Tuesday, February 12, 2019
NO MORE SHUTDOWNS!
► In today’s Washington Post — Lawmakers say they have reached an ‘agreement in principle’ to avoid government shutdown — Key lawmakers announced a tentative deal late Monday that would avert another government shutdown at the end of the week while denying Trump much of the money he’s sought to build new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. The agreement came together during intense hours of closed-door negotiations at the Capitol, as lawmakers resurrected talks that had fallen apart over the weekend in a dispute over new Democratic demands to limit immigrant detention. Democrats ultimately dropped some of those demands, which had come under fire from Republicans, clearing the way for a deal.
► From the AP — Budget deal allows far less money than Trump wanted for wall — Republicans tentatively agreed Monday night to far less money for Trump’s border wall than the White House’s $5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of nearly $1.4 billion, according to congressional aides.
► From The Hill — Trump on spending deal: ‘We’re building the wall anyway’ — Trump on Monday said he would build his long-desired wall along the southern border regardless of whether Congress approves funding for it.
► From The Hill — Flight attendant union calls for general strike if government shuts down again — The president of a union representing nearly 50,000 flight attendants is renewing calls for a general strike if lawmakers aren’t able to reach a funding deal on Friday to keep the government open.
► In today’s Washington Post — Come on, lawmakers. Not another shutdown. (editorial) — The lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers would again be upended in the event of another shutdown, following the record five-week closure that ended Jan. 25. Americans’ already meager respect for their government would diminish further. The image and prestige of the United States itself would be further battered as people around the world took in the spectacle of a nation incapable of fulfilling basic functions of governance.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Weather might be a factor in Arlington school bond election — It’s election day and voters in the Arlington School District are once again considering a big investment in students’ future. The deadline for returning ballots is at 8 p.m. Ballots returned by mail do not require postage. But they must be postmarked by Feb. 12.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Many school districts across Washington state have levy and bond elections on their ballots, which must be turned in or postmarked by today (Tuesday, Feb. 12). Please remember to vote and support your public schools!
► MUST-READ from The Guardian — Why America’s nurses are getting ‘hangovers’ from their work — The healthcare industry has for decades attributed widespread understaffing issues to a nursing shortage. CNN reported as far back as 2001 the US nursing shortage was “going into crisis”, and this claim is regularly repeated in media reports. But according to research and projections conducted by the US Health Resources and Services Administration, most states have nurse surpluses that are projected to grow over the next decade. Instead, nurses’ advocates say, the shortage is simply a reluctance by companies to cut profit margins by hiring enough staff. Nurses face burnout, a high turnover rate, and patient safety errors as “unsafe staffing” has become the standard, advocates say.
ALSO at The Stand — Take action to protect nurses, patient safety — See the latest update on state legislation guaranteeing uninterrupted rest and meal breaks for nurses and healthcare workers in Washington.
► In today’s Washington Post — Why immigration detention beds became a new issue in Trump border wall fight — Democrats opposing President Trump’s push for a border wall used this week’s budget negotiations to launch an attempt to rein in his administration’s deportation efforts, proposing to reduce the number of detention beds available for immigration arrests inside the United States.
► From HuffPost — Florida detention center expands, packing in migrant children ‘like sardines’ — At a detention center in Homestead, Florida, a group of immigrant teens are packed into cold rooms that can hold 70 to 250 kids, given a substandard education and detained for more than six months, according to interviews done by five legal and child psychology experts.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump repeats false claim about El Paso crime, this time in El Paso — At a rally in Texas, President Trump insisted that crime had fallen in El Paso because of a border wall. The data and the city’s Republican mayor disagree with him.
► From The Independent — Trump supporter ‘violently attacks’ BBC cameraman at rally after president whips up anger over media
► From HuffPost — Don Jr. gets an ‘F’ on Twitter after slamming ‘loser teachers’ at campaign event — Donald Trump Jr. took a shot at “loser teachers,” who he claimed are indoctrinating children into socialism from the moment they’re born.
► In the Denver Post — Denver teachers strike enters second day as union, district return to bargaining table — Denver’s first teachers strike since 1994 enters its second day Tuesday with negotiators from the teachers union and school district scheduled to go back to the bargaining table for the first time since contract talks collapsed over the weekend.
► In the NY Times — Denver teachers once hailed performance-based pay. Now they’re on strike over it. — English teacher Amber Wilson was once an evangelist for performance-based pay systems for teachers, but more than a decade after the city adopted such a system, she says it has morphed into “a monster of unintended consequences.” Pay-for-performance models like Denver’s offer teachers bonuses for raising student achievement and for taking on tougher assignments, such as in schools with many students from low-income families. Wilson and many of her fellow educators across the country say that this model — once hailed as a way to motivate teachers — has delivered erratic bonuses while their base salaries stagnate amid rising living costs.
► From CNBC — ‘This is a union town’ — NYC councilman says Amazon’s HQ2 is ‘antithetical’ to our values — “They remarkably came to the City Council last week and declared not only would they not remain neutral when it came to efforts of their employees … to organize but that they would actually fight to crush any effort of their employees to unionize,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “This is a union town. I grew up in a union family. We’ve got to stand up for our values there.”
► In today’s L.A. Times — More than 1,000 L.A. construction workers were cheated out of millions in pay, labor officials say — In the largest wage-theft case ever brought by the state of California against a private company, the labor commissioner has cited a City of Industry drywall subcontractor for cheating more than 1,000 workers out of minimum wage, overtime and rest breaks on 35 construction sites across the Los Angeles region.
► From AP — Mexican union declares victory in strike at 48 border plants — A union declared total victory in a mass strike by about 25,000 workers at 48 assembly plants in a Mexican border city, but the movement spawned a storm of wildcat walkouts Monday at other businesses.
► From the AFL-CIO — U.S. unions bring solidarity to striking Mexican workers — A delegation of union leaders from the national AFL-CIO, the Texas AFL-CIO, the UAW and the United Steelworkers (USW) traveled to Matamoros, Mexico, last week to support tens of thousands of factory workers who have launched a wave of strikes to demand wage increases and democratic control of their unions.
► From The Intercept — Unions see an opening in the wake of a ruling that was supposed to finish them off — The labor movement had been grinding its teeth over the possibility of a ruling like Janus v. AFSCME for several years, bracing for its already strained coffers to further deplete. But last weekend, when labor leaders and activists gathered at a two-day conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss their movement, the mood was overwhelmingly jubilant. With Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives, the immediate financial pain of Janus less severe than expected, and public opinion for unions standing at a 15-year high (Gallup reported recently that 62 percent of Americans approve of unions), movement activists seemed far more energized than one might have expected them to be one year ago. It almost felt like a pep rally. Speaker after speaker at the Future of American Labor conference spoke confidently and animatedly about the progress unions have made in the United States, organizing strikes and winning some protections for contract workers — gains they expect to continue even in the wake of Janus.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.