Thursday, May 9, 2019
REMINDER — Rally with nurses TODAY in Spokane, Richland — The Washington State Nurses Association invites all to attend simultaneous Nurses and Community Picket/Rallies from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 outside Sacred Heart Medical Center, 201 W. 8th Ave. (McClellan & 8th) in Spokane and outside Kadlec Regional Medical Center, 1001 Stevens Dr. in Richland. Get details and RSVP at the Facebook event pages for the Spokane and Richland pickets. Get details.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Bankruptcy court judge approves $28 million in financing for Astria Health — The Sunnyside-based nonprofit said in a news release that it plans to use the money to resolve supply and staffing issues and pay off two of its lenders.
► In today’s Kitsap Daily News — Kilmer introduces bill to help shipyard workers retire on time — U.S. Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA.) and Tom Cole (R-OK.) introduced the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, a bill that ensures federal employees who started their careers as temporary workers are granted the opportunity to make catch-up retirement contributions so that they can retire on time.
UBER & LYFT STRIKE
► From KNKX — Ride-share drivers rally at Sea-Tac over low pay before Uber IPO — A few dozen drivers for Uber and Lyft gathered Wednesday morning at Sea-Tac Airport to talk about low pay in advance of Uber’s highly anticipated initial public offering later this week. The “speak out” event was organized by Teamsters 117 and its App-Based Drivers Association. It coincided with driver strikes in 10 other cities around the country.
ALSO at The Stand — New report: Uber and Lyft take more, pay drivers less
► From Bloomberg — Uber, Lyft face driver strikes in NYC, London ahead of IPO — The strike shows drivers may have an increased ability to pressure Uber and Lyft through shareholder activism now that both companies will be publicly traded, according to one corporate governance expert.
► From the American Prospect — Uber and Lyft are more than ‘just a gig’ — Across the country, drivers are demanding higher wages and benefits if they are to continue work in an industry that has come to be defined by the financial precarity of its employees. Despite its claim that drivers are the backbone of the company, Uber has yet to pay its employees a living and just wage. Instead, the rideshare company defines (and treats) its employees as “independent contractors,” giving them far fewer rights and protections than standard, full-time employees. Under this classification, drivers can’t sue for discrimination, receive workers’ compensation, benefit from a minimum wage, or form a union.
► In today’s NY Times — They got rich off Uber and Lyft. Then they moved to low-tax states.
► In today’s News Tribune — Inslee speaks out against LNG plant in Tacoma, methanol facility in Kalama — Washington’s governor is changing course on his support of two fossil-fuel projects in the state… “We’re confident that science and fact continue to support this facility,” said a Puget Sound Energy spokesman. “It is very clear the approving local and other agencies understand the benefits” of the LNG site. While stopping short of calling for an outright halt of the projects, Inslee said he would work with agency directors in the next few weeks to discuss future options.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Organized labor, including the Washington state Labor Council, AFL-CIO, strongly support both projects.
► From the AP — Stripper safety bill signed into law — The rules will require safety and rights training for adult entertainers, panic buttons, and for venues to keep and enforce ban lists for violent or threatening patrons.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — In state House, one historic era ends and another begins — Frank Chopp is out as House Speaker. Rep. John Lovick (D-MillCreek) is in as Acting Speaker, and already dealing with next steps in two investigations. Lovick is the first person of color to be given the duties and responsibilities of House Speaker. Though the gig is temporary — he’ll serve until January when a new speaker is elected by the full House — it’s no less a barrier-breaking accomplishment.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Whistleblower who leaked Rep. Matt Shea’s chat logs accuses lawmaker of Christian domination agenda — He alleges that Shea and his allies are focused on employing “the sheer use of raw power and fear to achieve their political and spiritual ideology that only Christians should lead the United States of America. This is Christian Identity Politics and Dominionism in its purest form and it is dangerous.” Christian Identity is an explicitly anti-Semitic and racist movement that peaked in the 1980s.
MEANWHILE, SOUTH OF THE RIVER
► From OPB — Thousands gather in Portland for teacher walkout — Teachers walked out of class at districts across Oregon on Wednesday to advocate for more funding for public education while lawmakers stalled on a tax package meant to bolster schools. In Portland, organizers estimated more than 20,000 educators, students and community members gathered at Tom McCall Waterfront Park for a rally.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump, Democrats are locked in a constitutional showdown over Mueller’s report — The constitutional conflict between congressional Democrats and President Trump accelerated sharply Wednesday, as the White House blocked access to potentially damaging information in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s work and lawmakers declared the standoff had become a crisis.
