Wednesday, January 2, 2019
► In today’s Washington Post — ‘Nothing short of inhumane’: Union sues Trump administration over shutdown — A federal employees union filed a lawsuit Monday against the Trump administration, alleging that the partial government shutdown is illegally forcing more than 400,000 federal employees to work without pay. The partial shutdown began Dec. 22. Since then, many federal agencies have temporarily closed and delayed worker compensation indefinitely. Even so, employees deemed “essential” or “excepted” have been expected to come to work. The suit asked that the named plaintiffs and others with the same classification be paid owed wages. According to court documents, “essential” government employees are those “performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.”
ALSO at The Stand — AFGE sues feds over ‘inhumane’ shutdown, work without pay
► From Politico — Pelosi challenges McConnell with shutdown plan — The presumptive House speaker, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, together announced plans on New Year’s Eve to pass bills funding the quarter of the government that’s shut down since the president refused to sign any bill without big border security funding increases.
► Today from Reuters — White House calls Democrats’ plan to end shutdown ‘non-starter’
► From BuzzFeed — This is how federal workers are coping with the shutdown — If the government shutdown continues into January, Ernest Johnson, a geologist with the Bureau of Land Management, will likely lose his apartment. As the government shutdown closed on its first week Friday, federal employees are looking at the real possibility of missing their next paycheck and, consequently, the possibility of falling behind on car payments, mortgages, credit card bills, day care fees, and other significant expenses.
► In the News Tribune — ‘A total joke.’ In the shadow of Mount Rainier, it’s hard to find a fan of the government shutdown (by Matt Driscoll) — While much of the media coverage of the ongoing government shutdown has understandably focused on the impact the budget dispute has on thousands of federal employees, small business owners in places like Elbe and Ashford feel like the toll it’s taking on them isn’t being appreciated.
► From The Columbian — Dozens of employees furloughed at refuges, parks in region
► In the Seattle Times — State appeals court strikes down Seattle’s hotel-worker rights law, citing faulty ballot measure — The court found the measure violated a rule that says initiatives put before the voters can cover only one subject. “We couldn’t disagree more strongly with the Court of Appeals decision and will be working with the city to ensure that the will of Seattle voters is upheld and the needs of Seattle hotel workers are met,” said UNITE HERE Local 8 spokeswoman Abby Lawlor.
► From Teamsters 117 — Drivers for Chariot join Teamsters Local 117 — Seattle-area drivers employed by Chariot, a micro-transit service owned by Ford Smart Mobility LLC, have chosen to join Teamsters Local 117. The group of eighteen drivers joined together to ensure that they have a voice over issues like their wages, benefits, and working conditions. “Having a union will allow us to work with our employer to create greater protections and a better working environment for all of us,” said Mark Creighton, a driver with the company.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Didn’t get a raise? Get a union! Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From the AP — Premiums for new paid family program start next week — Employers and employees in Washington state will start paying into a new paid family leave program next week, and benefits from the program will begin in 2020. Eligible workers will receive 12 weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for serious medical condition of the worker or the worker’s family member, or 16 weeks for a combination of both, starting in 2020.
ALSO at The Stand — New year brings family-friendly policies — Washington’s lowest-paid workers just got a raise, and all employers and employees in the state have begun building a groundbreaking paid family and medical leave program, thanks to state laws that took effect on New Years Day. The changes were the result of an initiative and legislation strongly supported by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, plus many of its affiliated unions and community partners.
► In today’s Seattle Times — With a price tag of $900 million, Washington state will soon take over all school employee health care plans — A lot of behind-the-scenes work needs to happen before workers and their families– as many as 300,000 individuals — know what monthly premiums they can expect to pay.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Eyman bankruptcy filing stalls state campaign-finance suit — The move stopped state attorneys in their tracks in the high-profile case. Under federal law, a bankruptcy filing triggers an automatic stay of civil proceedings against a debtor. The attorney general is seeking a judicial order to continue the litigation over alleged violations.
► In today’s NY Times — The Trump tax cut: Even worse than you’ve heard (by Paul Krugman) — The 2017 tax cut has received pretty bad press, and rightly so. Its proponents made big promises about soaring investment and wages, and also assured everyone that it would pay for itself; none of that has happened. Yet coverage actually hasn’t been negative enough. The story you mostly read runs something like this: The tax cut has caused corporations to bring some money home, but they’ve used it for stock buybacks rather than to raise wages, and the boost to growth has been modest. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s still better than the reality: No money has, in fact, been brought home, and the tax cut has probably reduced national income. Indeed, at least 90 percent of Americans will end up poorer thanks to that cut.
► From The Hill — Appeals court says Obama-era ‘joint employment’ labor test too broad — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a 2-1 ruling found the NLRB did not properly define the type of “indirect control” over working conditions that would make companies joint employers of franchise and contract workers.
► From The Hill — Lobbyists gear up for critical year on trade — Trump is ratcheting up pressure on Congress to pass the revised trade deal with Mexico and Canada. The administration will also be pushing ahead on trade talks with China. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day ceasefire on any new tariffs in December, but tensions are rising over other issues such as intellectual property theft.
► From the U.S. News & World Report– New year likely top bring more teacher strikes — Already some 31,000 educators in Los Angeles, the second-biggest school district in the country, are planning to walk out on Jan. 10. In Oakland, where educators have been working without a contract since 2017, the union’s executive board gave the green light earlier this month for its 2,300 teachers to strike after ongoing negotiations over pay remain unresolved. Similarly, teachers across the state of Virginia are readying for a rally Jan. 28, a Monday, that will include a march at the state capitol in Richmond, where they plan to demand that lawmakers provide more K-12 spending.
► From the Republican Standard — Lawmaker files bill to repeal Virginia’s ‘right-to-work’ law — Virginia’s House of Delegates will consider legislation repealing the state’s 72-year-old “Right-to-Work” law during the 2019 legislative session, beginning next month.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.