Tuesday, June 12, 2018
► In today’s Seattle Times — King County Metro paying bus drivers another $8.3 million for time spent on safety checks, paperwork — Bus drivers will receive an additional $8.3 million in back pay to cover three years of routine safety checks and paperwork beyond their usual shift time, in an agreement between King County Metro Transit and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 587. A total of 3,728 full-time and part-time operators will get between $500 and $3,708 each, for tasks performed from April 2015 to March 2018. This $8.3 million is in addition to a $6.4 million fund created last fall for 2,403 operators, to resolve a federal order. Local 587 President Michael Shea called the figure an equitable settlement. “ATU appreciates that our employees are being properly compensated for the work that they are doing.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Mukilteo teachers authorize strike and pack another meeting — Amid testy salary talks, Mukilteo teachers Monday took a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Marci Larsen and gave a bargaining committee authority to call a strike if there is no tentative agreement to consider by Aug. 15. After the votes, teachers brought their contract beef to school district headquarters. For the third time in a month, they jammed into a meeting room to urge the board to renegotiate the salary portion of their contract.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Longview school secretaries’ union demands pay raise — A standing-room-only audience Monday night demanded that Longview school secretaries get pay raises that their union says are mandated by the state. The Longview Classified Public Employees Association is seeking to reopen the secretaries’ labor contract, which runs through 2019.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle City Council to consider repeal of head tax less than a month after approving it — “We heard you,” says a statement from Mayor Jenny Durkan and seven of the nine City Council members, announcing the plan to reconsider the head tax that has spurred controversy and a repeal effort by businesses.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Businesses get a win on head tax, but solution to Seattle homelessness crisis still elusive — With Seattle’s head tax apparently dead, businesses that opposed it signaled a desire to re-engage in search of solutions to the worsening homelessness crisis. Advocates for homeless people say more funding is needed to address the issue.
► From KNKX — Janitors have one of the highest on-the-job injury rates of any workers — Janitors and custodians have some of the highest on-the-job injury rates of any occupation, ranking higher than heavy equipment operators and tractor trailer truck drivers. Although not usually deadly, the injuries among people who clean for a living can leave the workers with chronic and lifelong pain. At the University of Washington, there’s an effort to reduce the injury rate.
► In today’s News Tribune — Investigator: Tacoma lawmaker violated harassment, ethics policy — House Democrats on Monday released a summary of an independent investigation that found state Rep. David Sawyer, D-Tacoma, broke ethics and harassment policy with a wide range of behavior, including inappropriate text messages to staff and romantically pursuing a coworker who made it clear she wasn’t interested. In a statement Monday, Sawyer did not dispute the findings of the investigator or House officials, saying it is “clear that I messed up and that it’s time for me to acknowledge some personal mistakes.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — At the WSLC’s political endorsement convention in May, union delegates from across the state voted not only to endorse Sawyer’s Democratic challenger Melanie Morgan in the fall election, but also to actively OPPOSE Sawyer. Find out more about Morgan here.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State must replace hundreds more culverts to save salmon — Washington taxpayers face a bill of some $2.4 billion to repair hundreds of culverts over the next 11 years as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday. Divided 4-4 with Justice Anthony Kennedy not participating, the tie lets stand a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the state was violating a series of tribal treaties with culverts that block salmon coming from and going to spawning grounds.
► From KNKX — Evergreen State College is cutting jobs because of projected enrollment drop — Evergreen is making cuts, including 20 staff positions, in an effort to bring costs in line with revenue. “They’re positions all over the college – administrative positions ranging from library to media services to budgeters,” a spokesman says, adding that Evergreen is also cutting 24 faculty positions. Eleven of those are permanent faculty positions that are open but won’t be filled and the rest are adjunct faculty.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Net neutrality ends nationwide, remains in Washington — Federal net neutrality regulations went away Monday, but internet users across the country may not notice any immediate changes. In Washington, a new state law says they shouldn’t, period.
► From In These Times — Boeing workers in S.C. have finally unionized. But Trump’s NLRB could kibosh it. — On May 31, technicians at the Boeing factory in North Charleston, S.C. voted to unionize and join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. However, Boeing has appealed the vote and Donald Trump’s GOP-controlled National Labor Relations Board could reverse the decision by ruling that workers had no right to hold the election to begin with.
