Monday, July 8, 2019
► In the News Tribune — Tacoma nurses say strike is preventable, but feel-good hospital mission statements aren’t enough (by Janet Stewart and Linda Burbank, RNs at St. Joseph Medical Center) — St. Joseph’s nurses are considering a strike vote, a rare step we do not take lightly. While compensation is part of the discussion, our top priority is safety: for patients and the community we serve. Hospital administrators should be acutely aware of what we need to deliver quality care. Our nurses have consistently communicated what we need, in multiple venues throughout the year in addition to contract negotiations. If nurses are expected to take care of more patients who are sicker, we simply need more nurses to do that. Administrators know this, but they are dragging out contract talks on the backs and hearts of nurses who deliver the lifeline to patient care.
► In the Supermarket News — Portland, Ore., grocery workers authorize strike — United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 grocery employees in the Portland, Ore., area this week voted to authorize a strike against Fred Meyer, QFC, Albertsons and Safeway. The move came just days after seven UFCW locals in Southern California, representing about 46,000 workers, gave union leaders permission to call a strike, if necessary, at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions supermarkets.
ALSO at The Stand — Portland grocery workers OK strike; SW Wash. could be next
► In the Seattle Times — Employee walkout at Slate Coffee’s Ballard store triggers discussion about ‘toxic’ work environments — On an early Saturday morning last month in Ballard, five baristas taped resignation letters to the front door of Slate Coffee Roasters in hope of shaming their bosses for issuing late paychecks and for failing to address what they claim is a “toxic work environment.” The local coffee chain’s flagship shop in Ballard has remained shut since the walkout, but all of Slate’s other locations have stayed open.
► From the AP — Saudi carrier cancels troubled Boeing 737 order for Airbus — A Saudi budget airline is ordering 30 Airbus planes in a deal that replaces a $6 billion agreement it had with Boeing for its troubled 737 Max jets, which have been grounded after two deadly crashes.
ALSO at The Stand — Boeing’s cost-cutting business model is failing (by Stan Sorscher) — Will Boeing make great products, which generate cash flow, or will it continue being a company that generates great cash flow — and makes airplanes?
► In the (Everett) Herald — Suspended routes stack up as airlines wait for Boeing 737 Max — Southwest and American airlines have dropped direct routes across the country as the carriers continue to grapple with fallout from the grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets.
► In the Columbian — L&I proposal would drastically change state’s overtime rules — L&I unveiled a set of proposed changes to the state’s overtime rules last month, proposing a substantial overhaul that has the potential to affect hundreds of thousands of paychecks statewide, including workers in Clark County. The changes aim to provide what L&I characterizes as a long-overdue update to the state’s salary threshold for overtime-exempt workers, which hasn’t been updated since the 1970s.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Several business lobbyists and owners are interviewed. Number of actual working people interviewed: zero.
ALSO at The Stand:
State moves to close overtime pay loophole (June 5, 2019)
Immediate, widespread support for restoring OT pay (June 6, 2019)
► In the Columbian — State tightens up on rules for noncompete agreements — In the latest move in a string of changes aimed at tightening the state’s labor laws, legislators passed a bill in April that cracks down on the use of noncompete agreements.
► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Despite millions spent, ‘crucial’ DSHS electronic records system years behind schedule — A multi-million dollar project to bring electronic health records to Western State Hospital and other buildings overseen by the state Department of Social and Health Services is several years behind schedule, and the state says it doesn’t know when it will be completed.
► In the Seattle Times — Problems with Washington’s new $9.5M voter-registration system leave officials racing to get ballots printed, mailed — County officials across Washington are racing to enter a backlog of voter-registration data into a new statewide elections system in time to get ballots printed and mailed by mid-July, for the Aug. 6 primary.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Political dominoes in Washington waiting on Inslee’s decision — As Gov. Jay Inslee pursues his long-shot run for president, political dominoes are lining up for Washington’s 2020 elections. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, state Sen. Christine Rolfes and state Rep. Drew Hansen are among those waiting to see which way their domino will fall: Run for re-election or a new office?
