Thursday, December 12, 2019
WILLAPA STRIKE UPDATE
Today is Day 10 of the strike by the Willapa Valley educators in Pacific County and, rather than focusing on settling a fair contract agreement, the school district is trying what the Washington Education Association calls “a tactic unseen in Washington in decades.” They are planning to use scabs and administrators to begin reopening schools this morning. A skeleton crew of administrators — including district superintendent Nancy Morris — plan to open Willapa Valley High School to seniors only today and tomorrow, and to all students next week. Students are being told to get their own transportation to and from school, and are being asked to perform scab work by helping prepare and serve school lunches.
TAKE A STAND — Contact Nancy Morris at Nancym@willapavalley.org and/or 360-942-5855, and tell her to settle a fair contract with striking educators and stop trying to require students to cross picket lines and perform strikers’ work.
The Willapa Valley Education Association is keeping its picket line running from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the district office / high school at 22 Viking Way in Raymond. Any support on the picket line and/or donations for the strike fund would be greatly appreciated. For the latest, visit the WVEA Facebook page. Donate to the strike fund by sending checks to: Willapa Valley EA c/o WEA Chinook, 5220 Capitol Blvd. SE, Tumwater, WA 98501-4419.
And then there’s this, from a Raymond parent…
► From the AP — Washington state OKs some of the nation’s toughest OT rules — Washington state is adopting some of the nation’s most aggressive overtime rules, restoring protections for hundreds of thousands of salaried workers and taking what supporters say is a crucial step toward rebuilding the middle class. The Department of Labor and Industries finalized the rules Wednesday and will phase them in by 2028. By that time, salaried workers making up to about $83,400 a year will be entitled to time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours per week… Among those who might be helped is Victor Duran, a co-manager of a sports apparel store south of Seattle. He said he makes about $52,000 a year and doesn’t get overtime, but is required to work at least 45 hours per week — and up to 60 during the holidays. “We say bye to the family at the beginning of the season and say we’ll see them after Christmas,” Duran said.
ALSO at The Stand — “The strongest overtime law in the nation” — “Washington now has the strongest overtime law in the nation,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “This update is badly needed to restore overtime pay protections and to restore work-life balances in our state.”
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — L&I finds 3 serious violations after Dawson Construction worker dies near Costco — The state Department of Labor and Industries levied $14,400 in fines against Dawson Construction for three serious violations it says played a role in the death of a Dawson employee after a dump truck backed into him at a construction site near Costco last summer.
► In today’s News Tribune — Local groups express disappointment in LNG decision; plans for appeal are in works — One day after Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued its decision on permitting for Puget Sound Energy’s LNG facility on the Tideflats, environmental groups and representatives of the Puyallup Tribe appeared Wednesday for a news conference opposing the decision.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Need health insurance through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange? Enrollment deadline is this Sunday — Open enrollment for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange closes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. If you select a plan by that deadline, your coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2020. For those who need help selecting a plan or navigating the enrollment process, Public Health – Seattle & King County is putting on events in Seattle, Federal Way, SeaTac, Tukwila and Vashon Island. Customers can shop for plans on the state’s Healthplanfinder website.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Why didn’t FAA ground Boeing 737 MAX after first crash? Hearing puts focus on agency — An internal FAA risk analysis completed a month after the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last fall estimated that without action to address the jet’s faulty flight control system, it would suffer an average of about one crash every three years during the life of the MAX’s worldwide fleet. That revelation drew urgent questions during the hearing as to why the MAX was not grounded then, before the second crash in Ethiopia.
► In the WSJ (subscription req’d) — Bipartisan support for new NAFTA is a rare achievement in trade policy — With the rewrite of the NAFTA, Trump seems to have won broad support for a major trade deal from Democrats and organized labor. Neither President Clinton nor President Obama could make such a claim. The endorsement Tuesday of the new NAFTA by Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, marked the first time the largest U.S. labor federation had backed any such pact since a 2001 accord with tiny Jordan.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Time to put one trade war behind us (editorial) — Senate review of the trade deal is reasonable, but should not be drawn out further than the first part of the year. Farmers, manufacturers and others in the U.S. and in Washington state are in immediate need of some relief, predictability and a return to something close to normal on trade.
► From Politico — White House seeks to stymie GOP rebellion on trade deal — Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has already said he will not support the agreement, calling it a “terrible new standard” for future trade agreements. Other Republican senators have expressed skepticism about the final product.
