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State contracts ratified ● Justice recused ● Amazon’s shame

Tuesday, October 2, 2018




► From WFSE — Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME members ratify contracts — “The hard work of our bargaining teams, and advocacy of our members resulted in historic gains in our 2019-2021 contracts,” said Amy Spiegel, WFSE Director of Negotiations. “We are stronger together.” WFSE’s General Government contract included across-the-board raises of 6 percent over two years and other gains.

► In today’s Seattle Times — UW labor union ratifies contract after tense negotiations — The largest employees union at the University of Washington ratified a two-year contract last week, but the exact wage increase will depend on whether the university can get more funding from the Legislature. After stopping traffic, staging walkouts and protesting in the office of UW President Ana Mari Cauce over the past few months, 93 percent of SEIU Local 925 voted to ratify the final contract offer from the university.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sea-Tac Airport service workers to protest lack of health-care coverage Tuesday — SEIU 6 service workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport it will hold a rally on Tuesday because the workers lack health insurance. The demonstration will be held in coordination with workers at 40 other airports in 13 countries, the union said.

► From KNKX — Sterling Harders takes over as president of SEIU 775 — Harders takes the reins from founding president David Rolf, who came up against a term limit. She started off as an organizer with the local union 14 years ago, and she went on to lead the field campaign for Sea-Tac’s $15/hour minimum wage initiative.

► In today’s News Tribune — Man ends month-long hunger strike at immigration detention center in Tacoma, ICE says — A man held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma has ended his hunger strike, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He reportedly refused meals for a month to protest conditions there, and his immigration case.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle will require businesses to let workers pay for transit with pretax wages — For a minimum-wage employee in Seattle, buying a monthly $100 transit pass with pretax wages means saving $236 per year, according to the City Council.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Uptick in voter registration as deadline nears — Efforts to increase the number of registered voters ahead of the midterm election have met with some success around Snohomish County… The deadline to register to vote online or by mail is Oct. 8 for anyone who wants to participate in the November election. That’s also the last day for voters to update information such as name or address.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Click here to register online or to check your existing registration for accuracy.

► In today’s Columbian — Carolyn Long endorsed by Barack Obama — Carolyn Long, a Democrat running for the 3rd Congressional District seat, has earned a high-profile endorsement from former President Barack Obama. His latest endorsements also included fellow Washington Democrats Lisa Brown and Kim Schrier, running in the 5th and 8th districts, respectively. “I’m proud to endorse even more Democratic candidates who aren’t just running against something, but for something — to expand opportunity for all of us and to restore dignity, honor, and compassion to public service,” Obama said. “They deserve your vote.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Columbian has also endorsed Long, calling her the “superior candidate.”




► In today’s Washington Post — Labor reserves crucial judgment on NAFTA 2.0 — Labor leaders say the final deal will need to do more to protect workers to win their support. Without that, the Trump team could be hard-pressed to earn sufficient Democratic votes on Capitol Hill to ratify the pact — a task that will grow both more difficult and more urgent if the party captures one or both chambers of Congress in the midterms.

ALSO at The Stand — NAFTA 2018: Devil’s in the unknown details (by Lynne Dodson)

► In today’s Washington Post — Analysts say Trump may be overly optimistic on new North American trade deal — To the degree that it could drive growth, the deal would do so by removing the cloud of uncertainty that Trump has created by unsettling global trade, some economists said. That climate of doubt may have held back investments — so the new deal could perhaps add a tenth of a percentage point to the economy’s growth rate next year, said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank.




► In today’s News Tribune — Investigations against Tim Eyman, others strain PDC’s budget — Complicated campaign-finance investigations against initiative promoter Tim Eyman and others are straining the budget of Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission.




► In today’s NY Times — All the ways a Justice Kavanaugh would have to recuse himself (by Lawrence Tribe) — His intemperate personal attacks on members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and his partisan tirades against what he derided as a conspiracy of liberal political enemies guilty of a “calculated and orchestrated political hit” do more than simply display a strikingly injudicious temperament. They disqualify him from participating in a wide range of the cases that may come before the Supreme Court: cases involving individuals or groups that Judge Kavanaugh has now singled out, under oath and in front of the entire nation, as implacable adversaries.

► From The Onion — Nation urged to be extra-sensitive to trauma of men reliving not getting something

► From Social Security Works — Andrew Saul is unfit to lead the Social Security Administration — SSW Executive Director Alex Lawson: “Like so many of Donald Trump’s nominees, Andrew Saul is utterly unqualified for the position to which he has been nominated. He has no background in Social Security whatsoever. He did, however, serve on the board of the right-wing Manhattan Institute which has consistently been extremely hostile to Social Security, including publishing articles advocating for drastic cuts to benefits.”

► From TPM — Lack of overseers leaves Social Security, Medicare without independent accountability — Key posts overseeing the financial health of Social Security and Medicare have been vacant for more than three years, leaving the programs without independent accountability in the face of dire predictions about approaching insolvency. With Washington corroded by partisanship and consumed by political crises, gridlock has become the norm and hundreds of senior government jobs remain unfilled. For beneficiaries and taxpayers the lack of “public trustees” for Social Security and Medicare means a loss of outside supervision over bedrock middle-class programs.




► In today’s Washington Post — After facing criticism, Amazon announces it will boost minimum wage to $15 for all workers — Amazon announced Tuesday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all employees, a move that comes after the tech giant faced harsh criticism for how much it pays its workers. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has lashed out at Amazon recently, saying the company does not pay a “living wage” and leaves some dependent on safety-net programs such as food stamps and Medicaid. Amazon also said it would lobby for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 for a decade.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t forget that Amazon is aggressively fighting its employees’ attempts to join together and negotiate a fair return for their work. With a union, they could demand fair pay on their own without relying on the public to shame their company into granting raises.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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