Wheat shipments resume as grain-terminal operators settle with longshore union, averting a serious threat to sales and market share, in which the state played an unwise role. What is troubling, though, is Gov. Jay Inslee was willing to imperil sales and world market share for an industry worth billions to this state and the inland West. It shouldn’t happen again.
School districts throughout Washington state are starting to notify parents that many of their schools aren’t making the grade, a long-dreaded consequence of Washington losing its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act. But as those letters go out, many Puget Sound districts will also be telling parents that No Child Left Behind is “regressive and punitive,” and that their schools aren’t failing at all. Superintendents from 28 school districts have signed a cover letter that will accompany the official notifications.
The problem is that a class-action lawsuit anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court decision was filed in federal court in Seattle last April on behalf of four Washington home health care workers. The lawsuit seeks a full refund, plus attorney fees, from both the union and the state. Tens of millions of dollars are involved.
In a statement issued to The Columbian on Tuesday, state Agriculture Director Bud Hover said, in part, that “with this change in the situation, inspectors from our Grain Inspection Program are prepared to report today to the (Port of Vancouver), resuming the inspections that allow the flow of grain to resume particularly at this critical time when our state’s farmers are in the middle of grain harvest.”
Demographic shifts, insufficient access to jobs that pay decent wages, and an economy that increasingly serves only the wealthiest among us pose a new set of challenges. In addition to common-sense policies to grow and support a strong middle class—such as raising the minimum wage, ensuring access to paid leave and paid sick days, and universal pre-K—a robust and responsive system of work and income supports is essential.
A letter from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains a curious decision that has bollixed up the wheat harvest throughout the western United States this year. In it the Democratic governor appears to say the issue is purely a labor dispute involving 44 union positions at the Port of Vancouver. The only acknowledgement of the enormous disruption he has caused for rural economies from here to the Midwest is a throwaway line: “I remain committed to a healthy, thriving agricultural industry.”
In ways not seen since the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, America is becoming a nation of increasingly sharply divided classes. Joel Kotkin’s “The New Class Conflict” breaks down these new divisions for the first time, focusing on the ascendency of two classes: the tech Oligarchy, based in Silicon Valley; and the Clerisy, which includes much of the nation’s policy, media, and academic elites.