Monday, September 30, 2019
► In the (Vancouver) Columbian — Grocery workers union reaches tentative agreement — A boycott called for by the union of Fred Meyer stores in Southwest Washington and Oregon, which started Sept. 21 as contract negotiations became more tense, has been called off. “Our boycott against Fred Meyer was highly effective, due to your hard work in building relationships with your communities, who stood strong and proud with us,” UFCW Local 555 said.
MORE coverage in the (Longview) Daily News.
ALSO at The Stand — Fred Meyer boycott ends with tentative deal
► From the New Republic — The next big labor strike hits Oregon — On Monday, September 30, following a breakdown in months-long contract negotiations, 5,000 workers at all seven Oregon state universities will walk out. Unlike previous strikes convened under the activist #RedforEd initiative, this action involves the “classified staff” — educational support workers who are paid an hourly rate instead of a salary and whose duties follow a regular routine. These workers are represented by SEIU Local 503; as organizer Shane Burley says, their ranks include “everything from custodians and food service to legal and academic counseling to healthcare workers and engineers and agricultural workers and scientists,” as well as grounds and building maintenance, student registration and financial aid assistance, IT, and tech support.
► In the Seattle Times — Macy’s is closing its landmark downtown Seattle store in February — Store employees first learned of the closing Friday morning in a regular staff meeting. An employee who was present said people were “aghast. I mean, their jobs are gone and there isn’t much in retail anymore.”
► In the Kitsap Sun — Shipyard commander, unions pledge ‘ safe, respectful climate’ following allegations — In the wake of an employee’s recent allegations of discrimination and harassment at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, commanding officer Dianna Wolfson, with support from representatives heading its largest unions, has issued a “pledge” calling for a “safe, respectful climate for every member of the workforce.”
► MUST-READ in the Seattle Times — Reject car tabs Initiative 976 and its devastating effects (editorial) — Nothing about I-976 is a good idea, in terms of responsible governance or prudent money management. Tim Eyman asks voters to buy a falsity that there’s some miraculous way to fund our state’s backlog of bridge, road and transit needs. Because the courts cannot end this toxic nonsense quickly enough, voters must reject I-976 themselves.
ALSO at The Stand:
New ads explain why coalition is urging voters: NO on I-976 (Sept. 27)
Coalition urges Washington voters: NO on Eyman’s I-976 (Sept. 19)
The high cost of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 (by David Groves, Sept. 6)
► In the Seattle Times — University admissions, public contracting take center stage in Washington’s affirmative-action campaign — Approved this spring by Washington’s Legislature, the law aims to increase diversity in public employment, education and contracting, as long as neither quotas nor preferential treatment are used. It would allow Washington’s public universities to again use race and ethnicity as one factor in admissions. The new law defines preferential treatment as choosing a less-qualified candidate based solely on one characteristic, such as gender or race.
► In the Olympian — Inslee can’t let Western State Hospital be most dangerous workplace in Washington (by Eliga Sacks and Mike Yestramski) — Within the last few months, our coworkers at Western State Hospital in Lakewood have suffered multiple assaults. One was attacked so badly, it resulted in a broken jaw. Another had a finger nearly bitten off by a patient. A nurse in the hospital had part of an ear bitten off, while a social worker suffered a broken nose. Yet another worker sustained a fractured skull and almost lost eyesight… Here are three things the Inslee administration can demand right now to fix problems at Western State and other Washington institutions.
► In the Washington Post — With the Affordable Care Act’s future in doubt, evidence grows that it has saved lives — Poor people in Michigan with asthma and diabetes were admitted to the hospital less often after they joined Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. More than 25,000 Ohio smokers got help through the state’s Medicaid expansion that led them to quit. And around the country, patients with advanced kidney disease who went on dialysis were more likely to be alive a year later if they lived in a Medicaid-expansion state. Such findings are part of an emerging mosaic of evidence that, nearly a decade after it became one of the most polarizing health-care laws in U.S. history, the ACA is making some Americans healthier — and less likely to die. The evidence is accumulating just as the ACA’s future is, once again, being cast into doubt. The most immediate threat arises from a federal lawsuit, brought by a group of Republican state attorneys general, that challenges the law’s constitutionality.
► From Rolling Stone — Trump’s new Labor secretary is pretty skilled at hurting laborers — Eugene Scalia helped UPS fight a lawsuit by its workers who had paid for their protective workplace gear, and defended SeaWorld from allegations that it violated federal worker-safety regulations after one of its trainers was killed by an orca… The best way to think of the Trump administration is as an extension of industry. In that light, Scalia’s confirmation makes perfect sense. He is the seventh ex-lobbyist to take a position in Trump’s cabinet, and brings to the job of Labor secretary several decades’ worth of experience representing some of the same companies he will now oversee. The corporate bigwigs who backed Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and who reap the benefits of Trump’s deregulatory agenda surely couldn’t be happier with a Secretary Scalia.
► From Reuters — House impeachment inquiry to intensify with testimony on whistleblower claims — The House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into Trump over his request that a foreign power investigate a domestic political rival is set to intensify this week with testimony due from witnesses concerning allegations made by a whistleblower within the U.S. intelligence community.
► In today’s Washington Post — Intelligence panel has deal to hear whistleblower’s testimony — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said Sunday that his panel has reached an agreement to secure testimony from the anonymous whistleblower whose detailed complaint launched an impeachment investigation into Trump.
► From The Hill — GOP senators attack whistleblower’s credibility — Republican senators scrambling to protect Trump from a formal impeachment inquiry are attacking the credibility of the whistleblower who filed a complaint.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Never mind that the intelligence community inspector general who first handled the complaint found “the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible,’ particularly given the other information the [intelligence community inspector general] obtained during its preliminary review.” Never mind that the acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, a Trump appointee, said, “I believe the whistleblower is operating in good faith and has followed the law.” Never mind that the whistleblower’s characterization of the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call, which the GOP were not privy to prior to its release last week, has proven to be spot-on accurate.
► From The Hill — Lawyers express concern for whistleblower’s safety
► In today’s Washington Post — Fellow Republicans, there’s still time to save your souls (by former Sen. Jeff Flake) — My fellow Republicans, it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles. Whether you believe the president deserves impeachment, you know he does not deserve reelection. Our country will have more presidents. But principles, well, we get just one crack at those. For those who want to put America first, it is critically important at this moment in the life of our country that we all, here and now, do just that. Trust me when I say that you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, we have another whistleblower…
► From Bloomberg — Democrat weighs releasing complaint about IRS Trump tax audit — A key House Democrat said he’s consulting lawyers about whether to make public a complaint by a federal employee about possible misconduct in the IRS’s auditing of Trump. The complaint raises allegations about “inappropriate efforts to influence” the audit process.
► In the Detroit News — GM strike, day 15: Talks continue with no resolution — The UAW and GM are back in negotiations this morning on day 15 of a national strike against the Detroit automaker. Talks ended between 9 and 10 p.m. Sunday. Spokesmen for both GM and the UAW said negotiators were back at the “main table” Sunday as both sides inch closer to a tentative agreement.
► From The Hill — GM, UAW to negotiate as strike hits third week –Last week, GM announced that 50,00 striking workers would retain their health care benefits after initial reports that the automaker would cut off benefits, claiming the benefits were never at risk and blaming “confusion.” UAW personnel, however, told The Hill that the move was only in response to public pressure.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.