1. Grocery workers at four major grocery chains across the Puget Sound region have reached a tentative deal with the four chains (Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer, and Albertson's) over wages and benefits, the Washington State Labor Council's blog for the masses, The Stand, reports.
Employers proposed reducing starting wages, eliminating health care for part-time workers, increasing the number of hours it takes to get to the highest wage, and eliminating paid sick leave outside Seattle, among other proposals union members consider unacceptable.
“We are very pleased to announce that today at 5 PM the union member bargaining team from UFCW 21 & 367 and Teamsters 38 reached a tentative agreement with the national grocery chains in contract negotiations," the union announcement says. "This tentative agreement has been unanimously recommended by the union member bargaining team. Details will not to be released until after union members themselves have had the opportunity to review the tentative agreement and vote on it.
Additionally, the anti-labeling campaign's claim that the initiative is "so badly written" that it would ban GMO pet food is highly misleading: I-522 exempts pet food made from animals that have eaten GMO crops, and would only apply in a (still theoretical) world where pet food is made from genetically modified animals.
Monsanto's Roundup pesticide, which kills weeds without harming so-called Roundup-Ready GE corn, is eliminating milkweed—an essential source of food for young Monarch butterflies in the Midwest, where the butterflies lay their eggs. No, 522 won't eliminate GE corn, but at least it will give consumers a chance to make their own decisions about what to buy.
The state liquor control board has released its preliminary recommendations on the regulation of medical pot now that non-medical pot is legal. 4. In a story about the potential unintended consequences of last year's I-502, which legalized recreational pot, the PI.com reports that the state liquor control board has released its preliminary recommendations on the regulation of medical pot now that non-medical pot is legal.
Concluding that the current medical-marijuana system is now "untenable," the liquor board recommended creating a registry of medical marijuana patients who will be exempt from paying taxes on pot; requiring all current patients to be re-evaluated by a medical professional under tighter standards than currently apply (it's kind of the Wild West out there); ban home grows and lower the amount of marijuana a patient can possess from 24 ounces to three, among many other new restrictions.
5. Opponents of the proposed new Columbia River Crossing bridge have argued both that the project—which would connect Vancouver to Portland with a new bridge that would include light rail—would lead to crushing traffic on parallel I-205, or that it's a bad investment because it would barely reduce commute times, according to a study.
But—channeling Sightline—the Oregonian reports that it isn't that simple. People, especially Millenials, are driving less overall. And the studies that show massive diversion and one-minute commute time reductions don't include many other variables, including tolls and how many commuters would use transit.
Additionally, the paper writes, the analysts doing the studies cited by CRC opponents "weren’t projecting probable traffic loads. Instead, they were looking at a range of worst-case scenarios to determine whether massive traffic diversion would prevent the project from paying its bills. Their conclusion so far is that the CRC pencils out."