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Thank you, veterans ● 2½-year strike over? ● Educators: Enroll now!

Monday, November 11, 2019




► In today’s Columbian — Join together to thank veterans for their service (editorial) — Equally important, the holiday should provide an opportunity to reflect upon how veterans are cared for after their service has ended. Various studies have shown that veterans incur homelessness and suffer from mental illness at rates higher than the general population, and various problems with health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs have been exposed in recent years.




► In the Spokesman-Review — Hecla, union reach tentative deal to end Lucky Friday mine strike — Hecla Mining Co. and a union representing more than 200 workers have reached a tentative deal that could end a 2 1/2-year strike at the Lucky Friday Mine near Mullan, Idaho. The Coeur d’Alene-based company and United Steelworkers Local 5114 have been in a stalemate in contract negotiations since March 2017, when union members went on strike because of proposed changes to work assignments, health care benefits, vacation scheduling and bonus pay tied to silver prices. The tentative agreement between Hecla and the union requires ratification by a majority of union members.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Port hopes to ready Kimberly-Clark site for jobs by mid-2021 — A $15.5 million federal grant promises to help the Port of Everett stick to an aggressive timeline.




Gov. Jay Inslee applauds WA Fairness campaign manager (and WSLC Political Director) Cherika Carter at an election-night party.

► In the Seattle Times — Weekend ballot count leaves Referendum 88 trailing by less than 1 percentage point statewide — After the Saturday tallies were added, the Secretary of State’s Office said the referendum was losing by nearly 13,000 votes, or 50.35 % to 49.65 %. The difference is not close enough to trigger a mandatory recount. King County will next release a vote count Tuesday.

► From Crosscut — If Referendum 88 fails, what’s next for affirmative action in Washington state? — State officials are already working on ways to boost diversity in government hiring and contracting, two of the ballot measure’s key goals.

► From the Seattle P-I — Eyman’s I-976 could kill a lot of jobs that would have been created, result in job losses — King County Metro would try to keep all of its employees and potentially relocate them to other areas, but it could cause a “reduction in the workforce.” The initiative could mean thousands of jobs that would have been created in the building a construction trades will no longer be.

► In the Olympian — Olympia gets direct hit from passage of I-976. Other governments await state impacts. — The most obvious hit will be to Olympia’s Transportation Benefit District. The district relies on a $40-per-year car-tab fee for 40 percent of its budget for street reconstruction and repair. Passage of I-976 means Olympia would no longer be able to collect its fee and would experience a $1.5 million loss of street-repair money per year as a result.




► In the Seattle Times — 147,000 educators in Washington have one week left to enroll in new statewide health care plans — If they fail to select a preferred plan by Nov. 15 or don’t affirmatively waive their benefits, the state will place them in a default plan whether it’s wanted or not, charge them a monthly fee for tobacco use (even if they don’t use it) and not enroll any of their dependents. As of Thursday, just under two-thirds, or about 94,000, of the workers eligible for the new benefits have already picked their preferred plan. But in King County, only 53% of eligible workers have completed their enrollment.

► In the Seattle Times — Washington opens wider the door to higher education with new College Grant program (editorial) — Working-class families in Washington should know that doors are opening wider to their children at state colleges and universities. Tuition should not limit their opportunity to attend, under groundbreaking legislation taking effect in 2020. Every Washington student from a family earning less than median income, currently $92,000 for a family of four, is guaranteed to receive free or reduced tuition at public or private colleges.




► In the News Tribune — Boeing lapse also belongs to lawmakers — U.S> senators from both parties confronted Boeing’s chief executive last week demanding accountability for two tragedies involving the aircraft company’s 737 Max 8 planes… It’s good to see elected officials direct their ire where it counts. The trouble is, many of these senators, including Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell, are investigating a deregulation problem they helped create.




► In today’s Washington Post — Trump’s trade wars are hurting farmers. Can Sonny Perdue keep them happy? — Over the last year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has emerged as Trump’s key evangelist in bruising trade wars, traveling the country to give folksy pep talks to frustrated farmers who have seen their incomes drop and exports hit hard by tariff disputes. As talks between China and the U.S. on a possible first phase of a trade deal continue, Perdue could have some welcome news for this key constituency that helped elect Trump — a third round of bailout payments on top of the more than $26 billion already being spent.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department is making deeper and deeper cuts in food assistance for America’s poor, with the latest proposing cuts slashing $4.5 billion from the program over five years.

► In today’s NY Times — How the Trump administration eroded its own legal case on DACA — When the Supreme Court hears arguments on Tuesday, the administration’s attempts to end the program protecting “Dreamers” could rest on a top aide’s actions in 2017.

► In the Columbian — Herrera Beutler to hold telephone Q&A session — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) will take questions from constituents via telephone during Thursday beginning at 5:25 p.m. Constituents can sign up for the phone session here or by calling 360-695-6292 in advance. To join the session while it’s underway, call 1-877-229-8493 and use the passcode 116365.




► From Reuters — As Trump fumes, public impeachment hearings set to grab spotlight — This week will mark a new and unparalleled chapter in Trump’s tumultuous presidency, as the Democratic-led impeachment probe goes public with televised hearings into allegations about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

► In today’s NY Times — The disorienting defenses of Donald Trump (editorial) — The president and his allies ask Americans to reject the evidence before their eyes.




► From Reuters — Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson dies at 60

► From Fox — Kaiser Permanente CEO’s death postpones strike by 4,000 medical professionals — More than 4,000 psychologists and other medical professionals postponed their strike against health care provider Kaiser Permanente indefinitely following the death of CEO Bernard Tyson on Sunday. The National Union of Healthcare Workers was set to strike from Monday to Friday to demand Kaiser Permanente improve retirement and health benefits as well as look at clinicians’ proposals to improve mental health care access.

► In the San Diego U-T — As Kaiser Permanente faces another labor battle, critics question its mission — Kaiser Permanente, which just narrowly averted one massive strike, is facing another one Monday. The ongoing labor battles have undermined the health giant’s once-golden reputation as a model of cost-effective care that caters to satisfied patients — which it calls “members” — and is exposing it to new scrutiny from politicians and health policy analysts. As the labor disputes have played out loudly, ricocheting off the bargaining table and into the public realm, some critics believe that the nonprofit health system is becoming more like its for-profit counterparts and is no longer living up to its foundational ideals.

ALSO at The Stand — Kaiser Permanente, union coalition reach tentative deal (Sept. 25, 2019)




► From GQ — Is your employer stealing from you? — Wage theft isn’t one of the crimes most prosecutors and politicians refer to when they talk about getting “tough on crime,” but it represents a massive chunk of all theft committed in the U.S. A 2017 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that in the ten most populous states, an estimated 2.4 million people lose a combined $8 billion in income every year to theft by their employers. That’s nearly half as much as all other property theft combined last year—$16.4 billion according to the FBI. And again, EPI’s findings are only for ten states… There are some overt ways that employers rob their workers, like taking money directly out of their paychecks, but wage theft can take more complicated and subtler forms. Deliberately mislabeling workers as independent contractors in order to avoid paying higher wages for the same responsibilities as regular employees, for example, or asking employees to work while off the clock, or denying meal breaks, all technically fall under wage theft.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries protects workers in our state from illegal business practices, including wage theft, denied meal and rest breaks, retaliations, and child labor. Click here to learn more or file a complaint with L&I. But if you REALLY want to make sure your employer is held accountable for properly paying you, join together with your co-workers and get a union contract, and you’ll have a shop steward and union representatives to make sure you get what you’ve earned.


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

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