Monday, January 20, 2020
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
► From the Seattle P-I — Plant trees, restore trails, or march this MLK Jr. Day
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Events in Yakima, Toppenish highlight King’s legacy
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Gonzaga hosting voter rights presentation after Martin Luther King Jr. Day march — Gonzaga University will host a presentation on voter rights, voter suppression and racial inequities in the criminal justice system this afternoon, after marchers take to the streets of Spokane to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Check your local newspaper or click here for a list of today’s events.
► From The Root —Dr. King understood the power of unions (by AFSCME President Lee Saunders) — On what would have been his 91st birthday, we celebrate the towering legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—his moral force as a faith leader, his devotion to nonviolent resistance and, of course, the sacrifices he made to end legalized segregation in the South. But there is an often-overlooked aspect of his work: Dr. King was one of his era’s most fearsome champions of working people coming together to organize, build power and improve their lives. Here is how he put it in a speech to the Illinois AFL-CIO convention in October 1965:
“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Why I march on MLK Day in Seattle (by Naomi Ishisaka) — I have attended numerous Seattle MLK marches and always come away feeling that despite how daunting our challenges may be, we are the ones we have been waiting for. When we come together, change might be more possible than we realize.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Martin Luther King’s spirit of service, selflessness still needed (by Ben Watanabe) — “Don’t think that because we have a national day for a black man that his work is over,” said Leilani Miller, founder of Millennia Ministries and the keynote speaker at Sunday’s boisterous and jubilant celebration in Everett.
► MUST-READ in the NY Times — The injustice of this moment is not an ‘aberration’ (by Michelle Alexander) — Ten years have passed since my book, “The New Jim Crow,” was published. I wrote it to challenge our nation to reckon with the recurring cycles of racial reform, retrenchment and rebirth of caste-like systems that have defined our racial history since slavery. It has been an astonishing decade. Everything and nothing has changed… In my experience, those who argue that the systems of mass incarceration and mass deportation simply reflect sincere (but misguided) efforts to address the real harms caused by crime, or the real challenges created by surges in immigration, tend to underestimate the corrupting influence of white supremacy whenever black and brown people are perceived to be the problem. “Between me and the other world, there is ever an unasked question,” W.E.B. Du Bois famously said back in 1897: “How does it feel to be a problem?” White people are generally allowed to have problems, and they’ve historically been granted the power to define and respond to them. But people of color — in this “land of the free” forged through slavery and genocide — are regularly viewed and treated as the problem. This distinction has made all the difference. Once human beings are defined as the problem in the public consciousness, their elimination through deportation, incarceration or even genocide becomes nearly inevitable.
► In the Seattle Times — Good news, bad news: I’m going to be a mom — and I got laid off (by Rachel Stevens) — Before this phone call with the state’s new state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave office, I was hopeless and did not know how I would plan and provide for my new child. I can now exhale in relief because under this state benefit, my husband and I will both receive 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave to bond with our baby. Beyond that, I will get an additional four weeks of medical leave for giving birth. Washington state is the fifth state in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave benefits to workers. I raise a glass (of seltzer) to toast these benefits that will help me focus on truly caring for my growing family instead of panicking about financial stress. It warms my heart knowing that other mothers, fathers, caregivers and families of all kinds across Washington now have access to this same relief.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Thank you for Paid Family & Medical Leave — A few weeks in, this program is already improving lives in Washington state. But it didn’t just happen. It took years of hard work by some amazing people.
► In the Columbian — I-976 derailed work on dangerous Pasco tunnel. Can city leaders get it back on track? — The project that has been in the works for years is essentially shovel-ready and just one month from going out to bid for a contractor. But the city had to put the brakes on those plans after Gov. Jay Inslee announced statewide transportation construction projects not yet underway would be delayed following the passage of I-976.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This report does not mention that voters in Pasco’s Franklin County approved I-976 by a 72.21% to 27.79% margin last fall. In deciding which projects must be postponed for now, the state is not considering these election results. But ya know, the Love and Logic parenting class I once took was all about allowing natural consequences.
► In the Seattle Times — Spendy dinners and $79 haircuts: Tim Eyman isn’t living like someone who’s bankrupt, AG says — Tim Eyman is bankrupt. But he’s not spending money like someone who’s bankrupt, at least according to the state of Washington, his largest creditor. Eyman, whose personal, business and legal expenses are paid through donations from his supporters, has spent an average of nearly $24,000 a month over the past year, according to his bankruptcy filings.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Senate passes bill to curb discrimination against undocumented immigrants — Washington residents couldn’t be discriminated against for housing, jobs or public accommodations based on their citizenship or immigration status under a bill that passed the Senate on Friday.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Nope. Just you.
