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Pipefitters compete | No airport here | Weaponized debt

Tuesday, May 16, 2023




► From the Spokesman-Review — Pipeline for area pipefitters: Competition seen as critical recruiting tool and skill developer for a trade in demand — Below pop-up awnings and under the watchful eyes of journeymen, apprentice pipe fitters and welders worked last week to show off their skills in turning steel and copper into useful building components. While not quite the Olympics, the competition pitted workers from local unions against each other for the chance to compete at regionals in Las Vegas and possibly the national competition in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “It’s a cool thing,” said Joe Krels, who is the director of training for the Inland Empire Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. “It’s a way we use to keep local workers up to date with industry standards.”

► From the News Tribune — Tacoma Art Museum chooses Midwest museum head as its newest executive director — Andrew Maus begins his role at TAM on June 6. He arrives as its staff is trying to unionize and its curatorial staff has diminished to one. TAM Workers United’s organizing committee told The News Tribune Monday that it’s, ”…hopeful for Andy Maus’ arrival and call on him to lead the Board in recognizing the union so we can partner for a successful future where workers have the respect, resources, and protections to help TAM thrive.”

TODAY at The Stand TAM Board of Trustees opts for more union-busting — WSLC vows continued solidarity with TAM Workers United: “We have defeated these tactics before, and we will defeat them again.”

► From NW Public Broadcasting — YVC faculty union demands transparency — Yakima Valley Community College faculty union members have voted no confidence in the college’s president Linda Kaminski. Union leaders say the administration has become unaccountable and is not addressing their complaints. According to the recent voting results, 88% of faculty union members voted “no confidence.” No union members voted “confidence,” while 12% abstained from voting.

The Stand (May 10) — Yakima Valley College faculty vote ‘no confidence’ in president

► From KUOW — Do WA schools need air conditioning? Some teachers think so after this heatwave — Shannon McCann, a special education teacher in Federal Way and the president of the district’s teachers union, said the heat in her classroom and others across the region rose to unbearable levels Monday. “None of us are doing our best when we’re sitting there overheated,” McCann said. “It is sweltering.”

► From the Tri-City Herald — School union treasurer accused of stealing $18K in Kennewick employee dues over 10 years — Karen Ann Steele, 63, a Kennewick school transportation employee allegedly embezzled $18,000 in union funds over the course of her 10 years as treasurer for Public School Employees of Washington Local 1948.




► From the Spokesman-Review — State lawmakers strike tentative compromise on drug possession penalties ahead of special session — Washington state lawmakers have come to a tentative agreement on drug possession and public use laws ahead of a special session that begins Tuesday.

► From the Seattle Times — Lawmakers kick hunt for major airport site far into the future — Rural residents in the three locations in Pierce and Thurston counties identified as possible sites for a new airport larger than Sea-Tac Airport can rest easy: No airport is coming their way. Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday signed into law a bill winding down a state commission that produced the shortlist of potential locations. A plan to recommend a single site by next month is also now dead.

► From the Cascadia Daily News — State rep announces bid for Whatcom County executive — Rep. Alicia Rule (D-Blaine), a social worker and recently reelected state representative, wants to make the jump to Whatcom County executive.




► From Reuters — Biden, McCarthy to meet as debt-ceiling talks come down to wire — They have little time to reach a deal. The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday reiterated its warning that it could run short of money to pay all its bills as soon as June 1, which would trigger a default that economists say would be likely to spark a sharp economic downturn.

The Stand (May 5) — How Republican spending cuts will hurt Washington state

► From Politico — Intensifying debt talks threaten rare GOP unity — House Republicans took a hard line going into high-stakes debt negotiations with President Joe Biden. Their Senate counterparts are now gently reminding them to show some flexibility.

► From the Washington Post — Liberals grow fearful Biden may reward GOP for weaponizing debt ceiling — The White House’s liberal allies are increasingly worried that negotiations with House Republicans over the budget risk rewarding the GOP for threatening the U.S. economy with default.

► From The Hill — Student loan forgiveness: What to know as the Supreme Court mulls case — Within the next month or so – but likely sooner – millions of federal student loan borrowers will know whether or not they’ll see thousands of dollars in debt erased from their accounts. The Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling in two cases that sought to halt President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loans for over 44 million Americans.

► From the AP — CEO pay again in focus as the heads of failed banks appear before Senate panel — The recent failures of a trio of midsize banks has once again raised questions about whether senior executives in the U.S. are being rewarded more for short-term gains — like rising stock prices — than for ensuring their companies’ long-term health.

► From the union-busting Columbian — Backed by auto shop co-owner Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, ‘right-to-repair’ bills pick up steam — A bipartisan movement advocating Americans’ right to repair their own phones, cars and tractors is gaining momentum in state legislatures across the country — and now in Congress, too. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash., 3rd), who co-owns an auto repair shop with her husband, has supported two bills that would give consumers and independent repair shops access to the parts, tools and data needed to repair cars at lower costs.




► From CBS News — United Airlines pilots picket for higher pay before busy summer travel season: “Time for the company to step up” — The pilots, who fly for one of the world’s biggest airlines, have been working without a raise for more than four years while negotiating with airline management over a new contract.

► From the AP — Union for Canada’s second biggest airline says pilots issue 72-hour strike notice — The pilots union for Canada’s second-biggest airline have issued a 72-hour strike notice to WestJet, and they warn the airline could be shut down before the weekend.

► From The Hill — Health complications followed state abortion restrictions, research finds — Medical providers described being unable to provide typical medical care, sometimes to the detriment of their patients’ health, in states that implemented abortion restrictions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a new report.


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

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