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UW’s laundry layoffs ● Fixing Western State ● R.I.P., Roy

Friday, November 16, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — UW will shutter Mount Baker laundry, putting nearly 100 employees out of work — UW Medicine has cited budget shortfalls in deciding to close its Mount Baker laundry facility. The union representing laundry workers (WFSE) says the closure will harm the employees, most of whom are immigrants and people of color.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Join effort to save UW laundry workers’ jobs (April 10)

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles paraeducator strike expected to continue today — Among those striking is Julie Davis, who has served as a paraeducator for 21 years. Paraeducators, who she said are required to have a two-year degree or pass a paraeducator equivalency test, work in the trenches alongside teachers teaching some of the most vulnerable students. Paraeducators are among the lowest-paid employees in the Port Angeles School District. Base pay for a paraeducator with 20 years of experience is $19.55 per hour, $0.62 more per hour than a custodian just starting the job. An entry level paraeducator earns $15.68 per hour, $2.95 less than an entry level custodian. “We’re just trying to reach parity with the other classified staff,” she said. “After 21 years of experience in the district I should at least have that.”

► From the WEA — Port Angeles teachers honor paraeducators on strike line — “We believe it’s important that educators in this community stand together and show we are united,” said Eric Pickens, president of the Port Angeles Education Association. “The district can choose to resolve this tomorrow, or they can continue to stall and drag out negotiations. It’s time to get this settled.”

► In the Seattle Weekly — The backstage blues: Riggers complain of Unfair Labor Practices — In an effort to gain greater protections backstage, 70 riggers and stagehands employed by the Arizona-based event-management company who voted to unionize in 2015 with IATSE, are at a standstill in contract negotiations with Rhino Staging. In response, riggers have emerged from behind the stage to protest outside Washington concert venues this fall, with their next action planned for Nov. 17 outside of the Tacoma Dome at Fleetwood Mac’s concert.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 2 Hanford whistleblowers sue. They say they lost their jobs for raising safety concerns. — The company building the Hanford vitrification plant is defending itself in federal court against two former employers who said they lost their jobs after raising concerns about the plant’s safety.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Tariffs costing Washington consumers and exporters, according to anti-tariff campaign — Washington farmers and other businesses that export their goods have seen a drop in demand as other countries retaliated with new or higher tariffs of their own on American products. In all, those new or higher tariffs totaled about $103 million more in 2018 than what Washington products faced a year ago, according to statistics compiled for a campaign called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sound Transit board approves new contract, 11% raise for CEO Peter Rogoff — Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff was offered a three-year contract renewal and an 11 percent raise Thursday — to $365,000 a year — as board members called him the right person to steer its massive expansion program.

► In the Aug. 17 Seattle Times — A $550-per-hour coach is helping Sound Transit’s chief get along with his employees  — Sound Transit is paying a management coach $550 per hour to help Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff get along better with his employees. The sessions are part of the “leadership-development plan” that elected officials on the transit agency’s 18-member board required March 1 after members disclosed that Rogoff underwent internal investigation of alleged profanity, verbal aggression and sexism toward agency staff.

► In the NW Labor Press — Retired union welder gives $500,000 to Shriners Hospital — More than 30 years after retiring, a working man who found success as a union welder is giving back in a very big way. Duke Mitchell — a member of United Association of Plumbers and Fitters Local 290 — gave $500,000 to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The donation was made Nov. 5 at Local 290’s Springfield. Ore. training center, with several retired union brothers in attendance.




UPDATES on the closest races (labor-endorsed in bold):

26th LD Senate — Emily Randall 50.06% (34,606), Marty McClendon 49.94% (34,518)

42nd LD Senate — Doug Ericksen 50.04 (36,200), Pinky Vargas 49.96 (36,142)

42nd LD House #1 — Luanne Van Werven 50.07 (36,105), Justin Boneau 49.93 (36,010)

See all of the latest legislative election results.

► From The Stranger — Maybe there wasn’t a blue wave washing across the country, but there were big wins in Washington state — Democrats will gain at least two seats in the State Senate and seven or eight seats in the State House. So the new Democratic majority will be 27-22 in the State Senate and 56-42 in the State House, and those are minimum numbers. This will transform Washington state government, where many decisions that matter a lot to all of us get made.

► From Reuters — Florida officials order hand recount in tight Senate race

► From — Ohio Democrats nearly match Republicans in Statehouse votes, but will remain in the deep minority — In Ohio’s elections, the GOP won 73 of the 116 Statehouse races. But the Republicans scored their wins while collecting barely more than 50 percent of the total vote. In congressional races, Republicans won 75 percent of the 16 seats with just 52 percent of the overall vote. These are two fresh examples of how skillfully gerrymandered legislative districts can sway the balance of power.

