Work safety at Darigold ● The beginning of Trump’s end? ● Shareholders vs. America

Monday, August 20, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — Darigold says it’s working to improve dairy industry’s safety record — In February 2015, a worker on a dairy farm of a Darigold farmer-owner in Mabton, Yakima County, drowned when he drove a front loader into a manure lagoon. That year, farmworkers on Washington dairies had a serious-injury rate 41 percent higher than the state’s agricultural sector as a whole. Two more workers died on dairies in 2016 and 2017, according to data from the state Department of Labor and Industries. The United Farm Workers of America has been pushing the dairy industry to improve safety and other working conditions for years. Its efforts include a long-running legal battle with a Darigold farmer-owner that’s headed to trial in Pasco this fall, and a campaign focused on Darigold, the state’s dairy giant. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to solve any issues with Darigold,” said Indira Trejo, a Tacoma-based UFW organizer focused on the dairy industry.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Darigold refuses to accept petitions on dairy safety

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Strapped Everett Transit wants to double fares, cut routes — The recommendation to cut bus service by 7 percent and increase fares didn’t sit well with riders who attended the open house.




► In today’s Columbian — Ridgefield teachers vote to approve strike to start Aug. 29 — Members of the Ridgefield Education Association overwhelmingly voted to approve a strike Friday night. The strike would start Aug. 29, the first scheduled day of classes. Until then, the union and district will continue to hold bargaining sessions to try to work out a new teacher contract.

► In today’s Columbian — Salary standoff sizzles in Clark County schools — In the heat and haze, hundreds of Evergreen Public Schools teachers protested outside district administrative offices and stormed the school board meeting. It was the same story across town at the Vancouver Public Schools’ board meeting, where an estimated 400 teachers demonstrated in favor of increased wages. It’s a scene that’s played out at school board meetings across Clark County all summer.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — No promises: New money, rules complicate teacher bargaining — These next 10 days are critical in determining whether thousands of students in Snohomish County will begin the new school year on time. With teacher contracts expiring at midnight Aug. 31 in nearly every district in the county, negotiations on new collective bargaining agreements are intensifying.




► From KUOW — Inslee let cabinet official stay on the job two months after resignation — Last March, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the resignation of Employment Security Department head Dale Peinecke. A workplace misconduct investigation had found that over the five years Peinecke worked in state government, he made some staff uncomfortable and was “vulnerable to claims of harassment with sexual overtones.” As it turned out, Peinecke continued to run his agency while working remotely for two more months. He then took paid leave until the end of June when he turned 65 — and could retire.

► From KUOW — Rep. Matt Manweller sues Central Washington University after firing — Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg), who is seeking a fourth term in the state legislature, is suing Central Washington University after the school fired the legislator following a workplace conduct investigation. Manweller was a tenured professor of political science before he was fired.




► In the NY Times — Why cover up Brett Kavanaugh’s past? (editorial) — For the first time in modern history, Republicans are refusing to request a Supreme Court nominee’s relevant papers.

► In The Guardian — Too many Americans die on the job. Are things about to get worse? (by Gabriel Winant) — Who remembers Alphonse Maddin? Maddin came briefly to national attention in spring of 2017, after Donald Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Maddin was a truck driver and the central character in one of Gorsuch’s worst opinions as a circuit court judge. His story is one of the rare prominent examples of a vast, hidden world of American injustice: danger in the workplace… His case illustrates how a U.S. Supreme Court that is dominated by right-wing justices will have a devastating effect on worker’s rights and protections.

► From Politico — Liberals crushed in SCOTUS spending war — Conservatives are vastly outspending liberals and targeting vulnerable senators in the fight to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) says: “It’s just a sad state of affairs when a judicial nomination becomes a political campaign. I’m seeing myself more on TV than I did last year when I ran.”

► In the Washington Post — White House drafts more cancellations of clearances as Trump aims to punish critics — President Trump wants to sign off on “most if not all” of the documents revoking the security clearances, said one senior White House official, who indicated that communications aides have discussed the optimum times to release them as a distraction during unfavorable news cycles.

► In today’s Washington Post — The most intense and dangerous period of the Trump presidency is about to begin (by Paul Waldman) — Over the past year and a half, life in politics has often felt like an ongoing circus in which the madness never ceases. But for all that, the next 11 weeks could be the most intense and consequential of Donald Trump’s presidency.

► From Politico — Guiliani: ‘Truth isn’t truth’ — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Sunday claimed “truth isn’t truth” when trying to explain why the president should not testify for special counsel Robert Mueller for fear of being trapped into a lie that could lead to a perjury charge.

► In today’s Washington Post — America is slouching toward autocracy (by F.J. Dionne) — Slowly, Trump has accustomed us to behavior that, at any other recent time and with just about any other politician, would in all probability have been career-ending. We know what a military coup looks like. But a slow-motion dismantling of rules, norms and expectations can be more insidious because we don’t even notice what’s happening to us.





► From Bloomberg Law — Chicago teachers to ban pension’s private prison investments — Pension trustees want investment managers to also “prudently liquidate public market holdings in private prison companies as soon as reasonably practical and in accordance with the managers’ fiduciary duties.” The decision by the fund’s trustees comes after the AFT released a report urging pensions to divest from any company that operates or owns prisons.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — AFT report IDs companies that profit from family separations

► From Vox — America’s prisoners are going on strike in at least 17 states — Incarcerated Americans are often forced to work for cents an hour. So they’re launching what could be their biggest protest ever.

► In the NY Times — Drug companies fight state efforts to rein in costs — Without waiting for Congress or the Trump administration, states have passed many laws to hold down drug prices, but drag manufacturers are challenging those laws in court.




► In the LA Times — It’s time to put the shareholder value myth in the grave. America will be better off. (by Michael Hiltzik) — The single most pernicious idea in modern American finance is that the corporation exists to “maximize shareholder wealth.” As the mantra has evolved since it was declared by conservative economist Milton Friedman in 1970, it has come to mean “maximize shareholder wealth to the exclusion of everything else.” The harvest has been stagnating worker wages, squeezed suppliers, noxious government economic policies, and the steady flow of corporate income to the top 1%. It’s long past time to bury this bad idea in the grave… Corporations won’t change their view of their responsibilities on their own. States don’t have the power to force change, since any business can incorporate in the most indulgent state, which at the moment is Delaware. Something like a federal charter is imperative, to remind corporations that the advantages they get from government via incorporation, including tax breaks and limited legal liability, don’t come for free — they need to be repaid through service to the community.


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