Monday, May 21, 2018
► From Bloomberg — Supreme Court says employers can bar worker class-action lawsuits — A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers can force workers to use individual arbitration instead of class-action lawsuits to press legal claims. The decision potentially limits the rights of tens of millions of employees. The justices, voting 5-4 along ideological lines, said for the first time Monday that employers can enforce arbitration agreements signed by workers, even if those accords bar group claims. The majority rejected contentions that federal labor law guarantees workers the right to join forces in pressing claims. The ruling builds on previous Supreme Court decisions that let companies channel disputes with consumers and other businesses into arbitration. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. Ginsburg called the ruling “egregiously wrong.” “The inevitable result of today’s decision will be the underenforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers,” Ginsburg wrote.
► From The Hill — This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure — When, or if, the farm bill is revived will likely depend on if Ryan and his leadership team are able to meet the demands from the House Freedom Caucus, who broke rank after they didn’t get a vote on a conservative immigration bill before the farm bill was taken up.
ALSO at The Stand — Farm bill cutting food assistance FAILS; state’s GOP reps vote yes
► In the PS Business Journal — Boeing adds managers, engineers to new mid-market airplane program as 797 effort accelerates — Several top managers and engineers have joined Boeing’s new mid-market airplane (NMA) program. The additions of key talent to the NMA team pushes Boeing several steps closer to launching the new airplane. Washington state lawmakers and unions have been working to win development and manufacturing work for the potential aircraft, dubbed the 797. Boeing has discussed demand with more than 50 airlines and set a possible launch date of 2025.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — City of Everett and firefighters union sign new contract — It awards a 3 percent cost-of-living increase in 2018 and 2019. The firefighters will pay 5 percent of their medical insurance costs in 2018, the result of earlier arbitration. That will go up to 10 percent in 2019, which is what most city employees pay.
► In today’s Columbian — BNSF setting records in Southwest Washington, systemwide — BNSF Railway shipments were at an all-time high during the first quarter of this year, the company reported, surpassing its record set in 2006. BNSF, which is also moving record numbers of trains through Southwest Washington, is adding employees.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle businesses strike back against head tax with campaign for referendum — The effort by employers to undo the city’s newly passed business tax opens a new phase in the contentious battle over Seattle’s response to the homelessness crisis. Deadline for 17,632 signatures is June 15.
► In the Corvallis Gazette Times — Getting organized: Oregon State faculty members take steps to form a union — Faculty members at Oregon State University could soon have their own labor union. Since mid-February, organizers have been meeting individually with faculty members to discuss the matter and asking them to sign cards authorizing United Academics of Oregon State University to negotiate on their behalf.
► In the Seattle Times — Former State Republican Party chair Susan Hutchison challenging Sen. Maria Cantwell — Susan Hutchison filed late Friday afternoon, just before the candidate-filing deadline, immediately becoming the best-known of more than two-dozen challengers in the race. In a state where Trump received just 38 percent of the vote in 2016, Hutchison as GOP chair strongly defended the president — even from attacks by fellow Republicans.
► In the Kitsap Sun — Port Orchard Republican Jan Angel won’t seek re-election to state Senate — State Sen. Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard) withdrew her bid for re-election as the candidate filing period ended Friday afternoon. Angel, 71, threw her support behind Marty McClendon for the 26th LD seat she’s held since 2013. Emily Randall, a Democrat from Bremerton, and Bill Scheidler, an independent from Port Orchard, are also running for the seat.
EDITOR’S NOTE — WSLC delegates voted to endorse Emily Randall.
► In today’s Olympian — A special legislative session to improve school safety? A top Republican says yes. — On Friday, Centralia state Sen. John Braun urged Gov. Jay Inslee to order a special session before the start of the 2018-19 school year so the Legislature can at least consider bills aimed at preventing mass shootings. Braun’s proposal was met coolly by Inslee’s office, which has been frustrated at the lack of support for a bill to raise the minimum age to buy semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21.
► From The Onion — ‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens — SANTA FE, TX—At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Norpac blasts bill to pause tariffs on Canadian newsprint — Ten U.S. senators have backed a bill that would pause border taxes on Canadian newsprint imports enacted earlier this year at the request of the Norpac paper mill in Longview.
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. suspends tariffs on China, stoking fears of a loss of leverage — A temporary cease-fire has calmed fears of a trade war, but the Trump administration now faces criticism it is backing down from striking a tough deal
► In the WSJ — Trump trade chief says ‘nowhere near’ a deal on NAFTA — President Trump’s trade chief said Thursday the U.S. is “nowhere near” a deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement, effectively brushing aside an offer from House Speaker Paul Ryan for more time to conclude a deal that could be considered in Congress this year.
► In The Guardian — ‘Roll up your sleeves’: At a dark time for U.S. unions, this woman sees hope — As many in the U.S. labor movement wait nervously for the supreme court to deliver a judgment in a vital union case that some fear could deliver a body blow to American unions, one woman appears unfazed. Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the 3 million strong National Education Association (NEA) and head of the biggest union in America, believes the threat posed by Janus vs AFSCME – which could strip unions of a major source of income – will not set back the labor movement long-term. “You just roll up your sleeves and get people to join together,” said García, who pointed to America’s changing demographics and politics – with more empowered women and people of color – as a long-term driver that would see U.S. labor unions gain in strength, not retreat.
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