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Shame on Dan ● ‘Will work for pay’ ● Solidarity in Vancouver

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

 


TRUMP’S SHUTDOWN

 

► TODAY at The Stand — ‘Stop the Shutdown’ rally Friday in Spokane — The Spokane Regional Labor Council, AFL-CIO is calling on all union members and community supporters in the Spokane area to join them in sending a clear message to elected officials in Washington, D.C. that this unprecedented federal government shutdown needs to end — NOW! A Stop the Shutdown Rally will be held Friday, Jan. 25 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at 10 N. Post St. outside the Spokane office of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th), who has repeatedly voted against ending the shutdown. The rally is part of an AFL-CIO National Day of Action to Stop the Shutdown on Jan. 25.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Newhouse blasts Pelosi over State of the Union showdown — U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th) is calling on fellow House members to override Pelosi’s decision that he says blocks Trump from performing his constitutional duty.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Rep. Newhouse:

You and Rep. McMorris Rodgers are the only members of Washington state’s congressional delegation who have repeatedly voted AGAINST ending the shutdown. Your continuing support for Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall demonstrates that you have chosen to put politics ahead of your constituents who are being forced to work for no pay, locked out of their jobs, or denied essential federal services.

But your press release expressing outrage over the State of the Union address doubles down on your political cynicism. Since you fired off that press release and your local newspaper dutifully reproduced it, Trump has decided on his own to postpone his address. Why? Because even he sees how bad the optics would be to deliver this address amid the shutdown debacle that he proudly takes credit for.

But not you, Rep. Newhouse. Your rote instinct for political subservience to your White House master, honed over the past two years, inspired you to run to Trump’s defense with a tone-deaf and pointless press release. Shame on you, Rep. Newhouse.

Sincerely, The Entire Staff of The Stand

► In today’s Washington Post — ‘Will work for pay’: Furloughed federal workers stage sit-in outside senators’ offices; 12 arrested — On the 33rd day of a partial government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands without pay, union leaders and furloughed federal workers marched into the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday and demanded a meeting. When office staff refused, a dozen of them took a seat in the hallway outside. “Majority Leader McConnell, where are you?” asked AFGE President J. David Cox. U.S. Capitol Police officers arrested 12 protesters for staging a sit-in outside McConnell’s office. They were pulled up from the floor and led away, their arms zip-tied behind their backs. Each was charged with a misdemeanor.

 

► In today’s NY Times — Aviation professionals warn of dire risk amid shutdown — The unions that represent the nation’s air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants issued a dire warning on Wednesday on Day 33 of the shutdown, saying major airports were already seeing security checkpoints close, and more closings could follow; safety inspectors were not back on the job at pre-shutdown levels; and analysts’ ability to process safety reporting data and take critical corrective action had been weakened.

In today’s Washington Post — ‘Risk in the system’: Unpaid air traffic controllers driving Uber say second shift threatens air safety

► From Politico — ‘Extraordinarily angry and very upset taxpayers’: IRS faces chaotic tax season amid shutdown

► In today’s Washington Post — Federal workers affected by partial shutdown to be billed for dental, vision coverage — The 800,000 federal employees furloughed by the partial government shutdown and working without pay were warned Wednesday that they must pay their dental and vision premiums beginning this week or they could lose their coverage. The workers are not at risk of losing their regular health insurance benefits.

► From The Hill — McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government — It’s the fourth time he’s blocked the bill to reopen most of government. He has also blocked, as recently as Tuesday, a House-passed bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.

TODAY at The Stand — AFL-CIO launches #StopTheShutdown digital campaign

► In today’s Washington Post — Senators hope defeat of dueling plans produces a solution to shutdown — The Senate plans to hold dueling votes Thursday to end the longest government shutdown in history. Most think both proposals will fail. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to hold initial votes on two starkly contrasting ideas that some lawmakers hope will mark a small but important step toward a solution.

► In today’s NY Times — They design spacecraft and fight epidemics for America. The shutdown may scare them away. — The Civil Service relies to a large degree on good will. No matter how vital high-skilled federal workers are to the functioning of government, there are usually companies willing to offer them much higher salaries — double or even triple in some cases — on top of the free lunches and stock options. As student debt soars and private sector opportunities multiply, the sheer allure of public service — “the mission,” as NASA researchers often put it — is what keeps a lot of talent in the government. The longest shutdown in the country’s history is eroding that good will, already wearing thin after years of pay freezes, unpredictable budgets, and disdain from even the White House for government workers as swamp creatures or worse.

