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Union YES at The Columbian ● NO on I-976 ● Who unplugged first?

Friday, November 1, 2019




► From the NewsGuild-CWA — Journalists of The Columbian vote 19 to 8 to unionize — The extraordinary wave of union organizing hit the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, when journalists at The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., voted 19-8 to to become the newest members of The NewsGuild-CWA. They are the second new unit to organize in the region this year, following Crosscut’s unanimous vote in July. The Columbian Guild will represent approximately 30 reporters, photographers, copy editors, designers and editorial assistants. They join The NewsGuild’s Pacific Northwest Local. Politics reporter Calley Hair said she was “excited, but not surprised” by the results. “We’re looking forward to working with management to draw up a contract that will make The Columbian sustainable for the Campbells and their employees,” she said.

► In today’s Columbian — Columbian newsroom employees vote to unionize — “As we have said throughout this process, we will follow the law and bargain in good faith with the union’s representatives to reach a contract that is fair and equitable to all parties,” said Publisher Scott Campbell.

► In The Inlander — Nurses and hospital workers at Sacred Heart and other hospitals across the state are poised to go on strike — After over a year of contract negotiations between hospital staff and Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and Providence Health and Services — a large Renton-based nonprofit that runs hospitals across the West Coast — unionized employees voted to authorize a strike. One of the unions’ bigger beefs? They say Providence wants nurses to give up their earned paid time off and sick leave. Instead, workers would have to rely on the state’s new taxpayer-funded paid family leave program that kicks off in 2020, a short-term disability plan and their own paid time off. And union representatives say that Providence isn’t budging on this sticking point. “Everybody is mad,” Yvonne Buzby, a 62-year-old Sacred Heart nurse, tells the Inlander after casting her vote. “They need to provide us our sick time because we work hard, we’re breathing on the patients, we shouldn’t be going to work sick, we should be able to take care of our sick children or our sick husbands … It’s just wrong.”

► In the Olympian — St. Peter nurses join other Providence bargaining groups in authorizing strike — Nurses at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, according to UFCW 21. Wednesday’s strike authorization vote followed similar votes at Providence hospitals in Spokane, Centralia, Walla Walla and Everett in recent days.

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma labor fight persists as grocery distributor appeals ruling that went workers’ way — National grocery distribution company UNFI has filed an appeal against a recent arbitration decision that ruled in favor of union workers at its Tacoma site. In the ruling, arbitrator Joseph Duffy sided with Teamsters Local 117 and Local 313 in a dispute over contract terms tied to the transfer of work from Tacoma to Centralia.

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

► From the NW Labor Press — Physicians-in-training unionize at Oregon Health and Science University — Oregon AFSCME turned in union authorization cards signed by a majority of about 830 doctors at OHSU. The union will become official after the Oregon Employment Relations Board checks the cards against a list provided by the university.

► From the NW Labor Press — Union-made pizza? In Portland, Wobblies serve a fair slice — All 13 workers at Scottie’s Pizza in Portland signed a petition announcing their decision to unionize with the Industrial Workers of the World. When they delivered the petition to owner Scottie Rivera, he was happy to recognize the union.




► In today’s Seattle Times — I-976 will bring pain, set back progress (editorial) — The destructive initiative would drain about $700 million from infrastructure funds annually. This means less money to keep roads safe and stable, and more time lost to capacity-limiting emergency repairs when conditions deteriorate. Such is the price of ripping up transportation budgets to make car tabs a flat $30. Ballot initiative promoter Tim Eyman’s gimmick would have voters kill off funding for sidewalks, bus routes, police patrol of state highways and other crucial aspects of the state’s transportation network. Voters should make the sensible decision and reject this dangerous proposition.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Reject I-976. Safety is more important than saving on car tab fees (editorial) — In the Tri-City region, particularly in Richland and Prosser, road budgets would be drastically reduced if I-976 were to go into effect… We don’t like the recent spending habits of the Legislature, either. But I-976 cuts too deep in one critical budget category —transportation — and it isn’t safe.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Affirmative-action measure: Are Washingtonians voting on Referendum 88, Initiative 1000, or both? — Actually, it’s both. I-1000 is geared toward boosting diversity in public education, employment and contracting, without the use of preferential treatment or quotas. Supported by Gov. Jay Inslee, the new law defines preferential treatment as selecting a less-qualified candidate based on a single characteristic, such as race or gender. A vote in favor of R-88 actually approves I-1000, the new affirmative-action law. A vote to reject R-88 nullifies the new law and reinstates the ban on affirmative action.

ALSO at the Stand — Let’s vote for opportunity, not division (by April Sims) — Ignore opponents’ attempts to inflame racial divisions. Approve Initiative 1000 via Referendum 88 for shared prosperity.




► From Reuters — Not just the MAX: planemakers face slump in demand for wide-body jets — Orders for long-distance wide-body jets are on track to fall this year by the most since the throes of the 2008 financial crisis, fueling concerns that the drop will eat into future cash flow at Boeing and its European rival Airbus.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s CEO plays the ‘I’m sorry’ game (by Helaine Olen) — You could put together a lengthy compilation of chief executives assuring Congress in recent years how “deeply sorry” they are for the troubles or deaths their company’s actions — or inactions — caused. A few years ago, I called these executives’ congressional apology tours a “great charade” in American life, designed to ensure that business continues on as usual. Boeing and Muilenburg is the latest example of that.




► In today’s Columbian — Affordable Care Act must be bolstered, protected (editorial) — Despite persistent efforts by the Trump administration to undermine it, the ACA is relatively stable in Washington. With the enrollment period open until Dec. 15 — and with health insurance being a key topic heading toward the 2020 election — it seems a good time to reassess how the law is working here and throughout the country… Expanded coverage improves the health of our communities, increases preventive care that in the long run reduces costs, and improves the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians.

