Friday, January 18, 2019
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Kennewick paraeducators approve contract, won’t strike — Kennewick School District paraeducators have approved a new pay agreement with the school district, avoiding a possible strike. The deal gives them an 8 percent raise this school year, retroactive to Sept. 1, plus an additional 1.5 percent increase for longevity. It also provides for a 4.1 percent increase next school year, plus a similar longevity bump.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Like the sound of raises like that? Get a union! Find out 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!
► In today’s Seattle Times — Issaquah School District employees authorize strike, claiming contract wasn’t honored — SEIU Local 925 and the Issaquah Association of Educational Office Professionals argue the district did not provide cost-of-living raises they say were promised to them in their four-year contracts, both of which began in fall 2017. In response, the district says the state no longer allocates funding for cost-of-living raises, a change it didn’t foresee when the contracts were originally negotiated.
ALSO at The Stand — Support staff at Issaquah schools vote to authorize strike
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Hospice workers union has been seeking contract for 2½ years — As Monica McCreery’s father was in the final stages of dying, her employer, short-staffed, wanted her to leave his bedside and attend to a patient, according to the hospice nurse. “I felt pressured to go because there was no one else,” McCreery said… For nearly two and half years, McCreery and her colleagues at Providence Hospice and Homecare of Snohomish County have been asking for reduced caseloads and higher wages. The workers, who include nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains and case managers, voted to unionize in 2016 — joining SEIU Healthcare 1199NW — and have been at the negotiating table with the home care and hospice agency ever since.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Amid national and local splits, Seattle Womxn’s March organizers promise diverse programming — There will be two women’s marches in Seattle this year, as controversy at the national level has led to divisions within the movement.
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
► From BuzzFeed — President Trump directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow tower project — Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the deal in testimony and in a two-page statement to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special counsel Robert Mueller noted that Cohen’s false claim that the project ended in January 2016 was an attempt to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1” — widely understood to be Trump — “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.” Now the two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.
► In today’s Washington Post — Democrats demand investigation after report that Trump ordered Michael Cohen to lie to Congress — Democratic leaders reacted with fury and demanded an investigation late Thursday following a new report that President Trump personally directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the president’s push for a lucrative condo project in Moscow in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump reportedly told Michael Cohen to lie. His own attorney general pick testified that’s a crime. — The president’s own choice for the nation’s top law enforcement official has described such conduct as “classic” obstruction of justice.
► In today’s (Louisville) Courier Journal — Where’s Mitch? McConnell keeping his head down during historic shutdown — Furloughed FAA employee Nancy Morrison, a U.S. Air Force veteran from Louisville, is asking a question echoed by many political leaders in Washington, and experts around the county as the shutdown hits day 27: Where’s Mitch McConnell? She says it’s nearly impossible to get through to anyone at his offices. “For me personally, it’s a joke that we can’t get a hold of him because he is our senator, and he’s holding the reins, too, of the Senate vote,” Morrison said.
► From The Hill — McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked legislation on Thursday that would have reopened most of the federal government impacted by the partial shutdown.
► From Common Dreams — Protesting outside GOP’s ‘lavish retreat,’ federal workers demand end to shutdown amid growing calls for strike — Government employees are “being treated in a mean and humiliating fashion,” says Barbara Ehrenreich, who is calling on TSA employees to walk off the job.
ALSO at The Stand — Furloughed EPA staffers in Seattle rally against ongoing shutdown
► In today’s Washington Post — State Dept. employees ordered back to work as Trump nixes Pelosi trip and Davos delegation, citing shutdown
► From the AP — Number of federal workers seeking U.S. jobless aid doubles
► From The AP — Shutdown taking toll on wildfire preparations — Just two months after a wildfire wiped out Paradise, California, officials are gearing up for this year’s fire season and fear the government shutdown could make it even more difficult than one of the worst in history.
► In today’s NY Times — Federal courts, running out of money, brace for shutdown’s pain — The federal courts are running out of money as the shutdown continues with no end in sight, raising concerns that the legal system will be significantly hobbled if the standoff is not resolved soon.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Shutdown’s impacts are hitting hard and broadly (editorial)
► In today’s Washington Post — The next president must make climate change the top priority (by Jay Inslee) — We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it. The Democratic Party must nominate a candidate who will put fighting climate change at the top of the agenda. And that’s why I’m seriously considering running for president.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — For a brief moment, Eyman was ready to settle with the state — Bankrupt, lawyerless and bound for divorce, he wanted it to end. But an offer never came. Instead, the attorney general’s office is alleging more campaign violations. “As we slowly received documents, we are uncovering new evidence of his violations,” said state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “We will not settle this case until we have uncovered the full scope of Mr. Eyman’s unlawful conduct. If Mr. Eyman is serious about wanting to resolve this case, he will stop obstructing our investigation.”
► From Reuters — Immigrants pay big for basics at private lock-ups — Private prisons in the United States are cashing in on President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants, forcing detainees to work for sub-minimum wages in exchange for essentials, activists say. Immigration attorneys say the pricey commissary goods are part of a broader strategy by private prisons to harness cheap inmate labor to lower operating costs and boost profits.
► From Bloomberg — Trump agency protecting federal unions wants to kill its own — The head of a tiny federal agency that enforces government workers’ right to unionize says her own employees can’t join a union. The Federal Labor Relations Authority no longer will negotiate with the union that has represented agency employees for nearly 40 years, Chairwoman Colleen Kiko (R) recently announced. Kiko says FLRA workers aren’t covered by the law, which generally gives federal employees the right to form unions and bargain collectively.
► From CNN — Los Angeles teachers’ strike has cost $97 million. Now both sides are negotiating again. — Talks resumed Thursday for the first time since more than 30,000 educators walked off the job this week to demand smaller class sizes, more school staffing and higher teacher salaries. “We are having an impact,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the United Teachers Los Angeles union. “That impact is being felt across the city. And we’ve just got to keep it up.”
ALSO from the Stand — How you and your union can support striking L.A. teachers
► From HuffPost — What happens when teachers can’t afford to live in their own cities — Two-thirds of teachers spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according to a 2018 survey by Stanford University. Of those, 14.7 percent say rent accounts for more than half their income. Annual teacher turnover is around 12 percent, which translates to the district having to fill an average of 400 classroom vacancies each school year.
► From HuffPost — Federal judge blocks Wisconsin GOP’s cuts to early voting — A federal judge on Thursday blocked controversial cuts to early voting and other changes to election law that Wisconsin Republicans pushed through during a controversial lame-duck session and now-former Gov. Scott Walker signed late last year.
► Spike Lee directed this music video released earlier this week for a new song by the rock band The Killers. The video depicts the struggles of immigrants and migrants seeking asylum in the United States. This morning, as the investigation into Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice reaches a critical phase, our desperate fear-mongering president is again raising the specter of a “caravan” of immigrants heading towards America — to get us.
“Down at the border, they’re gonna put up a wall / concrete and rebar steel beams / High enough to keep all those filthy hands off / of our hopes and our dreams / People who just want the same things we do / in the land of the free.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.