Thursday, June 14, 2018
NO JANUS DECISION TODAY — The U.S. Supreme Court released opinions today, but not in the Janus v. AFSCME case. The next possible date for this announcement will be Monday, June 18. Stay tuned and get ready!
► From the NW Labor Press — A union is still the best option for workers (by Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain) — The war on the American worker appears to escalate every day. The U.S. Supreme Court will deliver a decision on Janus v. AFSCME that many believe will upend almost five decades of precedent and eliminate fair share fees for all public-sector workers. Federal workers who already operate in a right-to-work environment are being weakened further by recent presidential executive orders.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — 95 members of the jail support services unit to get pay raises (alternate, more accurate, headline: Following “practice picket” this week, Snohomish County Council imposes its final offer on workers denied contract for 3½ years) — Snohomish County moved Wednesday to break an almost four-year impasse in negotiations with a union representing non-uniformed support staff at the jail, though the contract remains in dispute.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Picketing Snohomish Jail workers haven’t had contract since 2014
► In today’s (Vancouver) Columbian — C-Tran, union agree on contract — After nearly 10 months without a labor agreement, C-Tran and the ATU 757 have agreed to a new 4-year contract. “We’re really pleased,” said Andrew Riley, communications coordinator for the union. “This is probably the best contract our operators at C-Tran have ever seen.”
► In today’s Wenatchee World — PUD employee dies in Rock Island Dam accident — A 40-year-old Chelan County PUD employee was killed Wednesday at the Rock Island Dam when the employee was hit by a piece of steel from the spillway.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Study: Traces of radioactive contamination found in homes of six Hanford workers — The levels are low, but if some microparticles are inhaled or ingested by nuclear-site workers or their families, the radioactive dust is a “potential source of internal radiation exposure,” the study’s author writes.
► From the NW Labor Press — Western States OPEIU Pension moves to cut benefits — A union pension plan for office workers is applying to the U.S. Treasury Department for permission to cut retiree benefits up to 30 percent in order to halt a slide to insolvency. The fund covers 7,400 current and former members of nine Western OPEIU locals, mostly clerical staff at labor unions and defunct or no-longer-unionized trucking companies.
► In the Columbia Basin Herald — Port of Moses Lake considers a bid for Boeing’s next jetliner — As Boeing considers a replacement for the out-of-production 757 jetliner, the Port of Moses Lake is considering a bid to be the place where Boeing builds its new jet, the New Midsize Airplane. Port Executive Director Jeffrey Bishop says the port has the ability to create a complete proposal in-house to build the aircraft here. The port has long contemplated a facility to build small or medium-sized passenger jets.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Washington #1 state (by far) to build new Boeing jet, study says (June 7, 2018)
► From AP — Washington unemployment rate at 4.7 percent — Washington’s jobless rate dipped slightly as the state added 8,500 jobs last month. The largest job gains last month were seen in retail trade and construction, manufacturing. and leisure and hospitality. The biggest reductions were seen in transportation, warehousing and utilities.
EDITOR’S NOTE — That rising minimum wage is a real job killer.
► From AP — Lawmaker resigns chairmanship following investigation — Rep. David Sawyer has resigned as the chairman of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee a day after an outside investigation that he violated the chamber’s policies on harassment, decorum and ethics.
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 — McMorris Rodgers: DOJ wrong not to defend ACA’s pre-existing condition protections — Her announcement on Wednesday followed criticism from her election opponent, Democrat Lisa Brown, that McMorris Rodgers isn’t doing enough to protect patients with pre-existing conditions in the aftermath of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to stop defending the Affordable Care Act against a lawsuit. Republican leaders of 20 states are seeking to invalidate the nation’s health care law.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Actions speak louder than words.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — State lawmakers ask Herrera Beutler to defend Norpac at trade hearing — Eight Southwest Washington lawmakers are urging U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) to represent Norpac at a trade hearing next month on controversial tariffs levied against Canadian papermakers. A sudden spike in the cost of newsprint has thrust the Longview paper mill into the national spotlight and into a conflict with the newspaper industry, which consumes millions of tons of newsprint.
► From The Stranger — Rep. Jayapal demands a hearing on Sessions’s barbaric family separation policy — In an impassioned speech before the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) said she wants to haul in Attorney General Jeff Sessions and have him testify on the Trump administration’s decision to keep unaccompanied migrant children in cages on military bases and to jail men and women who are seeking asylum.