► From ABC News — Why TSA and FAA workers can’t just go on strike to end the shutdown — Striking is illegal for federal workers. Moreover, the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Act bars workers from getting a future federal government job “if he or she ‘participates in a strike, or asserts the right to strike against the Government of the United States.” For many air traffic controllers, the last strike has been seared into their memories. In 1981, nearly 13,000 controllers walked out after contract talks between their union, The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), and the FAA broke down. President Reagan fired 11,000 controllers within days and the union was decertified.

► From Business Insider — Why the U.S. Postal Service is never affected by government shutdowns — Self-sustaining programs, like the Postal Service or passport issuance, or permanently-funded programs, like Social Security, do not get caught up in the budget battle.

► MUST-READ from The Nation — It’s not a shutdown, it’s a lockout and a shakedown of federal workers (by John Nichols) — The real story is one that most media outlets have a hard time telling, because they have, for so long, neglected the labor beats that were once a mainstay of every newsroom. This is a story of workers being abused, and of their unions struggling to resist that abuse. It ought to be understood as such. And from that understanding should extend a more accurate and illustrative language. The government is not shut down, at least not entirely. But hundreds of thousands of federal workers are locked out. The 380,000 “furloughed” workers have been locked out of their jobs. Worse yet, the 420,000 employees who are “working without pay” are being exploited by an employer that has signaled that if they do not show up and do their jobs without pay, they could lose those jobs. That’s coercion.

► From The Hill — (Billionaire Commerce Secretary) Ross: ‘I don’t quite understand’ why federal workers need food banks during shutdown

TODAY at The Stand — Help available for federal workers, their families

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — From selling their plasma to temp jobs, here’s how unpaid federal workers are getting by — As the partial government shutdown continues, unpaid federal workers in Whatcom County are seeking temporary work and considering offers to help them get by. Businesses are giving loans, discounts and more.

► In today’s News Tribune — Frustration is mounting outside the gates of Mount Rainier as Trump’s shutdown drags on (by Matt Driscoll)

► In today’s News Tribune — Uncertainties amid shutdown loom over area’s economic forecasts

► In today’s News Tribune — Sen. Patty Murray must step up, help end government shutdown (editorial)

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima Valley food banks brace for a surge as shutdown disrupts SNAP benefits

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Columbian — Teachers vow to support Vancouver schools support staff — The pressure is on for Vancouver Public Schools and its support staff to reach a tentative contract agreement before union members strike on Friday, a move that could keep kids out of class for the second time this school year.

► In today’s Columbian — Clark College faculty union seeks pay hikes — The Clark College Association for Higher Education, which represents faculty members at the Vancouver community college, is currently in the midst of bargaining for pay raises. This is the first time the union has bargained for local dollars after the Legislature last year gave community and technical colleges the right to negotiate for local salary increases.

► In today’s Walla Walla U-B — College Place school workers call for higher pay — More than 50 people held signs in front of Davis Elementary School in the cold and rain of Tuesday night, chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho. These wages now are way too low.” Most of the group were classified employees from College Place Public Schools. Others came from Walla Walla Public Schools and the community to support the cause.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — Build up the Affordable Care Act for America’s workers and their families (by Lee Newgent) —  Instead of taking apart our existing health-care infrastructure, let’s work together to build upon our already strong foundation to produce solutions that lower costs, expand coverage to everyone, protect Medicare and drive innovation. And let’s protect what our unions have bargained for. It’s hard to be an optimist these days, but in 35 years in the labor movement, I’ve seen improvements in working conditions, improvements in safety and the power of innovation to drive our economy forward. But there is more to do. As we work to ensure every American has access to affordable coverage and high-quality care, let’s not lose sight of what’s been successful while we fix what’s broken.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Washington Post — Michael Cohen says Trump and Giuliani threatened him. Does that amount to witness tampering? — Legal experts called the missives a newsworthy development that could amount to evidence of obstructing justice. Said Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution: “It comes very close to the statutory definition of witness tampering. He may have crossed the legal line.”

► From HuffPost — ‘Roma’ actor fears he’ll miss The Oscars after being denied a U.S. visa

 


NATIONAL

 

► EXCLUSIVE from Bloomberg — Google urged the U.S. government to limit protection for activist workers — Google, whose employees have captured international attention in recent months through high-profile protests of workplace policies, has been quietly urging the U.S. government to narrow legal protection for workers organizing online.

► In the WSJ — Now flight attendants have to hustle for tips (subscription req’d) — A new policy at Frontier and credit-card peddling at other airlines raise questions about whether flight attendants should depend on passengers for income.

 


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

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