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Feds v. Hanford workers (again) ● Crazy, racist and elitist ● How to fix the Big 3

Thursday, August 15, 2019




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Feds double down on ill Hanford workers’ court ruling. They will appeal. — The Trump administration is appealing a court ruling that upheld a new Washington state law that significantly eases requirements for ill Hanford workers to get state workers’ compensation. In June, Judge Stanley Bastian ruled in U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington that the state law that took effect in June 2018 did not violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as the federal government claimed. The state successfully argued that eased rules were appropriate for ill Hanford workers, given their risk of exposure to harmful compounds and poor chemical testing records kept by contractors at the Hanford nuclear reservation near Richland.

ALSO at The Stand:

Hanford suit called a ‘depraved action’ by Trump administration (Dec. 18, 2018)

Safety net strengthened for Hanford workers (by Nickolas Bumpaousin the WSLC’s 2018 Legislative Report) — Hanford’s story began with a mission for the benefit and protection of this great country. Our selfless Nuclear Veterans continue that mission to this day, protecting our lands, our rivers, and our air. Cleaning up 56 million gallons of radioactive waste will take at least another 50 years. During that time, Hanford workers will continue to be exposed to some of the most hazardous substances known to man. In 2018, the Legislature’s moral compass and strong advocacy by Local Union 598 and organized labor has led Hanford workers to more secure shores and has come to the aid of these proud citizens and their families.

► In today’s Seattle Times — As school year approaches, Seattle teachers, district are under pressure to finalize new contract again — For the second summer in a row, Seattle Public Schools and the union representing 6,000 of its employees are under the wire to finalize a new labor contract just weeks before the start of school on Sept. 4. Educators picketed in solidarity at overpasses at Seattle’s north and sound ends early Wednesday.

► From The Columbian — Vancouver-based Burgerville adds holiday pay for employees — The move comes one week after the Burgerville Workers Union announced that it had filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Burgerville, accusing the company of bad-faith bargaining.




With every progressive labor standard approved in Seattle —  $15 minimum wage, paid sick and safe time, fair chance employment, etc. — corporate interests claimed it would kill jobs and the city’s economy. Here’s an update on how that’s going.


► In the P.S. Business Journal — Seattle is adding million-dollar businesses faster than most U.S. cities — The number of million-dollar companies in Seattle is growing at a faster rate than in New York, Washington, D.C. and Houston, a study by LendingTree found. Seattle is tied with Boston at No. 17 in a LendingTree analysis of U.S. cities that saw the largest gain in businesses with at least $1 million in revenue.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Rep. Matt Shea endorsed training children to fight in holy war — A week before his re-election last year, state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) denied that a leaked manifesto he wrote was a road map for a holy war, one that would pit conservative Christian “patriots” against Muslim and Marxist “terrorists.” Rather, Shea insisted, the document titled “Biblical Basis for War” contained notes for a scholarly sermon on war in the Old Testament. But newly leaked emails, first reported by The Guardian on Wednesday, as well as a video on Shea’s public Facebook page, reveal the Spokane Valley lawmaker has had close ties with a group called Team Rugged that trained children, teens and men in their early 20s for religious combat.

► From the Seattle Times — Rep. Steve King says humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest — The Iowa Republican on Wednesday said the human population might not exist if not for rape and incest.

► From The Hill — Ben Shapiro: It’s a ‘you problem’ if you ‘had to work more than one job’ — Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro said that it is a “you problem” if a person has to “work more than one job to have a roof over your head or food on the table.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — It couldn’t be more clear that right-wing extremists are welcome in today’s Republican Party, many of whom are either (in order of appearance above) batshit crazy, horrible racists, or smug elitists who have no understanding of, or appreciation for, what it’s like to be a working-class American. Or some combination of the all three.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington among 13 states suing Trump administration on penalizing immigrants using public benefits — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson helped lead a coalition of 13 states filing suit Wednesday against the federal government’s new rule making it harder for legal immigrants to get green cards if they’ve used an array of public benefits, including Medicaid, subsidized housing and food stamps. “The rule is un-American, anti-immigrant and unlawful. I intend to stop it,” Ferguson said.




