Friday, May 3, 2019
► In today’s Seattle Times — The winding path to Washington’s clean-energy future (by Aiko Schaefer April Sims Becky Kelley) — We know we cannot build a better future without addressing the reality that people of color and households with lower incomes bear the brunt of pollution’s worst impacts every day. And we must build a clean-energy economy that protects and invests in working families. The package of bills passed this year addresses these tough challenges head-on… The 100% clean energy law incentivizes livable wage and skilled labor practices by giving a sliding scale of tax incentives based to the company’s practices, including if they pay prevailing wage rates, use women, minority or veteran-owned businesses, hire workers living in the local area, and invest in skill development through apprenticeships. All of these practices both help the people doing the work and help ensure the clean economy of the future includes all of us.
EDITOR’S NOTE — All are invited to join Gov. Jay Inslee for the bill signing and community celebration of the bills backed by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. It will be Tuesday, May 7 at Seattle’s Central Park across from Rainier Vista Neighborhood House, 4410 29th Ave. S. Bill action begins at 3 p.m. so arrive by 2:30 p.m. Get details.
► From The Stranger — UW College Republicans are holding an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” with prices based on race and gender — UWCR says their bake sale protests “a clearly racist change of law,” according to the Facebook page for the event. Prices for the Republican confections will be dependent on race and gender: “Asian: $1.50, White $1.00, African American $0.50, Hispanic $0.50, Native American Free.”
ALSO at The Stand — I-1000’s passage is a victory for the people (by Cherika Carter) — Those of us who support I-1000 are saying “no” to discrimination and demanding better wages and jobs for everyone regardless of color or background. We want to make sure that small businesses have the opportunity to compete for government contracts. And we are advocating to make sure that students in our state have access to affordable and quality higher education. We recognize that we can’t have shared success without shared opportunities for all Washingtonians.
► From the Guardian — ‘It’s because we were union members’: Boeing fires workers who organized — Richard Mester worked for Boeing in South Carolina as a flight safety inspector for five years before being suddenly fired – along with two other employees – in November 2018 for allegedly failing to report a bird strike. However, the bad news also came shortly after the company was told Mester had been elected a union steward. “I have 30 years’ experience as an engine guy, so I was taken back by it because I don’t miss bird strikes,” Mester told the Guardian. An air force veteran, Mester had just bought a house and had two daughters in college when he was terminated. Mester and his colleagues have filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB alleging there was no bird strike at all, but rather that this is an excuse to fire workers involved in unionization efforts. “It was easy to see it was because we were union members,” said Mester. “Boeing has no qualms about squashing any possibility of a union down here. Unfortunately we were the result of that.”
ALSO at The Stand — Tell Boeing CEO to reinstate wrongly fired S.C. inspectors — C’mon, Washington. Let’s show South Carolina’s Boeing workers what solidarity looks like. Sign this petition to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to demand that Boeing return the three flight readiness technicians/inspectors to their positions and be made whole.
► In today’s NY Times — Boeing’s South Carolina plant subject to increased scrutiny — The FAA has been increasing its scrutiny of Boeing’s plant near Charleston, S.C., where manufacturing errors have at times threatened to undermine safety. Since September, the agency has investigated and confirmed three safety complaints made by employees who detailed problems with planes in the final stages of production. The regulator is also looking into a claim that an employee faced pressure to sign off on work related to the airworthiness of a jet during the last week of March.
► In today’s Wall Street Journal — Boeing’s own test pilots lacked key details of 737 MAX flight-control system — Boeing limited the role of its own pilots in the final stages of developing the 737 MAX flight-control system implicated in two fatal crashes, departing from a longstanding practice of seeking their detailed input, people familiar with the matter said.
► Teamsters at Supervalu warehouse in Tacoma rally, picket for union rights — On Thursday, more than one hundred Teamster warehouse workers and drivers employed at UNFI’s Supervalu distribution center in Tacoma walked off the job and picketed to protest UNFI’s refusal to honor its contract with the Teamsters when the company relocates operations to Centralia later this year. (In this video, Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and WSLC Secretary-Treasurer April Sims address the warehouse workers.)
