Thursday, April 11, 2019
► In today’s Seattle Times — My wife is a teacher, but I disagree with the teachers union on pay (by Sen. Mark Mullet) — The teachers union and many school officials are demanding (SB 5313), arguing that schools need more local money for programs. But when I proposed to keep that local levy money from being diverted into staff salaries — something the districts supported — the teachers union accused me of cutting teachers’ pay… If Democrats are going to govern successfully, we have to stand up when interest groups — even those that support us — are not being reasonable.
REASONABLE EDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Is.), the sponsor of SB 5313, the original bill to restore levy flexibility for school districts, published a letter disavowing Mullet’s amendments and agreeing with the Washington Education Association’s interpretation that his changes would cut teacher pay. The good news: the WEA reports that the House has posted amendment language for a clean levy bill, HB 2140, which has passed out of the Appropriations Committee and could get a floor vote soon. The WEA supports this bill to restore flexibility to local districts to fund things beyond basic education, including: extra teachers and instructional assistants. School nurses, counselors, librarians and social workers. Arts, athletics, and more.
► From Radio Free Asia — Cambodia’s government defends decision to hire state lawmaker to lobby Congress — Cambodian authorities had arrested opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party President Kem Sokha in September 2017 on charges of “treason” and the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP two months later, paving the way for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodia People’s Party to win all 125 seats in parliament in the country’s July 2018 general election. Washington State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Waterstreet Cafe) at the time praised the transparency of the ballot and said it was “incredibly well conducted,” but the U.S. government has since leveled travel bans on Cambodian officials deemed responsible for curbing democracy. Now Ericksen will be paid $500,000 annually by Cambodia’s government “to promote improved relations between the USA and the Kingdom of Cambodia.”
► In today’s NY Times — Changes to flight software on 737 Max escaped FAA scrutiny — While it was designing its newest jet, Boeing decided to quadruple the power of an automated system that could push down the plane’s nose — a movement that made it difficult for the pilots on two doomed flights to regain control. The company also expanded the use of the software to activate in more situations, as it did erroneously in the two deadly crashes involving the plane, the 737 Max, in recent months. None of those changes to the anti-stall system, known as MCAS, were fully examined by the FAA.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Reports: Chinese carrier asking Boeing for compensation — One of China’s three major state-owned airlines has joined carriers that are asking the Boeing Co. for compensation after suspending use of its 737 MAX jetliner following two fatal crashes.
► In today’s Seattle Times — At CNN town hall, Gov. Inslee says he’d have grounded Boeing planes sooner, calls company tax breaks extortion — “I made an unfortunately necessary deal,” Inslee said of the record-setting $8.7 billion tax-break package he supported for Boeing in 2013. But he said Boeing should not have been able to “threaten” the state with moving jobs elsewhere. “I liken that to a kind of extortion,” he said.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump’s order would make it harder to block pipelines, and projects such as Longview coal-export terminal — Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that could make it harder for state governments to block energy-development projects such as a proposed coal-export terminal in southwest Washington that has failed to get a permit because of environmental concerns.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Clallam County PUD approves pay raises for union employees — The Clallam County Public Utility District has approved 3 percent pay raises for union-represented employees in each of the next four years. IBEW Local 997 represents 106 of the PUD’s 145 employees.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Want raises like that? 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!
► In today’s Seattle Times — Feds give go-ahead to extend light rail to Federal Way — The federal government has given Sound Transit early approval for extending light rail to Federal Way, indicating hundreds of millions of dollars in grants could be on the way.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Harrison nurse files class action suit against Franciscan over unpaid breaks — A Harrison Medical Center nurse filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against Franciscan Health System, alleging staff there aren’t properly compensated for lunch and other work breaks.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Vote yes for Marysville regional fire agency, levy (editorial) — Voter approval would recognize an effective partnership and provide funds needed for public safety.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump promised a new trade policy. But his new NAFTA might be worse than the old one. (by Stan Greenberg) — That a coalition of corporate interests is demanding Congress move quickly to ratify the agreement only confirms how little Trump has really disrupted. If the administration and Democrats remember the mandate of 2016, they will strip away the corporate special deals that comprise “NAFTA 2.0” and deliver the change the president promised on the campaign trail.
ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO announces opposition to NAFTA 2.0 in its current form
► From Politico — Republicans confront Trump amid cascading controversies — In addition to confronting Trump on his purge at the Department of Homeland Security and his threat to deploy auto tariffs and keep existing levies, GOP senators hope they can persuade the president to avoid nominating immigration hard-liners to lead DHS. They also want Trump to drop plans to nominate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve and are considering whether to challenge Stephen Moore’s nomination to the Fed.
► In today’s Washington Post — Wait times at U.S.-Mexico border soar as officers are reassigned to deal with migrants — Wait times at the ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border have soared as the Trump administration diverts officers to handle an influx of immigrants, leaving trucks backed up for hours and industry leaders warning of possible produce shortages and supply-chain interruptions.
► From the AP — July hearing expected in Obama health care law case — A federal appeals court in New Orleans says it will hear arguments this summer on a lawsuit backed by Trump to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
► In today’s NY Times — Donald Trump’s tax returns: What we might learn — The president’s tax returns would provide insight into how much money he is making, or losing, each year, but they would not fully illuminate the sources of his wealth.
► In the Sacramento Bee — Thousands strike at five UC hospitals today, alleging unfair labor practices — Thousands of unionized workers statewide (AFSCME) will hit the picket line Wednesday at five University of California hospitals in a one-day strike over what they allege is a coordinated campaign of unfair labor practices designed to discourage labor participation and mute protesters.
► In the Times Free-Press — Chattanooga Volkswagen workers file petition to join UAW so they can bargain like other VW employees — The petition said that at least 30 percent of the 1,709 production, skilled trades and other employees making up the proposed election unit have turned over cards seeking representation by the UAW. The petition seeks to hold the election April 29 and 30 at the Chattanooga factory. Volkswagen factory officials on Tuesday said they “remain neutral on this topic.”
► In the Seattle Times — Bezos challenges retail rivals to match Amazon’s $15 minimum wage — “Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage,” Bezos said in a letter to shareholders. “Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.”
► From Dissent — Immigrants didn’t kill your union (by Ruth Milkman) — The right-wing anti-immigrant narrative has in effect distracted attention from the actual causes of declining working-class living standards. The white working class has every reason to be alienated and enraged by rising inequality and the disappearance of good jobs, but their anger has been profoundly misdirected. It should focus not on immigrants but on the deliberate actions of business interests to degrade formerly well-paid blue-collar jobs and to promote public policies that widen inequality. Rather than opportunistically jumping on the anti-immigrant bandwagon, labor and progressives hoping to regain support from the white U.S.-born workers who supported Trump in 2016 should devote their energies to shifting the public conversation in this direction.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.