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‘Why do we have to choose?’ ● Stepford Amazonians ● Too Hot

Friday, August 16, 2019




► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver hearing explores overtime pay proposals — Vancouver workers, business owners, unions and business organization representatives gathered Thursday for a public hearing on a proposed set of changes to Washington’s rules governing salaried, overtime-exempt workers… Supporters pushed back on the business owners’ arguments that an increased salary threshold would require cuts to other benefits. “Why do we have to choose between getting paid for our time and getting good benefits?” said Shannon Myers, president of the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This was the last of seven public hearings on the proposal, but the state Department of Labor and Industries will continue to accept comments on the proposal until Sept. 6. Get details.

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma loyalty comes second to statewide prosperity (by Rep. Laurie Jinkins) — I proudly represent Tacoma and always will. Yet as newly elected speaker of the House, my job is to help all of Washington state thrive and prosper… I believe the state comes first. Before hometown, before personal preference, before party. Because we are all in this, together, and every family deserves a chance at living the American dream.




► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver Public Schools reaches tentative pact with unionized bus drivers, maintenance crew, othersAfter bargaining through the wee hours of the morning, the district on Thursday announced a settlement agreement with the SEIU Local 925 on a three-year contract. The union represents 506 bus drivers, maintenance crew, custodial workers, groundskeepers and cafeteria workers in the Vancouver school district.

► In today’s News Tribune — Maritime company moving its headquarters, 150 employees to downtown Tacoma — TOTE Maritime Alaska announced Wednesday that it is moving its headquarters to Tacoma from Federal Way. The move comes as Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas facility at the Port of Tacoma awaits completion. TOTE is set to use the facility to fuel its two Alaska vessels, Midnight Sun and North Star.

► From Crosscut — Durkan says police accountability remedies should wait until next union contract — Durkan’s proposed path forward does not include any request to the city’s two police unions to return to the bargaining table to address the judge’s concerns.




► In today’s NY Times — Anti-immigrant, pro-exploitation (by Bill Saporito) — As immigrants provide essential labor, helping businesses profit, the Trump administration has targeted those in some of the most onerous jobs in order to stir fear and hate, while exacting nothing from the employers… It’s all consistent with a longtime pattern of employers exploiting immigrants to undermine pay and working standards. The idea that any of this is about safeguarding jobs for Americans or keeping out loafers is absurd.

► In the Washington Post — Investigators believe five poultry companies violated immigration law, search warrants say — Federal immigration officials say they have probable cause that all five companies operating poultry plants raided by authorities in Mississippi last week violated immigration law by knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants. Homeland Security Investigations agent Anthony Todd Williams Jr. said there is probable cause to believe that the chicken plants in Mississippi intentionally hired undocumented workers who presented fraudulent documents “for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — 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 Seattle Times — The complex and explosive debate about immigration, wages and jobs (by Jon Talton) — Most economists see immigration as a net plus for the country, luring innovative entrepreneurs, increasing productivity and bringing young workers who will pay into Social Security, among other benefits. More division exists about the effect on wages, however… The real elephant in the room is climate change, which is likely to set off the largest human migration in history at a time when the planet has a record population of 7.6 billion. The consequences of a warming planet are a major cause of people coming north from Central America. Here, the Trump administration is not only denying science but pushing for more carbon to be burned into the atmosphere. The most dangerous wall built by the president is between himself and reality.




► From The Hill — Labor Dept. proposes granting businesses with federal contracts ‘religious exemption’ in hiring — Advocacy groups have long warned that such protections intend to provide cover for groups with discriminatory hiring practices. “The Department of Labor just proposed a rule that aims to let government contractors fire workers who are LGBTQ, or who are pregnant and unmarried, based on the employers’ religious views,” the ACLU tweeted after the proposal was announced. “This is taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. Period.”




► In the NY Times — Amazon uses a Twitter army of employees to fight criticism of warehouses — On Wednesday evening, a phalanx of Amazon employees known as “FC ambassadors” began tweeting again about how great it is to work at Amazon. When the ambassadors see others on social media discussing the brutal working conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers, its anti-union actions or anything else unflattering about the company, they step in to offer an on-the-ground perspective. They are, at once, warehouse workers and public relations representatives.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Hey, Amazon warehouse workers. Feel disrespected at work? You aren’t the only ones. Join together with your co-workers and gain some power over your working conditions and compensation! Get more information or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From In These Times — The answer to burn out at work isn’t ‘self-care’ — it’s unionizing — “Self-care” has been touted by social media influencers as the best solution to restoring your mental health, no matter the cause. Sure, healthy food, exercise and sleep are important ways to deal with stress, and we could all use more of each. But eating a salad isn’t going to fix the systemic problems at your workplace, nor will getting a massage give you a voice on the job, or increase your paycheck.

► In the Anchorage Daily News — Anchorage Hilton should end labor dispute (by state Sen. Tom Begich and Rep. Zack Fields) — Congratulations to employee members of UNITE HERE, Remington Hotel Corp. and management of the Anchorage Sheraton. After a decade-long strike, the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement represents a victory for the company, employees, patrons and Anchorage. Now the Anchorage Hilton — whose management continues union-busting and other labor rights violations — should follow the Sheraton’s lead and sign a contract with the employees’ union.

► From the Asian Journal Press — Largest national AAPI workers’ organization elects diverse leadership, sets bold vision for organization — The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) concluded its 15th biennial convention in Las Vegas, Nev., and voted to determine the priorities and course of action APALA will take on to improve the lives of AAPI workers and working families in our communities over the next two years and beyond.




► The Entire Staff of The Stand wishes a very happy birthday today to James Taylor, one of the smoothest vocalists in popular music history. No, not that one. We’re talking about James “J.T.” Taylor, who was once a schoolteacher from South Carolina and later became the grossly underrated frontman for Kool & The Gang. Watch and listen as Taylor shows his vocal chops in this 1979 hit about getting married young… too young.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

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!