The Stand

Safety in Spokane ● Union-hater on Boeing’s board ● Emma’s must-read

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Sacred Heart nurses hold Spokane rally amid contract talks — In the bitter cold Monday afternoon at Riverfront Park, about 200 nurses rallied for better staffing, benefits and patient safety at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. The rally stems from seven contract bargaining sessions over four months between the Washington State Nurses Association and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, which the nurses say have gained little traction. The WSNA represents more than 17,000 registered nurses in the state, including more than 1,900 nurses at Sacred Heart. A contract approved by the association and Sacred Heart officials in 2016 is expiring. The nurses union claims Providence wants to reduce nurses’ paid sick time, trim medical benefits and increase premiums.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Hundreds rally for Sacred Heart nurses, patients in Spokane

ALSO see Sacred Heart rally coverage by KHQ, KREM, and KXLY.

► From KUOW — Walmart is eliminating greeters. Workers with disabilities feel targeted. — John Combs, 42, has cerebral palsy and has one of Walmart’s trademark front-door jobs: He’s a “people greeter” at a store in Vancouver, Wash. But, he was told, come April 25 his job is going away. And he is not alone. According to Walmart, greeters are being removed at about 1,000 stores around the country.

 


BOEING

 

► From CNBC — Boeing nominates former Trump UN ambassador Nikki Haley to board — Haley served as governor of South Carolina prior to joining the Trump administration. As governor, Haley in 2013 helped Boeing establish new facilities in the state — most notably the company’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft manufacturing complex.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As governor of an anti-union “right-to-work” state, Haley also inserted herself into Boeing employees’ efforts to join together in a union, leading the charge against the unionization campaign with aggressive anti-labor rhetoric. She even said that companies whose employees have exercised their freedom to form a union were not welcome in her state. On Boeing’s board, expect her to be an outspoken advocate for shifting more production away from unionized Washington operations to her home state.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — 100 percent clean electricity in state achievable (editorial) — Utilities themselves already are moving toward that mark, most notably the Snohomish County Public Utility District, which already is providing power to its 350,000 electric customers that is 98 percent from renewable sources. Other utilities have further to go, but still are within reach of 100 percent. Puget Sound Energy expects to near the 90 percent mark by 2025, with the closing of two of four units of a coal-fired generator in Colstrip, Montana, and the planned 2025 shutdown of the Centralia Power Plant… Washington state should make this effort simply because it is within our reach to get all of our electricity from carbon-free and renewable sources.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington corrections officials scrambling after new sentencing errors uncovered — State Department of Corrections officials are reviewing thousands of cases to determine how many inmates may have been released too early — or held too long. They know of at least a dozen instances.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Washington Post — House prepares to vote on overturning Trump’s emergency declaration — Congress braced Monday for an unprecedented effort to overturn a presidential emergency declaration, as Republicans worked to limit defections on the eve of a critical House vote while Democrats framed the issue as a constitutional showdown.

► From Politico — House GOP leaders work to contain defections on Trump’s emergency — The White House and GOP leaders have launched a last-minute push to limit the losses on a House vote to stop Trump from circumventing Congress to build a border wall, in a bid to avoid a humiliating defeat for the president.

EDITOR’S NOTE — So this is what the Republican Party has come to. They are more worried about embarrassing Trump — which is considered a “defection” — than they are about ceding control of the nation’s purse to the executive branch and disrupting the separation of powers in the U.S. government.

► In today’s NY Times — Labor Secretary faces heat over plea deal for financier accused of serial sex abuse — Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta is facing rising pressure — and a possible summons to testify before Congress — over the lenient plea bargain that he helped negotiate as Miami’s top federal prosecutor with a wealthy acquaintance of President Trump’s accused of trafficking children for sex.

► From Reuters — Drug company executives to testify before Senate — Seven drug company executives will testify about rising prescription drug prices before a powerful U.S. Senate Committee on Tuesday, marking a sharp escalation in lawmakers’ promises to address high medicine costs.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump, trade and the advantage of autocrats (by Paul Krugman) — There’s been some good news on global trade lately: A full-scale U.S.-China trade war appears to be on hold, and may be avoided altogether. The bad news is that if we do make a trade deal with China, it will basically be because the Chinese are offering Donald Trump a personal political payoff. At the same time, a much more dangerous trade conflict with Europe is looming. And the Europeans, who still have this peculiar thing called rule of law, can’t bribe their way to trade peace.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From CBS News — Negotiations stall as Oakland teachers strike edges towards Day 4 — After another long day of negotiations, it appeared that union representatives with Oakland teachers and the school district remained at an impasse Monday night. If anything, tensions may be mounting. Monday evening, Oakland Education Association union President Keith Brown lashed out at district officials. In a statement, Brown accused union officials of “lies and misinformation” for allegedly implying “that significant movement has happened since the strike began. This is untrue.”

► From the Chicago Tribune — Workers at the forefront of minimum wage victory press on for union rights — SEIU also has opened the next front of the movement — unionizing workers across low-wage industries to improve conditions broadly. It seeks the help of elected officials to figure out how that could happen. “The ultimate dream is to get McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King to a national fast-food bargaining table,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. “We could reach a private agreement and that could cover a million fast food workers, but it could impact 4 million fast-food workers” by setting industry standards.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Macy’s announces multi-year restructuring plan — Macy’s announced a multiyear money saving restructuring program that it says will pare down its management structure and make the department store more nimble in a fiercely competitive environment.

► From the LA Times — Are you an employee or a contractor? California carpenters, strippers and dog walkers face that question — A California Supreme Court decision last April is upending large and small workplaces across California, making it harder to classify workers as independent contractors. A wide variety of industries are affected — not just app-based companies like Uber and Lyft. Independent contractors are found among construction workers, truckers and warehouse workers, music teachers, software coders, salespeople, farm laborers, janitors, dog walkers, hairdressers, home-care workers, security guards, doctors, insurance agents, journalists and strippers.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In the L.A. Times — Emma Thompson’s letter to Skydance: Why I can’t work for John Lasseter — When the of John Lasseter to head Skydance Animation was announced, many in and outside the company were shocked and deeply unhappy. Only months earlier, Lasseter had ended his relationship with Pixar and parent company Disney after multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior and the creation of a frat house-like work environment. Emma Thompson, the politically outspoken two-time Oscar winner, has since pulled out of Skydance’s highly touted animation feature “Luck,” citing her concerns about Lasseter’s hiring. In a letter she sent to Skydance management, she writes: “I am well aware that centuries of entitlement to women’s bodies whether they like it or not is not going to change overnight. Or in a year. But I am also aware that if people who have spoken out — like me — do not take this sort of a stand then things are very unlikely to change at anything like the pace required to protect my daughter’s generation.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Her letter is a must-read and printed in its entirety in this story.

 


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

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