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Baby Camila! ● ‘Colossal mistake’ on NAFTA 2.0 ● Alaska vs. unions

Thursday, October 10, 2019




► In today’s News Tribune — UNFI plans to fight ruling in contract dispute with Tacoma distribution workers –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, but that victory was short-lived. On Wednesday, UNFI announced that it planned to fight the arbitration decision in federal court.

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

► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver, Portland Kaiser workers vote to approve contract — A group of unionized Portland and Vancouver-area Kaiser Permanente workers has voted to approve a new national contract with the health care company, although the contract will not take effect unless several other unions also vote to ratify it. SEIU Local 49 announced Wednesday evening that its members voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of ratifying the contract. All of the coalition member unions are expected to finish voting by Oct. 19.

► In today’s News Tribune — Judge won’t dismiss case on wages of immigrant detainees — Washington state’s effort to force a privately run immigration jail to pay its detainees minimum wage for work they perform can continue after all, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

► In the Wenatchee World — Okanogan County sued for unlawful immigration hold — A North Central Washington woman has accused the Okanogan County Jail of unlawfully detaining her at the request of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

► And then there’s this…




► From Bloomberg — Cracks found on 5% of older Boeing 737 planes in inspections — More than 5% of older Boeing Co. 737 jets that underwent urgent inspections worldwide in the past week have cracks in a structure connecting the wings to the fuselage and will have to be temporarily grounded.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — If aerospace jobs decline, should tax breaks be affected? — Five years ago, a citizens commission asked state lawmakers to decide whether tax breaks received by the Boeing and other aerospace firms should be tied to the number of jobs provided, or not. On Wednesday, the same panel asked again. They unanimously agreed tax preferences enacted in 2003 and extended in 2013 are providing good-paying jobs, lowering costs for business, and preserving the industry as a whole as lawmakers intended. But commissioners were unable to assess if that suite of tax breaks is achieving a fourth goal, to “maintain and grow” the aerospace workforce.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Ecology pauses Kalama methanol permit decision — A key permit decision for the proposed Kalama methanol project is on hold after the state Department of Ecology announced Wednesday it is pausing its review to ask for more information.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — A boring election for state seats in 2020? Try nine of them (by Jerry Cornfield) — Nine of the most powerful political jobs in Washington will be filled by voters in 2020, but next year is shaping up to be one of the least competitive election cycles for these jobs in awhile. To be frank, it could be boring.




► In today’s Washington Post — Trumka says fast action on trade pact with Canada and Mexico would be ‘colossal mistake’ — A key labor leader has warned House Democrats not to expedite approval of a new North American trade deal, saying that the agreement remains far from complete and that a vote in coming weeks would be a “colossal mistake.” “If there was a vote before Thanksgiving, the agreement would be defeated,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. Support from the 12.5 million-strong AFL-CIO would be critical in persuading many House Democrats to back the new trade deal, giving Trumka enormous sway in negotiations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has avoided laying out a timetable, saying that the deal would be brought to the House floor when it’s ready. But she has also sounded notes of optimism and urgency, telling reporters last week: “We are on a path to yes.”

ALSO at The Stand:

Without fixes, AFL-CIO must oppose the new NAFTA (Sept. 17)
Making sense of NAFTA and its replacement (by Stan Sorscher, June 10)

► BREAKING from the Washington Post — Trump to meet with top Chinese official as trade talks reach critical stage — Top White House officials met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday as Trump signaled that a trade agreement may follow, buoying U.S. stock markets after a chaotic 12 hours. The highly anticipated trade talks have spawned a rush of conflicting reports about whether the negotiations would spur progress or be cut short.

► From ProPublica — How Trump’s tariffs are creating jobs — for Canadians — A logistics company near Vancouver, B.C., called a52 handles distribution for big apparel retailers, from Nordstrom to Cabela’s. The retailers source their goods from China and had just been hit with steep tariffs, on top of the duties already applied to clothes and shoes. But according to U.S. customs rules, packages worth less than $800 — known as the de minimis threshold — don’t have to pay duties at all. They just have to ship items directly to consumers one at a time, rather than in bulk to stores or U.S.-based warehouses. The result: Companies now have an incentive to use warehouses in Canada and Mexico rather than the United States. Instead of coming into the Port of Seattle, say, a shipping container or cargo plane full of Chinese goods comes into Vancouver, and pallets full of goods are transferred to a52’s warehouse. As goods are ordered from a52’s clients’ websites, they are individually packaged with a mailing label and sent via a courier service like UPS or FedEx across the border to their destination. There is no tariff code, because there is no tariff, and precious little other information about the contents of each package.

► From Jacobin — Trump’s assault on labor — Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration’s first term has failed working people. Besides not delivering on certain grand promises, he has managed to launch a multifaceted assault on the labor movement that is achieving what many Republicans and neoliberal Democrats have been wanting for years with the help of the Supreme Court, the NLRB, executive orders, and deregulation.




► BREAKING from the NY Times — 2 Giuliani associates tied to Ukraine scandal arrested on campaign finance charges — Two associates of the president’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, have been charged in a separate case with violating campaign finance laws. The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Trump, were arrested.

► In today’s Washington Post — Only hyperpartisanship will save Trump (by E.J. Dionne) — Assuming the House votes for impeachment, Trump needs 34 senators to block his removal from office… it’s why nasty, angry hyperpartisanship will be at the heart of everything he does from now on.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump returns to the campaign trail as another poll shows support for his ouster is growing — The president is holding a rally for the first time since House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry.




► In today’s NY Times — Already under siege, labor unions face a new threat from Alaska — For decades, Alaska has been a stronghold for organized labor, boasting one of the nation’s highest union participation rates even as membership rolls declined across the United States in the face of broad economic shifts and sustained ideological attack. Now, a conservative new governor, Mike Dunleavy, is trying to push through a plan that could hobble Alaska’s public sector unions — and put the state on the leading edge of a national fight over the collective bargaining power of teachers, police officers and other civil servants.

► In today’s Detroit Free Press — Key sticking point: GM and UAW at odds over what will be made in America — For the 46,000 UAW members in the fourth week of nationwide strike against GM, a promise that the company will build upcoming vehicles in U.S. plants equals job security. The two sides negotiated throughout the day Wednesday. The were expected to recess in the evening and resume Thursday morning.

► From The Verge — Author tricks Amazon into distributing union materials to its own employees via book cover (by Sean Hollister) — I haven’t read Mike Monteiro’s new book Ruined by Design, so I can’t say whether it’s any good. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t available at Amazon for all that much longer, now that its cover encourages Amazon workers to form a labor union. This past Thursday, Monteiro tells The Verge, he realized he could change his self-published book’s cover as easily as uploading a new PDF — and used it to add a new message to Amazon workers they’ll presumably see as they print and package it for delivery.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Want fair pay and affordable health care? Form 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!


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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!