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Strong unions → better pay ● Tax cuts exposed ● Illegal sabotage

Tuesday, August 14, 2018




► In today’s Yakima H-R — Toppenish School District employees OK contract; average raises of 18.5 percent — After weeks of sometimes contentious contract negotiations, Toppenish School District employees accepted the latest offer from administrators for a pay increase for the upcoming school year. Teachers and other staff members will receive an average of an 18.5 percent pay increase, said a member of the employee union’s bargaining team. This is up from the district’s initial offer of an average 8 percent increase.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Kelso teachers get 8.5 percent pay raise — Kelso teachers will get an 8.5 percent pay raise under a labor contract the Kelso School Board approved Monday night. The board also approved a 3.1 percent pay hike for the Kelso Principals’ Association and 8.5 percent wage increases for bus drivers, classified employees and coaches.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Has the value of having a strong union ever been more clear? The Washington Education Association, its local affiliates and community supporters fought in court and in Olympia to get this additional funding, and now they are fighting to make sure it goes where it was intended: to boost teacher pay. Does anyone think this could have happened if our teachers’ unions were weak?

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — School districts must use state funds to increase teacher pay (letter to the editor) — If our schools want to recruit and retain high quality educators, it is imperative that every district use these (McCleary) funds as they were intended.

► In today’s Olympian — K-12 pay talks are done all wrong (editorial) — To be clear, the problem is not that teachers want more pay. Many deserve significant raises. The problem is how pay is set.




► From Teamsters Local 174 — grocery home delivery drivers overwhelmingly ratify first-ever Teamster contract — After nearly a year of negotiations that led to a strike authorization vote, a group of 90 grocery home delivery drivers working for voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first-ever contract. These drivers are now full-fledged Teamsters for the first time in their careers as Safeway drivers.

► From KING 5 — Horizon worker who stole plane mentioned minimum wage from cockpit — The Horizon Airlines employee who stole a plane from Sea-Tac International Airport and crashed it in a South Sound island talked about his state of mind, his job and that he made minimum wage during his unauthorized flight Friday night. “Minimum wage, we’ll chalk it up to that. Maybe that will grease some gears a little bit with the higher-ups,” he said. Co-workers tell KING 5 working on the ramp at Horizon is an understaffed, grueling grind where employees aren’t treated with respect. Some said the work culture most likely prompted Russell to teach the bosses a lesson. “He was going to show them that they pushed a good guy to his limits,” said one worker.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Kim Schrier edges out Jason Rittereiser to face Dino Rossi in 8th CD — The November matchup will offer voters a clear contrast, pitting a Democratic newcomer in Issaquah pediatrician Kim Schrier against one of the state’s best-known Republican politicians in Rossi, who has served in the Legislature but lost three bids for higher office.




► In the NY Times — You know who the tax cuts helped? Rich people (editorial) — When Republicans were pitching a massive tax cut for corporations and wealthy families last year, they promised voters many benefits: increased investment, higher wages and a tax cut that pays for itself. Instead, corporate stock buybacks (which don’t benefit workers, who own little or no stock) have reached new heights, corporate investments have flatlined, real wages have declined, and the tax cuts have driven up the federal deficit at a stunning pace.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s sabotage of Obamacare is illegal (by Nicholas Bagley) — Donald Trump swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That includes the requirement, set forth in Article II, that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Faithfully executing the laws requires the president to act reasonably and in good faith. It does not countenance the deliberate sabotage of an act of Congress… Never in modern American history has a president so transparently aimed to destroy a piece of major legislation. What makes Trump’s sabotage especially undemocratic is that Congress has repeatedly considered repealing the law — and repeatedly declined to do so. In addition, the Supreme Court has twice sustained the Affordable Care Act in the face of major legal challenges. Trump’s attempt to destroy the law any way he can is an unconstitutional usurpation of power.

► From TPM — Drain the swamp? Amazon’s cozy and profitable relationship with the DOD — An under-the-radar $10 billion Pentagon plan to move all information to the cloud seems handmade for Amazon, revealing the company’s cozy relationship with the DOD and the accompanying business edge it has.




► From Politico — For unions, a ‘which side are you on’ moment — The combination of an antagonistic Trump administration and hostile Supreme Court has driven union members to the barricades, AFT President Randi Weingarten says. And though she acknowledges that the AFT and its allies may now be in a fight for their existence, at least they’re in the fight.

► In the NY Times — The trouble with trucking (editorial) — The economy is booming. The stock market is frothy. Corporations are earning record profits. Yet workers are getting minuscule raises that don’t make up for the rising cost of living. What gives? To understand how this disparity came to be, consider the plight of long-distance truck drivers. They spend weeks away from home, crisscrossing the country to keep store shelves stocked and the economy humming. The trucking industry complains it can’t find enough drivers. And yet the value of drivers’ paychecks just keeps falling over time.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — If Trump can tweet, players can kneel (editorial) — Players, just like any other employee in the workplace, do not forfeit their First Amendment rights while on the field. And we’ll make that case that, especially compared to staying in the locker room, dropping to one knee is a reasonably respectful method of protest.

► Today from Politico




► From the American Prospect — The meaning of labor’s win in Missouri (by Jake Rosenfeld) — What the win in Missouri has taught the broader labor movement is that a sustained, well-financed campaign can educate a largely non-union electorate about “right to work” laws, successfully, and truthfully, recasting them as anti-worker. Labor’s victory in the state also provides the wider movement with more evidence that, despite a series of setbacks in the courts and state legislatures, the public stands with it on key issues… The victory reveals growing recognition on the part of union and non-union workers of what a weakened labor movement leads to: lower wage growth, higher poverty, and, in general, a two-tiered economy decisively tilted toward the interests of the richest among us. The next step for unions and their allies is to harness this widespread support for their cause and translate it to policy victories that go beyond the symbolic. Missouri has shown the labor movement that the public is ready to join the fight.


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