Monday, May 20, 2019
► In the Seattle Times — Gov. Inslee is wrong to flip-flop on liquefied natural-gas facility in Tacoma (editorial) — Gov. Jay Inslee is doing an outstanding job staying on message in his presidential campaign, making climate change his signature issue and a focus of the primaries. But Inslee went too far last week when he pulled support for a project in Tacoma that will cut emissions and create jobs. Moving goal posts late in the game may discourage companies from innovating and investing in cleaner ways of doing business, at least in Washington.
ALSO at The Stand — Inslee chooses climate optics over balance (by WSLC President Larry Brown) — Unfortunately, by ignoring science in favor of politics and optics, the governor makes it more difficult to hold together the very labor-environmental coalition that helped achieve his goals.
► In the Yakima H-R — School employee health care plans become clearer — and in August, the costs will be set — By early August, school employees will be able to see exactly how much they’ll pay per month for health care plans offered through a statewide system being rolled out in January. Which health care carriers are part of the system, which plans are available in employees’ respective counties and the exact cost for each tier — individual employee, employee and spouse, employee and children, or full family — still need to be solidified, according to the state Health Care Authority.
► From L&I — Dollar Tree faces one of largest-ever fines for repeated safety violations — Blocked emergency exit routes, unsafe ladder use and improper stacking of merchandise are among the numerous safety hazards that have the Dollar Tree company facing one of the largest Washington State Department of Labor & Industries fines ever issued.
► In the Seattle Times — ‘Gray money’: New Washington law to lift the cloak on PAC funders — Through a series of “nesting doll” PACs, campaigns or political parties can cloak donations by individuals, corporations, industry associations or labor unions. Now, a measure passed by state lawmakers this year could aid voters by revealing some of the top donors or organizations behind the cryptic groups.
► In the Seattle Times — Boeing and the FAA must restore public trust (editorial) — The tragic and inexcusable failures of the 737 MAX have shredded all confidence that Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration are competently protecting the flying public. As presented in The Seattle Times’ coverage and confirmed in Wednesday’s Congressional inquest, the federal agency charged with governing the manufacturer has tilted too far toward deference, rather than regulation. The FAA must reassert its authority as an agency responsible for the safety of millions of lives and hold Boeing accountable. And Boeing must work diligently to restore the sense of integrity it earned across generations but damaged with its apparent rush to get the 737 MAX to customer airlines.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Find, fix failures to restore trust in Boeing, FAA (editorial) — It’s not known how soon the 737 Max may return to service, but the crashes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights — and the response by Boeing and the FAA before and after those tragedies — has arguably degraded confidence in both. As the investigations and hearings continue, only full and candid cooperation can hope to restore that trust.
► From Crosscut — To fix a health care workforce shortage, WA needs new ways of training (by Rich Roodman and Diane Sosne, RN, MN) — As a medical center CEO and a union president, respectively, we are proud to have jointly founded the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training Fund in 2008, along with four other employers. Since then, more than 6,700 caregivers have built their skills and advanced their careers through accessing the fund’s many cutting-edge programs. We have expanded the fund to include nine participating employers throughout Washington, and this joint labor-management effort has proved to be a uniquely successful model for meeting our state’s growing health care workforce needs.
► In the Seattle Times — As Seattle’s new hotels roll out automation to serve guests, workers worry — Embassy Suites employees, represented by UNITE HERE Local 8, are negotiating to include in their first contract with Hilton the right to collectively bargain over the implementation of new technology.
