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‘Papers don’t matter’ ● Scalia vs. workers ● Brandi’s supergroup

Friday, August 9, 2019




► In today’s NY Times — ICE raids in Mississippi leave fear and uncertainty in their wake — There were scores of cars and trucks at the trailer park near this small town’s chicken processing plant on Thursday afternoon, the day after federal immigration authorities swept across Mississippi and apprehended hundreds of immigrants in one of the largest workplace actions in recent memory. And yet it felt like a ghost town.

► In today’s Washington Post — What we know about the 5 companies targeted in the ICE raids in Mississippi — Raids spanning seven cities, six work sites and five companies ended in arrest for 680 people — and underscored an industry’s reliance on foreign-born workers at a time when federal immigration policy is the focus of intense debate. Koch Foods and Peco Foods are two of the country’s largest poultry businesses. Koch Foods’ owner, owner Joseph Grendys, is worth $3.3 billion, Forbes estimates. Last year, his company agreed to pay a $3.75 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit filed on behalf of workers in 2011. The complaint alleged that Hispanic workers at the Morton plant were subject to discrimination based on race, sex and national origin.

► In today’s Washington Post — ‘If you’re a good worker, papers don’t matter’: How a Trump construction crew has relied on immigrants without legal status — For nearly two decades, the Trump Organization has relied on a roving crew of Latin American employees to build fountains and waterfalls, sidewalks and rock walls at the company’s winery and its golf courses from New York to Florida. Other employees at Trump clubs were so impressed by the laborers — who did strenuous work with heavy stone — that they nicknamed them “Los Picapiedras,” Spanish for “the Flintstones.” For years, their ranks have included workers who entered the United States illegally, according to two former members of the crew. Another employee, still with the company, said that remains true today.

► In today’s News Tribune — Minimum wage ruling goes in part against firm that runs Tacoma’s immigrant detention center — The company that runs the federal immigration detention center in Tacoma lost an argument this week in a lawsuit about the wages it pays detainees, the state attorney general said. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued The GEO Group in 2017, alleging that the for-profit company was violating the state’s minimum wage law by paying detainees $1 or less a day for jobs such as cleaning and preparing food. Minimum wage in Washington state is $12.




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Sen. Patty Murray visits Pasco union hall — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is greeted by Nickolas Bumpaous, president of Central Washington Building & Construction Trades, during her Thursday visit to the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 598 building in Pasco. She listened to a half-dozen union members, leaders and community members share personal stories and discussed details about her worker’s rights bill called the PRO Act.

ALSO at The Stand:

Murray meets with Snohomish, Island unionists on PRO Act (Aug. 6)
Murray, Jayapal meet with Seattle labor leaders on PRO Act (June 7)

► From the Stranger — After mixed results on election night, what’s labor going to do next? — MLK Labor, a big player in local politics, counted some wins and some significant losses among the 33 candidates they endorsed countywide. “We definitely learned some things,” said executive secretary-treasurer Nicole Grant, including that corporations are “willing to spend money to control our city and control our neighborhoods in a way we haven’t seen for a while.”

► From HuffPost — Elderly Ferndale couple in apparent murder-suicide indicated they could not afford medical care — An elderly couple in Ferndale, Wash., was found dead in their home in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said, and police say they discovered notes about the couple’s struggle to afford necessary medical care.




► In the Spokesman-Review — Judge dismisses yearslong case after state psychiatric hospitals change policies, ‘culture,’ hire more staff — A five-year court battle over how psychiatric hospitals in Washington treat patients who have been ruled not guilty by reason of insanity came to an end Wednesday when Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice dismissed the case after determining significant improvements agreed to in a 2016 settlement had been made.




► From the EPI — Why Eugene Scalia is the wrong person for the job (by Heidi Shierholz, Lynn Rhinehart and Celine McNicholas) — Working women and men need and deserve a Secretary of Labor—somebody who will look out for their interests, protect them from unscrupulous employers, set strong health and safety standards, and safeguard their retirement security. Unfortunately, corporate lawyer Eugene Scalia, the man named by Trump to be the next Secretary of Labor, is not that person. Scalia has built his career representing corporations, financial institutions, and other business organizations—and fighting worker protections like health and safety regulations, retirement security, and collective bargaining rights. Scalia’s reputation as the go-to lawyer for corporations wanting to avoid worker and consumer protections is so notorious that a headline in a Bloomberg Businessweek profile on Scalia read, “Suing the Government? Call Scalia.”




► From ProPublica — Rising profits, rising injuries: The safety crisis at Koch Industries’ Georgia-Pacific — Five years ago, the paper and pulp company realized it needed to tackle a soaring injury rate. But in its quest to fix the crisis, Georgia-Pacific stopped short of one thing: slowing down production and risking profits. In other words, it addressed its worker safety crisis the Koch way — and things have only gotten worse.

► A related story in the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier — According to Boeing CEO, escalating production at SC, other plants not a safety risk — Faster production of Boeing Co.’s commercial planes isn’t leading to safety lapses, company CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Wednesday, countering claims by airlines and employees that an increased workload is leading to assembly line mistakes that are causing delays.

► More work safety news from CNN Wire — Arizona postal worker cooks steak inside mail truck to show ‘unsafe’ working conditions — Arizona State Rep. Shawnna Bolick is asking for an investigation into what she describes as unsafe work conditions for Valley postal service workers. Bolick sent a letter Wednesday to APWU President Mark Dimonstein urging him investigate reports of hazardous working conditions for mail carriers because of the Arizona heat.

► From The Onion — New Amazon service lets customers boost shipping speed with easy one-click charge to whip delivery person




► Long-time readers know that The Entire Staff of The Stand have been cheerleaders for Brandi Carlile for many years. Now that the Pride of Ravensdale is a Grammy Award™-winning bigshot, what does she do? Assemble a country music supergroup with Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby. Watch and listen as The Highwomen cover the 1977 Fleetwood Mac song “The Chain.” Stephen Betts of Rolling Stone writes, “Shires’ chilling fiddle work accentuates the song’s desolate themes of heartache and anger and the singers’ four-part vocals add even more intensity to this women-only version, with instrumental support from Jason Isbell and brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth.” Enjoy!


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