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TA at Clark College ● ‘We deserve to be safe’ ● Our drug pushers

Wednesday, January 15, 2020




► In today’s Columbian — Clark College, faculty union reach tentative contract deal — Clark College and its faculty union have reached a tentative agreement in contract negotiations. The Association for Higher Education, which represents faculty at the Vancouver community college, announced the news Tuesday evening after a full day of bargaining. Classes will be canceled Wednesday so the union can vote on the contract. Details of the deal will not be announced by either side until after membership has voted.

The Stand (today) — Clark College faculty reach tentative deal to end strike

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Judge: No turning back Astria Regional closure –The U.S. Bankruptcy Court declined Tuesday to reconsider the authorization to close Regional. The Washington State Nurses Association filed a motion Friday for reconsideration and Judge Whitman L. Holt granted a hearing. The hearing Tuesday came a day after Astria Regional’s emergency department closed its doors.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Layoff notices and help for Astria Regional employees — Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, companies with 100 or more employees are required to notify affected workers 60 days before closure or layoff. Astria Health filed its WARN notice on Jan. 8. The WARN notice states a Jan. 13 closure, which is well under 60 days.

► In the News Tribune — Plenty of jobs still available for census takers in Seattle-Tacoma area — The bureau says it is seeking to fill up to 5,300 jobs between now and mid-March for its Tacoma and Seattle offices. The positions include census takers and office personnel, and pay ranges from $18 to $23 an hour.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Census hiring hundreds countywide for help with 2020 count




► In today’s Seattle Times — Democratic lawmakers again consider exempting public-employee birth dates from Washington’s Public Records Act — Public-employee unions are arguing that the transparency law puts their workers at risk of identity theft and harassment from people who can request their information. And several unions have been frustrated with a conservative group (the Freedom Foundation) using public-records requests to get employees’ personal information to contact the workers… Kati Thompson, a worker at the state Employment Security Department, said lawmakers need to pass the bill so workers won’t get harassed like she has been: “People who have been victims of domestic violence or other violent crimes, who have testified against their rapists at trial and happen to work for the state now, we don’t have any way to track all those people and keep their data safe… We are public servants, we are not state property. We are not owned by the state, we deserve to have a life, we deserve to be safe.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This Seattle Times report prominently notes that public-employee unions supporting HB 1888 “donate big dollars to Washington Democrats.” But it does not disclose that the Washington Coalition for Open Government, which testified against HB 1888 and is quoted in the report, is funded by the Freedom Foundation (and The Seattle Times), among others, and that Freedom Foundation Executive VP Brian Minnich sits on the WCOG board. In fact, these champions of public disclosure at the Freedom Foundation refuse to disclose their own funders. WCOG board member Minnich has said that revealing their donors’ information would subject them to “harassment.” That is exactly what the Freedom Foundation is doing to public employees when they find out where they live through public disclosure requests and send canvassers to public employees’ doorsteps urging them to quit their unions. Bottom line: the Freedom Foundation and newspaper lobbyists who oppose HB 1888 are doing so for their own benefit and they are dismissing the legitimate safety and privacy concerns raised by public employees.

Listen to some of Tuesday’s compelling testimony in support of HB 1888:

The Stand (Dec. 18, 2019) — Urge Legislature to protect public employees’ personal data

► From the AP — State must address growing homeless crisis, Gov. Inslee tells Legislature — “We have an obligation to help solve the problem,” Inslee said in his State of the State address on Tuesday. “Our compassion will not allow us to look the other way. To be successful, our response level must match the scope of this crisis. Homelessness is a statewide problem and it demands a statewide response this year.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Car-tab fallout dominates as transportation leaders return to Olympia — Despite an ongoing legal challenge attempting to undo Initiative 976, state lawmakers returned to Olympia this week pledging to write a transportation budget as if the tax-slashing measure is taking effect.

► From KNKX — Back at Capitol, Rep. Matt Shea defiant in face of allegations, sanctions — Accused in a House investigation of participating in an act of domestic terrorism, Washington state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) defiantly returned to the Capitol on Monday — spurning calls for him to resign — and declared: “I’m not going to quit, I’m not going to back down.”




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s horrible year: It lost orders, while Airbus delivered twice as many jets — Boeing’s final tally of 2019 commercial jet orders and deliveries, released Tuesday, starkly displays just how bad the year was: Deliveries were down to a level last seen more than a decade ago when all production was halted by a two-month strike. And net orders were negative — with more cancellations than new orders. Boeing’s overall net order figure for the year was -87.