► From the AP — Washington Supreme Court: State not at fault for 2013 Skagit River bridge collapse — In a 5-4 decision, the court pointed to a state law that says vehicle owners or operators must exercise due care in making sure their vehicles can pass under a structure, and that the state can’t be held liable for damages caused by an over-height vehicle.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington House delegation votes strict party line on impeachment resolution — The state’s delegation split along party lines in Thursday’s vote on an impeachment inquiry into Trump. All seven Democrats voted for the resolution setting up ground rules for a newly public phase of the impeachment investigation centered on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine’s leaders. The state’s three Republican House members, meanwhile, were unswayed by testimony suggesting Trump pressured Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Last week, Senate GOP Boss Mitch McConnell told his party to make this fight about the process, not the facts of the Trump-Ukraine scandal. After Thursday’s procedural vote, Washington Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse all reliably stuck to that script in their statements.

► In today’s Washington Post — 3 takeaways from the House’s impeachment inquiry vote — 1) Republicans’ process argument is fading. It was already a somewhat thin argument that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate because House Democrats are holding closed-door depositions (which are normal for such a sensitive investigation) and because they didn’t hold a vote (they just did — and Republicans voted against it).

► In today’s Washington Post — Americans divided over whether to impeach and remove Trump, poll finds — Although the poll found that the public is split on the ultimate question of Trump’s fate, support for the impeachment-inquiry proceedings has risen over the past few months.




► In the Yakima H-R — Farmworker advocates, employers hope compromise will lead to passage of immigration bill — Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Rep. Dan Newhouse, introduced a bill Wednesday they believe will gain the crucial bipartisan support that previous immigration legislation could not. The bill, called the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, aims to provide agricultural employers with a stable labor force through reforms of the existing H-2A program and provide legal status to those who are already working in agriculture… Those involved in crafting the bill focused on legislation that could win passage in Congress instead of ideological purity, said Erik Nicholson, national vice president of United Farm Workers. “It shows the seriousness which we’re all taking this issue,” he said. “We were hard-wiring the bipartisan nature of the bill from the beginning.”

► In today’s NY Times — Lots of job hunting, but no job, despite low unemployment — Even in some of the hottest labor markets in the country — let alone lagging rural regions and former industrial powerhouses — workers, including skilled ones, say they cannot find jobs that provide a middle-class income and don’t come with an expiration date.

► In today’s NY Times — Manufacturing ain’t great again. Why? (by Paul Krugman) — Trump is presiding over an economy that, despite low unemployment, doesn’t feel like a boom to most Americans. And he has utterly failed in his politically crucial promise to make manufacturing in key swing states great again.

► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP tax cut failed. Their response? Let’s do it again! (by Catherine Rampell) –Trump spent $2 trillion in deficit-financed tax cuts for the rich to get us basically the same growth rate we had before he took office… Thanks to both a tax cut that underdelivered and a trade war that backfired, most Wall Street economists believe manufacturing is already in recession. Even steel plants, which were supposed to be among the biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s tariff strategy, are shuttering. And despite being targeted by Trump’s “historic deregulation” spree, his other pet industries — coal and farming — are also facing new waves of bankruptcy filings… Republicans now realize they need to show they’re doing something, anything, to shore up the economy going into the 2020 election. And what have they settled on? Why, more tax cuts.

► From Politico — GOP tax writer expects Trump to roll out tax plan next year

► From The Onion — ‘Hey you, want to be a federal judge?’ Says Mitch McConnell pointing to valet in Heritage Foundation parking lot — Interrupting the 19-year-old temp worker’s protests that he didn’t know anything about the law, McConnell told him that all he needed was to “wipe that dumb look off your face” and he could be delivering rulings by the end of the week. “You over 18? You got an ID? That’ll do. Now just hop in this car with me and we’ll head over to the Capitol right now. Remember, abortion’s bad, corporations are good, and as for everything else, you just shut the f— up and do as your told. Got it?”




► In today’s Chicago Tribune — CPS strike over, classes to resume Friday as Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Teachers Union reach deal on makeup days — The Chicago Teachers Union strike is over after 11 school days, and students will return to class on Friday. Despite the late hiccup over the makeup days, union officials said they were overall pleased with what’s in the tentative agreement, while the mayor called it the most generous contract in CPS history. Union officials said it wasn’t perfect but that they received many of their demands, including enforceable class size caps and a nurse and social worker in every school.

► From the AP — Deal gives Ford workers $9K signing bonus; plant will close — The deal still has to be approved by committees of national union leaders and local officials who will meet in Detroit Friday. Then it will be sent to Ford’s 55,000 union workers for a ratification vote.

► From The Guardian — Laborers and domestic workers stay behind as thousands flee California wildfires — Amid a heavy smell of smoke from the Kincade fire burning just miles away, work continued for many people in the mandatory evacuation zones of Santa Rosa on Tuesday. Contractors hammered. Landscapers dug holes. Crews removed port-a-loos. All amid an air quality index measured unhealthy, with officials warning locals to stay inside.




► Thirty years ago today, the premiere of MTV Unplugged was recorded. This program showcased musicians’ live acoustic performances of their songs. For the next 20 years — until MTV completely gave up the pretense of being a network about music — the show memorably featured Nirvana, Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey, Lauren Hill and many others, some of whom released recordings of their multi-song acoustic sets. But the very first episode was just one song, and it featured one of The Entire Staff of The Stand’s all-time favorite bands… Squeeze! Well, actually it’s just the band’s brain trust, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, interviewed by legendary MTV News anchor Kurt Loder.


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