► And speaking of Ohio, in today’s NY Times — Why the perfect red-state Democrat lost (by Alec MacGillis) — Taylor Sappington is exactly the kind of candidate his party should want in Ohio. But he couldn’t get union support.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing hit with what may be first U.S. suit over Lion Air crash — Boeing has been sued in what may be the first U.S. claim tied to the crash of Lion Air Flight 610, which nose-dived into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta Oct. 29. H. Irianto, the father of Dr. Rio Nanda Pratama, an Indonesian man who was among 189 killed in the disaster, sued Boeing on Wednesday in state court in Chicago.




► In today’s Seattle Times — $800M for a new Western State Hospital? Washington ponders replacement amid mental-health-system woes — DSHS has requested $800 million from the state to build a new psychiatric facility on Western State Hospital’s existing campus for patients coming from the criminal justice system. The agency says that trying to bring the hospital up to current code would cost more than $200 million.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Career and technical education is win-win for students, job creators (by Chris Reykdal and Ray Conner) — As a wave of Washington’s manufacturing workforce prepares for retirement, there are not enough students in the pipeline to fill those good-paying industry jobs.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Apprenticeships are barely mentioned in this column, and two words you won’t at all in this column: unions and labor.




► In today’s Washington Post — Hands off the special counsel, Mr. President (editorial) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is wrong to dismiss the danger of an unstable presidency… Congressional Republicans appear not to have learned the lessons from last week’s elections. They lost the House. They gained fewer seats in the Senate than they could have without a Trump-fueled voter revolt. They had a historically favorable Senate electoral map and a robust economy, but their spineless appeasement of Trump proved unpopular. More of the same will not save them — either from further electoral defeat or from the judgment of history.

► In today’s Washington Post — GOP leaders aim to avert shutdown over wall funding, but Trump makes no promises — President Trump did not commit Thursday to avoiding a partial government shutdown next month if lawmakers don’t give him money to build a border wall, raising the potential for a high-stakes budget battle as the GOP prepares to lose its grip on Congress.

► From Bloomberg — Pelosi has union support in bid for House speaker — The AFL-CIO and a growing list of labor unions — including the UFCW, UAW and the Steelworkers — are supporting Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) bid for House speaker.

► In the NY Times — Trump’s tax cut was supposed to change corporate behavior. Here’s what happened. — Nearly a year after the tax cut, economic growth has accelerated. Wage growth has not. Companies are buying back stock and business investment is a mixed bag.

► In today’s Washington Post — Judge hands CNN victory in its bid to restore Jim Acosta’s White House press pass




► In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Steelworkers approve 4-year labor pact with U.S. Steel — After about four months of contentious negotiations, the United Steelworkers announced on Tuesday a new four-year labor contract covering about 16,000 U.S. Steel workers. The contract, which takes effect immediately, includes a 14 percent wage boost over four years and maintains the union’s health care coverage — a reflection of the American steel industry’s rebound over the last year.

► From SB Nation — Unionized athletes need to stop crossing picket lines and start supporting fellow workers (by Marc Normandin) — It should have been an easy opportunity to show solidarity. It should have been a friendly, comradely way to unite against oppressive bosses. Instead, professional athletes from the various North American sports unions have, again and again, put themselves ahead of the striking Marriott hotel workers, and crossed the picket lines that were put up in early October 2018. As if these hotel workers didn’t already have enough of an uphill battle ahead of them against the world’s largest hotel company, they now have to contend with athletes and sports unions ignoring their fight. That has to stop… According to UNITE HERE, the Dodgers did explore changing hotels to avoid crossing the picket line, but ultimately stayed in a Marriott property anyway. The reason? There weren’t enough suites in the alternative hotel options, and player contracts require suites.

► In today’s NY Times — New York’s Amazon deal is a bad bargain (editorial) — The city has what the company wants, talent. Why pay them $1.5 billion to come?

► In today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune — St. Paul City Council passes $15 minimum wage; mayor signs it

► From The Onion — Report: Underfunded public schools lacking basic support systems leave students perfectly prepared for rest of life — “Our students will no doubt be ready for the bureaucracy, red tape, and deep sense of resentment that will define the next generation of American jobs.”




► The Entire Staff of The Stand must admit, not being country music fans (despite growing up in the South), we knew Roy Clark only as the amiably goofy co-host of that cornball country TV variety show Hee Haw. With his passing yesterday, we have come to learn that he was also a virtuoso guitar and banjo player, as this 1975 clip from the Odd Couple demonstrates. R.I.P., Roy.

(Hat tip to NATCA retiree Chris McKeever for this clip.)


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