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Boeing’s whistleblower ● Jaime on impeachment ● Amazon vs. Sandra

Wednesday, October 2, 2019




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing whistleblower’s complaint says 737 MAX safety upgrades were rejected over cost — Seven weeks after the second fatal crash of a 737 MAX in March, a Boeing engineer submitted a scathing internal ethics complaint alleging that management — determined to keep down costs for airline customers — had blocked significant safety improvements during the jet’s development. The ethics charge, filed by 33-year-old engineer Curtis Ewbank, whose job involved studying past crashes and using that information to make new planes safer, describes how around 2014 his group presented to managers and senior executives a proposal to add various safety upgrades to the MAX. The details revealed in the ethics complaint raise new questions about the culture at Boeing and whether the long-held imperative that safety must be the overarching priority was compromised on the MAX by business considerations and management’s focus on schedule and cost.

► In today’s NY Times — Boeing engineer, in official complaint, cites focus on profit over safety on 737 MAX 

► From the AP — WTO $7.5B in tariffs on EU goods for Airbus case — The World Trade Organization says the United States can impose tariffs on up to $7.5 billion worth of goods from the European Union as retaliation for illegal subsidies that the bloc gave to plane-maker Airbus _ a record award from the trade body. The move, culminating a 15-year standoff, will green-light the Trump administration to slap countermeasures on the 28-member bloc and follows a WTO ruling in May 2018 on the Airbus subsidies.

► From Reuters — Timeline: Highlights of the 15-year Airbus, Boeing trade war




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Energy Secretary tells Hanford workers their cleanup work is making the Northwest safer — Energy Secretary Rick Perry congratulate workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation Tuesday on completing important work that protects the Northwest environment and to remind the region that environmental cleanup work is getting done.

EDITOR’S NOTE — When he was running for president back in 2011, Perry couldn’t remember the name of the Department of Energy, but he knew he wanted to abolish it.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Kennewick citizens rally in support of ousted fire chief. Firefighters have a different view. — The 94-member Kennewick Firefighters Union IAFF Local 1296 stepped off the sidelines Tuesday to support the city’s move to oust former Chief Vince Beasley last week.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Kaiser Permanente plans big growth spurt in Everett — The health care organization wants to add a four-story outpatient clinic to its existing building.




► In today’s Oregonian — Unions abandon Oregon Democrats over pension reforms — Two of Oregon’s largest public employee unions are drawing the line when it comes to Oregon’s public pension system, saying they won’t endorse, campaign for or donate to candidates who supported a reform bill that was signed into law in June. The board of Oregon AFSCME voted unanimously over the weekend to disqualify Oregon legislators who voted for Senate Bill 1049 from the union’s 2020 endorsement process. The Oregon AFL-CIO passed similar resolution at a meeting this summer.

ALSO SEE Oregon AFSCME’s announcement of this vote.




► From AFGE — Court of Appeals allows Trump’s anti-worker executive orders to take effect — AFGE National President J. David Cox vowed that the union will continue to fight Trump’s anti-worker executive orders after the U.S. Court of Appeals denied a request by AFGE and other unions to rehear the case. The Sept. 25 decision upheld the July ruling of the court’s three-judge panel that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the lawsuit.




► In the Ellensburg Daily Record — Marchers converge in downtown Ellensburg to support detained immigrants — They came to support, to console, to advocate. “No estan solos — you are not alone,” chanted a combination of approximately 75 local citizens and people who traveled from across the region as they marched through Ellensburg on a path that eventually finished at the Kittitas County Corrections Center Sunday.

► In today’s NY Times — Shoot migrants’ legs, build alligator moat: Behind Trump’s ideas for border — Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.

► From Time — ‘I feel afraid for my country’ (by Selena Gomez) — In the 1970s, my aunt crossed the border from Mexico to the United States hidden in the back of a truck. My grandparents followed, and my father was born in Texas soon after. In 1992, I was born a U.S. citizen thanks to their bravery and sacrifice. Over the past four decades, members of my family have worked hard to gain United States citizenship. Undocumented immigration is an issue I think about every day, and I never forget how blessed I am to have been born in this country thanks to my family and the grace of circumstance. But when I read the news headlines or see debates about immigration rage on social media, I feel afraid for those in similar situations. I feel afraid for my country. Immigration goes beyond politics and headlines. It is a human issue, affecting real people, dismantling real lives. How we deal with it speaks to our humanity, our empathy, our compassion. How we treat our fellow human beings defines who we are.




