Wednesday, November 20, 2019
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Swedish nurses authorize strike if negotiations stay stalled — Nurses and health care workers standing outside Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center announced Friday their union, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, had authorized a strike that would affect all Swedish hospitals, including the Edmonds campus. The union, which represents 8,000 members in Swedish- Providence hospitals, voted in an effort to bring Providence brass back to negotiations for increased staffing, higher wages and better benefits. While union members authorized the strike, there’s been no decision on whether workers will carry one out. “I didn’t become a nurse to provide minimal care,” Carol Lightle, a nurse at Swedish Issaquah, said in a news release. “Every health care worker could tell you that, and all of us face the same issues.”
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — McKinley sets new date to open Port Angeles plant — McKinley Paper Co. is targeting mid-January for beginning production at its 99-year-old Ediz Hook plant with about 100 workers after nearly three years of industrial dormancy at the site and lost revenue for the city of Port Angeles.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Cowlitz County files in support of UW’s request for ICE records — Cowlitz County backed a University of Washington researcher’s court fight to obtain files on immigrant juveniles held by the federal government in the county jail. The county knows the criminal background and history of the minors, but ICE has blocked juvenile justice officials from releasing the information.
► In yesterday’s Seattle Times — End the ICE secrecy in Longview (editorial) — Although Cowlitz County owns the Juvenile Detention Center in Longview, a longstanding contract with ICE allows the federal agency to detain minors there by its own rules while they await deportation proceedings. Under a federal immigration policy written months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, ICE claims sole authority over all information about its detainees. That includes the names of those held, the duration of their stays and the charges against them. The application of this strict War on Terror-era secrecy to children caught up in Trump’s crackdown on immigration is appalling. The conversion of a public facility in Washington state into a secret detention zone must end.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — ‘Meth. We’re on it.’: Spokane ad agencies divided on South Dakota’s viral campaign — “I guess my first reaction was, ‘Oh no, they’re going to get a lot of attention and, maybe, not all of it helpful attention,’ ” said a Spokane advertising executive about South Dakota’s new anti-meth campaign.
► From the Stranger — Eyman’s $30 car tabs could get blocked as early as next week — A hearing has been set for next week, meaning the ballot initiative could be blocked within a month of the measure passing with a nearly six point statewide margin.
► From Crosscut — Why this conservative, rural county is joining the legal battle against Washington’s I-976 — Garfield County voters helped pass the initiative for $30 car tabs. But its elected officials are worried they’ll lose their entire transit system as a result.
► In today’s Columbian — Ballot measures must pass legal muster (editorial) — Ultimately, it will be up to the courts to decide the legality of I-976, which would reduce car tabs to $30. But Eyman’s assertion that the lawsuit simply is a result of government thumbing its nose at the public is misguided, disingenuous and divisive. Given the frequency with which Eyman’s initiatives have been ruled unconstitutional, it is no surprise that local governments would find reason to challenge the new law.
► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘Why are we exporting billions of dollars around the state?’ The coming showdown over Seattle’s money (by Danny Westneat) — A fresh analysis from the state Office of Financial Management examines how government revenues and expenditures are shared among Washington’s 39 counties. It found that King County taxpayers exported a record $2.95 billion to prop up the state’s other counties in 2016, the most recent year studied. About 37 cents of every dollar of state taxes paid by King County taxpayers was spent elsewhere… In all there are 33 counties that pay less than they get, and supposed leech King County provides 97% of the money boosting those counties.
“Why send all this money to 33 counties if they’re going to turn around and strip us of our ability to pay for our own projects?” asks Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), citing the state Republican Party’s endorsement of Initiative 976, that will cut money for the Seattle area’s voter-approved transit projects. “If they’re going to make an aggressive move like that to stop local control — to go after transit projects that only we’re paying for — then I have no choice but to look at the state budget with fresh eyes and ask: Why are we exporting billions of dollars around the state? Maybe we need to throw some elbows and claw some of that money back.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Hospital-cost transparency is a necessary first step to affordable health care (editorial) — Shining a spotlight on opaque hospital-billing structures may not be a miracle cure for the rising cost of health care. But medical-cost transparency is worth pursuing on principle, alone… Understanding the drivers of health-care costs is a necessary first step toward reining in runaway costs.
► From Crosscut — State lawmakers often rush major legislation. Big banks are suing to stop that — If the banks’ lawsuit is successful, it could change the pattern of last-minute legislating at the Washington State Capitol.
