Wednesday, September 5, 2018
► In the Spokesman-Review — Unions remain strong and motivated this Labor Day (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson) — In this era of extreme income inequality and climate disruption, what all these workers know is that no law, Supreme Court decision, politician or right-wing funded campaigns will stop workers from coming together for a fair and just workplace or for economic, social and climate justice in our communities.
► In the (Everett) Herald — What workers can celebrate and keep an eye on (by Jeff Johnson) — On Labor Day, celebrate recent wins for unions and workers, but be wary of so-called “right to work” efforts.
► In the Olympian — Despite attacks, unions remain strong and hopeful (by Jeff Johnson) — In spite of the recent Supreme Court decision in Janus v AFSCME, unions and the labor movement are healthy, growing, and working with community partners to strengthen our economy.
ALSO at The Stand — Labor, community are tackling our challenges (by Jeff Johnson)
► MUST-READ in the Seattle Times — In labor-friendly Seattle, unions push for new territory — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the head of the largest U.S. labor organization, vows that someday “we will go in to organize Amazon,” and talks about automation, the Janus decision and more as unions flex their muscle in Seattle.
► In the (Longview Daily News — Amid strikes, union members gather for Labor Day picnic — The picket lines in Longview may have been empty on Monday, but many union members still gathered together on Labor Day for the annual picnic held by the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council. Shawn Nyman, labor council president, said Labor Day and the picnic are very timely this year because of local and national labor issues.
PAY OUR TEACHERS!
► Today from KUOW — Teachers hit picket lines around Puget Sound — Teachers in Tukwila, Puyallup, Stanwood and Tumwater went on strike Wednesday morning. Outside Foster High School in Tukwila at 7 a.m., teachers wore red shirts and carried signs. People driving by honked in support.
► In today’s Daily News — Longview school canceled Wednesday; contract negotiations continue — Longview school students will miss a fifth day of class and negotiators were no closer to breaking a deadlock in the teachers strike despite another long day of bargaining Tuesday. The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council sanctioned the strikes by teachers, secretaries and district classified employees. This means no union workers will cross the picket lines.
EDITOR’S NOTE — SEIU 925 reports:
The Longview School District is ordering 12-month employees to report to work, effective immediately. We believe this order is WRONG on so many levels and that we should stand strong in solidarity with our teachers and until the District negotiates a fair contract for teachers and bargains in good faith with us and our Longview secretaries.
However, each member must make their own decision, based on their own circumstances. Standing strong on the picket line is not without risk: the District will consider employees who do not report to work as absent without leave, and may take disciplinary action against them. SEIU 925 will fight any action the District takes against Longview members.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma and Puyallup teachers vote to strike; first day of school on hold — Teachers in Tacoma and Puyallup voted Tuesday evening to strike, delaying the start of school for about 52,000 South Sound students. Votes by teacher unions in the two districts passed by 97 percent and 98 percent, respectively. Puyallup teachers will hit the streets Wednesday. Tacoma teachers will break out their picket signs Thursday.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Teacher contract talks: Centralia, Puyallup, Tukwila start strikes; Tacoma close behind
► In the (Everett) Herald — No school Wednesday; Stanwood teacher strike continues
► In the Columbian — Negotiations continue in Evergreen, Battle Ground, Washougal — The chips are falling in most teacher salary negotiations around Clark County, but a few — and notable — districts remain at the picket lines.
► In the Columbian — Vancouver teachers overwhelmingly ratify new contract; school starts Wednesday — The Vancouver Education Association voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve a contract that includes higher wages for teachers and schedule changes for students. The contract includes raises of about 12.5 percent in the first year, as well as pay for four optional work days.
► In the Columbian — Camas, Hockinson, Ridgefield teachers applaud contracts — While Camas (12.5% raises) avoided a strike Monday night, two of the county’s six strikes ended, as teachers in Ridgefield (16%) and Hockinson (14.5%) also voted to ratify new contract agreements.
► In the Skagit Valley Herald — Teachers in three districts approve contracts — With teachers in three Skagit County public school districts ratifying contracts Tuesday, all teachers in the county’s seven districts are now operating with active contracts for the upcoming school year. While not all districts have released numbers, increases in teacher salary in Skagit County vary, including a 27 percent increase in La Conner
► In the Kitsap Sun — Teachers ink agreements on salaries in most Kitsap, North Mason districts
► From KNKX — Expert says Washington teacher negotiations may help unions prove their value after Janus — Bradley Marianno of the University of Nevada Las Vegas said that as many teachers’ unions reach agreements for sizeable pay increases, it’s a good chance to remind members what the union is doing for them. Lynne Dodson, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, agrees: “It is a good reminder in this time of Janus about how important the union is and the teachers coming together in order to negotiate for a fair share, because they wouldn’t be getting the increases that they’re getting in some districts if they weren’t in unions.”
