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American Dream Coordinator ● Child torture ● Wreck of a man

Wednesday, July 18, 2018




► In South Sound Business — Built to Last: Mark P. Martinez — The title on Mark P. Martinez’s business card reads, “American Dream Coordinator.” That might sound like puffery, but Martinez is sincere in his belief that most people can find meaningful, well-paying employment in the building and construction industry. “I use the title as a conversation opener to describe what I do,” Martinez, 60, explained. “Namely, to fight for fair wages and benefits, a safe work environment, fairness and equity, the ability for hard-working people to retire in dignity, and the opportunity to introduce young people to a career path unknown to most.” Martinez is executive secretary of the Pierce County Building Trades Council in Tacoma, which represents approximately 4,000 workers in Pierce County, and president of the Washington Building Trades Council in Olympia, which represents approximately 50,000 people statewide.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle tops the nation in tower cranes for third straight year as construction reaches new peak — Seattle first led the nation in cranes in 2016. Now the city has more cranes than at any point since Rider Levett Bucknall began counting them in 2014.

► In today’s Columbian —  Washougal School District, union at odds on talks — School districts and teachers unions continue to work on new contracts this summer, and billions of dollars in state money are hanging over the increasingly heated negotiations, most recently in Washougal.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing working intensely to firm up plans for proposed ‘797’ — Behind the scenes, advanced work is underway to ensure Boeing can develop the jet, build it and sell it and get a return on a roughly $10 billion investment.

ALSO at The Stand — Washington #1 state (by far) to build new Boeing jet, study says




► From HuffPost — Drinking toilet water, widespread abuse: Report details ‘torture’ for child detainees — The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law filed a report in a federal court in Los Angeles on Monday with more than 200 accounts from migrant children and their parents, detailing the horrific conditions they face in Border Patrol stations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities and detention centers.

► From TPM — Trump’s immigration policies are getting trashed by federal courts — The Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies — including the forced separation of parents and children and the denial of parole to asylum-seekers without criminal records — are running into a buzzsaw in federal courtrooms across the country.

► In today’s Washington Post — Social Security recipients could be collateral damage of Trump’s workforce orders — Trump’s recent executive orders are a serious assault on federal labor organizations, but it is taxpayers who could become collateral damage. Consider the Social Security Administration (SSA), which deals more directly with clients than most. It is on the front lines of the Trump-union clash, because officials there are enforcing his commands more aggressively than management at many agencies. Three orders issued in May sharply cut the time available for union officials to represent the workforce, restricted their ability to bargain collectively and sped the firing of federal employees. Another order, issued last week, would diminish administrative law judges, most of whom decide Social Security disputes involving recipients.

ALSO at The Stand — SSA violating worker rights to execute Trump orders: AFGE

► From the WSJ — Labor Department removes rule forcing employers to disclose anti-union deliberations — The Labor Department is wiping an Obama-era rule off the books that sought to give labor unions and workers more insight into talks employers have with legal counsel about thwarting union organizing campaigns.




► In today’s Washington Post — This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man (by George Will) — Americans elected a president who — this is a safe surmise — knew that he had more to fear from making his tax returns public than from keeping them secret. The most innocent inference is that for decades he has depended on an American weakness, susceptibility to the tacky charisma of wealth, which would evaporate when his tax returns revealed that he has always lied about his wealth, too. A more ominous explanation might be that his redundantly demonstrated incompetence as a businessman tumbled him into unsavory financial dependencies on Russians. A still more sinister explanation might be that the Russians have something else, something worse, to keep him compliant.

► In today’s NY Times — A besieged Trump says he misspoke on Russian election meddling — Under unrelenting pressure from congressional Republicans, his own advisers and his allies on Fox News, President Trump abruptly reversed course on Tuesday and claimed he had misspoken during a news conference with President Vladimir V. Putin about whether Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump says he got only one word wrong. Please decide for yourself. (editorial)




► From Vox — How teachers unions can survive (by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Ethan Porter) — The Supreme Court’s recent Janus v. AFSCME decision, which gave public service employees the right to stop paying any dues or fees to unions while still receiving union-negotiated benefits, delivered a devastating blow to the labor movement. Our results suggest that public sector unions are most likely to be successful not when they stress the political “voice” that unions provide, nor when they stress narrow job protections. Rather, unions looking to energize their members need to provide clear benefits that members value related to their identity as professional employees — benefits that those members can’t get elsewhere and that members have to pay dues to get.


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