Thursday, February 7, 2019
► In today’s Seattle Times — Terminal 5 upgrade is good for Seattle and the state (editorial) — Even as Seattle becomes more tech centric, it must continue supporting its maritime sector, which provides tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunity across the state. The sector will get a boost from massive investments coming to the city’s harbor… Seattle and Tacoma’s jointly operated marine-cargo facilities directly employed 20,100 people in 2017, with marine-cargo related jobs paying wages and benefits averaging nearly $95,000. Across the state, this activity supported 58,400 jobs.
► In today’s News Tribune — Instacart changing way it pays after workers speak out — Instacart appears to have done an about-face when it comes to how it pays its workers. On Feb. 2 The News Tribune reported that tips given to the grocery delivery service’s workers were affecting their pay structure. According to the workers, the higher the tip, the less Instacart was paying. On Wednesday, Instacart’s founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta announced changes to its pay structure, saying the company will keep tips separate “from Instacart’s contribution to shopper compensation.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle’s minimum-wage hikes didn’t boost supermarket prices, new UW study finds — Seattle’s trendsetting minimum-wage increases didn’t boost supermarket prices in the city in the two years after they began, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers. Higher wages and steady prices may have provided some workers with more buying power, including for healthful items like fruits and vegetables, said lead author James Buszkiewicz, a epidemiology doctoral candidate. “This is really great news for low-wage earning Seattle shoppers,” he said in a news release Wednesday. However, another study found that most child-care businesses did see their labor costs increase as the hikes were carried out, leading in some cases to staffing reductions.
► In today’s Olympian — Schools chief challenges lawmakers to get ‘courageous’ and change bond supermajority — The state’s public schools chief urged legislators Wednesday to “get more courageous” by putting a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would enable voters to more easily approve school district bonds by doing away with the current 60 percent “supermajority” requirement. Two options, a simple 50-percent plus one vote majority and a 55 percent approval, are being discussed in the Legislature.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ending the undemocratic supermajority requirement for school bonds is part of the Washington State Labor Council’s 2019 Shared Prosperity Agenda and strongly supported by the state’s labor movement.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Controversial 2018 election mailers were audacious — and legal — Right-wing gadfly Glen Morgan isn’t getting pinched for his 2018 campaign mailers that urged voters to back write-in candidates who weren’t actually running — a fact Morgan knew. The content was accurate — though not for the 2018 election. It came from years earlier, when the purported write-in candidates were actually on ballots seeking elected office. In one of the races targeted, the candidate opposed by Morgan lost by 484 votes.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Republicans double down with more phony election mail (Oct. 24, 2018)
► From MarketWatch — It’s official: The Trump tax cuts were a bust (by Howard Gold) — Right before Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, President Trump proclaimed: “It’ll be fantastic for the middle-income people and for jobs, most of all … I think we could go to 4%, 5% or even 6% [GDP growth], ultimately. We are back. We are really going to start to rock.” A year later, it’s very clear that the tax cuts boosted gross domestic product and jobs a bit — and just for one year. Its effects are fading as U.S. GDP growth appears likely to weaken in 2019. The only thing that “rocked” were corporate profits and the stock market. And we’re facing trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t be shocked when you do your taxes and find out you’re paying more this year — so corporations and the rich can pay less. That tax giveaway — which was supported by Washington’s Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers — and its resulting deficits are being used as an excuse to cut Social Security and Medicare, just as labor warned it would.
► From Bloomberg — U.S. banks win $21 billion Trump tax windfall then cut staff, loaned less — Major U.S. banks shaved about $21 billion from their tax bills last year — almost double the IRS’s annual budget — as the industry benefited more than many others from the Republican tax overhaul. And while the breaks set off a gusher of payouts to shareholders, firms cut thousands of jobs and saw their lending growth slow.
► And then, there’s this…
NO MORE SHUTDOWNS
► From the AP — Some workers still unpaid after shutdown, dread what’s next — Thousands have not yet received full back pay while scrambling to catch up on unpaid bills and repay unemployment benefits — all while another government shutdown looms next week. Some contract workers still haven’t been called back to work.
YESTERDAY at The Stand — Pay issues lingering long after shutdown
► In today’s Orlando Sentinel — Thousands of NASA contractors still without pay after 5-week shutdown. Can Congress step in? — Contractors are at the mercy of the deals that companies sign with federal agencies. In the case of the Space Coast and NASA, several workers represented by the IAM Local 2061 in Cape Canaveral, say their contracts have changed in recent years to cut out the provision that previously guaranteed them back pay in the event of a shutdown. Some of the 600 Space Coast contractors represented by the union have already been told outright they won’t see those two paychecks. Others are in limbo, waiting for their companies to determine if they can scrape together back pay.
ALSO at The Stand — Tell your Representative to support H.R. 824 — To date, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2nd) is the only member of Congress from Washington state to co-sponsor this legislation providing back pay for federal contract workers harmed by the shutdown. Keep the calls coming!
► From Politico — Negotiators have deal within sight in talks to avert another shutdown — Congressional deal-makers working to stave off another government shutdown said they believe a breakthrough is in reach, following a closed-door Wednesday briefing from Border Patrol officials. Negotiators have just over a week to reach a deal before federal funding runs out at midnight on Feb. 15 for the same nine departments that were shut down for 35 days after Trump threatened to veto any spending bill that did not include $5.7 billion in supplemental funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
► From The Hill — Negotiators running out of time to get deal to prevent shutdown — It’s crunch time for lawmakers seeking to reach a deal on securing the border that would prevent the second partial government shutdown of 2019.
► From Politico — ‘Too hot to handle’: Pelosi predicts GOP won’t trigger another shutdown — Speaker Nancy Pelosi is vowing that the federal government will not shut down again, even as Trump ratchets up pressure for his border wall ahead of a fast-approaching deadline. “There will not be another shutdown,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “No, it’s not going to happen.”
► From the AP — Infrastructure bill faces many potholes in months ahead — Trump pronounced himself eager to work with Congress on a plan to rebuild America’s crumbling roads and bridges, but offered no specifics during his State of the Union speech on what kind of deal he would back. The question now is whether lawmakers and the president are finally ready to move beyond complaining about the nation’s infrastructure problem and actually do something about it.
► In today’s NY Times — Painting socialists as villains, Trump refreshes a blueprint — President Trump has proved himself adroit at creating villains to serve as his political foils. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, he introduced a new one: socialists.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Isn’t wanting better public roads and facilities socialism? Discuss.
► From Reuters — Democrats launch 10-year ‘Green New Deal’ for clean energy — Rising star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D. NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday laid out the goals of a Green New Deal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, setting a high bar for Democrats who plan to make climate change a central issue in the 2020 presidential race.
► From The Hill — CNN faces liberal backlash for Howard Schultz town hall: ‘This is how we ended up with Trump’ — Many of the critics argue that CNN should not provide an hour of prime-time to Schultz.
► In today’s NY Times — Second Virginia Democrat says he wore blackface, throwing party into turmoil — The third-ranking elected official in Virginia, Attorney General Mark R. Herring, acknowledged Wednesday that he had worn blackface at a party as an undergraduate student, deepening a crisis that has engulfed the state’s Democratic leadership. Then, just two hours later, a woman came forward to describe in detail her accusation that Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax had sexually assaulted her in 2004, an accusation he denies.
► From The Onion’s archives — Boss thinks female employee might be ready to handle job she’s been doing for past 2 years
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.