Tuesday, January 29, 2019
► From the AP — Shutdown Q&A: When will federal government workers get paid? — White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that he hopes all federal workers will receive back pay this week. But when exactly that happens depends on the agency.
► In today’s Washington Post — The lowest-paid shutdown workers aren’t getting back pay — Unlike the 800,000 career public servants who are slated to receive full back pay over the next week or so, the contractors who clean, guard, cook and shoulder other jobs at federal workplaces aren’t legally guaranteed a single penny. They’re also among the lowest-paid laborers in the government economy, generally earning between $450 and $650 weekly, union leaders say.
► In today’s NY Times — Dealmakers dominate panel tasked to reach border security agreement — The fate of Trump’s $5.7 billion demand for a border wall is now in the hands of a 17-member bipartisan panel that includes some of the most senior members of Congress (though none from Washington state). They have until Feb. 15 to come up with a border security package.
► From The Hill — Lawmakers push to end shutdowns — for good — Members of both parties have introduced bills that would automatically fund the government at existing levels if lawmakers can’t meet statutory budget deadlines.
► In today’s Columbian — USGS employees faced with 35-day backlog after shutdown — With the shutdown over, employees at the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver readied themselves for a fresh set of challenges.
► From KUOW — The kids on the bus are so, so late. But the bus company hasn’t paid back Seattle schools. — First Student, the company that sends out most Seattle school buses, blamed driver shortages. Many had quit since a drivers’ strike last February, and hiring replacements had been tough. The school bus company, North America’s largest, was supposed to compensate Seattle Public Schools for the service problems, according to its contract with the district. But First Student kept sending the usual invoices, and Seattle schools officials kept paying them … all the while shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for back-up buses, taxis, and Metro bus passes. Now, halfway through the year, a KUOW analysis shows that First Student owes the district an estimated $3.3 million … with no indication that the district will recoup anywhere near that amount.
► From Bloomberg — Boeing execs gets Obama pep talk after giving millions to library fund — Boeing Co. lined up a surprise motivational speaker for an executive retreat in Arizona this month: former U.S. President Barack Obama.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Hair stylists flood hearing on proposal to change their taxes and fees — A proposal that could force independent hair stylists to become employees of salons where they rent their stations generated stiff opposition Monday, with critics saying the legislation discriminates against small businesses dominated by women and minorities.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The bill they are upset about, SB 5326, is not to be confused with SB 5513, the bill to clarify and simply who can be considered “independent contractors,” which was heard at the same hearing Monday. Some choose to work as independent contractors by renting booths in a salon or a barbershop. SB 5513 ensures they could continue to do so.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Time to offer health care for all public school employees (by Sue Birch) — Starting next year, about 170,000 K-12 employees and their eligible dependents will have access to a more equitable set of benefits, including medical, dental, vision and life insurance. No longer will K-12 employees have richer or poorer benefits options depending on where they work.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Not all public school employees were happy about this change, particularly those who had chosen to bargain for better health care benefits in lieu of wage increases over the years.
► In today’s Washington Post — Warren’s push for a wealth tax could be a game changer (by Katrina vanden Heuvel) — It seems every day brings a fresh reminder of how the economy is rigged in favor of an out-of-touch financial elite gobbling up more and more of America’s wealth. Yet until recently, our political leaders have, with few exceptions, failed to respond with the kind of bold policies required to make a dent in the problem. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) idea for a new “wealth tax” is the latest reason to believe that may finally be changing.
► From The Onion — Howard Schultz considering independent presidential run after finding no initial support among any voter groups — “The complete lack of support for my candidacy among narrow interest groups like liberals, conservatives, and moderates tells me that America is hungry for an independent voice,” said Schultz.
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.
► From Business Insider — Unemployment is low only because ‘involuntary’ part-time work is high — Here is the situation in America. “During early 2018, involuntary part-time work was running nearly a percentage point higher than its level the last time the unemployment rate was 4.1%, in August 2000,” according to Rob Valletta, a vice president in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “This represents about 1.4 million additional individuals who are stuck in part-time jobs. These numbers imply that the level of IPT work is about 40% higher than would normally be expected at this point in the economic expansion.”
► From ABC News — Strike authorization vote called for Oakland teachers — A strike vote for Oakland teachers is scheduled to begin Tuesday through Friday. This puts some 3,000 teachers one step closer to going out on strike.
► From CBS News — Virginia teachers protest low pay at Capitol rally
► In today’s Washington Post — Where else teachers are primed to strike in 2019 — and why
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.