► In the Colombian — Pot sales 420% stronger along Idaho border
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County is drawing interest from new manufacturing firms, could mean more jobs — Whatcom County is seeing an uptick in interest from manufacturers, and that may mean more jobs if some hurdles are tackled. A recent presentation to Port of Bellingham Commissioners by the Regional Economic Partnership indicated several new companies are making plans to move or expand operations in Whatcom County.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Washington dairies struggle after trade wars and low prices — There are roughly 350 dairy farmers still in business in Washington, which as recently as 2007 boasted more than 800 dairy farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
► In today’s Washington Post — China trade deal was pitched as a boon for the working class, but Trump celebrated with Wall Street titans — The agreement illustrates how a president who once railed against financial industry greed and vowed to remake the GOP as a “workers’ party” has prioritized corporate America’s desires.
The Stand (Jan. 17, 2020) — AFL-CIO: U.S.-China deal fails to address workers rights, cheating
► From HuffPost — Unions are leveraging the Democratic debates at the bargaining table — Presidential candidates have helped resolve two labor disputes by refusing to cross picket lines. Imagine if employers always felt this kind of heat. — CNN settled a long and ugly dispute at the NLRB last week, agreeing to pay $76 million to hundreds of unionized broadcast technicians who lost their jobs in 2003. In a country where legal remedies for breaking labor law tend to be weak, the surprisingly large pile of backpay made headlines. But it was no coincidence that a 15-year legal battle happened to end right before CNN was slated to host the seventh debate of the 2020 Democratic primary season. If CNN didn’t resolve the case, officials at the workers’ union (a CWA affiliate) informed the DNC that members would picket the event and they asked the presidential candidates to refuse to participate in the debate. Any candidate who did take part would essentially be a scab. Four days before the Jan. 14 debate, CNN’s check was finally in the mail… Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been walking picket lines for decades, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been a close ally of labor during her years in Washington. But just about everyone from former Vice President Joe Biden to entrepreneur Andrew Yang has seemed willing and even eager to abide by the union requests. It may be one indicator of labor’s renewed political clout in the Democratic Party.
► Robert De Niro at last night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards: “I thank SAG-AFTRA for tirelessly fighting on our behalf for workplace and economic gains and respect. And that especially bears remembering these days when there’s so much hostility towards unions. Political leaders who support unions are more likely to support the Affordable Care Act, equitable taxes, humane immigration regulations, a safe environment, a diverse citizenry, reproductive rights, sensible gun control, and fair wages and benefits. We owe them our support and we owe them our vote.”
Did you catch the shoutout to unions from Robert De Niro at the #SAGAwards last night?
— AFL-CIO ✊? (@AFLCIO) January 20, 2020
► From NBC News — UC Berkeley student workers awarded millions in back pay — The University of California, Berkeley, owes student workers more than $5 million in back pay, an arbitrator ruled Monday. The decision comes after UAW Local 2865, the union for student employees of the University of California system, filed a grievance in 2017 against Berkeley, claiming the school was purposefully scheduling student workers in the electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) department for fewer than 10 hours a week to avoid paying tuition remission.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Experience the power of a union. Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work, and respect at work. Contact a union organizer today!
► MUST-READ in the NY Times — Senate Republicans are bathed in shame (by Frank Bruni) — The impeachment trial of Donald John Trump began on Thursday when John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, directed all of the senators to stand and raise their right hands… How in God’s name — and it was in God’s name — can the Republicans who have already decided to acquit President Trump take a solemn oath to administer “impartial justice”? They’re partial to the core, unabashedly so, as their united march toward a foregone conclusion shows. A mind-meld this ironclad isn’t a reflection of facts. It’s a triumph of factionalism. The majority of the party’s senators have said outright or clearly signaled that they have no intention of finding the president guilty and removing him from office. Yapping lap dogs like Lindsey Graham and obedient manservants like Mitch McConnell have gone further, mocking the whole impeachment process. So the oath they took: How does that work? Did they cross the fingers on their left hands? Do they reason that American politics has reached a nadir of such fundamental hypocrisy and overweening partisanship that no one regards that pledge as anything but window dressing?
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.