► From the Intelligencer — Labor dispute opens new front in fight to privatize the VA — During his Senate confirmation hearing, Robert Wilkie, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said he wouldn’t privatize the VA’s health-care services. He’s since repeated that promise to veterans themselves. But Wilkie was nominated by Trump, who has surrounded himself with advocates for the privatization of the VA since taking office. His decision to fire Wilkie’s predecessor, David Shulkin, an Obama appointee who opposed privatization, may not have had as much to do with Shulkin’s alleged spending improprieties as it did with months of sustained lobbying against the secretary from allies of Concerned Veterans for America. The Koch-backed advocacy group supports an expansion of private-sector care for veterans — and Wilkie, since his confirmation, has deviated little from that goal… Now, a nascent contract dispute between the VA and AFGE may bolster fears that Wilkie’s reforms are privatization in all but name. On Thursday, the VA submitted a proposal to renegotiate its collective-bargaining agreement with the AFGE, which represents around 250,000 department employees. The department’s proposals would drastically reduce the amount of time employees are allowed to spend on union business during the workday, among other changes.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump threatens more China tariffs, and Beijing prepares to retaliate — President Trump toughened his stance toward China on Wednesday, threatening to prolong his trade war with Beijing, which immediately signaled that it was prepared to fight back.
► From The Hill — 2020 Democrats show off labor cred at union event — Over the course of two days at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) legislative conference, seven contenders recalled personal ties to organized labor, railed against international trade agreements and decried right-to-work laws that they said had gutted organized labor protections across the country.
► From KUOW — Sanders campaign, workers ratify union contract — Workers on the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign have ratified a union contract with management, which claims it’s the first campaign union contract at the presidential level.
► In today’s Washington Post — The White House revoked my press pass. It’s not just me — it’s curtailing access for all journalists. (by Dana Milbank) — For the past 21 years, I have had the high privilege of holding a White House press pass, a magical ticket that gives the bearer a front-row seat to history… But no more. The White House eliminated most briefings and severely restricted access to official events. And this week came the coup de grace: After covering four presidents, I received an email informing me that Trump’s press office had revoked my White House credential. I’m not the only one. I was part of a mass purge of “hard pass” holders after the White House implemented a new standard that designated as unqualified almost the entire White House press corps, including all seven of The Post’s White House correspondents.
► In today’s N.J. Globe — ATU President Larry Hanley dies at 62 — Lawrence J. Hanley, the international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and a longtime presence in New Jersey politics, has died. He was 62. “I am deeply saddened to hear about the untimely death of my dear friend and our ATU International President Larry Hanley,” said John Costa, ATU International vice president. “The ATU members of New Jersey, across the entire United States and Canada are in mourning and more importantly the Hanley family have lost a beloved patriarch.” Hanley began his transit career as a bus driver in Brooklyn and was an activist in the 1980 New York transit strike.
► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO mourns the passing of Larry Hanley
► In today’s Washington Post — Flight attendants from United Airlines’ partner plan demonstration at Dulles amid labor dispute — Air Wisconsin Airlines flight attendants plan to demonstrate Thursday at Washington Dulles International Airport to draw attention to a labor dispute that’s dragged on at the regional airline since 2016.
JAY HAS ARRIVED
► From The Onion — Jay Inslee smashes through wall of town hall in solar-powered mech suit to announce climate change plan — Unveiling sweeping policy positions that would transform the nation’s electric grid and combat emissions, Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee smashed through the wall of a town hall Wednesday in a solar-powered mech suit to announce his climate change plan.
“Starting today, I am dedicating myself to a comprehensive three-part plan designed to head off a climate catastrophe using renewable energy sources, which, as you can see, provide more than enough power for daily needs,” said Governor Inslee from the cockpit of his bipedal, carbon-neutral exoskeleton, touting the potential of clean energy to screaming, debris-covered audience members while extending one of his solar panel-covered hydraulic arms to lift the town hall’s moderator above his head and crush his skull into dust.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.