Thursday, April 27, 2023
► From the News Tribune — Nurses picket outside Good Sam Hospital in Puyallup. ‘We are already spread so thin’ — Nurses picketed Wednesday outside MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup for changes related to staffing and breaks. “The vast majority of the 750 nurses at the hospital support the picket,” the Washington State Nurses Association said in a news release Tuesday. The WSNA said one of the issues is that Good Samaritan nurses care for one another’s patients in order to take breaks:
“Nurses feel that this method spreads them too thin and is not in a patient’s best interest. At MultiCare Tacoma General, meanwhile, nurses bargained for and won nurse-to-patient ratios in 2016 which caps the number of patients a nurse cares for, and they operate with break nurses.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — See @MyWSNA for photos and coverage of the action.
► From the Cascadia Daily News — PeaceHealth to close Bellingham allergy clinic — PeaceHealth is closing its allergy and immunology clinic in the Cordata neighborhood. It is also closing its overnight sleep lab in Bellingham. All told, 32 positions are being eliminated throughout the PeaceHealth Northwest network.
► From KIRO — Seattle Public Schools facing multimillion-dollar deficit — SPS is facing a $131 million deficit. Most of the proposed cuts are to the central office. SPS says it would save an additional $11.2 million by making cuts to school-based staff.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Volunteers urgently needed for Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive — Organizers of the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive are urgently seeking volunteers to assist in the food drive on May 13. Volunteers with vehicles, especially pickups, SUVs or trailers, are needed. Volunteers can work as long or as little as they want. For more information, any questions or concerns can be directed to Don Young at 360-904-6972 or text or email at email@example.com.
► From the Skagit Valley Herald — Local high school students get a hands-on look at apprenticeships — Students from Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan and Snohomish counties gathered this week for the Washington Apprenticeship Vocational Education Tour at the Northwest Carpenter’s Institute of Washington training center in Burlington. The goal of the tour is to connect high school juniors and seniors with apprenticeship opportunities for jobs of which they may not be aware.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Check out the Construct a Career website from the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council about how to get started in a union apprenticeship program today!
► From the Seattle Times — How WA lawmakers tried this year to ease hospitals’ financial woes — State lawmakers closed this year’s legislative session with moves aimed at building up the health care workforce, addressing delays in finding patients long-term care, and creating more sustainable ways to care for the lowest-income Washingtonians.
► From the Yakima H-R — Rep. Chris Corry takes new job at the Washington Policy Center — State Rep. Chris Corry (R-Yakima) will take a new job as director of the Center for Government Reform for the Washington Policy Center, a political think tank. He says is role as state legislator won’t change.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Who funds the Washington Policy Center? (Thanks for asking.) Corporations and billionaires’ foundations. Its board and advisors are representatives from a laundry list of businesses and corporate lobbying groups. The WPC is a member of the State Policy Network, one the Koch-funded policy, communications and litigation arms of the corporate bill mill known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Sourcewatch says the WPC and its SPN counterparts “give the cookie-cutter ALEC agenda a sheen of academic legitimacy and state-based support.”
► From Roll Call — Senate panel advances Julie Su for Labor Secretary — The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to advance Julie Su’s nomination to be Labor secretary, with several senators’ floor votes still in question. The committee voted 11-10 to advance Su, who took over as acting secretary last month after Marty Walsh’s departure. Enthusiasm for Su among committee Democrats was strong. Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said:
“While we have massive income and wealth inequality, the working families of this country, in the Labor Department, are entitled to have a secretary who’s going to stand up and fight for them. I think Julie Su, currently, in her role in California and throughout her life has made it clear she’s prepared to stand up for working families.”
► From The Hill — House GOP passes debt limit package — After a week of internal sniping, House Republicans on Wednesday approved legislation in a 217-215 vote that would slash federal spending and extend the government’s borrowing authority into next year. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his conference have demanded budget-cutting negotiations with President Biden in return for raising the debt ceiling and now have specific policy proposals heading into that fight.
TODAY at The Stand — GOP holds economy hostage in effort to slash jobs, programs — AFL-CIO: McCarthy’s reckless debt ceiling plan is an affront to working people. Washington Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse both voted to approve the “Limit, Save, Grow Act” while all eight Democratic representatives voted no.
