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Practicing at Praxair ● Unprepared pilots ● GOP aims to fast-track Scalia

Wednesday, September 18, 2019




► From Teamsters 117 — Praxair Teamsters in Tacoma gear up for possible strike — The streets of Tacoma were a little louder early Tuesday morning. Starting at 3 a.m., a few dozen Teamsters, drivers and production workers employed at Praxair, took their fight for a fair contract to their employer’s front door. “Praxair, Praxair you can’t hide – we can see your greedy side!” the group chanted as they circled outside the two entrances of the company’s gated distribution facility. With Just Practicing signs slung across their shoulders, members are gearing up for a possible strike at the company. Many expressed frustration at their employer’s substandard proposals in negotiations.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Federal judge rules in favor of Olympic Medical Center over reimbursement rule — A federal judge ruled this week in favor of Olympic Medical Center and other hospitals across the country that the federal government did not have the authority to implement a rule that would have cost the Clallam County hospital more than $47 million over the next decade.

► From KUOW — Seattle students who strike for climate on Friday will be marked unexcused — Denise Juneau, the superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, said the district is treating Friday like a normal school day, and that means they’ll record absences. This comes as Gov. Jay Inslee and the Seattle City Council are advocating for students’ rights to walk out.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Hopefully, Seattle teachers won’t schedule exams or require assignments on Friday that cannot be made up later.




► MUST-READ in the NY Times Magazine — What really brought down the Boeing 737 MAX? — Malfunctions caused two deadly crashes. But an industry that puts unprepared pilots in the cockpit is just as guilty… The paradox is that the failures of the 737 MAX were really the product of an incredible success: a decades-long transformation of the whole business of flying, in which airplanes became so automated and accidents so rare that a cheap air-travel boom was able to take root around the world. Along the way, though, this system never managed to fully account for the unexpected: for the moment when technology fails and humans — a growing population of more than 300,000 airline pilots of variable and largely unpredictable skills — are required to intervene. In the drama of the 737 MAX, it was the decisions made by four of those pilots, more than the failure of a single obscure component, that led to 346 deaths and the worldwide grounding of the entire fleet.

► From Bloomberg — FAA invites other nations to discuss work on grounded 737 MAX — U.S. aviation regulators are calling for a meeting with their counterparts from about 50 other countries to discuss progress on returning Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX to service as some nations have begun saying they will perform independent assessments of the plane.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing CEO Muilenburg is asked to testify before Congress next month — The chairman of a U.S. House committee announced Tuesday he has invited Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to testify before the panel on Oct. 30, marking the first time that a top Boeing official has been publicly asked to appear before a congressional body since two deadly crashes of the 737 MAX.




► In the NW News Network — Affirmative action campaign sued for not paying signature gatherers — The One Washington Equality Campaign still has $1.3 million in outstanding debt. Most of that money is owed to Citizen Solutions, LLC, a Spokane-based signature gathering firm. Owner Roy Ruffino said his company, in turn, owes most of that money to his sub-vendors who, in some cases, still owe the individuals they hired to work on the campaign. Former Democratic state legislator Jesse Wineberry, who led the I-1000 signature drive, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon… Wineberry had signed a promissory note to pay Citizen Solutions the remainder of what was owed… WA Fairness, which launched last week to defend I-1000 from repeal on the fall ballot, in a statement released Tuesday, said it believes the signature gatherers should be paid and that Ruffino and Citizen Solutions are responsible for that.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Here is the entire statement released Tuesday by WA Fairness:

“The Washington Fairness Campaign believes that individuals who gathered signatures for I-1000 should be compensated for their work. The person responsible for this payment is their employer, Roy Ruffino and his company, Citizen Solutions. Our campaign leadership, co-chairs, or donors were not privy to, or signatories to, any fiduciary arrangements including wages, payment schedule, or deficit spending between Mr. Ruffino, the signature gatherers he hired, and his client.

“We stand aligned with any working person who deserves to be paid. We urge Roy Ruffino and other responsible parties to make good on commitments made to these contracted employees. We will remain focused on approval of this important law for all working people.”

The WA Fairness Campaign is a new organization made up of labor, business, and community members that came together this summer when special interests succeeded in placing I-1000 on the November ballot through Referendum 88.

Also at The Stand — WA Fairness to voters: Approve I-1000 / R88

► In today’s (Vancouver) Columbian — Critics see I-976 as troubled road for county, state — With ballots set to be mailed out next month, a group of local business, labor and elected leaders gathered on Tuesday morning to speak out against a voter initiative that they said would cut billions for needed transportation projects in Clark County and across the state.

ALSO at The Stand — The high cost of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 (by David Groves)




► In the Washington Examiner — GOP sets quick vote for Trump labor secretary pick Eugene Scalia — Republicans announced that the Senate labor committee will vote on Trump’s pick to head the Labor Department, private sector lawyer Eugene Scalia, on Sept. 24, less than one week after his first nomination hearing. Scalia, son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has been criticized by Democrats and organized labor as too close to big business. The quick pace of the nomination and vote suggest the administration and its GOP allies don’t want to give critics a chance to build up opposition to the nominee.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Reject labor secretary nominee Eugene Scalia — His specialties include eroding labor rights, unraveling consumer protections, endangering Americans’ retirement security and blaming workers for their own deaths.

► In today’s Washington Post — NAFTA 2.0 needs upgrading before Democrats approve it (by Rep. Debbie Dingell) — Fixing the trade policies that for decades not only failed to deliver their promised benefits but also undermined the nation’s economic well-being is essential. That is why congressional Democrats are insisting on critical improvements to the revised NAFTA that President Trump signed last year. If the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is more accurately described as NAFTA 2.0, were enacted in its current form, it wouldn’t stop the American job outsourcing that NAFTA incentivizes.

ALSO at The Stand:

Without fixes, AFL-CIO must oppose the new NAFTA
Making sense of NAFTA and its replacement (by Stan Sorscher)

► In today’s Seattle Times — Work-ban rule for H-4 spouses of H-1B workers could come in spring, feds say — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says a rule banning spouses of H-1B workers on track for green cards from working could be published in the spring.




► In today’s Detroit News — GM strike enters third day with little progress, more lost production — The UAW strike at GM that began at midnight Monday is now the longest strike for that union in more than a decade. Contract negotiations between GM and the UAW started “early” Wednesday as the national strike moved into the third day. By the end of the day, production loses for the automaker are expected to tally more than 23,000 vehicles, according to one analysis.

► From the AP — Progress reported in contract talks between GM, union

► In today’s Detroit Free Press — GM, White House deny report that Trump administration involved in strike talks — General Motors and the UAW said Tuesday that the Trump administration is playing no role that they know of in negotiations to settle a strike that began at midnight Sunday despite a media report to the contrary.

► In today’s NY Times — Why I’m rooting for the GM strikers (by David Leonhardt) — The striking workers are asking for a pay increase and for the reopening of idled plants, among other things, and they are arguing that GM is now profitable enough (having earned $8.1 billion last year) to afford both. Given the wage stagnation that most workers have suffered in recent decades — and the larger import of the GM strike — I’m rooting for the workers to win a better deal.

► In today’s WSJ — Walmart likely discriminated against female store workers, EEOC finds (subscription req’d) — Walmart Inc. likely discriminated against 178 female workers by paying less or denying promotions because of their gender, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in memos viewed by The Wall Street Journal.


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