► In today’s NY Times — Conservative religious leaders are denouncing Trump immigration policies — Conservative religious leaders who have long preached about the sanctity of the family are now issuing sharp rebukes of the Trump administration for immigration policies that tear families apart or leave them in danger.
► In today’s LA Times — ‘Prison-like’ migrant youth shelter is understaffed, unequipped for Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, insider says — Antar Davidson quit his job as a youth care worker at the Tucson shelter, saying he became disillusioned after the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy began sending the shelter not only children who had crossed the border unaccompanied by adults, but also those separated from their parents. The caseload is straining a facility he described as understaffed and unequipped to deal with children experiencing trauma. During his time at the shelter, children were running away, screaming, throwing furniture and attempting suicide, he said.
► From AFGE — House Republicans to Trump: Recent executive orders undermine the law — In a stunning show of support for federal employees and their access to rights in the workplace, 21 House Republicans delivered a letter to President Trump expressing concern “that the recent Executive Orders embark upon a path that will undo many of the longstanding principles protected by law, which establish checks and balances not only in the federal workplace, but for the American public.”
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Trump moves to silence federal employees (May 29, 2018)
► From The Hill — Unions sue Trump over orders making it easier to fire federal workers — A coalition of 13 unions and the Federal Workers Alliance filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging three executive orders President Trump issued last month to make it easier to fire federal employees. In a 32-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the unions argue Trump’s orders violate the due process and collective bargaining rights of workers employed by the federal government.
► In today’s Washington Post — Ignoring warning signs, GOP continues rebranding itself as the party of Trump — The Republican Party appears united now not by fealty to ideas or policies but to a man, and ambitious GOP candidates agree: Success in the primaries demands the full support of the president. But many experts and some GOP politicians see peril in the general elections this November.
► Today’s News in Photos from The Onion — Sweating, suitcase-clutching Michael Cohen standing on roof of Trump Tower starting to think helicopter never coming to take him away
► In the Washington Post — A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S. — The economy’s booming. Some states have raised minimum wages. But even with recent wage growth for the lowest-paid workers, there is still nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time minimum wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
► From HuffPost — U.S. companies shelter 40 percent of foreign profits, study finds — Multinational companies based in the U.S. and elsewhere hide close to 40 percent of their foreign profits in overseas tax havens, according to a new study, and the massive U.S. corporate tax cut is unlikely to change that. American companies are among the most aggressive in keeping billions of dollars in profits sheltered where it can’t be taxed by the U.S., and the so-called profit-shifting is the highest for U.S.-based multinationals, according to the study by economists at the University of Copenhagen and the University of California in Berkeley. In 2015, the study said, a total of more than $600 billion in profits were shifted to tax havens.
► From AP — Fed chief ‘puzzled’ that despite good economy, few workers getting raises — Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, called it a “puzzle.” And then, as if measuring his words, he said he wasn’t prepared to call it a “mystery.” Puzzle or mystery, the source of the consternation is this: The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to a multi-decade low of 3.8 percent. A shortage of qualified people to hire has frustrated many employers who have complained that they can’t fill job openings. In theory, those two factors should combine to unleash a wave of robust pay raises for everyone from construction crews, teachers, accountants and hotel clerks to engineers, janitors, butchers, baristas and even summer interns. It hasn’t happened.
► From TPM — Kentucky governor threatens to strip Medicaid from 500,000 if court strikes work rules — Attorneys for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) will tell a federal court this Friday that that the governor plans to take his ball and go home if he can’t get his way on Medicaid work requirements, premiums, and other restrictions.
► In today’s Detroit News — New UAW president brings a financial background — Gary Jones, a regional director from Missouri steeped in the finances of the United Auto Workers, will be the new president of the union when he and newly elected officers are installed Thursday. Jones, director of Region 5 in the west and southwest United States, succeeds Dennis Williams, who will retire Thursday following a single term as president.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking tomorrow off to attend our eldest child’s graduation from Western Washington University. We couldn’t be more proud of our son. So today, we offer up Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 spoken word song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” This hypothetical commencement speech written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich dispenses all the wisdom any graduate really needs. “Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.” Congratulations, Jackson!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.