► In The Stranger — Jayapal introduces bill to help states fund universal health care — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) officially introduced The State-Based Universal Health Care Act. In essence, the bill would allow states or even entire regions to redirect federal health care funds to pay for “state-based universal health care systems.” Passing the bill is a necessary step for politicians and organizations pursuing legislative efforts to bring a single-payer health care system to Washington state.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Jayapal unveils universal health care bill
► In today’s Washington Post — Pass a health-care law, GOP. I dare you. (by Catherine Rampell) — Unable to fully kill the ACA legislatively, Republicans turned to other, quieter ways to sabotage it… And now the craziest sabotage scheme of all: Trump’s Justice Department urged a federal court to throw out Obamacare’s protections for people with preexisting health issues. Republican lawmakers, once hysterical over Obama’s supposed “tyranny,” should be apoplectic that our current president is effectively trying to undermine Congress’s lawmaking authority. Instead, most Republican lawmakers are keeping their heads down. Presumably because they know this is their best shot at destroying as much of Obamacare as possible while simultaneously dodging voters’ furor for that same destruction. Cowards, all.
► In today’s NY Times — The health care stalkers (editorial) — Add this latest move to a growing list of similar efforts and it becomes clear where the Trump administration’s priorities lie: not in helping more Americans get good health care, not even in supporting the will of the people, but in dismantling what some political opponents built, just for the sake of doing so.
► In today’s NY Times — Domestic abuse is not grounds for asylum, Sessions says — Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed a decision by a court that had given asylum to a woman from El Salvador who had been raped and abused by her husband.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle mayor, others condemn Trump administration crackdown on asylum seekers entering U.S. without permission — The practice of separating children from their parents, which has been criticized by the United Nations, is “an insult to American family values,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a letter signed by more than 20 other mayors to the U.S. attorney general and the head of Homeland Security.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Just to be clear, if your husband rapes and beats you — and threatens to kill you and your children — and you show up at America’s border seeking asylum, it is the policy of the U.S. government to take away your children and imprison you before eventually sending you back home. In Trump’s America, we arrest your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free — and take away their kids.
► From Politico — GOP leaders try to cut deals to stop DACA vote — House Republican leaders, eager to stop an immigration showdown in their chamber, have begun cutting deals with lawmakers who might help moderate Republicans trigger bipartisan votes to protect Dreamers. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy phoned Rep. Dennis Ross on Monday and offered the Florida Republican what he wanted in hopes of keeping him from joining the moderates’ discharge petition: the promise of a vote on a guest worker program before August recess.
► In today’s NY Times — As ties with allies fray over trade, Congressional Republicans back Trump — As President Trump and his advisers take aim at some of America’s closest allies amid tense disputes over trade, congressional Republicans largely stood by the president on Monday, insisting they were not worried about a possible deterioration of relations with the West.
► From The Hill — Advocates fear court decision on Ohio could pave the way for more voter purges — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Ohio practice of purging voters from the state’s rolls, leaving voting rights advocates afraid that other states could end registration for hundreds of thousands of voters who sit out as little as one federal election.
► In today’s N Times — Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made millions in 2017 — Nearly 80 transactions totaled $147 million in 2017, financial disclosures showed. Ethics experts have said the activity could raise questions of possible conflicts of interest.
► From Workday Minnesota — 6.8 million government workers represented by a union could be affected by Janus decision — As union workers await a Supreme Court decisions in Janus v. AFSCME, the Economic Policy Institute published a paper that examines the demographics of the 6.8 million state and local government workers who are represented by a union. Key findings include: A majority (58 percent) of workers covered by a collective bargaining contract in state and local government are women. African Americans, Latinos, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders make up one-third of unionized state and local government workers.
ALSO at The Stand — Building Strong Unions: Get ready for the Janus decision!
► From HuffPost — The Las Vegas union that learned to beat the House — For 65 years Nevada has been a “right-to-work” state, one where union-represented workers can opt out of paying dues, even though the union is still legally obligated to bargain on their behalf. Yet the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has found a way to thrive in Nevada. The union now represents 57,000 workers at the majority of casinos and hotels on the strip and all but one casino downtown. Even though the right-to-work law means none of those workers can be required to support the union through their paychecks, more than 95 percent of those workers choose to pay full union dues anyway, keeping the union on strong financial footing. That is an astounding rate by any measure. The union just recently flexed its muscle in contract talks involving 50,000 workers at 34 properties.
► From Business Insider — A Tesla worker testifies that the electric-car maker stopped him from organizing a union — A Tesla Inc employee organizing a union was asked by a supervisor and company security guards to leave the factory after handing out pro-union flyers, the worker said at an NLRB hearing on Monday over whether Tesla had violated federal safeguards for employee activity.
► From TruthOut — Unions forge partnerships with communities for the common good — This strategy — inviting everyone, whether a union member, community resident, activist, religious leader, parent, school child or elder — to strategize, prioritize, set an agenda and support one another’s efforts is now known as “bargaining for the common good.” In the case of teachers’ unions, and the spate of recent strikes taking place around the country, teachers have not only recognized that they should be paid more but have also zeroed in on what students need to flourish — a focus that has included alleviating hunger, poverty, racism, sexism, discrimination against LGBTQ and disabled students, gun violence and excessive policing, and punitive school discipline.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.