► In today’s Washington Post — 9 key countries are on the verge of recession, driving fears the U.S. could follow — Many of the countries slowing down or in recession have a common problem: They are heavily dependent on selling goods overseas. And this is not a good time to have an export-driven economy. China’s slump and President Trump’s trade war are both undercutting with the global exchange of goods that had helped power the global economy for decades, and some of these countries are seeing sharp declines in exports.

► From HuffPost — Robert Reich issues dire warning about ‘sugar high’ of Trump’s economic policies — The former Labor Secretary said Trump’s 2017 tax cut for the rich had given the stock markets a “kind of sugar high.”

► From ABC News — ‘No Blame?’ ABC News finds 36 cases invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats, alleged assaults. — Trump has repeatedly refused to accept any responsibility for inciting violence in American communities, dismissing critics who have pointed to his rhetoric as a potential source of inspiration for some citizens acting on even long-held beliefs of bigotry and hate. But a nationwide review conducted by ABC News has identified at least 36 criminal cases where Trump was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault. ABC News could not find a single criminal case filed in federal or state court where an act of violence or threat was made in the name of President Barack Obama or President George W. Bush.

► From The Hill — Fox News poll: Trump disapproval rises to near recordTrump‘s disapproval rating has jumped to 56 percent in a Fox News survey released Wednesday, a 5 percentage point increase in Trump’s disapproval from last month.

► From the Courthouse News Service — Trump loses bid to expedite revival of anti-union orders — “This is a vitally important case that the court should rehear,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “Denying the government’s motion was the right call. The government provided no good reason for the court to dissolve the injunction prematurely and speed up the administration’s efforts to violate the law and send the federal workforce into disarray.”




► In today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Carnegie Library staff members vote to unionize — Librarians and other staff members across the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system voted Wednesday to form a union for more than 300 full- and part-time workers. The vote was 173 for the union and 106 against. Union supporters who were among the 30 or so people observing the vote count cheered as the final tally was read. The vote means library staff will become part of the United Steelworkers and negotiate a contract with the library system. “We are honored to welcome these vital community builders into our growing union,” USW International President Thomas M. Conway said. “This is a big step toward making the library more fair and equitable for the workers that keep it thriving.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Disrespected at work? Underpaid and underappreciated? 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!

EDITOR’S NOTE 2 — Andrew Carnegie, a fabulously wealthy steel magnate of the 19th century and symbol of Gilded Age inequality, sold himself as the champion of the working man but hated unions and fought to keep them out of his steel mills. So it’s appropriate that these Carnegie Library employees have joined together with the USW.

► From Reuters — Talks break down, U.S. women’s soccer team turn to court — The female players who sued the United States Soccer Federation for equal pay reported that talks broke down on Wednesday and said they were now turning their attention to the courts where they are “eagerly look forward to a jury trial.”

► From Politico — Democratic Socialists look to take over New York’s powerful labor unions — The New York City branch of the Democratic Socialists of America presented its members with a strategy last year to gain entry into some of the city’s most powerful labor organizations and ensure they are adhering to the “militant” principles that the group felt had been diluted over time.




► In the Washington Post — The real solution to saving U.S. automakers isn’t tariffs, it’s empowering workers (by Joshua Murray) — Former centers of auto production like Ohio and Michigan were key to Trump capturing the presidency. Voters there found Trump’s promise to bring back good auto manufacturing jobs appealing. And he has tried to keep that promise by rolling back regulations and threatening tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. But rather than bringing back auto jobs, the industry has actually cut more of its U.S. workforce during the Trump presidency, with Ford Motor and General Motors recently announcing plant closings and layoffs. That’s because Trump’s policies ignore the reality of who makes “American” vehicles and why U.S. car companies are struggling. They aren’t lagging behind their foreign competitors in sales because material costs or labor costs are too high. They are selling fewer cars because the flawed production model they adopted to rein in labor power stifles innovation and weakens quality, sending them scurrying to cut costs in an attempt to compete. To turn the auto industry around, the only real answer then is to empower workers, which would allow for the adoption of a more flexible and efficient production system, like the ones foreign manufacturers are using to gain market share while the American Big Three lose it.


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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!