► In the Columbian — Vancouver Public Schools bus driver calls for change after attack — Jeanette Weaver, an 18-year school bus driver in the west Clark County school district for 18 years and an SEIU shop steeward, said the attack points to a larger issue: a lack of support in the district for bus drivers despite ongoing concerns about student behavior.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Lobbyists may have more staying power than Infrastructure Week (by Nicholas Deshais) — Last week was the seventh annual Infrastructure Week put on by the AFL-CIO, American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and 500 other affiliate organizations. In the political world, that group of organizations would be called bipartisan. Infrastructure should be bipartisan: A rare agreement to fix what we share, and to build more. In a perfect world, every week would be infrastructure week, when the nation’s elected and business leaders, workers and citizens unite to build and rebuild our country’s future. But every week is not infrastructure week. And that’s why every city and county fight for the few dollars doled out, far short of the $4.6 trillion the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates it would cost to fix the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, dams, airports and water and electrical systems. For context, the 2019 federal budget is $4.4 trillion.
► From The Hill — This week: Democrats, White House set for infrastructure, budget talks — Democrats are set to sit down with the White House this week to try to make progress toward separate deals on an infrastructure package and raising the budget caps. A Senate aide said they expect Trump to use the meeting to “present his plans for how to pay for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan.”
► From Politico — Trump FCC prepares to approve T-Mobile-Sprint merger — A Trump administration regulator on Monday moved to bless T-Mobile’s $26 billion merger with Sprint, a deal that critics say will reduce wireless competition and raise prices for consumers.
► Jayapal explains why we should ‘scrap the cap’ on Social Security — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7th) explains why “scrapping the cap” would not only be fair, it would strengthen and improve our Social Security system.
We know Social Security would work better if people with high incomes paid their fair share. In @HouseBudgetDems today, I broke down how one simple change could keep Social Security strong. pic.twitter.com/Stp3gjkni9
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 15, 2019
► In today’s NY Times — There’s no boom in Youngstown, but blue-collar workers are sticking with Trump — “The Democratic Party has lost its voice to speak to people that shower after work and not before work,” he said. “All we’re saying is he won’t turn over his tax returns. He’s saying, ‘I’m fighting China to get you better jobs.’” He added: “They don’t care about his taxes — they just don’t.’’
► In the Washington Post — Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem. (by Thomas E. Mann and ) — We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party. The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
► In today’s Washington Post — The Koch network is reorganizing under a new name and with new priorities — The Koch network is getting a new name to reflect its shifting strategy. The Seminar Network, which includes the constellation of groups funded by the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and around 700 like-minded conservatives and libertarians who contribute at least $100,000 annually, will now operate as Stand Together.
► In the LA Times — In anti-union campaign, Delta becomes latest firm offering dumb financial advice (by Michael Hiltzik) — The lineup of big businesses offering bogus and self-serving personal finance advice to the public seems to get ever longer. But special attention should be paid to Delta Air Lines, which issued some outstandingly fat-headed suggestions in the context of an anti-union campaign, thereby creating a particularly noxious stew… Delta’s fliers drew some prompt pushback. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) called the campaign “a masterclass in corporate greed.” She pointed out that the company collected $800 million a year from the Republican tax cuts of 2017, “but you’re aggressively undermining unions, which fight for fair pay and job security for your employees.”
ALSO at The Stand — From insulting to illegal: IAM files charges against Delta Air Lines
► Last week from Patch — Macy’s employee strike averted with tentative contract — One day after announcing a strike could come “at any minute,” Macy’s employees across Rhode Island and Massachusetts agreed to a tentative contract this week that includes time-and-a-half pay on Sundays, wage increases and more. UFCW Local 1445, the same union that represents Stop & Shop workers who recently went on strike, has been in negotiations with Macy’s for four months.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for a raise? Get a union! 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!
► From CNN — A tried and true way to fix inequality in America: unions (by Steven Greenhouse) — The decline of unions has fueled income inequality and wage stagnation, reduced economic mobility and helped enable corporations and wealthy donors to dominate our nation’s politics and policymaking. When unions were mighty and union jobs plentiful, unions pulled up wages for everyone, nonunion workers too… Many business executives voice alarm that more young Americans have a positive view of socialism than capitalism, according to a recent Gallup poll. Many young people feel this way because income inequality in the US is so extreme, economic mobility has slowed, and the American dream has become more elusive. Strengthening unions would be an important way to help reverse these unfortunate trends.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.