► From Reuters — Solar, EV firms say Republicans’ debt limit a ‘stunt’ that could cost jobs — Solar and EV companies are warning that a Republican plan to slash federal spending in exchange for a hike in the U.S. debt ceiling could hobble the tax incentives that unleashed billions of dollars in green investment and created tens of thousands of jobs in Republican districts over the past year.
► From the AP — What’s in the GOP bill to lift debt limit, cut spending
► ICYMI… a MUST-READ from the LA Times — The GOP’s debt ceiling proposal bundles every bad policy idea into one noxious package (by Michael Hiltzik) — Let’s see the Republicans’ debt-ceiling bill for what it is: not a deficit reduction proposal but an attempt to take the U.S. economy as a hostage to a right-wing effort to undo almost every initiative crafted over the last two years to make life better and healthier for ordinary Americans. The feckless speaker accuses Biden and the Democrats of “playing partisan political games” by refusing to negotiate with him over the debt ceiling. But there’s nothing in his plan except partisan political games. Unfortunately, the future of the U.S. economy hangs in the balance.
► From Roll Call — House GOP readying economic package with business tax breaks — House Republicans are preparing to take up some favored tax breaks as part of a broader package aimed at spurring economic growth.
EDITOR’S NOTE — At a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high and driving consumer inflation, Republicans in Congress still want more tax cuts for corporate special interests. This would increase the deficit spending they pretend is the motivation for the debt ceiling default bill.
► From Crosscut — SCOTUS ruling on abortion pill isn’t a victory, WA advocates say — While some called last week’s Supreme Court decision to temporarily block new restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone a victory, advocates in Washington state say the ruling highlighted widespread national confusion over abortion rights and where the nation’s highest court is headed on this issue.
► From The Hill — Senators unveil bipartisan proposal to require Supreme Court to adopt code of conduct — Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have introduced a bipartisan bill to require the Supreme Court to create a new code of conduct for itself after ProPublica revealed that conservative Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose luxury trips he accepted from Texas billionaire Harlan Crow.
► From the Seattle Times — FAA’s priority should be passenger safety, not airlines’ profits (editorial) — There’s clearly a disconnect between the Federal Aviation Administration and the American people. How else to explain an agency policy that allows commercial airlines to fly for days with inoperable safety equipment.
► From Bloomberg — Starbucks refused to negotiate fairly at 144 unionized cafes, NLRB alleges — Starbucks Corp. has refused to negotiate in good faith at more than 100 newly unionized cafes, US labor board prosecutors alleged in a complaint. The coffee chain has illegally “failed and refused” to collectively bargain fairly at 144 sites. Those include the first two cafes to unionize with Starbucks Workers United, the National Labor Relations Board’s Seattle regional director said. At those two locations, both in upstate New York, the agency alleges that Starbucks “bargained with no intention of reaching agreement” with the union, including by “insisting upon proposals that are predictably unacceptable to the union,” and “demeaning and otherwise undermining the union’s chosen representatives,” according to a filing Tuesday.
► From Reuters — Tesla broke U.S. labor law by silencing workers, official rules — Tesla supervisors at a Florida service center violated U.S. labor law by telling employees not to discuss pay and other working conditions or bring complaints to higher level managers, an NLRB administrative law judge has ruled.
► A related story from the LA Times — Twitter hate speech surged under Musk, study finds — Abusive content rose as moderation was loosened, according to a USC computer scientist and his team.
► From the Guardian — ‘More than half of my paycheck goes to rent’: Young doctors push to unionize — Young doctors just out of medical school working as resident physicians, fellows and interns at major U.S. hospitals are organizing unions at an increasing rate, citing long-running problems highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a need to rethink the struggles young doctors face in the profession.
► From the Washington Post — Montana Republicans bar transgender lawmaker from House floor — Montana Republicans voted to formally punish Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D), a transgender state lawmaker who has been silenced in the state House after criticizing GOP colleagues who support a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender children.
► From the Onion — Sarah Huckabee Sanders drops kids off at summer work camp — “Have fun at the oil refinery!” said the Arkansas governor, reminding her children to write to their mother if they had enough energy after each day’s 18-hour shift, which according to the camp foreman would be spent operating heavy machinery to process crude oil into gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, various solvents, and asphalt.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.