaged in behavior from inappropriate to harassing.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Eyman to spend $500K of his own money for a $30 car tab fee — Initiative salesman Tim Eyman said he is draining $500,000 from an investment account earmarked for retirement and using it to hire a professional signature-gathering firm to help get the proposed $30 car tab measure in front of voters.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Bad news all around. Another crappy Eyman initiative that threatens funding for desperately needed (and job-creating) infrastructure projects. And he’ll have to postpone his retirement.

► In today’s Columbian — Moeller says he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease — Jim Moeller said that he has Parkinson’s disease but isn’t dropping his bid for Clark County Council. Moeller, 62, said that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about a month ago.




► From The Guardian — Bernie Sanders introduces Senate bill protecting employees fired for union organizing — Sanders introduced the Workplace Democracy Act in the Senate on Wednesday. It would dramatically increase penalties for employers that fire workers illegally for union organizing and streamline the process for seeking legal action against employers. The WDA would also ban so-called “right-to-work” laws and allow workers to form unions by merely showing a majority of signatures from their co-workers. The bill has already gained the support of potential 2020 presidential candidates such as Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Senate sponsors of the Workplace Democracy Act also include Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), but as of yet, neither of Washington’s senators.

► In today’s Washington Post — Bernie Sanders has a new plan to raise wages: Save the unions — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced a plan Wednesday that he says will lift the nation’s lagging wages by restoring power to unions and protecting workers in the gig economy — both top items on the labor movement’s wish list.

► From Bloomberg — Democrats take aim at the gig economy — Leading Democrats are proposing a labor law overhaul that could extend collective bargaining rights to huge swaths of the gig economy, the latest sign of gathering blowback for companies committed to maximizing profits by denying workers rights and benefits often associated with regular employment.

► From Newsweek — Trump administration moves to expel 300,000 immigrants, despite warnings from senior diplomats — As many as 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians in the U.S. are facing deportation after the Trump administration ended protections allowing them to live and work in the U.S. legally, despite warnings from senior U.S. diplomats that it could cause regional instability and prompt a surge in illegal immigration.

► In today’s LA Times — What kind of country would tear apart and lock up families fleeing violence in their homelands? Ours. (editorial) — When a desperate family fleeing violence in their homeland arrives at the border, what kind of heartless and inhumane nation would separate the parents from the children, prosecute the parents for crossing into the country illegally and send the kids off to a youth detention center? Ours.

► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP plan to tie food stamps to job training is not ‘reform’ (by Rep. Suzan DelBene) — Once I reviewed the text of the recently released Farm Bill, it became obvious that the intent wasn’t to give people the skills they need to obtain higher-paying jobs that provide a livable wage. It was simply another attempt to take away nutrition assistance from millions of children and working families and call it “reform.”

► In the Washington Post — Negotiations over NAFTA are bogging down ahead of a major deadline — Negotiations over a new North American trade deal have hit a major snag, leaving White House officials increasingly uncertain of their ability to hit their May 18 deadline for securing congressional approval of a new deal before year’s end.

► In the Washington Post — One out of 10 Social Security offices has closed since 2000. Seniors and politicians want to know why. — The Social Security Administration plans to close its Arlington, Va. field office and one of its Baltimore locations in June, part of a series of shutdowns across the country that activists and political leaders say is causing major difficulties for the elderly, people with disabilities and other beneficiaries. The most recent closures, which have not been publicly announced, come on the heels of the shutdown of offices in Milwaukee and Chicago in the past year, which elected officials also protested to no avail… The number of Social Security office workers has dropped by 3,500 since 2010, and under the funding level proposed by the Trump administration, another 1,000 jobs would be lost, according to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.




► In today’s Las Vegas Sun — 50,000 Las Vegas casino workers to vote on strike over contract — The union representing 50,000 Las Vegas casino employees whose contracts will expire at the end of the month announced Wednesday the workers are set to vote on whether to strike, a move that could cripple the city.

► From CNN — North Carolina teachers will be the next to walk out. Here’s what they want. — The nationwide fight for more school funding has now swept North Carolina, where teachers are planning to skip school and confront lawmakers next week. On May 16 — when the Legislature comes back in session — hundreds of schools will be closed to students while teachers join the March for Students and Rally for Respect in Raleigh. Unlike similar protests in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, teachers are planning to use a personal day and rally for just one day at the state Capitol. But that doesn’t mean the fight will end on May 16.

► From Shondaland — This is how you really appreciate teachers (by AFT President Randi Weingarten) — When it comes to appreciating educators, please heed an old expression: Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. As the head of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, I know first-hand that educators go into our profession because they want to make a difference in students’ lives. They need real investments in teaching and learning, like books, supplies, and smaller class sizes; a voice in what happens in their schools; and latitude in their classrooms so they can tailor their teaching to meet the needs of their students.

► From The Nation — Teachers are leading the revolt against austerity — In less than three months, rank-and-file teachers and educational support staff in five states — West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona — have turned the entire country into their classroom. They haven’t just pushed for — and won — better pay and working conditions for themselves. They’ve also mounted a direct challenge to decades of bipartisan tax cuts for corporations, helping us all understand what austerity means. And by championing a raft of policy proposals to redistribute wealth away from the 1 percent and back to the working and middle-class, they’ve shown us how austerity can be defeated. As Emily Comer, a middle-school Spanish teacher who was a leader in the strikes in West Virginia, put it, “The phase we are in now — to win a real, progressive solution to the health-insurance crisis — forces us to dream bigger. This isn’t just about our healthcare plan. It’s about rebalancing the power of workers and corporations in our state.”




► We’re not big fans of Mr. Will, but… in today’s Washington Post — Trump is no longer the worst person in government (by George Will) — Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing… There will be negligible legislating by the next Congress, so ballots cast this November will be most important as validations or repudiations of the harmonizing voices of Trump, Pence, Arpaio and the like. Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.

EDITOR’S NOTE — We had to look it up. “Oleaginous” means 1) rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily or greasy; and 2) exaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; obsequious.



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