United Natural Foods, Inc., a huge natural and organic grocery foods distributor, finalized its $2.9 billion acquisition of Supervalu last October, then abruptly announced earlier this year that they would be moving work from the Tacoma facility to Centralia. In meetings with the Teamsters, UNFI has stated that it does not intend to honor clear language in its contract with Teamsters Locals 117 and 313 that addresses what happens if the Tacoma facility is moved anywhere else in Washington state. This contract language preserves family wages, a guaranteed pension and strong union health and welfare benefits.
► In today’s Seattle Times — 13 exposed to radioactive material at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center — The spill of a radioactive substance at a Harborview Medical Center loading dock contaminated 13 people Thursday night.
► In today’s Seattle Times — ICE flights will no longer use Boeing Field — A week after King County announced it would seek to ban flights from Boeing Field that carry detained immigrants, a company that has serviced those flights is making the county’s wish a reality sooner than expected.
► From The Hill — Trump’s pursuit of infrastructure deal hits GOP roadblock — GOP lawmakers say the president’s grand proposal for a $2 trillion deal is too ambitious, and warn that they will oppose any measure that adds to the deficit.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Oh, now they’re deficit hawks.
► From HuffPost — ‘Medicare For All’ isn’t the only way to get to universal coverage — Medicare for America envisions creating a comprehensive public insurance plan that would automatically absorb at least half the U.S. population and be open to anybody who wanted to enroll. But the measure would allow employers to keep offering private coverage, giving employees of those firms the option of sticking with a company plan. It would also preserve Medicare Advantage, the privately run version of traditional Medicare that roughly one-third of seniors currently use… Some high-profile members of the Democratic establishment are also on board, including AFT President Randi Weingarten.
► In today’s NY Times — You can’t tax the rich without the IRS — Already, wealthy people and corporations easily get around today’s rules. However tough any new laws might seem, they’d soon be undercut. Slowly and quietly over the past eight years, the IRS has been eviscerated. It’s lost tens of thousands of employees. It has fewer auditors now than at any time since 1953. Businesses and the wealthy benefit the most from this state of affairs. If no one is around to root out offshore accounts, tax cheats won’t be punished.
► And then there’s this…
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 2, 2019
► In today’s NY Times — Why wages are finally rising, 10 years after the recession — Over the past year, low-wage workers have experienced the fastest pay increases, which is probably being fueled in part by recent minimum-wage increases in cities and states across the country. The rest is most likely a result of a tightening labor market.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Haven’t gotten a raise? Get a union! Union wages average more than 22 percent higher than non-union wages. 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! (BTW, it was unions that fought for and won those minimum-wage increases.)
► In today’s Washington Post — Fast-growing Washington state knocks Massachusetts out of the top 10 largest state economies — Washington state was the fastest growing economy in the nation in 2018, expanding output by 5.7 percent a year earlier adjusted for inflation, almost double the national rate, Commerce Department data show. This growth spurt propelled it into the nation’s 10 largest economies for the first time on record, knocking Massachusetts down to 11th.
► In the Detroit News — Citizens want union electricians for government construction (op-ed) — Electrical work is inherently dangerous and not all electrical contractors are alike. Yet many elected officials believe they automatically have to choose the lowest bidder for taxpayer-funded projects, either because they think their constituents want them to, or because they think they legally have to. Neither of those things is true. IBEW locals 665 and 252, along with the NECA Michigan Chapter, recently commissioned a scientific survey of 400 Michigan residents in six counties. The survey showed that 86 percent of residents want officials to consider factors like safety training and quality instead of simply going with the cheapest bid.
► If he hadn’t passed away five years ago, the great folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger would have turned 100 years old today. If you attend the 2019 Hootenanny at the ILWU Local 23 Hall in Fife on Saturday night, you are guaranteed the opportunity to sing along to a Pete Seeger song or two with some fellow union members — which is how they are meant to be sung, together. As in this video clip. Happy 100th, Pete.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.