► In today’s Seattle Times — NTSB recommends Boeing redesign and retrofit engine casing on thousands of 737s — After investigating an engine blowout that killed a Southwest Airlines passenger last year, federal safety officials on Tuesday said Boeing should be required to redesign the engine casing on its 737 NG airplanes, and airlines should retrofit more than 6,800 planes currently in service worldwide.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Emirates opts for 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in revised deal — The Middle East’s biggest carrier announced a firm order for 30 Boeing 787s in a deal valued at $8.8 billion. The order does not represent additional spending by Emirates because it replaces a previous agreement with the Chicago-based plane manufacturer.
► From Bloomberg — Trumka urges House Democrats to seek better USMCA trade deal — Trumka told a gathering of freshmen Democrats, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi participated in, that they need to stand firm to get the best USMCA deal possible. Trumka assured the anxious members in the group that he wants to do a deal, lawmakers who attended said. The key sticking point in the talks is a Democrat demand that Mexico make stronger commitments to enforce its labor laws and for strong punishments — including the banning of imports — if Mexico fails to meet them.
ALSO at The Stand — Call Congress today: No vote on new NAFTA until it’s fixed
► From Reuters — After meeting AFL-CIO, Pelosi says USMCA must be enforceable for workers to win passage — U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday conditioned her support for a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal on better enforcement of its labor provisions, defying pressure by the Trump administration to get the deal done quickly.
► In today’s NY Times — How can Americans compete with Mexicans making a tenth of what they do? (by Sander Levin and Harley Shaiken) — Before Congress votes on a new trade deal, the Mexican government must demonstrate that autoworkers can form independent unions if they choose and bargain collectively with their employers. Success in the highly visible automotive sector would create a critical mass of independent unions to expand labor reform throughout the economy. Competitiveness would be based on productivity, quality and innovation, not on suppressed wages and neutered unions, and workers across North America would have a say in their economic future.
► From Bloomberg — Massive coal plant that asked for Trump’s help has gone dark — At 12:09 p.m. local time on Monday — after churning out electricity for almost five decades — the largest coal-fired power plant in the western U.S. permanently closed, becoming the latest testament to the fossil fuel’s decline. Once a flash point in Trump’s campaign to save America’s coal industry, the Navajo complex in the Arizona desert will now spend the next three years being dismantled and decommissioned.
► In today’s Washington Post — Sondland: ‘Was there a quid pro quo? … The answer is yes’ — Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday more bluntly than he had before that Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, sought to condition a White House invite for Ukraine’s new president to demands that his country publicly launch investigations that could damage Trump’s political opponents.
Here’s that closing statement from Schiff, via ABC. It’s worth a watch.
“My Republicans colleagues, all they seem to be upset about with this is not that the president sought an investigation of his political rival … Their objection is he got caught.”pic.twitter.com/M8r8JLrH61
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 20, 2019
► From Forbes — Union plans protests at DFW, LAX, JFK and others as Thanksgiving travel ramps up — Unite Here, which represents airline catering workers, plans demonstrations at 17 airports including Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas, Newark, JFK and Washington National (and SeaTac Airport!) The demonstrations represent the union’s latest effort to secure improvements in pay, health care and working conditions for airport caterers, who prepare the food for onboard service.
ALSO at The Stand — Join major protest Nov. 26 at SeaTac Airport — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO urges all to join airline catering workers at the action on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Meet at 5:30 p.m. at the UNITE HERE 8 SeaTac office at the IBEW 77 building, 19415 International Blvd. in SeaTac (across from Angle Lake Park). Buses will leave at 5:45 p.m. to go to the airport. Please click here to RSVP that you plan to attend. This will be among UNITE HERE Local 8’s largest protests ever at SeaTac Airport, and, collectively, this will be the largest demonstration of workers at U.S. airports in years.
► In the Pittsburgh P-G — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff to begin byline strike Wednesday — Newsroom staff will begin removing their names from articles, in protest of what they deem a hostile work environment created by newspaper leadership.
► From The Progressive — Non-profit workers join the movement to unionize — The past few years have seen a rash of union victories in supposedly white-collar workplaces, from prestige publications to art museums to nonprofit think tanks and service organizations. Workers, particularly young workers, in these mission- and passion-driven fields are waking up to the fact that they are, despite the trappings of middle-class-ness, still workers doing a job. And their workplaces, despite the sheen of cultural cachet or do-gooder self-sacrifice, could be vastly improved by a change in the balance of power toward the people who do the work… But employees having rights and being willing to enforce them is often seen as counter to the mission of the nonprofits for which they work. Employees should, the implication goes, put their heads down and commit to the organization no matter what conditions they’re handed, because the mission is more important than their own abilities to get by… Like the workers in media and art museums, nonprofit employees might have advanced degrees and office jobs, but in practice they are still living the social relation that is class in America and in the world. The boss almost never wants to give up power, even if, on paper, her job is to make the world a fairer place.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected? Get 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!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.