The state Supreme Court should exercise caution in its threats to find the Legislature in contempt for failing to fully fund education, according to guest columnists Chris Gregoire and John Spellman. A Supreme Court hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
The truth is that liberals and labor leaders bear little regard for one another. Such mutual alienation is an indulgence that neither group can afford. By “liberals” I mean not the entire left-of-center spectrum but rather the sort of centrist liberals who dominate within the Democratic party.
Just 30 years ago, around 1 in 5 workers was a union member. Today, it’s just over 1 in 10, around 11.3 percent as of 2013. The fall happened entirely in the private sector. While unions have shrunk, inequality has grown. That may not be a coincidence.
Although unions sometimes failed to live up to them, the values represented by worker organization – solidarity, mutual aid, dignity of work – served to temper the competitive dog-eat-dog ethos of the market economy. Despite diminished membership, fierce conservative attacks on unions representing public workers, rules and policies that have “stacked the deck” against working people and a perception by many that unions “are no longer needed or relevant to the new service, high-tech, global economy,” steps have begun toward restoring workers’ rights.
Because revenue generated by the exchange goes into the state’s general fund, to be doled out later by the Legislature, the $59.2 budget approved by the exchange board Thursday will require lawmakers to lift a $40 million cap established early on in the Affordable Care Act’s history.
A lack of transparency in describing and fixing technical problems became an issue in Thursday’s Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board meeting. Glitches and technical problems have affected as many as 28,000 people trying to buy health insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder online marketplace, said associate operations director Brad Finnegan.
School districts were able to opt in or out of the Smarter Balanced field test last spring. They were not required to administer both the old and new tests. For the 2014 field testing, the state chose to not post reading and math results.
Washington public school students are doing about as well on state tests as they have done over the past few years, but many more schools are failing to meet federal standards because the rules have changed, state education officials announced Wednesday. During a news conference, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn called those federal requirements crazy.
Ninety individual health plans sold by 10 insurers will likely make their way into Washington’s exchange marketplace for 2015, if the Washington Health Benefit Exchange board approves them Thursday, as expected. The number of 2015 plans, which will be offered on the Washington Healthplanfinder exchange beginning Nov. 15, has nearly doubled from the exchange’s inaugural year, when eight insurers were approved to sell 46 plans.
Longshore workers at grain export terminals in Northwest ports have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new collective-bargaining agreement with several multinational grain companies, ending two years of negotiations and a 18-month lockout at the United Grain terminal in Vancouver, Wash9ngton.