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More Boeing groundings ● ‘On a path’ to new NAFTA ● Watch the rich pay less taxes

Wednesday, October 9, 2019




► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma grocery distribution workers win back pay, transfer rights in battle with UNFI — The gradual ending of operations at the Tacoma UNFI grocery distribution site has been the center of an arbitration battle between workers and the company. On Monday, the workers won that battle, though some remain leery of what’s next for them. Arbitrator Joseph Duffy on Monday sided with Teamsters Local 117 and Local 313 in a dispute over contract terms.

ALSO at the Stand — Teamsters win big ruling in UNFI relocation to Centralia

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Teachers overcome concerns to narrowly approve new union contract with Spokane Public Schools — Despite concerns about student discipline, larger class sizes and other working conditions, Spokane teachers narrowly approved a new three-year contract Tuesday night. Members of the Spokane Education Association voted 385 to 334, or 53.5% to 46.5%, to approve a tentative deal reached 10 days earlier.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Daughter of farmworkers in Quincy, now a Ph.D. student studying conditions in the fields, wins $100,000 Bullitt prize — Maria Blancas grew up in Eastern Washington, the child of farmworkers who came from Mexico. She herself picked apples and collected onion seeds in summers and on weekends during high school. And while on occasion she saw those around her in the fields get dizzy and nauseous from heat and lack of water, while she could remember feeling like her face was on fire and getting rashes on her shoulders from carrying heavy bags, she felt the community could not be summed up by its “issues.” “There’s so much more,” she says. There’s strength, too, and joy. Now a Ph.D. student in UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, she wants to paint a fuller picture as she studies farmworker conditions. On Wednesday, she will receive the Bullitt Environmental Prize, which comes with $100,000 over two years – a big boost as she completes her degree and a related documentary project. “It’s such a big blessing,” Blancas said. “I can just focus on my work.”




► From KOMO — Southwest Airlines grounds two Boeing 737 NG planes with cracked critical part — Late last month, KOMO News was the first to report that inspectors found cracks in a critical part of an 737 NG known as the pickle fork. Following that report, last week, the FAA ordered emergency inspections, known as an “airworthiness directive,” or “AD,” to take place within seven days.

► In today’s Seattle Times — American Airlines pushes out 737 MAX return to mid-January — The airlines pushed out its scheduled return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX another six weeks, saying it now expects to begin commercial service with the MAX on Jan. 16 and will then “slowly phase the MAX in our operation over the course of a month.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Russian carrier Aeroflot cancels order for 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners — Boeing’s backlog of 787 orders was cut by 14 in September when Russian airline Aeroflot canceled its 2007 order for 22 Dreamliners.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Ads opposing Eyman’s car-tab initiative focus on roads, bridges and buses — not Sound Transit — The ads offer the first window into how opponents plan to take on Eyman, whose car-tab cutting initiatives have twice before passed on the statewide ballot. With less than two weeks until ballots hit voters’ mailboxes, I-976 opponents are rolling out a campaign focused on the measure’s wide-ranging funding cuts, which the state says could total $4 billion over six years.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle foundation gives $500,000 to pro-affirmative action campaign — A Seattle organization has donated $500,000 to the coalition urging Washington voters to approve a new law that reinstates affirmative action. Group Health Community Foundation’s donation to the Washington Fairness Coalition represents the bulk of the $588,996 raised by that campaign.

ALSO at The Stand — National veterans’ group backs I-1000 to expand opportunity




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — School employees start to enroll in new statewide health insurance program –Washington state school employees, regardless of job title, who work more than 630 hours in a school year now have access to health insurance and other benefits after the School Employees Benefits Board Program opened this month for enrollment. Depending on the county, the majority of school employees will have the option of at least two carriers and at least four plans.




► In the NY Times — Impeachment fight may help a new NAFTA deal — The escalating impeachment drama between Congress and the White House that has all but doomed hopes of most legislative progress this fall has instead enhanced the prospects for approval, within weeks, of one major initiative: a sweeping new trade agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico. Top lawmakers in both parties and others closely following the talks said that substantial progress had been made in resolving the sticking points, and that a decisive House vote on the accord to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement could occur before Congress departed for Thanksgiving. “We are on a path to yes,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters last week in one of the strongest signals yet that she would put the full weight of her leadership behind passage of the agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

ALSO at The Stand — Without fixes, AFL-CIO must oppose the new NAFTA (Sept. 17)

► From HuffPost — The Trump administration wants restaurant servers to do more work for less pay — On Monday, the Labor Department rolled out a new proposed “tip rule” clarifying how employers can divvy up gratuities among their staffs. While most of the plan had been hashed out last year in a compromise with congressional Democrats, it includes a separate recommendation that has angered worker advocates: the elimination of the “80-20 rule.”

► From The Intercept — Massachusetts unions vote to vet presidential candidates on Medicare for All, breaking with labor’s top brass — The Massachusetts AFL-CIO recently passed a unanimous resolution to endorse a presidential candidate only if that candidate supports Medicare for All, marking a break from the labor federation’s national leadership, which has equivocated on the question of whether to support universal health care.




► In today’s Washington Post — White House says it will defy impeachment inquiry, escalating standoff with an unbowed Congress — The White House letter highlights the limitations of Democrats’ ability to exercise their oversight authority in the face of an administration that appears unfazed by flouting subpoenas.

► In today’s Washington Post — Former national security officials fight back as Trump attacks impeachment as ‘deep state’ conspiracy — Those who have come forward said they are determined to make clear that the president’s conduct falls well outside the institutional boundaries of the presidency.

► From The Hill — Republicans, Trump look to smother impeachment inquiry — Republicans in Congress are coalescing around a slow-down strategy designed to stifle the Democrats’ impeachment investigation into President Trump. It’s a strategy that mimics the administration’s largely successful efforts to hamper investigations into Trump’s role in Russia’s 2016 election interference. The White House refused requests for disputed information in those probes, and the battles are now bogged down in the courts. Republicans are now pulling a page from that playbook in hopes of smothering the impeachment inquiry arising from Trump’s communications with Ukraine before it gains any more steam.

► From The Onion — GOP lawmakers watch silently as Trump strangles each of their loved ones in turn




► In the Detroit News — GM strike part of larger movement by working people (by Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber) — The issue at the heart of this strike is fairness. GM continues to rely on a two-tiered system where it pays “temporary” workers significantly less than permanent workers, even as they stand on the same line, working the same shift, doing the same job. Securing a path to permanent status and equal compensation for these temp workers is a key point in the on-going negotiations. Equally important, is the issue of being able to care for your family. In fighting for the ability of UAW-GM families to access affordable, quality health care without cost-prohibitive prescription drug prices, these workers are waging a fight for all workers in the country. Fair pay and affordable health care are not outrageous demands, they are merely the basics required to sustain a family.

► From CNN Business — The GM strike is costing the company $90 million a day — GM has lost $660 million so far since the start of the strike, according to Anderson Economic Group, a Michigan research firm specializing in the auto industry. But those losses are getting worse by the day.

► In today’s Detroit News — GM strike, day 24: Talks resume after downbeat note from UAW

► In today’s Detroit Free Press — UAW officer leading talks with GM is from assembly line, ready to fight




How the taxes on the wealthy have fallen over the past 70 years (USA)

► In today’s Washington Post — For the first time in history, U.S. billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class last year — The average effective tax rate paid by the richest 400 families was 23 percent, a full percentage point lower than the 24.2 percent rate paid by the bottom half of American households, a new book-length study found.


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