► In the (Everett) Herald — As time expires, Eyman lacks signatures for anti-tax measure — Initiative promoter Tim Eyman failed to gather enough signatures for I-1648 to erase tax increases approved by lawmakers earlier this year.
► In the Columbian — Carolyn Long launches second bid for Congress — Carolyn Long, a Democrat who in 2018 lost the most competitive race in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District in nearly a decade, is looking once more to unseat the incumbent.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Reykdal wants second term leading state public school system — Snohomish native, who narrowly won the seat in 2016, announced his re-election bid.
► In the Washington Post — Fear of immigration raids looms as plans for ICE ‘family operation’ move forward — Trump’s threats have left immigrants living in the United States illegally in a fog of dread, putting neighborhoods on edge and making residents fear venturing outside.
► In the Olympian — ICE arrest at Thurston County courthouse begs the question: What does sanctuary mean? — The recent courthouse arrest raises concerns in a city that has declared itself a sanctuary city and a county that named itself welcoming, agreeing not to aid ICE in detaining immigrants. Was there a way for the county or city to step in? Officials say no. Not helping ICE in its work is different from obstructing ICE, they say.
► In today’s Washington Post — FBI, ICE find state driver’s license photos are a gold mine for facial-recognition searches — Federal agents have turned state driver’s license databases — including Washington state’s — into a facial-recognition gold mine, scanning through millions of Americans’ photos without their knowledge or consent.
► In the Yakima H-R — Yakima Valley farmers endure strain as immigration reform remains out of reach — While much of the recent conversation on immigration has focused on how the U.S. has handled and should handle border security, the Yakima Valley’s agricultural industry has continued to wait for an immigration policy that will provide a sufficient supply of legal foreign workers.
► From The Hill — ObamaCare repeal lawsuit faces major court test — The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit backed by the Trump administration seeking to overturn the entire 2010 Affordable Care Act.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If the Trump administration and the 20 Republican-led states that filed this lawsuit succeed, say goodbye to coverage for pre-existing conditions, coverage for adult children until age 26, the ban on lifetime coverage caps, and much more. All this from the party that, nearly 10 years later, still has no alternative proposal to keep Americans covered. Shameful.
► In today’s Washington Post — Appeals court’s decision on Affordable Care Act could create political havoc for GOP — A ruling that the health-care law is unconstitutional would almost certainly catapult the issue back before the Supreme Court — and to the forefront of the 2020 campaign, legal and political analysts say.
► In today’s Washington Post — The Trump administration has changed its story on the census citizenship question at least 10 times in four months — Trump’s renewed push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census has again thrown his administration, which until last week had gone nearly four months without a White House communications director, for a loop. In the interim, Trump and his officials have undercut one another’s public statements as well as the administration’s legal arguments for adding a citizenship question.
► From Bloomberg — Amazon workers plan Prime Day strike at a Minnesota warehouse — Warehouse workers in Shakopee, Minn., plan a six-hour strike July 15 during the online retailer’s summer sales extravaganza, a sign that labor unrest persists even after the company committed to paying all employees at least $15 an hour last year.
► In the Washington Post — ‘This doesn’t look like the best economy ever’: 40% of Americans say they still struggle to pay bills — The stock market is at record levels, but this expansion has been weaker and its benefits distributed far more unevenly than in previous growth cycles, leaving many Americans in a vulnerable position. About 40 percent of Americans have seen paltry or volatile wage growth, rising expenses for housing, health care and education, and increased levels of personal debt. They tend not to own homes or many stocks.
► In the NY Times — Employee activism is alive in tech. It stops short of organizing unions. — Labor advocates said there were limits to how much tech workers could achieve without actually unionizing. “You can have this magical moment — the Google walkout was inspiring for all of us — but there’s a question of sustainability,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. But tech workers who aim to unionize face challenges. Many employees see their bosses as friendly peers rather than authority figures and are reluctant to mobilize against them. In other cases, highly compensated engineers may see themselves as independent operators who have plenty of leverage on their own and thus do not need to join a union effort.
► From HuffPost — Stadium erupts in ‘equal pay’ chants as U.S. women win 2019 World Cup — The chants began when FIFA President Gianni Infantino walked on the field for the postgame ceremonies.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.