Monday, August 19, 2019
► From the NW Labor Press — Troll on the Hill — Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) office support staffperson Jesse Miller thought something was odd about the online trolls who began attacking AFSCME Local 328. Suspicious accounts were being used to spread misinformation and bait fellow union members. They turned out to be OHSU executives on management’s bargaining team posing as union members… If any union member had done what these two executives did, they’d be walked out by security and terminated, Miller says.
► From the NW Labor Press — Thank you for a great 14 years! (by Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain) — This will be my last Northwest Labor Press column as president of the Oregon AFL-CIO. As many of you are aware, after 14 years, I have chosen not to seek re-election… All too often, political parties, corporations, lobbyists, and elected representatives will try to play one union off another union. Do not buy into traps that will only weaken us. Stand strong — stand for and with one another. Remember, our movement is the only hope for the American worker.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Push back on green-card rule (editorial) — The state Attorney General’s office is right to challenge a Trump administration proposal that would make it harder for legal immigrants who have relied on public assistance to obtain permanent residence. Legal immigrants, their families and children would be punished for using resources intended to help in difficult circumstances. Worse, the change would discourage immigrants from accepting medical and nutritional assistance and other essential safety-net services for which they are legally eligible.
► In the Spokesman-Review — More from the Matt Shea files: GPS trackers, a ‘provisional government’ and a hunt for moles — “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” That phrase helps explain how Shea justifies his us-against-them rhetoric. Muslims, journalists and critics of all political stripes are “supporting tyranny” if they don’t support his view that the United States is “a Christian nation.” Critics fear that Shea, an Army combat veteran, has begun employing that same principle to justify violence – to “resist tyranny” and “obey God” by any means at his disposal.
► From The Hill — Marijuana tax revenues see uneven growth across nation — In some cases, the marijuana marketplace is booming. Colorado and Washington, the first two states to adopt legal marijuana regimes, have seen their revenue collections more than quadruple in the last four years. Washington now collects more than $35 million per month in marijuana tax receipts, and yearly marijuana taxes eclipse taxes collected on liquor and tobacco products.
► In the Olympian — States must be careful with marijuana revenue — or see money go up in smoke, report finds — “Sin tax” revenue is notoriously unpredictable, and cannabis is no exception to the rule, according to a newly released report from Pew Charitable Trust.
► From Politico — Construction workers prepare to battle former ally Trump — One of the nation’s largest labor groups embraced Trump at the start of his presidency, in hopes he would create construction jobs and retreat from proposals that might reduce workers’ wages. But now the two sides are on the brink of war, endangering a key bloc of Trump’s support in Midwestern swing states in 2020.
ALSO at The Stand:
— Save veteran construction training programs (Aug. 19)
TAKE A STAND — Please stand in opposition to the proposed rules for IRAPs proposed by the Trump administration by submitting opposition comments by Aug. 26, 2019.
► From Mother Jones — In big non-surprise, Trump turns on labor unions (by Kevin Drum) — As we all know, the whole infrastructure thing never happened. Hell, it became the butt of a joke. Then the Trump administration proposed new rules for apprenticeship programs that would be governed by industry, not unions.
► In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Trump’s large union crowd at Shell was given the option of not showing up — and not getting paid — The choice for thousands of union workers at Royal Dutch Shell’s petrochemical plant in Beaver County was clear Tuesday: Either stand in a giant hall waiting for President Donald Trump to speak or take the day off with no pay. “Your attendance is not mandatory,” said the rules that one contractor relayed to employees, summarizing points from a memo that Shell sent to union leaders a day ahead of the visit to the $6 billion construction site. But only those who showed up at 7 a.m., scanned their ID cards, and prepared to stand for hours — through lunch but without lunch — would be paid. “NO SCAN, NO PAY,” a supervisor for that contractor wrote.
► In the Times Union — How Democrats can win back workers in 2020— (by Thomas Kochan) — Hillary Clinton lost in key battleground states like Michigan and Wisconsin in part because she took labor support for granted. A survey my team of labor scholars at MIT conducted about five months after the election showed that most workers feel they lack a voice at their jobs. Many Americans apparently felt that Donald Trump did a much better job than Clinton showing he was on their side and had a plan to help them. As I watch the 2020 presidential debates, I wonder: Will Democrats make the same mistake? Or will they return to their roots and put the full range of workers’ needs and aspirations front and center in their campaigns?
► In today’s NY Times — How much damage have Republicans done in the states? (by Matt Grossman) — Turns out making cuts to public services to fit an ideology of small government and traditionalism is just not very popular.
► From NBC San Diego — SoCal grocery workers inch closer to strike as negotiations slow to crawl — Thousands of San Diego grocery store workers could be inching closer to a strike if they can’t negotiate better pay with their big chain employers. Grocery workers say they deserve and need a pay increase to afford living in Southern California but local grocery stores like Ralphs are apparently stalling on contract negotiations with the workers’ union. The union is threatening to strike and has planned a Friday rally at a Ralphs in Mission Valley to let the stores know they’re serious. “The unions are fed up. The members are fed up. We’ve had enough,” United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) President Todd Walters said.
► In today’s Washington Post — CEO group says maximizing shareholder profits can no longer be primary goal — The Business Roundtable — whose members are CEOs of America’s largest companies — says corporations must balance profits with the needs of employees, customers and other stakeholders.
► In the LA Times — Two billionaires explain why they shouldn’t pay more taxes, unlike you poor saps (by Michael Hiltzik) — In an op-ed penned for the Wall Street Journal, Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus and New York supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis write, “We have earned more money than we could have imagined and more than we can spend on ourselves, our children and grandchildren.” Then comes sentence 4: “But we have nothing to apologize for, and we don’t think the government should have more of our profits.” In other words, they have more money than they can spend, but they don’t want to give it up on any but their own terms.
► From The Onion — Amazon workers now being shipped in packages to personally assure customers they’re treated well — “When people who don’t know any better criticize my employer, they’re totally ignoring the fact that Amazon just sent me on an all-expenses-paid trip across the country in this nice, sturdy box,” said an Amazon employee identifying himself as Wilson O’Connell.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.