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Show colleges the money ● Medicare for All’s enemies ● Labor’s revolution

Monday, December 10, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — Community colleges need budget love to train future workforce (editorial) — Now that the state Legislature has made significant progress in fixing the way the state pays for K-12 education, lawmakers must focus on the next step in the education spectrum: college. Today’s young people will need a college degree or at least some post-high school training to qualify for the good paying career jobs of the future, from airplane manufacturing to software engineering. Much of that training will happen at the state’s 34 community and technical colleges, which currently educate about 370,000 students. The state has many competing higher education budget needs, but the two-year college system has suffered the most from years of budget cuts. When lawmakers plowed more money into K-12, especially in teacher salaries, community and technical colleges mostly were left behind.

► From KNKX — Analysis: Legislative workgroup releases recommendations aimed at addressing sexual misconduct — Following eight months of meetings, a workgroup on the prevention of sexual harassment in the Washington state House is recommending the formation of an independent office where victims could report misconduct, among other reforms.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Task force sends Legislature its thoughts on open records — In an effort to have something to show legislators when they return to Olympia in January, the task force settled on a series of recommendations.




► In the Kitsap Sun — Emily Randall wins in 26th Senate race recount —  A manual recount of votes in the 26th LD Senate race confirmed Democrat Emily Randall to be the winner. The  political newcomer from Bremerton prevailed against Marty McClendon, a Gig Harbor Republican, by 102 votes or 0.14 percent.




► In today’s Olympian — Providence distribution center closure in Lacey will result in 26 layoffs — The Providence St. Joseph Health Consolidated Service Center, a distributor of medical supplies in Hawks Prairie, is set to close in February and result in more than 20 layoffs.

► From Crosscut — Seattle port employee is latest West Coast dockworker to claim pregnancy discrimination — The discrimination charge filed Thursday names the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the shipping and terminal companies that operate the 29 ports along the West Coast, from San Diego to Bellingham. The ILWU, which represents approximately 42,000 workers, and ILWU Local 19, the local chapter of the union based in Seattle, are also named in the complaint. Attorneys are currently negotiating with the unions but added that the women are prepared to file a federal class-action lawsuit if the negotiations don’t pan out.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Port of Kalama to hold public hearing on planned methanol plant Thursday — The hearing will occur from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Cowlitz County Event Center located at 1900 Seventh Avenue in Longview. Doors will open at 5 p.m.

► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘You should get on a waiting list’: Seattle’s child-care crunch takes toll on parents, providers — The growing population has outpaced the increase in number of spots available in child-care centers. Providers operating in large centers or from their own homes now have waiting lists crowded with hundreds of families, who are going to extraordinary lengths to seize a spot in line, filling out lengthy applications even before their babies are born — or even conceived.




► From Politico — Establishment looks to crush liberals on Medicare for All — Deep-pocketed hospital, insurance and other lobbies are plotting to crush progressives’ hopes of expanding the government’s role in health care once they take control of the House. The private-sector interests, backed in some cases by key Obama administration and Hillary Clinton campaign alumni, are now focused on beating back another prospective health care overhaul, including plans that would allow people under 65 to buy into Medicare.

► In today’s Washington Post — Investigation of generic ‘cartel’ expands to 300 drugs — What started as an antitrust lawsuit brought by states over just two drugs in 2016 has exploded into an investigation of alleged price-fixing involving at least 16 companies and 300 drugs. The unfolding case is rattling an industry that is portrayed in Washington, D.C. as the white knight of American health care.




► In today’s Washington Post — Russians interacted with at least 14 Trump associates during the campaign and transition — Again and again and again, over the course of Donald Trump’s 18-month campaign for the presidency, Russian citizens made contact with his closest family members and friends, as well as figures on the periphery of his orbit. Some offered to help his campaign and his real estate business. Some offered dirt on his Democratic opponent. Repeatedly, Russian nationals suggested Trump should hold a peacemaking sit-down with Vladi­mir Putin — and offered to broker such a summit. In all, Russians interacted with at least 14 Trump associates during the campaign and presidential transition, public records and interviews show.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump: Payments to silence women were a ‘simple private transaction,’ not illegal campaign contributions — President Trump asserted Monday that payments to buy the silence of two women about alleged affairs were not illegal campaign contributions, as federal prosecutors contend, but instead a “simple private transaction.”




► From AP — GOP tries to hamstring incoming Democratic attorneys general — Republicans pushing to hang on to power in Wisconsin and Michigan aren’t stopping at curbing the authority of incoming Democratic governors. They’re also trying to hamstring Democrats who are about to take over as attorneys general.

► In today’s NY Times — The corporate donors behind a Republican power grab (by David Leonhardt) — You might think that an organization that claims to care about community values would speak up. But Walgreens has not. Neither have other corporate supporters of Wisconsin Republicans, like Microsoft, Dr Pepper Snapple, J.P. Morgan Chase or Humana. It’s yet another example — alongside soaring C.E.O. pay and stagnant worker wages — of corporations abdicating the leadership role they once played in America.

► In today’s Washington Post — Are Republicans abandoning democracy? (by E.J. Dionne) — In case after case, Republicans have demonstrated an eagerness to undercut democracy and tilt the rules of the game if doing so serves their ideological interests… most in the party are either complicit or silent. Is it any wonder, then, that most Republicans are also willing to go right along with Trump?




► From Education Week — The nation’s first charter school strike has ended with a union victory — After a four-day strike, the Chicago Teachers Union announced on Sunday that the bargaining team for the educators at the Acero charter school network reached a tentative deal with management. The deal agrees to raise pay for teachers and paraprofessionals to better align with their peers in Chicago Public Schools, to reduce class sizes, and to provide sanctuary for undocumented students.

► In today’s NY Times — The War on Truth spreads (editorial) — New information technologies — the internet, social media, smartphone cameras — were supposed to overcome censorship. They did, but they also armed autocrats with new ways to undermine the credibility of honest news. Fake news — the really fake kind — has proliferated, along with notions such as “alternative facts.”




► From Jacobin — A political revolution for labor (by Jane Slaughter) — Bernie Sanders’ campaign, as well as those of followers such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called for radical reforms that the U.S. system could grant — Medicare for All, free public college — but which it is profoundly unwilling to. Raising the demands raises the question “why not?” and lays the blame squarely on Bernie’s “billionaire class.”

My argument here is a simple one: If we want a powerful movement, workers have to fight their employers not just at the ballot box but at the workplace, too. These two kinds of struggle can complement each other; union fights, in particular, pose clear class battles that raise consciousness. In addition to this year’s electrifying teacher strikes, we can learn from three other large-scale union victories that took place in the year before Donald Trump was elected. Those victories happened where we might least expect them: in the old, blue-collar economy, where unions are down to 6.5 percent of the workforce and workers are said to be on their way out. Yet at Chrysler, Verizon, and a huge Teamster pension fund, thousands of union members organized to put a stick in management’s eye.

Few believed such victories possible as neoliberalism advanced steadily under Democratic and Republican administrations alike. These were not pocket-sized shop-floor wins but confrontations with big-time capital, from which hundreds of thousands of workers and their families have benefited. Together with this year’s teacher rebellions, they show what unions must do if they are to rebuild in the post-Janus era, and in one case they show how electoral politics and a working class battle can fortify each other.


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