Friday, June 28, 2019
► In today’s Olympian — Providence St. Peter nurses stage informational picket as contract negotiations heat up — Employees at Providence St. Peter engaged in an informational picket Thursday afternoon outside the Olympia hospital, voicing their concerns about the possible elimination of accrued benefits, staffing shortages and expiring contracts. The picketing was part of a larger, statewide showing by Providence nurses and other health professionals frustrated with negotiations that could erase millions of dollars’ worth of accumulated benefits that workers have in sick leave, according to UFCW 21.
ALSO at The Stand — Thank you for supporting informational pickets at Providence
► From Crosscut — Seattle seeks to sidestep courts with new legislation that aims to protect hotel workers — Since Seattle voters overwhelmingly approved it in 2016, an initiative intended to provide protections to employees in large hotels has been hung up in the courts. Loath to wait any longer for the suite of changes to kick in, the Seattle City Council introduced legislation this week to replicate the goals of Initiative 124, but with some tweaks intended to make its provisions more legally tenable and to avoid the quagmire of the ongoing court proceedings.
► From KUOW — Hotel workers feels unsafe. Seattle wants to change that ASAP. — Lula Haile remembers being attacked by a drunk hotel guest while making the bed. She fought back. Later she told the manager what happened. “She write down everything, what I did, everything I told her,” Haile told reporters. “But nobody said nothing to me.” Today Haile works nights and still feels unsafe.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — EWU trustees approve $3.6 million budget cut; 55 tenured faculty offered voluntary buyouts — Eastern Washington University’s board of trustees on Thursday approved a 3% cut to the school’s operating budget for fiscal 2020. A presentation from the trustees’ meeting documents indicates about half of the $3.6 million budget reduction is due to shrinking enrollment forecasts.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily World — McKinley Paper Co., plans to take applications July 11 — McKinley Paper Co. is seeking in-person job applicants July 11 in anticipation of reopening its shuttered Ediz Hook paper mill in Port Angeles by December and expanding its reach through the recent acquisition of a U.S. packaging company.
► From KNKX — UW researchers find high rates of depression among child care workers — “Forty percent of them were showing clinically significant levels of depression,” said one of the study’s authors. “That’s double what you would find for women with low incomes in the U.S. generally and about four times what you would find for women overall.”
► From Bloomberg — Boeing needs up to 3 months to fix latest 737 Max problem — Boeing could take three months to fix the latest software glitch on its 737 Max, discovered when a U.S. government pilot doing simulator tests experienced a lag in an emergency response because a computer chip was overwhelmed with data, people familiar with the matter said.
► From the PSBJ — Boeing CEO says 737 Max troubles have resulted in ‘personnel changes’ — The ongoing crisis with its 737 Max has cost some employees their jobs with Boeing. Company CEO Dennis Muilenburg acknowledged those “personnel changes” on Wednesday, though he added, “I’m not going to go into numbers or names.”
► From Talk Poverty — States are going around Trump to get more workers overtime pay — Getting a promotion is usually a cause for celebration. But after Chip Ahlgren was made a general manager at a Jiffy Lube in Washington state, he moved from an hourly position to a salaried one, and was no longer owed overtime pay when he put in more than 40 hours a week. Instead, Ahlgren could be asked to work as many hours as his boss demands for the same $52,000 a year. These days, he’s putting in around 60 hours a week, even though his contract says he’s supposed to work 50 hours and the payroll system only counts 40 hours a week for the purpose of accruing sick leave. His managers keep giving him more to do. “They just add and add and add,” he said. “There’s no way for us to get everything done.”
At the beginning of June, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries released a plan to update its own overtime threshold. It would ensure that any worker in the state who makes less than 2.5 times the minimum wage — by 2026, nearly $80,000 a year — will be owed overtime pay. About 400,000 people like Ahlgren are expected to be affected.
ALSO at The Stand:
► In today’s NY Times — The lessons of Washington state’s watered down ‘public option’ — A closer look at the Washington public option signed into law last month, and how it was watered down for passage, is a reminder of why the idea ultimately failed to make it into the Affordable Care Act and gives a preview of the tricky politics of extending the government’s reach into health care.
► In the (Everett) Herald — This year’s biggest election for Democrats isn’t on the ballot — Next month’s selection of a new speaker for the state House of Representatives may be the year’s most important contest for Democrats in Washington. Four women lawmakers are vying to succeed him — and become the first woman in this position in state history. It’s a quartet of talent: Monica Stonier of Vancouver, the majority floor leader and current member of caucus leadership; Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma, chairwoman of the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee; June Robinson of Everett, vice chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, and Gael Tarleton of Seattle, chairwoman of the Finance Committee. Each enjoys support among the 57 members of the House Democratic Caucus, which will meet July 31 to make a decision. A couple rounds of balloting are likely before any of them garners the required majority.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Senate to conduct review after lawmaker says she experienced sexism and racism in Olympia — The Washington Senate plans to conduct an informal review after state Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent) said she experienced “hate, sexism, racism and misogyny” during closed-door Democratic caucus meetings.