► From the People’s World — House to vote on sweeping labor law reform by mid-February — The Democratic-run U.S. House will vote on the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, the most-comprehensive pro-worker labor law reform bill in decades, by mid-February, top leaders have announced. Communications directors for both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the vote would be before the President’s Day recess that month.

► From The American Prospect — Why everyone should care who the new Postmaster General is — The United States Postal Service (USPS) finds itself at a crossroads between the Trump administration’s prescription for privatization and the potential to implement more innovative services. The current postmaster general, Megan J. Brennan, announced her retirement in October 2019, and whoever the Board of Governors appoints to fill the vacancy at the head of America’s oldest and most popular public service will decide which path USPS takes.

The Stand (Dec. 6, 2019) — Say NO to privatizer as Postmaster General

► From Politico — McConnell: Senate to vote on new trade deal before impeachment trial — The Senate is expected to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday with strong bipartisan support before swearing in for the trial takes place.

The Stand (Dec. 10, 2019) — AFL-CIO endorses USMCA after negotiating improvements

► In the Washington Post — Trump likes farmers better than some other welfare recipients (by 

► From HuffPost — Cutting Social Security disability benefits can backfire horribly — The Trump administration wants to trim the disability rolls through extra vetting of recipients — possibly repeating a disastrous Reagan-era move. Those cuts in the early 1980s sparked a public outcry, state government protests, serious congressional pushback and court rulings restoring people’s benefits.




► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘We’re going to be looked at as pioneers’ says Storm’s Sue Bird of WNBA-union pact — The WNBA and its players union reached a tentative labor agreement on Tuesday that Storm star Sue Bird called “historic” due to its potential to change the financial landscape of women’s professional sports.

► From The Guardian — FedEx mounts big-money push to head off unionization by U.S. workers — FedEx workers hoping to unionize and get better pay and benefits have met with a well-financed barrage of opposition from the company, according to recordings obtained by the Guardian. Workers who charge that their benefits are less than at rival UPS said the company has bombarded them with anti-union messages and forced them to attend anti-union meetings. The Guardian obtained recordings of meetings that were mandatory and required workers to sign in, where managers and union avoidance consultants lectured workers on unions as the Teamsters was attempting to organize FedEx drivers at several locations around the United States.

EDITOR’S NOTE –Dear Supreme Court: Your conservative activist majority seems very concerned about workers’ free-speech rights. How about the right to walk away from a meeting where you are being held captive and forced to be indoctrinated with corporate speech? Asking for a friend.

► From Tribune News Services — Flight attendants allege uniforms are making them sick — Skin rashes, difficulty breathing, blurry vision and hair loss. Those are some of the issues thousands of Delta Air Lines flight attendants have reportedly dealt with since the company switched their uniforms nearly two years ago. As of November, about 3,000 flight attendants have formally reported adverse health effects attributed to the uniforms, Delta said. The issue is a hot one that intersects a unionization effort of Delta flight attendants.

► From the American Prospect — Historic union drive makes Delaware the first state again — For what appears to be the first time ever, the legislative staff of a state is announcing its intent to unionize. On Tuesday, state legislative workers in Delaware announced a union drive on the first day of the new session, requesting voluntary recognition from state legislative leaders.

► In the Chicago Sun-Times — Marijuana workers in Joliet vote to join union — Ninety-five employees at a Joliet marijuana cultivation facility voted Tuesday to unionize. With a final tally of 58-37, the Cresco Labs employees opted to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881. It’s the first time that workers in Illinois’ marijuana industry have opted to unionize since recreational pot use among adults was legalized.




► In today’s Washington Post — More than 100 billion pain pills saturated the nation over nine years — Newly disclosed federal drug data shows that more than 100 billion doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone were shipped nationwide from 2006 through 2014 — 24 billion more doses of the highly addictive pain pills than previously known to the public… The volume of pills distributed skyrocketed as the epidemic claimed more lives. From 2006 through 2014, more than 130,000 Americans died from prescription opioids… The new data further confirms the states that were flooded with the most opioids per person: West Virginia with 66.8 pills per person per year, Kentucky with 63.6, South Carolina with 60.9 and Tennessee with 59. West Virginia also had the highest prescription opioid death rate during the nine-year period.



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

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