► In today’s Washington Post — Pompeo confirms he was on Trump’s call with the leader of Ukraine — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Wednesday that he was on the July call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son. Former staffers on the National Security Council said Pompeo’s presence on this call suggests the subject or the purpose of the call had high importance to the president, and thus to him.

► From Vox — Trump labels impeachment a “coup” — An impeachment inquiry just started, and Trump’s response is already scarily authoritarian.

► From Politico — GOP Sen. Grassley breaks with Trump over protecting whistleblower — As Trump and his allies attack the whistleblower who kicked off the House’s impeachment inquiry, the unidentified person gained a powerful ally on Tuesday: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The most senior GOP senator has fashioned a career on protecting whistleblowers during presidencies of both parties.

BACKBONE UPDATE — After initially defending Trump by repeating the White House’s anti-impeachment talking points, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4th) has gone radio silent as more damaging information continues to come out. Same goes for Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-WA-5th).

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-3rd), on the other hand, has been a bit more transparent and forthcoming. She said that Trump “did not demonstrate great judgment” in his call with the Ukrainian president, but that “the allegations remain unproven.” She also suggested that she would not consider asking a foreign leader to find dirt on a political rival would not, in and of itself, qualify as an impeachable offense. But if Trump threatened to withhold military aid unless Ukraine’s president agreed to help, that might be a different story. “I’m focused on whether or not the president coerced Ukraine to influence the 2020 election by threatening to withhold aid to that country,” Herrera Beutler said. But she doesn’t really want to find out whether that happened. She expressed opposition to an impeachment investigation because it would be too “disruptive and polarizing.”




► From CNBC — UAW submits counteroffer to ‘comprehensive,’ yet unsatisfactory, deal from GM — UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said the proposal GM submitted to the union Monday night “did not satisfy” the “contract demands or needs” of members. He said the UAW is “awaiting GM’s next proposal to the union.”The most recent proposal by GM, according to Dittes, “came up short” in many areas such as health care, wages and temporary employees — all issues that have been reported to be sticking points in the negotiations.

► In today’s Detroit News — GM strike, day 17: Issues ‘yet to be satisfied and settled’

► From WJCT — AFL-CIO president visits Indiana GM facility, UAW members

► From The Hill — GM to close Mexican pickup truck factory due to UAW strike

► From The Verge — Amazon workers in Sacramento are protesting the company’s strict time-off rules — Sandra was on break from her nightshift at the Amazon delivery station in Sacramento, California, when she saw the text that her mother-in-law had been put on life support. With her manager’s permission, she left work early to go to the hospital. Her mother-in-law’s condition worsened the next day, and Sandra, who asked that only her first name be used, notified Amazon that she had to remain at the hospital. Her mother-in-law died the next day, and Sandra called the warehouse again to request bereavement leave, of which Amazon offers three days. But Amazon grants workers limited time off, even without pay, and the time spent in the hospital had overdrawn Sandra’s balance by one hour before the bereavement leave set in. After she returned to work, her manager informed her that she was fired. “I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone,” Sandra says. “I’m dealing with a death in my family, and I’m going to lose my job over one hour?” The firing galvanized other workers at the facility who formed a group called Amazonians United Sacramento. Early on the morning of September 30th, they submitted a petition to the site manager and Amazon human resources demanding that Sandra be rehired and workers be given paid time off.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected at work? Get a union! Find out 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!




► In the NY Times Magazine — Paid child care for working mothers? All it took was a world war. — Seventy years ago, nurseries were built by the Kaiser Company for the children of workers in its Portland shipyards so “the children will have an opportunity to live wholesome, happy lives.” The mothers of these children were “welders, clerks, timekeepers and secretaries” many of whom had been recently mobilized for the workforce. The nurseries were open seven days a week, 12 months a year. There was an infirmary for sick children and food was provided. There was even a cafeteria where women could pick up hot meals to take home after work. But it took a bloody global war, and its production demands on the country’s workforce, for the United States to make such meaningful provisions for working parents.

It is difficult to read this today, when it is widely acknowledged that American parents and caregivers are living through a child care crisis. Ours is an economy in which wages have stagnated and the cost of child care has soared — and, paradoxically, child care providers remain underpaid. In the face of this untenable situation come periodic public callbacks to World War II, when federal funds and partnerships, like the one with Kaiser, provided subsidized child care for hundreds of thousands of working women.


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

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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!