► From the AP — House Democratic staffer dies after suffering heart attack — Jim Richards, a longtime House Democratic staffer, died this week after suffering a heart attack over the weekend. Richards, 57, served as communications director for the caucus for nearly five years.
► In today’s Olympian — Supreme Court puts citizenship question on hold, but state doesn’t consider the fight to be over — The nation’s highest court on Thursday temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, but Gov. Jay Inslee said the fight against the question is not over yet and the state will continue to press for its fair share of federal funding and political representation tied to the nation’s count.
► In the Yakima H-R — Yakima Valley leaders applaud high court decision on census, but say fear still exists — Some community leaders praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to nix a citizenship question on the 2020 census, but they worry that many people will still be afraid to participate.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — How the Tri-Cities could lose $240 million. It all has to do with the upcoming census. — The Tri-Cities stands to lose tens of millions of dollars in federal and other funding if fears of a massive undercount materializes in the 2020 Census.
► In today’s NY Times — Why the Supreme Court’s rulings have profound implications for American politics — The justices handed Republicans a key victory by refusing to halt even the most extreme gerrymandered maps. But Democrats may have a win on blocking the citizenship question from the census.
► In today’s NY Times — Politicians can pick their voters, thanks to the Supreme Court (editorial) — The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to serve as an arbiter for what counts as extreme partisan gerrymandering, opening the door for politicians of both parties essentially to pick their voters, disfavoring parties that are not in power. The decision is anathema to America’s democratic ideals.
► In today’s Washington Post — The Supreme Court has failed the Constitution (editorial) — When the framers drafted the elections clause, they did not imagine today’s supercharged, software-aided, partisan gerrymandering. But they certainly thought, as a bedrock principle, that the people, in the states and in Congress, had the power to act. If the Supreme Court won’t follow the spirit of the framers, we the people have no choice.
► From The Hill — Supreme Court to hear cases on Trump efforts to end DACA — The justices will hear the cases during their next term, which starts in early October. A pair of appeals courts have ruled against Trump officials who sought to end the Obama-era program.
► In today’s NY Times — House passes Senate border bill in striking defeat for Pelosi — The House on Thursday passed a Senate humanitarian aid package without any of the House’s strict protections for migrant children in overcrowded border shelters after Speaker Nancy Pelosi capitulated to Republicans and Democratic moderates in a striking defeat.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — The health care question that wasn’t asked (editorial) — While the democratic candidates discussed Medicare for All, a Senate committee advanced bills that can lower costs.
► From TPM — Trump laughs with Putin as he jokingly warns: ‘Don’t meddle in the election’ — During a sit-down with Russia President Vladimir Putin, he made a joke out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election.
► From ProPublica — Low-wage workers are being sued for unpaid medical bills by a nonprofit Christian hospital that employs them — Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis has sued many of its own employees over unpaid medical bills and garnishes their wages; its health care plan prevents them from going to competitors with better financial assistance.
► In the USA Today — ‘Can’t pay their bills with love’: In many teaching jobs, teachers’ salaries can’t cover rent — New teachers can’t afford median rent almost anywhere. Our city-by-city analysis validates a theme in teacher strikes.
► In today’s Atlanta J-C — No federal investigation after complaint alleging anti-union tactics by Delta — The National Mediation Board, which governs labor relations at airlines, said it will not investigate because the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union has not yet filed an application for a unionization election.
ALSO at The Stand — From insulting to illegal: IAM files charges against Delta Air Lines (May 20, 2019)
► From the AFL-CIO — International Labor Organization fights gender-based workplace violence, harassment — Eight years ago, women union leaders and activists began campaigning for the International Labor Organization to tackle gender-based violence and harassment at work. Last week, at the ILO’s 100th anniversary, workers, governments and employers voted overwhelmingly to approve a binding Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
► Friends, we have reached the mid-point of 2019! And naturally, that means it’s time for Rolling Stone magazine to make a list of the best albums of the year so far. Our favorite from that list is Vampire Weekend’s 4th LP, Father of the Bride. RS calls it “ear candy loaded with trouble.” Similarly, AllMusic writes that the following single “pairs words full of existential doubt with music that snaps its fingers.” The Entire Staff of the Stand writes, “it’s like Van Morrison and his Brown-Eyed Girl cheating on each other, destroying their relationship, and questioning their humanity.” Enjoy the fun!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.