Monday, August 27, 2018
► In the Seattle Times — Marijuana retailer is the state’s first to unionize — One of Washingon’s largest licensed marijuana retailers, Have a Heart, has inked a union contract with UFCW Local 21 to cover 134 workers at five locations, helping it provide employee benefits while navigating the difficult waters of federal law.
► From The Stranger — Washington pot workers unionize for the first time — “There’s been a number of false starts, where people tried to organize and got to the bargaining table but it has always fallen apart,” said UFCW 21 President Todd Crosby. “This is the first time that it’s gone all the way to a stable, solid, collective bargaining agreement.”
► In the Wenatchee World — Central Washington Hospital to close rehab center — A need for additional nursing staff in other parts of Central Washington Hospital will lead to the closure of the hospital’s 22-bed transitional care center.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Staff at this hospital are still waiting for a fair contract.
► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Work stoppage halts Highway 12 projects — Work along U.S. Highway 12 at two worksites — west of Montesano and near McCleary — has been interrupted by a heavy construction equipment operators union strike.
ALSO at The Stand — Operating Engineers Local 302 on strike in Western Wash. — UPDATE: The strike continues today. IUOE 302 reports picket actions are being well received… and are clearly communicating the resolve of the membership.”
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Strike could delay Salish Coast Elementary School’s opening day — Superintendent John Polm plans to announce on Tuesday if a construction work stoppage will delay the opening of the almost-completed Port Townsend school.
PAY OUR TEACHERS!
► In today’s Columbian — County schools, teachers reach critical week — Nearly every teachers union in Clark County has voted to strike unless pay raises are enacted by the opening day of school, most of which fall on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Teachers are fighting for double-digit raises they say are long overdue. Districts are pushing back, saying they can’t afford to sustain pay scales at the level teachers want due to the state’s formula for funding schools. Unless the impasse is resolved, as many as 80,000 students in kindergarten through the 12th grade will take an extended summer vacation.
ALSO at The Stand — With 93% rejecting contract offer, Longview teachers strike — UPDATE: The Longview teachers strike continues. On Monday night, the Longview School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the R.A. Long High School cafeteria. All union members, parents and community supporters are urged to attend and show your solidarity with the teachers demanding real raises.
► From KUOW — Contract crunch time for schools in Seattle and other districts — Everett Public Schools and the union announced the deal Sunday. The union is set to present the contract to members on Tuesday. That’s also the day that teachers in the Seattle district are set to vote on whether to strike. And at least five teachers unions in the region have authorized strikes if they don’t see higher salaries. Some big districts, like Kent and Highline, are among them.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Some deals are done, but threat of teacher strikes remains — Public school teachers in several Snohomish County districts are preparing to ratify new contracts with large pay hikes this week. At the same time, hundreds of their peers are still pursuing agreements and making plans to strike if they cannot secure one before the scheduled start of classes after Labor Day.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Pasco schools and teachers reach tentative deal — The Pasco School District has reached a tentative agreement with the Pasco teachers union on pay raises for this year. Details were not released pending a general membership meeting when the union’s 1,200 members will approve or reject the agreement.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Mead schools, teachers union reach tentative contract — Mead School District officials and the district’s teachers union have reached a tentative contract agreement, with union members scheduled to vote on it Monday evening.
► In the Columbian — Public Employment Relations Commission receives 21 mediation requests — With so many districts bargaining this summer, are there enough mediators and negotiators to go around?
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Legislators left details of teacher pay to others (editorial) — Legislators are out from under the scrutiny of the courts on school funding, but they still owe teachers, district officials, parents and students more clarity and equity.
► From Politico — Judge strikes down Trump’s federal workforce executive orders — A federal judge on Saturday struck down most of President Donald Trump’s executive orders limiting the power of federal employee unions. The ruling, from the D.C. Circuit, is a victory for the multiple labor unions that sued to block the executive orders on the grounds that the president lacked authority to make the changes without approval from Congress.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — AFGE applauds ruling against Trump’s federal employee orders — “President Trump’s illegal action was a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public-sector employees across this country who keep our federal government running every single day,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “We are heartened by the judge’s ruling and by the huge outpouring of support shown to federal workers by lawmakers from both parties, fellow union workers, and compassionate citizens across the country.”
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. Mexico agree to preliminary NAFTA deal — The United States and Mexico have reached agreement to revise key portions of the 24-year-old NAFTA, a crucial step toward revamping a trade pact that has appeared on the brink of collapse during the past year of negotiations… The agreement centers on rules governing the automobile industry, resolving a big source of friction, but leaves aside other contentious issues that affect all three countries.
► From HuffPost — The GOP’s new pre-cxisting conditions promise is a fraud (by Jeffrey Young) — The debut of another phony bill Friday is the latest installment in Republicans’ long-running campaign to make the health care system worse for anyone who has ever been sick while loudly proclaiming they are doing the opposite. Insurance companies wouldn’t be allowed to refuse to offer coverage to someone who, for example, has a history of cancer or is pregnant. But they could sell someone a policy that doesn’t cover cancer treatments or the birth of a child.
► In the LA Times — Red-state voters look to expand Medicaid this fall, despite Trump’s enduring hostility to Obamacare — Even as President Trump launches new attacks on the Affordable Care Act, voters in four deep red states are poised this fall to expand access to government Medicaid coverage through the 2010 law, often called Obamacare.
► From The Hill — Illinois governor vetoes bill to raise minimum salary for teachers — Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-Ill.) vetoed a bill Sunday that would have raised the minimum salary for teachers from $9,000 to $40,000 within five years.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is the man behind the Janus case. (Rauner was the original plaintiff before a lower court ruled he had no standing and they found Mark Janus to stand in.) In pushing Janus, Rauner claimed to be representing the interests of public employees and their “freedom” to pay nothing for union representation. If you haven’t figured it out by now, these right-wingers, the Freedom Foundation and the rest of the billionaire-funded think tanks trying to get union members to become Janus freeloaders, just want public employees to have the “freedom” to earn less money and get fewer benefits.
► From CNN — Walt Disney World workers land deal for $15 minimum wage — Disney reached a deal with unions that would hike the minimum wage for Walt Disney World Resort workers to $15 an hour by 2021, signaling an end to contract negotiations that have dragged on for nearly a year. The agreement, which covers thousands of park and resort employees, would increase starting wages by 50%. Workers would also get the $1,000 bonuses they were promised earlier this year.
► In today’s Washington Post — John McCain’s single most poignant paragraph on Trumpism — In the last year of his life, McCain willingly molded himself as the keeper of the flame of what he believed was the true Republican Party. To McCain, that party was everything that Trump was not, and McCain seemed to feel it was his duty to be extremely vocal about that. He urged his Senate colleagues to remember that they are “not his subordinates.” He was one of the deciding votes to end Republicans’ efforts to repeal Obamacare and tried to tank Trump’s most recent pick to lead the CIA.
And yet, of the wealth of words we have from McCain to illustrate how much he disagreed with the direction Trump was taking the Republican Party and the nation, perhaps no paragraph stands out as much as this one below. It’s from McCain’s last memoir, “The Restless Wave,” where the senator, battling brain cancer, reflects on the life he led and the world he would soon be leaving. To him, those two moments had clashed with the rise of Trump into an uncertain future:
“The moral values and integrity of our nation, and the long, difficult, fraught history of our efforts to uphold them at home and abroad, are the test of every American generation. Will we act in this world with respect for our founding conviction that all people have equal dignity in the eyes of God and should be accorded the same respect by the laws and governments of men? That is the most important question history ever asks of us.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.