► From IUOE 302 — Operating Engineers Local 302 remains on strike — Here’s the latest from the union: “We met again today (Tuesday) with the AGC with negligible forward progress. We are going to continue moving forward with our new Master Labor Agreement of Western Washington for those contractors that want to put our members back to work. For any contractors interested in this option please see the post from last Thursday. We will be posting our MLAWW contractor list tomorrow and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
► In today’s Tro-City Herald — Radioactive contamination found in workers’ car filters, says Hanford watchdog — Its latest report found “modest but detectable level(s)” of radioactive material that had collected on the air filters of three vehicles belonging to Hanford workers.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Mayor Condon wants to add 10 more officers to Spokane’s police force — If Mayor David Condon gets his way, Spokane will hire another 10 police officers next year and retain 48 firefighters currently paid for through grants that expire later next year.
► In the Yakima H-R — Is Toppenish outsourcing everything? (letter) — I find it sad, and I am angry that Toppenish is considering contracting out our dispatch at the police department; they closed the jail, closed the court (around 4 jobs lost) and now dispatch?
► From HuffPost — Trump has hurt American workers, charges AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka — As for workers, “unfortunately, to date, the things that he has done to hurt workers outpace what he’s done to help workers,” said Trumka, who represents more more than 12.5 million people. Though unemployment is down, wages have also been down “since the first of the year,” he said. “Gas prices have been up since the first year. So overall, workers aren’t doing as well,” Trumka said.
► From AP — On Labor Day, Trump slams union leader who criticized him — President Donald Trump started his Labor Day with an attack on a top union leader, lashing out after criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
► In today’s NY Times — Kavanaugh portrayed as a hopeless partisan as hearings on Supreme Court nominee open — Senate Democrats tore into President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee on Tuesday, painting Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as a narrow-minded partisan as the opening day of his confirmation hearings verged on pandemonium. Dozens of screaming protesters were hauled out of the hearing room in handcuffs.
► In today’s Washington Post — Kavanaugh hearing offers an ‘unprecedented’ display of the Senate’s institutional decline — “Any claim that this has been a thorough, transparent process is downright Orwellian,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who was elected in 1974 and has been involved in 19 Supreme Court fights. “This is the most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent vetting for any Supreme Court nominee I have ever seen, and I have seen more of those than any person serving in the Senate today. What is being done here is unprecedented. … I have never seen so much at stake with a single seat, and I’ve also never seen such a dangerous rush to fill it.”
TAKE A STAND! — Tell the Senate: Stop Brett Kavanaugh!
► From Fortune — A new NAFTA without Canada? Unions, tech push back against Trump’s Mexico-only deal — President Trump may be insisting that the U.S. will be “better off” without a North American free trade deal that includes Canada, but American unions do not agree—and neither does the tech industry. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Sunday that Canada needs to be on board, alongside the U.S. and Mexico, due to existing economic integration across the continent.
► From Yahoo News — Rep. Denny Heck: Trump collusion with Russia ‘is well established’ — President Trump’s collusion with Russia “is hiding in plain sight,” a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee said. “I know of no other way to interpret then-candidate Trump openly, publicly encouraging Russia to hack a computer system,” said Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.)
► In today’s NY Times — Ayanna Pressley upsets Capuano in Massachusetts House race — Ayanna Pressley upended the Massachusetts political order on Tuesday, scoring a stunning upset of 10-term Representative Michael Capuano and positioning herself to become the first African-American woman to represent the state in Congress. Addressing jubilant supporters at a union hall in Dorchester Tuesday night, Pressley said: “It seems like change is on the way.”
► From HuffPost — What the Bernie Sanders-Amazon welfare fight is really about — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to introduce legislation Wednesday that would tax companies like Walmart and Amazon for every dollar their workers receive in government food or health care benefits. The bill isn’t really about collecting funds for food stamps or Medicaid ― it’s about making a spectacle of the low pay and bad working conditions at profitable businesses. “A company like Amazon, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person in the world, who is worth about $150 billion, whose wealth is increasing by $225 million every single day ― the American people should not have to subsidize Mr. Bezos,” Sanders told HuffPost in an interview. “He should pay his workers a living wage.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.