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Willapa strike update ● I-976 cuts proceed ● The Feelgood Song of 2019™

Friday, December 6, 2019




Willapa Valley Education Association STRIKE UPDATE — Classes are cancelled again today in Day 4 of the strike by the Willapa Valley teachers in Pacific County southwest of Raymond. As mediated negotiations continue, school administrators are telling parents, “We are hoping to have school back in session sometime next week.” Meanwhile, the Washington Education Association writes: It’s a tough time of year to go on strike, and a strike fund has been set up for Willapa Valley educators. Please help out by sending checks to:

“Willapa Valley EA”
c/o WEA Chinook
5220 Capitol Blvd. SE
Tumwater, WA 98501-4419

► In today’s Wenatchee World — WVC lays off 20 employees in addition to furloughs — Twenty Wenatchee Valley College employees learned Thursday they will be without jobs come Jan. 31. Eight of those are managers, directors and administrators not represented by a union. The other 12 are classified union employees. Eighteen are from the Wenatchee campus and two from Omak. No teaching positions are affected. The layoffs are in addition to furloughs affecting at least 160 of the college’s 249 full-time employees.




► From Crosscut — $30 car tabs on hold, but transportation cuts coming anyway — State and local leaders are moving forward as if Initiative 976 is in effect — even though the courts have halted the measure for now. That means transportation leaders are delaying more than 70 highway and transit projects that have yet to break ground, as well as looking at ways to cut about $478 million from the state’s transportation budget next year.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Follow states’ lead in health-care reforms (editorial) — As national media obsess over Democratic presidential candidates’ proposals for fixing the country’s broken health-care system, and lobbyists’ attempts to influence public discussion, states like Washington are chipping away at the problem. And in truth, a state-by-state, incremental change is the country’s best hope for a cure.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Gov. Jay Inslee to get hip replacement next week




► From Politico — House leaders water down key liberal language in drug pricing bill — House Democratic leaders plan to weaken language progressives inserted in a sweeping drug price bill to discourage sharp cost increases ahead of a floor vote on the legislation next week. The move is likely to prompt fierce backlash from Democrats’ liberal wing, and put progressive support for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s high-profile bill at risk. Liberal lawmakers had touted the provision authored by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) as essential to shoring up their support for legislation that they otherwise found too soft on the industry. It would direct the federal government to examine how to require drug makers to refund money to employer-sponsored health plans when the companies raised prices above the rate of inflation, and issue regulations based on its study.

► From The Hill — ICE emerges as stumbling block in government funding talks — The debate around funding Immigration and Customs Enforcement has emerged as a major stumbling block in negotiations to keep the government open beyond Dec. 20, with some lawmakers saying it is a more divisive issue than Trump‘s proposed border wall.

► From Mother Jones — Federal judge says thousands of detainees may sue a prison company for using them as a ‘captive labor force’ — Last Tuesday, a federal judge in California allowed the lawsuit to proceed as a national class action, with four co-plaintiffs representing the tens of thousands of detainees who have been locked up in GEO Group facilities since 2007.

EDITOR’S NOTE — A similar lawsuit filed by the State of Washington against GEO Group, which operates the immigration detention center in Tacoma, is also proceeding.

► In today’s NY times — America the hot mess (by Timothy Egan) — We’re a hot mess, this bad-tempered country of ours… Yet, if you look again — through obfuscations foreign and domestic, beyond the noise of the social media mob — you find a durable past that may just save us yet. The big story of the American experiment, a nation that is not an ethnic, racial or religious state but an idea, is not dead. It’s not even past.




► From IFPTE — Metal Trades Department statement on IFPTE Local 121 members killed, injured in Hawaii workplace violence incident — “Our Hawaii Metal Trades Council is a tight knit community. The repercussions of this senseless tragedy will surely be felt for a long time to come… Federal workers are the backbone of our country. They deserve to be safe at work.

► From Reuters — 4 killed including shooter at U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Fla.

► In today’s Washington Post — Uber discloses 3,000 reports of sexual assault on U.S. rides last year in its long-awaited safety study — The company had said it would examine 21 categories of sexual misconduct, in a pledge to be more transparent about the prevalence of the issues involving the app.




► It’s that time of the year for music critics to declare which albums are the “best” of 2019. The Entire Staff of The Stand would never exercise the false authority of assembling such a list. But if we did… Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride would definitely be in the Top 5. (Calling it “dense and eclectic,” Rolling Stone ranks it #7. How dare they!) It’s no mean feat to write a sunny SoCal pop singalong about a couple that cheats on each other, concluding: “I’ve been cheating through this life / And all its suffering / Oh Christ, / Am I good for nothing?” TESOTS ranks this as The Feelgood Song of 2019™!


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

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