Friday, May 10, 2019
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Sacred Heart nurses hold second rally as contract talks with Providence drag on — Nurses at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center held a second demonstration Thursday afternoon to keep pressure on the hospital system amid drawn-out contract negotiations. Hundreds of nurses represented by the Washington State Nurses Association lined the intersection of McClellan Street and Eighth Avenue, making themselves heard with a cacophony of whistles and air horns. “What do we want? A fair contract,” they chanted. “When do we want it? Now.”
ALSO at The Stand — Support nurses at picket/rallies in Spokane, Richland
— WSNA (@myWSNA) May 9, 2019
► From KNKX — They came to Washington to work, then they got the mumps — Hundreds of workers came to the Yakima Valley on the federal H-2A visa program. They’re temporary farm labor, mostly from Latin America, many from Mexico. And for next several weeks, they will be quarantined, as health officials have highly discouraged them from going into town for food or supplies.
► MUST-READ in today’s Seattle Times — Human error? Stop blaming workers for their own deaths (by Marissa Baker, Noah Seixas and Trevor Peckham) — Within hours, experts were already calling out human error as a likely culprit in the South Lake Union tragedy, which killed two ironworkers disassembling the crane and two people in cars on the street below. “I think there’s a 99% chance that this is a human error cause and not a structural or mechanical failure by the machine,” a construction safety expert told CNN. These kinds of statements — in essence, blaming the workers for their own deaths — are common following workplace accidents. They also grossly oversimplify the complex causes of on-the-job injuries and fatalities and the factors that contribute to them, most of which are beyond the control of any worker… Laying the blame for workplace incidents only on workers ignores the responsibility of management and corporate entities to ensure health and safety. An organizational commitment to safety at all levels is the most effective way to prevent such incidents. Workplace health and safety programs must be designed with the knowledge that people are fallible and errors will happen. Adequate coordination and communication in multi-employer worksites will be critically important in the modern fissured economy.
FOOD DRIVE IS SATURDAY
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Letter carriers to collect donations Saturday for annual food drive — Along with dropping off the mail for their postal patrons, letter carriers will collect donations for their annual food drive on Saturday. Donations of nonperishable food only should be placed in bags next to mailboxes or postal slots for pickup.
ALSO at The Stand — Get ready (and buy union) for NALC’s May 11 food drive
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — NWIW: Inslee’s opposition doesn’t affect Kalama methanol project — Will Gov. Jay Inslee’s newfound opposition to the $2 billion proposed Kalama methanol plant kill the project? No, according to the company and local officials. But the future of the project will remain murky at least for a few more months.
► In today’s News Tribune — Mass layoffs avoided for Puyallup teachers, but school district budget troubles continue — Part of that is due to extra funding from the state. The Legislature adjourned on April 28 after passing legislation that restored levy funding for some school districts across the state, including Puyallup, which was facing a $13.2 million budget deficit.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima, Sunnyside districts foresee no teacher cuts; West Valley weighs $2.7M deficit — As Wednesday’s statewide deadline for school staff layoffs approaches, the Yakima and Sunnyside school districts have no plans for cuts, while West Valley faces a tough decision over a $2.7 million budget deficit.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump defiant as trade penalties kick in, warns China there is more to come — Trump on Friday defended his decision to impose steep tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and promised much steeper penalties would follow, putting the rest of the world on notice that he will follow through on his protectionist agenda no matter the blowback.
► From HuffPost — USDA employees unionize as buffer against Trump White House — A group of economists, statisticians and other employees at the Agriculture Department voted overwhelmingly to form a union (with AFGE) Thursday, hoping to use collective bargaining as a way to push back against new policies coming from the Trump administration. “It’s a form of protection,” explained one employee. “All these little things pile up and [right now] we have no way to stop them. We’re optimistic the union can force the USDA to follow guidelines.”
► In today’s Washington Post — HUD says 55,000 children could be displaced under Trump plan to evict undocumented immigrants — The Department of Housing and Urban Development acknowledged that a Trump administration plan to purge undocumented immigrants from public housing could displace more than 55,000 children who are all legal U.S. residents or citizens.
► In today’s Seattle Times — H-1B visa: Trump administration proposes fee hike to ‘prepare Americans for jobs being filled by foreign workers’ — The cost of obtaining an H-1B visa will jump considerably if a fee increase in Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget is approved. A portion of the overall H-1B fees would double. It was not immediately clear exactly how the extra money would be spent.
► From the AP — Trump to nominate Shanahan for top Pentagon post — Trump on Thursday said he will nominate Patrick Shanahan to be his second secretary of defense, putting an end to months of speculation about the former Boeing executive’s standing in the administration.
► From The Hill — Biz groups take victory lap on Ex-Im Bank — Business groups — and Boeing — are hailing the return of the Export-Import Bank to full strength after a contentious four-year battle, even as they prepare for the next fight over the future of the credit export agency.
► From The Hill — Trump Jr. subpoena sparks internal GOP battle — Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr’s surprise decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. has set off an internal fight among Senate Republicans, some of whom are now pressing the North Carolina Republican to back off the request.
► In today’s Washington Post — Delta told workers to spend on video games and beer instead of union dues. It didn’t go well. — Two posters made by Delta as part of an effort to dissuade thousands of its workers from joining a union drew a torrent of criticism after they were posted on social media Thursday… In the charged world of social media, in which talk about socialism and the evils of unfettered capitalism percolates in the conversations of an invigorated left, the posters fell with a thud. “You know what sounds fun @Delta,” Rick Smith, a liberal podcaster, tweeted. “Health care. A living wage. Dignity. Respect. A voice on the job. Safe working condition. Retirement security. $700 Is a great investment once you look at all you benefit from.”
► From Fast Company — Delta tells nonunion workers they should just buy video games instead of joining a union — The message is clear: Why join a union when you can just buy a video game console instead? Delta comes off more like a rich grandfather explaining to his grandchildren that they should be happy with the Applebee’s gift card he set aside for them in his will.
► In today’s Washington Post — A teacher battling cancer must pay for her own substitute. In California, it’s the law. — For decades, seriously ill teachers in California have been quietly forced to pay the salaries of their substitute teachers while taking extended leave. But this week, outrage over the law emerged so loudly that the state legislature might as well have just passed it yesterday.
► Yesterday was Billy Joel’s 70th birthday. Throughout his remarkable career — 33 Top 40 hits, all of which he wrote himself; among the best-selling artists of all time (ahead of Michael Jackson and Elton John) — the Piano Man has been hated. Hated! Google “Billy Joel hate” for a small sampling. It could be because his music, at one time, was inescapable. Maybe it’s because of his cheesiest love songs (“Just the Way You Are”, “She’s Always a Woman”) or his swings-and-misses (“We Didn’t Start the Fire”). Perhaps it’s because he suffered in comparison to the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, both of whom he’s been accused of ripping off. We don’t know.
Now that we’re old enough not to care what music snobs think, The Entire Staff of The Stand can admit it: we always liked Billy Joel. We grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, and we bought all of his albums. All of them. Sang the songs. Played them over and over. And this song — which will pop up on some Worst Songs of All Time lists — was one of our favorites. (This and “Vienna.”) Happy 70th, Billy. And thanks for the music.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.