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Providence strike votes ● Hostile hearings ● GOP running out of ledges

Wednesday, October 30, 2019




► In the Walla Walla U-B — Local nurses vote for strike — Nurses at Providence St. Mary Medical Center voted Friday to authorize a strike if terms of a contract can’t be negotiated. Registered nurses at St. Mary joined teams across the state in approving the strike option. More votes on strike authorization continue today in Everett and Centralia, according to UFCW 21, which represents Walla Walla’s members. Another vote is planned Wednesday in Olympia. Along with the Washington State Nurses Association, UFCW 21 says four key issues around the state are central to the negotiations. They are staffing levels to provide enough RNs and other staff on each shift, competitive wages to recruit and retain quality long-term nurses, protection of sick leave banks and unfair labor practice charges.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Kadlec nurses begin voting on hospital strike — Nurses at Kadlec Regional Medical Center began casting ballots Tuesday on whether to authorize a strike at the Richland hospital. Washington State Nurses Association has been in contract negotiations for more than a year with the Providence-affiliated medical center.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Astria Health employees laid off as organization consolidates — Astria Health, the Yakima Valley-based nonprofit health care organization that is in bankruptcy protection, has laid off employees as it consolidates operations. The company didn’t say how many employees were laid off or whether they received severance or other benefits.




► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘I would walk before I would get on a 737 MAX’: Boeing CEO Muilenburg faces hostility but gets through first day of hearings — Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced a litany of hostile questioning in a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, but mostly escaped being pinned down on key details related to specific failures that led to two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX. His appearance at least clarified how the company accepts only limited accountability for what happened. Muilenburg admitted that “we made mistakes, we got some things wrong.”

► BREAKING from the Seattle Times — Live coverage: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg testifies to Congress about 737 MAX for a second day

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Everett Rep. Larsen: Boeing workers ‘deserve answers, too’ — The House member released in advance his opening remarks for Boeing’s committee testimony on Wednesday.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Need health insurance? Open enrollment for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange begins Friday — The open enrollment period is the only chance to sign up for health insurance coverage for 2020 through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Premiums for the 2020 exchange plans have decreased by an average of more than 3% compared to last year.




► From The Intercept — House Dems after meeting with AFL-CIO’s Trumka: No vote on Trump’s NAFTA unless workers’ concerns are addressed first — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka met Monday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal to hash out labor’s concerns in ongoing discussions over President Donald Trump’s renegotiated NAFTA deal. Trumka also met Tuesday with the Congressional Progressive Caucus and assured members he and House leadership were now on the same page.

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

► In the WV Metro News — Manchin, mine workers express concern about Murray Energy bankruptcy filing — A statement from the United Mine Workers said agreements with the union are likely to be sacrificed during the bankruptcy process.“Now comes the part where workers and their families pay the price for corporate decision-making and governmental actions. Murray will file a motion in bankruptcy court to throw out its collective bargaining agreement with the union,” stated UMW President Cecil Roberts.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — AFL-CIO: Congress must pass Miners Pension Protection Act

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — SNAP changes could affect local students — Nearly a million children nationwide could lose their automatic eligibility for free school lunches under the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the food stamp program, and Kelso and Longview school districts may feel the ripples of that change.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Trump’s Agriculture Department priorities: Give $16 billion in welfare payments to farmers harmed by his trade policies, and cut $2.5 billion in food assistance to poor families.

► In today’s Columbian — Expanded use of E-Verify could put migrant farmworkers on path to citizenship — Congressional Democrats hope to broker a deal with Republicans that would grant legal status to farmworkers currently in the country illegally but would require employers to verify the immigration status of all future hires.

► From The Hill — House Democrats clash over Pelosi’s drug pricing bill — Moderate and progressive House Democrats are clashing with each other over changes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) signature plan to lower drug prices. A group of centrists has warned leadership that some moderate Democrats might vote against the bill if it moves any further to the left. But House progressives are pushing for revisions they say are needed to toughen up the legislation. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Hill, “I really don’t understand” why moderates are objecting to the changes, adding that she was undeterred.

► From HuffPost — Dem senators say mismanaged student loan program screwed thousands — A group of Democratic senators demanded that the top consumer financial watchdog agency immediately investigate an embattled student loan servicer and its alleged mismanagement of a federal program designed to forgive the loans of teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public service workers.




► In today’s Washington Post — Firsthand account of Trump’s Ukraine call puts GOP in bind, emboldens Democrats — A top National Security Council official on Tuesday delivered a firsthand account of Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, putting congressional Republicans in a bind and emboldening Democrats as they moved toward their first impeachment vote Thursday. Trump and his allies on TV lashed out at Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who said his concerns about what he heard in Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky drove him to notify his superiors. Trump dismissed Vindman as a “Never Trumper,” while some of his allies questioned the patriotism of the Army combat veteran because his family emigrated from the Soviet Union when he was 3. Trump’s attack on the Purple Heart recipient has unnerved Republicans in Congress.

► In today’s Columbian — Herrera Beutler taking time on impeachment resolution — A spokesperson for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) said the congresswoman had not yet decided how she planned to vote when the resolution comes to the House floor for a scheduled vote on Thursday.

► In today’s Seattle Times — The last ledge of the GOP’s crumbling impeachment defense (by Danny Westneat) — Could Trump ever admit wrong and apologize? Right now he’s busy trying to block anyone from testifying while also proclaiming total innocence, so it seems a stretch. If you’re clinging to one of those last ledges — if you’re Herrera Beutler, say — are you going to wait around and hope he does the right thing to keep you from drowning?

► In today’s Washington Post — Mike Pence is reliably, relentlessly wrong (editorial) — The more undisciplined Trump becomes in his scattershot defenses of his behavior toward Ukraine, the more robotically Vice President Pence seems to stay on message. Unfortunately, that message is an indefensible falsehood… At least five officials have now described the quid pro quo in congressional testimony, but Pence dismissed all this evidence on the grounds that it was “leaks” from secret hearings. Never mind that most of the officials released their own opening statements. He seems to believe that by mindlessly repeating the words “no quid pro quo” he can disappear the increasingly powerful case that Trump abused his office. He can’t — and nor will slander of the witnesses by Trump’s more vulgar surrogates.




► From CNN — As the Chicago teachers’ strike enters its 10th day, union says a vote could take place later today — A vote to end the Chicago teachers’ strike could happen Wednesday afternoon if a “tentative” agreement is reached, Chicago Teachers’ Union President Jesse Sharkey said.

► From The Guardian — ‘Bosses take note’: why GM’s strike could inspire more collective action The recently ended General Motors strike was part of a surprisingly large recent wave of walkouts, and by many measures, the 49,000 strikers emerged so well from their 40-day showdown with the US auto giant that the results could help inspire more worker militancy and strikes, labor analysts and experts say.

► From Vox — Uber and Lyft have launched a campaign to avoid government regulation in California — Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are filing paperwork to put a referendum on California’s 2020 ballots. The ballot measure will ask voters to give ride-hailing companies an exemption to AB 5, a landmark state law passed in September that outlaws many aspects of the gig economy.




► In today’s Washington Post — Scientists triple their estimates of the number of people threatened by rising seas — Rising seas will be much worse and more expensive to deal with than previously thought, new research finds, not because of faster changes in sea levels but because of an increase in estimates of the number of people living on low ground. The upshot of the study is that 110 million people worldwide live below the high-tide level — including many partly protected by sea walls or other infrastructure, as in New Orleans. Even under a scenario of very modest climate change, that number will rise to 150 million in 2050 and 190 million by 2100.


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