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Alaska ferry cuts ● ‘Urgency’ at Boeing ● Trump eyes big Medicare cuts

Monday, March 11, 2019




► From KING 5 — Ferry workers rally to save Alaska-Bellingham route — The future of the ferry route from Bellingham to Alaska is in jeopardy. Under the proposed Alaska budget, 75 percent of the Alaska Marine Highway System budget would be cut.


► In the Columbian — Clark College looks at staff cuts — Clark College will consider staff cuts in light of an expected 5 percent budget cut, according to a letter from President Bob Knight to the faculty union. The news comes as the union is bargaining for improved wages at the school. “This is Management 101,” Kim Sullivan, president of the Clark College Association for Higher Education. “When employees ask for a salary increase, it’s very common for management, or in this case, administration, to claim they’re broke and threaten layoffs.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Firefighters climb 1,356 steps to fight cancer (photo) — Firefighters from all over the world participate in the LLS Firefighter Stairclimb — a fundraiser produced by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Washington/Alaska Chapter. More than 2,000 firefighters from 26 states and 6 countries are competing in 2019. Firefighters in full gear are challenged by 788 feet of vertical elevation, climbing 69 floors of stairs and 1,356 steps to reach the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor.




► From the AP — Growing number of Boeing Max 8 planes grounded after crash — Aviation authorities in China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ordered airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes Monday after one crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board. The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after it took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday is drawing renewed scrutiny of the plane just four months after a similar crash of the same model that killed 189 people in Indonesia. Chicago-based Boeing said it did not intend to issue any new guidance to its customers. It does plan to send a technical team to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators.

► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘A sense of urgency’ as investigation into second recent crash of a Boeing 737 MAX begins

MORE coverage from the NY Times, Reuters, and the Washington Post.




► From the AP — Amazon lobbies to exempt employees from labor protections — The bill restricting non-competition agreements passed the state Senate with the salary threshold of $100,000 sought by Amazon. Employees above the threshold would be exempted from the labor protection. The effort came as the company has expanded its presence in the state capital, where its spending has tripled in recent years.

ALSO at The Stand — Senate votes to restrict non-compete contracts

► In today’s Seattle Times — State lawmakers unlikely to create an independent office this year to review harassment complaints — Roughly 18 months after the #MeToo movement sparked a frank discussion about workplace harassment, at the Legislature, lawmakers and officials are struggling to create or staff independent offices to handle workplace complaints.

► From the AP — State public health care plan clears Washington House — Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal for a limited public health care option cleared the state House on Friday, advancing what he has called the most practical option for expanding health coverage.

► In today’s News Tribune — Feds decertify one of three facilities for disabled adults at Rainier School — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified the state this week that it is decertifying one of three facilities at Rainier School residential habilitation center in Buckley. Now Washington is at risk of losing $1 million per month in funding.




► In today’s Washington Post — Trump proposes $4.7 trillion budget with domestic cuts, $8.6 billion in new funding for border wall — President Trump is releasing a $4.7 trillion budget plan Monday that stands as a sharp challenge to Congress and the Democrats trying to unseat him, the first act in a multi-front struggle that could consume Washington for the next 18 months. The budget proposal dramatically raises the possibility of another government shutdown in October, and Trump used to the budget to notify Congress he is seeking an additional $8.6 billion to build sections of a wall along the U. S.-Mexico border… Trump for the first time calls for cutting $845 billion from Medicare, the popular health care program for the elderly that in the past he had largely said he would protect.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As Republicans rammed through massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich, organized labor warned that the GOP in D.C. would want to pay for that trillion-dollar-plus giveaway by cutting Social Security and Medicare. Candidate Trump vowed no cuts to Medicare (and that Mexico would pay for his wall). As always, he lied.

► In the NH News — Trump’s new overtime rule would leave millions of workers out — While Trump’s rule change will help some workers it does not go nearly far enough. Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO said this rule change is “disgraceful.”

“Leaving behind more than 2.8 million workers who deserve a fair return on their hard work is disgraceful. Overtime is earned and should not be politicized. Lowering the threshold ignores the economic hardships faced by millions of working families. This disappointing announcement is part of a growing list of policies from the Trump administration aimed at undermining the economic stability of America’s working people… The labor movement will continue fighting to change a rigged system that for decades has favored the mega-wealthy and powerful corporations. We are standing strong together to push back against policies that harm America’s workers.”

ALSO at The Stand — Federal overtime proposal is ‘way too weak’ — The Trump administration announced plans to dramatically scale back an Obama-era rule to update the salary threshold for overtime exemption, increasing the urgency for the Washington state government to update its rules to restore overtime rights and help bring working families’ live back into balance.

► From The Hill — Senate GOP goes down to wire in showdown with Trump — Republicans have just days to find a more palatable solution than the House-passed resolution blocking Trump’s national emergency to build a wall on the Mexican border, which is expected to come up for a vote by Friday.

► In the NY Times — U.S. continues to separate migrant families despite rollback of policy — Nearly nine months after the Trump administration officially rescinded its policy of separating migrant families who have illegally crossed the border, more than 200 migrant children have been taken from parents and other relatives and placed in institutional care, with some spending months in shelters and foster homes thousands of miles away from their parents.

► In today’s Washington Post — Banks bow to pressure to stop profiting from Trump’s immigration policy, but Big Tech remains defiant — Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies are forcing corporate America into a tricky calculus: embrace the business opportunities presented by the expanded immigration detention regime or heed the backlash from the public and even their own employees.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Senators urge VA not to fumble expansion of caregiver benefits — “(The Veterans Administration) continues to miss deadlines and not get it right,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said. “And we have got to make them step up to the plate and make this work.”

ALSO at The Stand — Filling 49,000 vacancies at VA isn’t a priority for White House




► From Gizmodo — Amazon workers in Minnesota hold overnight strike for better conditions — Minnesota has become a hotbed of labor unrest within Amazon’s ranks, where a contingent of workers organized via local East African community group Awood Center first pressured the company’s brass to sit in on negotiations in November and staged a mass protest outside their facility a month later. Now, Awood is claiming another victory: rallying together a three-hour strike of the “a majority of workers in the stow department” at the MSP1 facility in Shakopee, Minnesota.

EDITOR’S NOTE — When workers stand together and fight, they win. Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From The Pitt News — Labor board affirms Pitt grad students have right to unionize — The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board has ruled that Pitt’s graduate student employees are entitled to unionize, a step forward in graduate students’ multi-year battle to form a union.

► From The Nation — The governor who beat Scott Walker is ready to overturn Walker’s anti-labor agenda — Since taking office, Tony Evers has endeavored to renew Wisconsin’s historic commitment to worker rights. Last week, he announced an ambitious plan to overturn the noxious “right to work” legislation and assaults on prevailing-wage protections that were a centerpiece of Walker’s second-term agenda.

► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — In two Friday decisions, Missouri judges block anti-union laws pushed by Republicans, Greitens — In one ruling, a judge halted a so-called “paycheck protection” law from going into effect until a final judgment is entered in a lawsuit filed in August by public sector workers. A second ruling put on hold a sweeping rewrite of the state’s hiring and firing practices.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!