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Swedish clock ticks ● Tower crane safety ● Trump on ‘trial’

Tuesday, January 21, 2020




► From My Edmonds News — “The parties are too far apart”: Swedish heath care workers give notice of planned strike Jan 28-30 — In a roundtable briefing, nurses and caregivers of SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW at Swedish-Providence announced they were delivering a 10-day notice of intent to strike Jan. 28-30 “if proposals adequately addressing patient safety and staffing levels are not forthcoming.” Four Swedish Medical Center nurses and caregivers represented by SEIU shared their experiences of patient safety and workplace issues at Swedish. You can watch the recording of the livestream here.

The Stand (Jan. 17, 2020) — SEIU 1199NW plans Jan. 28-30 strike at Swedish-Providence — Swedish-Providence nurses and healthcare workers intend to strike Jan. 28-30 if proposals adequately addressing patient safety and staffing levels are not forthcoming.

► From KING 5 — Seattle restaurateur seeks tip credit penalty after minimum wage hike — Several leaders in Seattle’s restaurant industry want to see a tip credit implemented to combat increased costs from a higher minimum wage.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This report includes comment from Simone Barron, who is described as “a vocal advocate for restaurant workers” with a group called the Full Service Workers Alliance of Seattle. Barron argues for lower wages for tipped employees. Fun fact: Simone Barron is also a member of what the Columbia Journalism Review outed as the “all-white board of an opaque 501(c)4 called the Restaurant Workers of America, funded by restaurant owners, that regularly appears with restaurant industry trade groups and Republican politicians to praise the exception to the minimum wage that is made for tipped waiters and bartenders.” Here’s a tip for reporters: Google your sources.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Kaiser Permanente buys Everett sites for ‘world-class’ facility — Kaiser Permanente has closed on the purchase of three properties adjoining a medical facility in Everett’s Riverside neighborhood, paving the way for a previously announced expansion that will triple the non-profit health-care provider’s footprint near Pacific Avenue and I-5.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing has reached out to retirees to maintain the 737 MAX — Hundreds of Boeing workers are responsible for looking after the airplanes being stored at the company’s Moses Lake test facility, including a cadre of retired employees who have returned to work under a deal allowing them to draw a paycheck and keep their pension benefits.




► In today’s Seattle Times — After Seattle crane collapse, proposed legislation would require more oversight of construction companies — After a fatal crane collapse last April that Washington officials deemed “totally avoidable,” state lawmakers are pushing for more regulations and bigger fines around the disassembly of tower cranes… Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) has proposed legislation to require a representative from L&I to be present at every tower crane disassembly in the state. Companies disassembling a tower crane would have to give the state 48 hours’ notice, and pay a fee of up to $1,000. “What we support specifically are any laws or policies that improve the safety on all projects in order for us to send people home safely,” testified Chris McClain, Business Manager of Ironworkers Local 86 in Seattle.

► In today’s Seattle Times — As smaller Washington cities grapple with homelessness, Republicans take up the issue in the Legislature — In the 2020 legislative session, a Republican lawmaker wants to authorize a local sales tax increase to pay for homelessness programs. No, that’s not a typo. 

► From The Inlander — The Spokane GOP’s Matt Shea statement includes neither the word ‘Matt’ nor ‘Shea’ — On the matter of the elected state representative who was accused in an independent investigation of taking part in an act of “domestic terrorism,” the Spokane GOP had a binary choice to make: Were they with state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) or against him? Ultimately, they chose option C.




► From Politico — Supreme Court won’t hear Obamacare case before election — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Democrats’ plea to consider a high-stakes legal challenge that could kill the Affordable Care Act, punting a resolution in the politically fraught case until after the presidential election. In deciding to immediately stay out of the fray until after the election, the justices sided with the Trump administration and group of red states leading the challenge to the ACA. The lawsuit’s lingering threat exposes Trump to attacks that he is still trying to gut the law’s popular protections for people with preexisting conditions. 

► In today’s Washington Post — The legacy of ‘Citizens United’ has been destructive. We need campaign finance reform. (by Fred Wertheimer) — Jan. 21 marks the 10th anniversary of the disastrous Citizens United decision, the most consequential — and destructive — campaign finance decision by the Supreme Court in nearly half a century. The legacy of Citizens United has been even more damaging than almost anyone understood when the ruling came down. The decision helped return the most dangerous and corrupting money to our elections. It provided the wealthiest Americans with a predominant role in campaign financing by giving birth to super PACs permitted to collect multimillion-dollar checks. It allowed hundreds of millions of dollars in large, secret contributions to be spent to influence federal elections through the use of undisclosed “dark money” given to nonprofits. In short, the destructive impact of Citizens United on our political system has made the Watergate campaign finance scandals, the worst of the last century, look like child’s play.




► In today’s Washington Post — How Mitch McConnell’s proposed Senate trial will work — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced his proposal Monday afternoon to senators about his optimal trial: short and quick. Democrats oppose it for a couple reasons, but with swing senators such as Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in favor of this resolution, it’s expected to pass with a majority vote and be the framework for Trump’s impeachment trial over the next couple weeks. Here is how the trial will work under the McConnell rules and where Democrats object to it.

► From Reuters — Democrats blast McConnell’s rules for Trump impeachment trial in Senate — Democrats on Tuesday blasted the top Senate Republican’s proposed rules for U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, saying its failure to guarantee witnesses or that evidence gathered by investigators would be allowed into the record was tantamount to rigging the proceedings.

► In today’s NY Times — ‘Constitutional nonsense’: Trump’s impeachment defense defies legal consensus — The president’s legal case would negate any need for witnesses. But constitutional scholars say that it’s wrong.

► From Politico — Poll: Most Americans want Trump removed from office by Senate — Fifty-one percent of respondents to the CNN poll want the Senate to convict Trump on the impeachment charges brought by the House, which would lead to his immediate expulsion from office. Meanwhile, 45 percent of respondents said they don’t want to see him removed.




► In today’s Washington Post — Gig economy bills move forward in other blue states, after California clears the way — Legislators in three other states with Democratic majorities, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, are considering similar bills that could open the door for a wide range of freelance workers. The bills would benefit not just app gig workers but janitors, construction workers, truckers and educational workers. Advocates say the bills would crack down on a culture of rampant misclassification fostered by companies whose business model depends on apps like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash.

The Stand (Jan. 6, 2020) — New report: Misclassification costs Washington workers, state — The number of employers engaging in worker misclassification in Washington state has risen substantially over the last 10 years. Misclassification has resulted in the denial of pay and benefits for tens of thousands of workers as well as millions of dollars in lost revenue, according to a new study from researchers with Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program.


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

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