► In the Detroit Free Press — Main benefit from NAFTA replacement deal? End of auto industry uncertainty — A return to certainty for an industry that relies on years-ahead planning is considered one of the main benefits of a finalized United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
► From The Hill — Trump tweets US, China close to trade deal
► From The Hill — House passes defense bill to establish Space Force, paid family leave for federal workers — The House on Wednesday easily passed the compromise defense policy bill that would grant federal workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave and create a new branch of the military dedicated to space.
► From AFGE — AFGE’s push leads to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees — “AFGE has been fighting to provide all federal workers with paid family leave for decades, and the provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act is a large step in the right direction for full family leave. The hard work by our members is finally beginning to pay off,” said National Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley. “This new paid benefit will help federal employees better balance their work and home lives, and it will give agencies a needed advantage when recruiting and retaining workers to carry out critical missions on behalf of our country.”
► From The Hill — Manchin warns he’ll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) warned on Tuesday that he will block leadership from speeding up any bills, including legislation to fund the government, until he gets a deal on legislation to shore up funding for miners’ pension and health care. His threat could be a wrinkle for leadership as they try to clear the decks over the next week before leaving town for the holiday.
ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO: Congress must pass Miners Pension Protection Act (Oct. 30)
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers joins Democrats, region’s Republicans to pass migrant farmworker reform bill — A bipartisan bill that offers a streamlined, long-term visa program for migrant agricultural workers and strengthens federal oversight of their employment passed the House on Wednesday. The vote put U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and several of her Republican colleagues, on the same side of an issue as Democrats.
► From Rolling Stone — Internal emails reveal how Stephen Miller leads an extremist network to push Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda — A loose network of lawyers and advisers embedded throughout the Trump administration has worked closely with Stephen Miller to carry out the daily effort of pushing through draconian and often inhumane policies like separating migrant families at the border, detaining young migrants in cagelike facilities, and drastically reducing the number of immigrants allowed entry into the country. In other words, Miller, with his white-nationalist mindset and fervor to enact xenophobic policies, is far from an isolated actor. He’s the leader of a broad operation spread across the federal government.
► In today’s Washington Post — House Democrats brace for some defections among moderates on impeachment of Trump — Lawmakers and senior aides are privately predicting they will lose more than the two Democrats who opposed the impeachment inquiry rules package in late September. Two senior Democratic aides said the total could be as many as a half-dozen, while a third said the number could be higher. Republicans, who are increasingly confident they won’t lose any members, say they’re planning to highlight any increase in the number of Democratic defections as evidence of a weak case for removing Trump.
► From Politico Magazine — The new union label: Female, progressive and very anti-Trump — The rise of Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, can be attributed to a potent mix of progressive politics and relentless self-promotion. More than anyone else in the labor movement, she has tapped into the energy on the new left and used the media to her advantage, ascending past a ruling class of older white men to become one of the most visible labor leaders in America. She has crisscrossed the country lamenting the evils of unchecked capitalism and taken on the president with the gusto of someone running to unseat him… Nelson, 46, is now weighing a run to become first woman to lead the AFL-CIO. She would have to outmaneuver Liz Shuler, the AFL-CIO’s well-liked secretary treasurer, who has also expressed interest in running and would be a natural successor to Trumka, should he step aside in 2021.
► From Mother Jones — How much are your favorite companies spending on union-busting consultants? — The Economic Policy Institute has dropped a report showing that in more than 40 percent of union election campaigns, employers are charged with violating laws. This includes employers threatening, firing, disciplining, or retaliating against workers trying to form a union — actions that occur “routinely,” writes Celine McNicholas, a co-author, in a statement. The report also shed a light on a growing but still fairly obscure element of the union-busting playbook: spending millions on consultants for “union avoidance.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Among the employers highlighted in the EPI report for spending big bucks on union-busters: Bed Bath & Beyond, FedEx, Hilton, Lab Corp, Pier 1, UPS, and of course, Trump International Hotels.
► From Vice — U.S. employers spend $340 million a year busting unions
► In the Detroit News — UAW workers ratify contract with Fiat Chrysler
► From the AFL-CIO — The far right today: A conversation with political scientists Cas Mudde — On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-host Tim Schlittner and guest host AFL-CIO International Director Cathy Feingold talk to Cas Mudde, a political scientist from the University of Georgia. Mudde has a new book, The Far Right Today, which takes a look at the resurgence of right-wing politicians and activists across the globe, much of it cloaked in populist, worker-friendly rhetoric.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand has some good news and bad news. The bad news: We are leaving on vacation and will not be doing posting these Daily News updates until 2020 — although we will continue to do light posting of news reports and opinion columns at The Stand through the remainder of December. The good news: Here’s one of the greatest glam-rock songs of all time. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.