Monday, March 25, 2019
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — State asks judge to toss out lawsuit fighting benefits for more sick Hanford workers — The state of Washington has asked a federal judge to uphold a new law that makes it easier for ill Hanford workers to get workers’ compensation. If U.S. Judge Stanley Bastian agrees, it would end the lawsuit filed by the Trump administration’s Department of Labor in December seeking to block the new law as unconstitutional. “Hanford workers face unique radioactive and chemical hazards found nowhere else in Washington,” according to the state’s court documents.
► In today’s Seattle Times — The HEAL Act would put environmental justice on the map in Washington state (by Tyrone Beason) — A bill moving through the Legislature in Olympia brings some much-needed attention to an issue that for too long has gone under the radar in our discussions about the environment: Communities of color and lower-income households face a greater threat from air, water and land-based pollution in the Seattle metro area and across the state. That’s especially true for the culturally and economically mixed communities of the South Puget Sound and for Hispanic communities in the farmlands of Eastern Washington. But if the “HEAL Act” reaches Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk — and all indications are that it will — the specific risks and needs facing these communities will get special consideration when state agency regulators and lawmakers form environmental policy.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Are lawmakers ready to cover the tab for prepaid postage? — Lawmakers are coming around to the notion of letting voters return their ballots by mail without putting a stamp on the envelope. Now they need to decide if the state should pony up millions of dollars to cover those postage costs.
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Does ‘aggressive’ behavior undercut Walsh? — Rep. Jim Walsh’s (R-Aberdeen) outbursts during floor debate did lead to calls for a reprimand and resulted in his seat being moved back.
► In the News Tribune — Union to protest Michelle Obama event at Dome amid labor dispute — Obama
is appearing appeared Sunday at the Tacoma Dome in support of her book, “Becoming,” in a tour presented by Live Nation. The tour promoter subcontracts with Rhino Staging for riggers and stagehands. Rhino has been in a lengthy labor dispute with members of the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE).
► In the Yakims H-R — Growers: ICE doesn’t follow up on guest workers who overstay visas — The death of a Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy highlights what some describe as a “gap” in the guest worker program. The man Ellensburg police believe killed Deputy Ryan Thompson and wounded Kittitas police Officer Benito Chavez in a shootout Tuesday evening had come into the country on a guest-worker visa in 2014, but never left when it expired, according to ICE
► In the Peninsula Daily News — Peninsula College to cut jobs, continuing education program — Peninsula College will eliminate about 15 positions and suspend its continuing education program beginning this summer, the school announced. It’s part of the school’s effort to address an $800,000 deficit
► In the Kitsap Sun — Welders wanted: Demand for the trade at Puget Sound is hot, ‘unprecedented’ — A generation of welders is retiring at a time when high-tech jobs are emphasized. It’s resulted in a shortage in the welding workforce, despite an apprenticeship program between the shipyard and Olympic College that dates back to 1950.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing begins new 737 MAX pilot information sessions and defends the jet’s cockpit displays — Boeing on Sunday said it conducted an informational session Saturday in Renton to share details with airlines as well as safety regulators about “our plan for supporting the safe return of the 737 MAX to commercial service.” The jetmaker said it also has invited more than 200 airline pilots, technical leaders and regulators for the next session in Renton this Wednesday.
EDITOR’S NOTE — As a former newspaper copy editor, I’m always intrigued to see the extent to which corporate-speak — often established by company attorneys — is required for everyone, right down to the person who writes the headlines. “Information sessions” is way more characters than “trainings,” and headlines always strive for brevity, so somebody must have explicitly said “we can’t call these ‘trainings’.” It’s kinda like when Amazon calls its warehouses “Fulfillment Centers” and its employees there “logistics workers,” not only because some marketing person thought it sounded better, but also in an apparent attempt to avoid paying industry-standard warehouse wages in Europe. You can imagine a Boeing attorney saying, “We need to call these ‘information sessions’ or else we’ll be accused of not offering sufficient training in the first place.” Why would a newspaper go along with such nonsense?
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — With its strong D.C. ties, Boeing increasingly is elbowing FAA aside — Four weeks before a Lion Air Max 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea in October, Congress passed little noticed provisions that gave the airplane’s maker, Boeing, even more power to oversee itself, demonstrating the company’s sway in Washington, D.C. It was another victory in Boeing’s long-running, highly effective campaign to get the federal government to delegate more and more of the FAA’s safety responsibilities to the company. It also was a reflection of the inherent difficulties of having a government workforce oversee the design and production of some of the world’s most sophisticated machines.
► In today’s Washington Post — Mueller did not find the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, attorney general says — After a nearly two-year investigation, Mueller’s findings seemed to dispel the cloud of conspiracy that has hung over the administration since its inception. But by delivering caveats alongside conclusions, the closing of the Mueller investigation opens the door to fiercer political fights over the president’s judgment and power.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump did not collude with Russia. But he’s wrong to say Mueller exonerated him. (editorial) — Attorney General William Barr did not answer with clarity whether Trump unduly interfered with law enforcement. That will be a matter for Congress and the public to consider as Barr releases more information — as he must.
► From Politico — Trump begins post-Mueller ‘reset’ by attacking Democrats, media
► From Bloomberg — Mexico must change labor laws for USMCA passage, Trumka says
ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO announces opposition to NAFTA 2.0 in its current form
► In the Washington Post — GM announces $300 million investment at Michigan plant after Trump rips company over layoffs — GM chief executive Mary Barra touted the new money as part of a bigger $1.8 billion investment in the U.S., but the company said that figure includes some facility upgrades that had previously been announced. It also comes on the heels of GM announcing a $2.7 billion investment in Brazil.
► In the Las Vagas Review-Journal — Dealers at 4 Las Vegas casinos vote to join United Auto Workers union — Dealers at four Las Vegas casinos have voted to join the United Auto Workers union after taking the “unprecedented” step of ending their affiliation with a smaller labor organization. Local union leaders in January requested to end their affiliation with the Transport Workers Union of America, which granted it, but recommended dealers seek membership in the UAW, which has a greater history of organizing casino workers.
► From Academic Researchers United — UC drops objections to union recognition — On Friday, March 22, the University of California agreed to drop their objections to the Academic Researcher bargaining unit.
► From Gizmodo — Furious over falling pay, Los Angeles Uber drivers prepare to strike — In recent weeks Uber drivers in the greater Los Angeles area opened their apps to find the ridesharing company had enacted an approximately 25 percent reduction in their per-mile earnings to just 60 cents. As a result, Drivers United, a coalition of drivers in the region, is planning a 25-hour strike for Monday, March 25th in protest against the soon-to-be-public “sharing economy” giant that is presently valued at $120 billion.
► From Time — ICE releases ‘Dreamer’ flight attendant after she spent more than 5 weeks in detention — When Texan flight attendant Selene Saavedra Roman was assigned to work a flight to Mexico in February, she couldn’t have thought that the trip would be the start of a nearly six-week ordeal in ICE custody. Saavedra Roman, 28, is a ‘dreamer’ or a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) recipient, having been born in Peru and entered the U.S. illegally when she was 3, according to the Washington Post. DACA recipients, who were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 and have continued to reside in the country, are granted temporary protection from deportation and given work access. Upon returning to Houston on Feb. 12, Saavedra Roman was stopped by authorities, placed into custody and sent to a privately-run Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Conroe, Texas, where she remained for more than five weeks, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.