Monday, January 27, 2020
► In the Seattle Times — Swedish Medical Center prepares for possible strike by thousands of nurses and health care workers — Some 7,800 registered nurses, nursing assistants and technical and service caregivers, represented by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, plan to walk off their jobs at 7 a.m. Tuesday and return at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The strike would affect Swedish campuses in Seattle at Cherry Hill, First Hill and Ballard as well as in Edmonds, Issaquah, Mill Creek and Redmond… The hospital says it plans to bring in thousands of replacement caregivers from across the country, said Kevin Brooks, COO of Swedish First Hill. Hospital spokespeople declined to give an exact number.
The Stand — Here’s how you can support Swedish strikers — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is calling on all union members and community supporters to show their solidarity with the Providence-Swedish workers.
► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘People don’t have any idea’: Swedish closing two ERs on Monday in advance of strike — Nurses planning to go on strike were instantly critical of Swedish’s decision over the weekend to close the urgent care and emergency services at the two campuses.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Swedish nurses, caregivers prepare to strike in Edmonds — Union members said the healthcare provider wouldn’t make commitments to safe staffing levels. Once the union’s strike notice was filed, Swedish negotiators pulled what they called their best offer. Instead of continuing negotiations, management is flying in thousands of replacement workers to fill in during the three-day protest.
► From My Edmonds News — Swedish strike gets personal for local workers as Tuesday deadline looms — Many Swedish workers say it’s become personal, as they watch the job they once loved and in which they took pride become increasingly less fulfilling as working conditions take what is — for them — a disappointingly downward turn.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In the years since Providence Health & Services took over the formerly independent Swedish Health Services eight years ago, Swedish nurses and other frontline healthcare workers have complained about staffing shortages jeopardizing patient safety. Swedish CEO Guy Hudson said Swedish was shifting to a “more cost-effective model of care,” but nurses have sounded alarms about ongoing staff reductions, cost-cutting and profits being prioritized over patient safety. Sound familiar?
► In the Seattle Times — Boeing’s new CEO needs to show commitment to deep overhaul (editorial) — In the first public test of Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun’s tenure, he failed to demonstrate that he’s the transformative leader the embattled aerospace titan needs. Instead, in an interview with reporters Wednesday, he was combative and defensive of the company’s actions… The company is in a prolonged crisis, brought on by erosion of its quality standards. A corporate culture that seemed to have emphasized profits over safety threatens Boeing’s long-term viability as an industry standard-bearer.
► From Bloomberg — Boeing mulls another cut to 787 output in new threat to cash — Executives are studying whether to trim monthly output by two planes to 10 a month from a reduced pace that was announced in October, sources said. Slowing 787 output would crimp a critical source of cash for Boeing as it attempts to recover from the global grounding of the 737 MAX.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s assembly plant is shuttered amid 737 MAX crisis. Now the company has a falcon problem. — For about four years, a pair of peregrine falcons has been nesting inside the massive factory where the 737 MAX is assembled, making their home on metal girders several stories above workers.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers renew attempt to reform Sound Transit car taxes — A bill introduced by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) requires the regional transit authority to stop using a 199os depreciation schedule to calculate the MVET and switch to a schedule adopted by lawmakers in 2006. Sound Transit leaders are expressing concerns that the bill, which will reduce collections by an estimated $853 million, will leave it short of cash to build promised light rail projects. Foes say it doesn’t go far enough.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Proposed child care bills could help expand local programs — The bills would expand funding for several early childhood learning programs, provide more money for childcare providers, expand eligibility for certain programs and create a more streamlined path from early learning programs to K-12 education.
► In the Olympian — Senate Democrats advance bill to restore felons’ voting rights faster — SB 6228 would make felons automatically eligible to vote once they are released from state prison. Under current law, they are eligible once they have completed community custody — formerly known as probation — and that can take several years.
► In the (Everett) Herald — As a legislative deadline nears, it’s time to place your bets (Cornfield Report) — The cut-off to get policy bills out of a committee is next week.
► From Politico — Obamacare’s secret success (op-ed) — Lost in all the back-and-forth over “Medicare for All” is that much of this revolution has already happened. Under the Affordable Care Act, several states have already achieved near-universal coverage, and without anywhere near the national disruption that a full system reboot would cause. As of 2018, six states and Washington, D.C. have achieved over 95 percent health care coverage for their residents. This coverage triumph does not mean that the American health care system does not need reform. But it does demonstrate that the ACA can catalyze near-universal coverage. And by adopting some modest policy reforms, every state, and the country as a whole, can get there, too. And this has happened despite the fact that the Trump administration has tried to sabotage health care expansion.
► From Politico — Supreme Court will again review Obamacare birth control mandate — It marks the third high court review of the contraception mandate stemming from Obamacare — and the first since Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined the court.
► From Fox Business — USMCA ‘finally’ enforceable and effective: AFL-CIO president (video)
TRUMP ON “TRIAL”
► In today’s NY Times — Trump tied Ukraine aid to inquiries he sought, Bolton book says — Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
► In today’s Washington Post — Democrats call for Bolton to testify after new report
► From The Hill — Senate Republicans face pivotal moment on impeachment witnesses — Senate Republican leaders before the Bolton revelations had voiced confidence that they will keep their conference unified enough to defeat a motion to subpoena new evidence.
► In today’s Washington Post — White House offers senators a false, poisonous choice (editorial) — To side with the president and allow Americans their choice this November, senators must endorse the preposterous — and also threatening-to-democracy — notion that the president’s behavior is entirely acceptable… If they accept the White House defense, senators will accept as precedent for all time that a president may use the powers of his office for personal political gain and against the national interest.
► From Politico — GOP senator: ‘Hopefully’ Trump will learn lessons from impeachment — “I think he’ll put two and two together,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said. “In this case, he was taken to the carpet.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Maybe. Or perhaps, the EXACT OPPOSITE…
► From Politico — Trump plots a flashy series finale for impeachment — The president is itching to close out a bruising chapter of his presidency — with a victory lap to maximize the political value of his expected acquittal.
► From Fox Business — AFL-CIO’s Trumka warns U.S. economy on ‘trajectory towards implosion’ — If the U.S. does not take steps to address a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, the economy could implode, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka warned on Friday. “Our economy is on a trajectory towards implosion,” he said from Davos, Switzerland. “There are several things that can either increase that trajectory or decelerate it.”
► From The Guardian — ‘It’s really tragic’: why are coalminers still dying from black lung disease? — Black lung disease is preventable, but high rates of black lung disease have emerged in recent years in coalminers and other industries, prompting calls for better protections.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.