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More to work without pay ● Macy’s closures ● Disaster averted

Wednesday, January 16, 2019




► In today’s Washington Post — Trump administration calling nearly 50,000 back to work, unpaid, as shutdown drags on — The Trump administration on Tuesday said it has called back tens of thousands of federal workers to fulfill key government tasks, including disbursing tax refunds, overseeing flight safety and inspecting the nation’s food and drug supply, as it seeks to blunt the impact of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The nearly 50,000 furloughed federal employees are being brought back to work without pay — part of a group of about 800,000 federal workers who are not receiving paychecks during the shutdown, which is affecting dozens of federal agencies large and small. A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by unions representing air traffic controllers and other federal workers to force the government to pay them if they are required to work.

ALSO at The Stand — This shutdown has made America less safe (by Monika Warner of PASS) — Each day that goes by with no compensation, our nation’s aviation safety workforce grows more frustrated, devalued, and distracted about their benefits, their families, their bills, and their futures. And each day that goes by without proper inspections and oversight, the skies — and the flying public — are less safe.

► In today’s NY Times — A typical federal worker has missed $5,000 in pay from the shutdown so far — The 800,000 federal workers who haven’t been paid during the government shutdown have each missed more than $5,000 in wages on average so far.

► From HuffPost — Some renters are already facing eviction, thanks to the shutdown — Tens of thousands of low-income renters nationwide could lose housing assistance, including many seniors and people with disabilities.

► From The Hill — McConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time — Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed package to reopen the federal government for a second time in as many weeks on Tuesday. McConnell for weeks has said he would not bring legislation to the floor on the shutdown unless there was a deal between Trump and Democrats on border security, the issue that has triggered the shutdown.

► From The Hill — Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight

► From The Hill — Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union over shutdown

► In the NY Times — Shutdown’s economic damage starts to pile up, threatening an end to growth — The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the United States economy than previously estimated, the White House acknowledged on Tuesday, as President Trump’s economists doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week the standoff with Democrats continues.

► In the WSJ — Shutdown squeezes small businesses that do work for government (subscription req’d) — For many contractors, revenue and work have dried up and cash to keep paying employees is running out.

► From the Hill — Trump loses support from key constituency of white people without a college degree: poll — Forty-five percent approved of the job done by Trump in a new CNN poll, compared to 54 percent who had backed him in December. The shutdown, which entered its 26th day on Wednesday, may be a factor in the declining support.

► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘Nonessential’: The federal shutdown’s most unique victim is one of the Northwest’s best-kept secrets (by Danny Westneat) — Roger Oakes of Port Angeles helps run what has got to be the federal shutdown’s most unique, far-flung victim: the Hurricane Ridge Ski Area.

► In the Seattle Times — Furloughed federal workers offered 90-day, interest-free loans by Washington Federal

► In the Wenatchee World — Cashmere Valley Bank offering free payroll advance to furloughed federal employees




► In today’s Seattle Times — Macy’s will close its Northgate store next year, Redmond store in next few months — In the latest sign of hard times for traditional retailers, Macy’s will close its Northgate Mall store in early 2020. Macy’s has already informed employees at both locations of the closure plans. Employees whom the company can’t place at nearby Macy’s stores “will be eligible for severance, including outplacement resources,” a company spokesperson said.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Labor Council elects new president, officials — The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Labor Union Council elected a new president on Monday, bringing to a close current president Shawn Nyman’s four consecutive terms. Tara McElligott, 30, was elected after Nyman withdrew her nomination. McElligott’s one-year terms starts immediately. McElligott has worked for four years as a chemical process operator at Emerald Kalama Chemical, where she is also the chief shop steward and recording secretary for the International Chemical Workers Union.

► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver schools, support staff contract talks hit snag — Leadership and members of the Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals said Tuesday that the district has backed out of the tentative agreement. District spokeswoman Pat Nuzzo, however, denied that.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle still has the most cranes in America, and construction isn’t losing much steam — The city of Seattle has 59 cranes sprouting out across the skyline, down slightly from the 65 counted six months ago. But that’s still 15 more than Los Angeles, the next-highest city.

► In the (Everett) Herald — County harassment trainer let go after harassment complaints — The county determined that he made improper remarks as he led training sessions on proper behavior.




► In today’s Seattle Times — $30 flat car-tab fee will be on November ballot in Washington — again — Another Tim Eyman initiative, I-976, to make state car tabs cost a flat $30 has been certified by the secretary of state and is slated to appear on the ballot in November. Passage of the initiative would cripple Sound Transit, which relies on car-tab fees to fund its expansion of light-rail and bus service throughout the Puget Sound region.

It also would deal a financial blow to more than 60 cities and towns, including Seattle, that charge an additional vehicle-registration fee, ranging from $20 to $80, to fund local transportation projects and road repairs.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This report doesn’t explain that I-976 is actually an initiative to the Legislature, but because lawmakers would never approve such a economically harmful and job-killing measure, it then goes to this fall’s ballot.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Gov. Jay Inslee uses State of the State to urge action on mental health, climate change, orcas — Standing before a Legislature that for years has balked at his carbon-reduction agenda, Gov. Jay Inslee implored lawmakers Tuesday to make bold moves to combat climate change.




► From The Hill — Poll: A majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her Republican critics have both called her proposal to dramatically increase America’s highest tax rate “radical” but a new poll released Tuesday indicates that a majority of Americans agrees with the idea. In the latest The Hill-HarrisX survey, which was conducted Jan. 12 and 13 after the newly elected congresswoman called for the U.S. to raise its highest tax rate to 70 percent, found that a sizable majority of registered voters, 59 percent, supports the idea.

► From The Hill — House Dems fire first salvo in drug pricing fight — The House Oversight and Reform Committee launched a sweeping investigation into how the industry sets its prices, in what is being seen as one of the broadest drug pricing investigations in decades.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump and Putin have met five times. What was said is a mystery. — The unusually secretive way he has handled these meetings has left many in his own administration guessing what happened and piqued the interest of investigators.

► In today’s Washington Post — T-Mobile announced a merger needing Trump administration approval. The next day, 9 executives had reservations at Trump’s hotel. — T-Mobile executives have returned to President Trump’s hotel repeatedly since then.




► From CBS News — “We have to make the sacrifice”: L.A. families stand in solidarity with teacher strike — While Los Angeles schools are being run by fill-ins, attendance is down. A new poll shows 80 percent of parents support striking teachers. The strike is taking place against a backdrop that can’t be ignored. Many wealthy white families have opted for private school, making Los Angeles among the most segregated cities in the country. There appears to be no end in sight as the school district refuses a deal on the basis on dollars and cents. Teachers plan to keep walking the line for hearts and minds.

► From the AP — Charter school educators back striking Los Angeles teachers




► From In These Times — Disaster averted: How unions have dodged the blow of Janus (so far) — Months after the Supreme Court’s June 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision, public-sector unions are not teetering on the brink of collapse, as their detractors may have hoped. The consensus is that good preparation softened the initial blow. “Anyone writing our obituary is going to be sorely disappointed,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders tells In These Times. “We don’t believe we are going to get hurt nearly as badly as people thought by Janus.”

Public-sector unions have been hard at work to re-engage members and convince them not to opt out. These initial efforts have been successful, with far lower opt-out rates than feared, some below 1 percent. The unions are benefiting from a favorable climate: Approval of labor unions is at a 15-year high, and a majority of Americans view unions positively. “I’d like to think this is backfiring on all the corporate anti-union forces that cooked this up,” says CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens.


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

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