UW custodians fight on
A group of University of Washington students and workers gathered on the south side of the UW campus Tuesday at the offices of the university's Custodial Services to protest the treatment of immigrant custodians.
Their target: three managers they say have harassed workers and students. Last month, a group of law students say, the manager tried to make them leave a building where they were holding a meeting to discuss worker issues. Last fall, UW police detained two activists with the campus group Democracy Insurgent after they met with custodians during an evening break ("UW security arrests activists for trespassing," Sept. 16-22, 2009).
The custodians have been rallying against management in the wake of budget cuts and layoffs at the UW last year that the workers say have led to increased workloads, work-rates and injuries.
Call it a kinder, gentler budget plan: Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday released a revised proposal for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 that will preserve about $750 million in health, social services and education programs.
As the state legislature copes with a multibillion dollar deficit, she's hoping to save state health plans, the General Assistance-Unemployable program for those unable to work, and childcare assistance to the working poor. In education spending, Gregoire wants the legislature to continue balancing out revenue differences between rich and poor school districts and offer all-day kindergarten.
Still, as she acknowledged before the Senate Ways and Means committee on Tuesday afternoon, her second-draft budget "contains more cuts than revenue to deal with our $2.6 billion problem," including "painful" cuts to human services and education.
When the government's in need of money, taxes are often the answer. In this case, Gregoire signalled that tax increases would be limited: among them, closing loopholes that "unfairly benefit out of state businesses," she told the state senators.
"Those who compete directly with in-state bricks and mortar businesses should pay their fair share," she said, pledging to "work with staff to look for loopholes and identity tax preferences that are no longer effective."