Monday, January 28, 2019
► From The Stand — AFL-CIO’s Trumka: Collective action ended shutdown — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “This fight is far from over. Federal workers urgently need their back pay distributed; in the case of federal contractors, they still need it to be authorized. And both deserve a long-term funding bill — not one that leaves them hanging with just a single guaranteed paycheck.”
► From The Hill — Federal worker union to move forward with court fight against Trump administration over shutdown — The American Federation of Government Employees said it will move forward with its legal fight against the Trump administration over the partial government shutdown, despite news on Friday that the president had agreed to end it and reopen roughly one-quarter of the government. AFGE said the three-week deal President Trump has agreed to sign does not render its case moot.
► In today’s Washington Post — ‘It feels like we are still hostages’: Federal contractors who lost health insurance during shutdown remain in limbo — The mile marker of reopening federal offices belies the continued suffering and long-term financial damage on the legions of federal contractors whose lost wages may never be reimbursed. In the case of Unispec, health insurance remains in limbo, and the next full paycheck may still be four weeks away.
► From The Hill — CBO: Shutdown cost economy $3 billion — The economy lost $11 billion during the course of the shutdown, which began Dec. 22, but some $8 billion of that will be recovered as the government reopens and workers receive back pay.
► From Reuters — U.S. government reopens with clock running on funding talks — The U.S. government reopened on Monday with about 800,000 federal workers returning after a 35-day shutdown as lawmakers geared up for talks to avoid another standoff before funding runs out again in three weeks.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump roils spending talks with renewed threat to use emergency order to build wall — The president has told advisers that declaring a national emergency may be his best option as he scrambles to assert himself in a divided government and secure wall funding.
► From The Hill — Nearly half of Americans say they have no confidence ‘at all’ in Trump
► In the Washington Post — How air traffic controllers helped end the shutdown — and changed history — A small group of strategically placed workers just acted to help bring a widely detested shutdown to an end. They refused to play the role of victim and instead became agents of their own liberation. By doing so, they might have also put the nation on a new political vector.
► In the Seattle Times — The shutdown was a catastrophe for the GOP, but a reawakening for labor — One: What a staggering display of political incompetence by the president… Two: Who said the labor movement was dead? … Three: How many more cliffs will Republicans blindly plunge off in slavish thrall to this huckster of a president? He’s plainly killing them. Yet with only a few exceptions (one of whom is from around here) the GOP has cowardly surrendered its future to more of this circus.
► In the Columbia Basin Herald — Air traffic controllers want permanent solution
► In the (Everett) Herald — Shutdown ends, putting 452 in Snohomish County back on the job
► MUST-READ in the LA Times — Workers ended the shutdown. Let’s give them the power to do it even sooner next time (by Jon Healey) — I understand why it would be insane to spend even a day without controllers, troops, TSA screeners, Coast Guard officers, FBI and Border Patrol agents and a laundry list of other truly essential workers employed by the federal government. What I don’t understand is why we tolerate a system that lets elected officials fail to do their one real job — funding the government — with no consequences for anyone in power. Instead, the effects are felt by everyone else, from the workers whose pay is delayed indefinitely (or possibly lost, in the case of idled contractors) to the taxpayers who aren’t getting the services they’re putting up the money for.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, is preparing to run for president as an independent — Schultz, in a “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday night, said that Trump was “not qualified to be the president” but also blamed both Democrats and Republicans for “consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people.”
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Union-buster Howard Schultz is Pacific NW’s highest-paid CEO (June 22, 2010) –What’s even more deplorable about Howard Schultz’s embarrassment of riches is that he has also achieved it by aggressively and illegally denying his employees the freedom to choose whether they want to form a union. He has overseen the spending of millions of dollars on anti-union consultants and lawyers to block his employees’ attempts to unionize.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Car-tab fees, new transportation package on state lawmakers’ agenda — Embattled anti-tax activist Tim Eyman collected enough signatures to qualify an initiative that would cap car-tab fees at $30 a year. Lawmakers must now either approve that, allow it to go to the ballot or pass an alternative to appear alongside Eyman’s measure on the ballot. Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature, are not yet saying how they’ll address Eyman’s initiative.
► From the Public News Service — State to make major adjustment to OT pay for salaried workers — Washington state’s overtime laws for salaried workers haven’t changed in more than 40 years, but the state Department of Labor and Industries is now in the process of updating them.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:
On overtime pay, Washington state must step up (by Gov. Jay Inslee, Nov. 8, 2018)
State moves to restore overtime pay protections (Oct. 9, 2018) — After four decades of inaction, L&I releases “pre-draft” towards updated overtime rules that could restore protections to hundreds of thousands of salaried workers.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Tax preparers warn your refund may be smaller than usual this year. Here’s why. — This year many Americans are expected to be less than happy due to last year’s sweeping federal tax overhaul. It also eliminated many deductions that people had itemized to lower their tax burden — such as union dues and the fees that tax preparers charge — and it placed caps on others, such as state and local income tax deductions. The upshot: While some filers will owe less or get a larger-than-expected refund, many others will be in the opposite camp.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Corporations and the super-wealthy got hundreds of billions of dollars from the Republican tax giveaway. You? Not so much. So, as we predicted, Republican leaders are coming for what they call your “entitlements,” blaming your earned Social Security and Medicare benefits for the skyrocketing deficits their tax cuts created.
► In today’s NY Times — The Trump administration is making a mockery of the Supreme Court (by Betsy Fisher and Samantha Power) — It promised to create a ‘robust’ waiver process for visa applicants from countries affected by the travel ban. The process is a sham.
► From the AP — ‘Black Panther’ wins top honor at SAG Awards, ‘Maisel’ soars — “Black Panther” took the top award at Sunday’s 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards, giving Ryan Coogler’s superhero sensation its most significant awards-season honor yet and potentially setting up Wakanda for a major role at next month’s Academy Awards. Before a stage full of actors, Chadwick Boseman tried to put into context the moment for the trailblazing “Black Panther,” which also won for its stunt performer ensemble. “To be young, gifted and black,” he said, quoting the Nina Simone song:
“We know what it’s like to be told there isn’t a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. … We know what’s like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day. We knew that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something to give.”
► In the Washington Post — So much for the labor movement’s funeral (by Dana Milbank) — When Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and his antilabor colleagues on the Supreme Court handed down the Janus v. AFSCME decision last June, unions braced for the worst. The American Federation of Teachers expected it might lose 30 percent of its revenue after the high court gave public-sector workers the right to be free riders, benefiting from union representation but paying nothing. Instead, the 1.7 million-member union added 88,500 members since Janus — more than offsetting the 84,000 “agency-fee payers” it lost because of the Supreme Court ruling… “Alito put his thumb on the scales of justice for the anti-union ideologues,” says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “It was a wake-up call to everyone. Everybody got engaged.”
Labor leaders ought to thank Alito — and send chocolates to the Koch brothers for bankrolling the anti-union court case. Their brazen assault, combined with President Trump’s hostility toward labor, has generated a backlash, invigorating public-sector unions and making a case for the broader labor movement to return to its roots and embrace a more militant style.
ALSO at The Stand — Unions in Washington state post big membership gains — The state’s union membership rate increased to 19.8 percent of the total workforce in 2018, up from 18.8 percent in 2017, according to a report released Jan. 18 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. With an additional 65,000 workers joining the ranks last year, there are now an estimated 649,000 union members in Washington, making it the third most unionized state in the nation.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.