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Teachers strike in Raymond ● Fortunato goes full Trump ● Return of the strike

Tuesday, December 3, 2019




► From KXRO — Willapa Valley teachers strike begins — A spokesman for Willapa Valley Education Association says that teachers plan to begin a strike today following months of negotiations with the school district. He said that the main concerns of the WVEA include “student safety, support for students, and competitive pay.”

ALSO at The Stand — Teachers in Raymond OK strike if deal not reached by Dec. 2




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State puts portion of North Spokane freeway on hold in response to I-976 — More than $90 million in Spokane-area transportation funding has been delayed due to last month’s passage of Initiative 976 by Washington state voters. Topping the list is work on the North Spokane Corridor, also known as the north-south freeway, according to a list released by the Washington state Department of Transportation. Between $45 million and $50 million in work to construct the freeway between Sprague Avenue and the Spokane River has been deferred.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Attorney General’s Office asks state Supreme Court to let car-tab cuts take effect — The state filed an emergency motion Monday saying Washington voters’ wishes are being “stymied” by a King County Superior Court judge’s decision to stop Initiative 976 from taking effect while a legal fight over the initiative’s constitutionality plays out.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Ecology working on Kalama methanol plant emissions review — After nearly five years of environmental review, a major question continues to stall the proposed $2 billion Kalama methanol plant. Will the plant displace dirtier coal-to-methanol facilities in China, as Northwest Innovation Works contends, or will it just be a new, massive source of planetary greenhouse gases? The state Department of Ecology announced last week it will conduct its own review of this question after finding the late summer study by Cowlitz County and the Port of Kalama insufficient.

► In the Columbia Basin Herald — Westside Republican seeks end to ‘sanctuary state’ policy — State senator and 2020 gubernatorial candidate Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn) is planning to drop a bill that, if passed, would roll back “sanctuary state” protections for people in the country illegally. The bill would require state employees to assist federal agencies with immigration enforcement and would bar cities from enacting their own sanctuary policies. That proposal comes in response to the Keep Washington Working Act, which was signed into law in 2019 by Gov. Jay Inslee.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO strongly supported last year’s passage of the Keep Washington Working Act which supports our state’s economy — and immigrants’ role in the workplace — and ensures their access to state services. It passed with strong majorities in both houses. Fortunato’s bill has no chance of passage and is merely an attempt to score political points among anti-immigrant right-wingers. In this report, Fortunato goes full Trump:

“These guys are illegal criminals. What is the most common crime? Eighty percent is drunk driving and domestic violence. So who are you protecting? You’re protecting drunk driving and wife beaters, and on top of that the violent criminals who are rapists and armed robbers and the other stuff.”

► A related story in the Seattle Times — Who profits from ‘crimmigration’? Not America or its ideals (by Naomi Ishisaka) — Crimmigration is the intersection of immigration and criminal law, and while most alive today don’t remember any other way, it is a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. It can be traced back to the early 1980s when “crime” became used as a surrogate for race as a more socially acceptable rationale for “get tough” policies that disproportionately targeted Black and Latino people and led to the explosion of mass incarceration… Today, the U.S. has the world’s largest immigrant detention system, according to the Global Detention Project, holding over 50,000 people a day in a network of jails and private detention centers.

► From The Hill — Right-wing ‘bill mill’ accused of sowing racist and white supremacist policies — A report published on Tuesday by the Center for Constitutional Rights and other advocacy groups charges ALEC, the right-wing network that brings conservative lawmakers together with corporate lobbyists to create model legislation that is cloned across the U.S., with propagating white supremacy. The authors warn that “conservative and corporate interests have captured our political process to harness profit, further entrench white supremacy in the law, and target the safety, human rights and self-governance of marginalised communities.”




► From the AP — WTO panel: EU fails to end illegal subsidies for Airbus — A World Trade Organization panel ruled Monday that the European Union has not complied with an order to end illegal subsidies for plane-maker Airbus, which prompted the Trump administration to impose tariffs on nearly $7.5 billion worth of EU goods in October.




► From the NH Labor News — AFL-CIO Retirement Security Workgroup slams new Senate proposal attacking multi-employer pension plan — “Senators Grassley and Alexander have finally put forward the Republicans’ white paper to address the crisis faced by several multiemployer pension plans. As it stands, their proposal will not only injure the retirees and active participants it purports to help, it also will precipitate the collapse of all multiemployer pension plans.”

► From the IAM — Grassley-Alexander pension plan proposal is a tax on retirees

► From Politico — Trump conquers Republicans on trade — Despite the complaints from Senate Republicans that Trump is eroding his party’s free trade bona fides, the GOP seemingly can’t — or won’t — rally the votes to handcuff the president. Competing proposals that would give Congress more sway over certain tariffs have been languishing in the Senate Finance Committee, leaving more establishment-minded Republicans little option but to sit back and gripe and wonder what just hit them.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump warns trade talks with China may last past 2020 election — Trump signaled on Tuesday that he was in no rush to end a long trade war with China, suggesting that he could wait until after the 2020 presidential election to strike a deal.

► From the AP — Stocks slump as Trump says trade deal with China can wait

► In today’s Washington Post — North Dakota company that Trump touted gets $400 million border wall contract — A company that Trump urged military officials to hire for border wall construction has been awarded a $400 million contract to build a span of new barrier across an Arizona wildlife refuge. Trump has repeatedly pushed for Fisher Sand and Gravel to get a wall-building contract — only to be told that Fisher’s bids did not meet standards.




► In today’s Boston Globe — With no contract agreement, Harvard grad students prepare for strike Tuesday — Thousands of Harvard’s graduate student workers are preparing to go on strike Tuesday after failing to reach a contract agreement with university officials on compensation and workplace protections after negotiating for more than a year. The strike threatens to slow many academic functions to a crawl.

ALSO at The Stand — Help academic student employees fight back! — Submit comments opposing Trump NLRB’s proposal to take away their bargaining rights.

► From The Hill — Four ousted Google workers to file charges with federal labor board — Google’s decision last month to fire four longtime employees involved in worker activism has kicked off a firestorm of internal protest and public demonstrations. Now, those four ousted workers say they are filing charges with the NLRB, predicting the federal labor board will “confirm that Google acted unlawfully.”

► In the Philadelphia inquirer — These Philly baristas are taking on Starbucks in a fledgling worker movement — On a hot day in late July, with a dozen supporters standing behind him and filming the encounter on their phones, TJ Bussiere marched into the Starbucks at Broad and Washington where he worked, looked his manager in the face, and demanded she resign. The group had other demands, too, which the 20-year-old barista read out loud, while his manager looked on, deadpan: Managers at Broad and Washington must be held accountable for “discriminatory practices” against workers of color and LGBTQ workers. The store must immediately implement the city’s new law mandating more consistent schedules for workers. And managers must inform workers of their rights, under Philadelphia law, to those schedules and paid sick leave.




► From The Nation — Workers are heading back to the picket lines — American workers are fed up. So fed up that they’re taking one of the most radical steps available to them: refusing to work. This year kicked off with public school teachers in California going on strike to demand higher pay, more support services, and smaller class sizes. In October, Chicago’s teachers followed suit, staging their longest strike in decades. Then teachers in Little Rock, Arkansas, struck for just the second time in the city’s history. In between the teachers’ strikes, 46,000 General Motors workers walked off the job for 40 days, the longest strike by autoworkers in half a century, to call for higher pay, better benefits, investment in American plants, and a path to full-time status for temporary workers — all meant to reverse the belt-tightening implemented during the Great Recession. A number of other workers, from nurses to Uber drivers to grocery store employees, have also walked off the job to make demands of their bosses.


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