10-23-2019  12:56 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State Ecology Director Objects to EPA’s Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Ecology Director Maia Bellon submitted formal objections in which she calls the proposal ill-advised and illegal

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

NEWS BRIEFS

U.S. Census Bureau Hosts Job Recruitment Events in Portland

There are several opportunities to ‘Meet the Employer’ today through Saturday for more information or to apply for 2020 census...

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Woman sues Oregon clinic over claims of past abuse by doctor

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman who says she was repeatedly sexually abused by her pediatrician has filed a jumi million lawsuit against the doctor's former medical clinic in Oregon.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday that the woman says the abuse occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s at...

Police: Body found is missing university student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a body found near the St. Johns Bridge in Northwest Portland is a missing University of Portland freshman.Police on Tuesday evening said that the medical examiner's office had conducted an autopsy and positively identified the body as Owen...

AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps Clemson to 3rd; Wisconsin falls

Ohio State edged past Clemson to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wisconsin dropped to 13th after being upset ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.Alabama remained No. 1 on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 24 first-place votes. No. 2 LSU held...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Farewells to US Rep. Elijah Cummings to begin in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) — Constituents, friends and other mourners are set to gather at a historically black college in Baltimore to honor the life of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in the first of a series of planned services.The Maryland congressman and civil rights champion died Thursday of...

Trump claim brings new pain to relatives of lynching victims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Willie Edwards Jr., a black truck driver, was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen who forced him to jump off a bridge in Alabama in 1957. Two years earlier, white men had bludgeoned black teenager Emmett Till to death in Mississippi. No one went to prison for either...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most unusual places, trying to win over Hispanic voters in states not known for them, like Pennsylvania.His second campaign, far better financed and organized than his first, is pressing every...

ENTERTAINMENT

Liam Gallagher talks solo rise, family feud and rock music

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spend a few minutes with Liam Gallagher and it's clear the rocker hasn't lost any of his bravado, right down to counting himself among the greats in rock history.But Gallagher does acknowledge that one band breakup — not, Oasis, but rather the demise of Beady Eye in...

Lori Loughlin, other parents charged again in college scheme

BOSTON (AP) — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband and nine other parents faced new federal charges Tuesday in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities or cheating on college entrance exams.A...

Celebrities to get drag makeovers in RuPaul's new VH1 series

LOS ANGELES (AP) — RuPaul is giving a dozen celebrities the chance to get drag makeovers for charity and bragging rights.VH1 said Tuesday that "RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race" will air as a limited series next year.Each of the four episodes will feature a trio of stars competing for best drag...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

CHICAGO (AP) — Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope — the very symbol of the medical...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most...

Pennsylvania's gas politics churn as Trump embraces industry

EXTON, Pa. (AP) — For a second time in three months, President Donald Trump is headed to Pennsylvania to...

Botswana votes as ruling party faces surprising challenge

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Polls opened in Botswana on Wednesday as the long-peaceful southern African...

Boris Johnson inches toward securing Brexit but delay likely

LONDON (AP) — For a brief moment Tuesday, Brexit was within a British prime minister's grasp.Boris Johnson...

Canada's Trudeau wins reelection but faces a divided nation

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins his second term facing an increasingly divided...

McMenamins
By The Skanner News

PITTSBURG, Calif. (AP) -- As a "greeter," the cheerful Betty Dukes is one of the first employees customers usually see as they walk through the front doors of the Wal-Mart store here.

As the first "named plaintiff" in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the ordained Baptist minister also is the face of the largest gender bias class action lawsuit in U.S. history _ one that could cost the world's largest private employer billions.
Her dual roles have turned her into a civil rights crusader for the company's many critics, who have dubbed the legal battle "Betty v. Goliath." It is a far cry from where Dukes expected to be when she enthusiastically accepted an offer in 1994 to work the cash registers part-time for $5 an hour. She dreamed of turning around a hard life by advancing, through work and determination, into Wal-Mart corporate management.
"I was focused on Wal-Mart's aggressive customer service," Dukes said in an interview during her lunch break, after first saying grace over a meal of fast-food hamburgers and chicken nuggets. "I wanted to advance. I wanted to make that money."
But by 1999, her plans were in tatters. Several years of little advancement and frustration with her role culminated with an ugly spat with managers that resulted in a humiliating demotion and a pay cut, she said.
That also became the genesis of the federal class action lawsuit U.S. District Court Judge Martin Jenkins called "historic" while he was handling the case. On Monday, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Jenkins' decision allowing the case to go to trial as a class action on behalf of as many as 1 million former and current female Wal-Mart employees.
Jenkins has since stepped down from the federal bench and the case will now be handled by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who is also deciding another high profile case, the legality of California's voter-approved ban of same-sex marriages.
Dukes' lawsuit alleges Wal-Mart is violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, creed or gender. Dukes alleges that Wal-Mart systemically pays women less than their male counterparts and promotes men to higher positions at faster rates than women.
The Bentonville, Ark. retailer denies the accusations and argues that if there are any instances of discrimination they are isolated, and not an overarching company policy. Wal-Mart says any such cases should be handled as individual lawsuits, not as a class action.
The retailer has fiercely fought the lawsuit since it was first filed in federal court in San Francisco in 2001 and said it would appeal the most recent decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The incident that sparked the epic legal battle began while Dukes served as a customer service manager.
Dukes, 60, needed change to make a small purchase during her break. She asked a colleague to open a cash register with a one-cent transaction, which she claims was a common practice.
Nevertheless, she was demoted for misconduct. She complained to a manager that the punishment was too severe and part of a long campaign of discrimination that began almost as soon as she started working for Wal-Mart in this blue-collar city of about 100,000, some 45 miles east of San Francisco.
She believed the reprimand was partially motivated by race. She's black and the managers were white.
When those complaints were ignored, Dukes sought legal advice.
She ended up being represented by Brad Seligman, an attorney had who launched The Impact Fund, a legal nonprofit, in 1992.
Seligman said he asked Dukes to serve as lead plaintiff in what would become a vast class action because of her strong personality.
"I'm somewhat in awe of her, particularly that she has managed to work at Wal-Mart for all these years," Seligman said. "It is extraordinary difficult to find someone who wants to risk their jobs by filing a lawsuit against their employer."
Seligman and other attorneys told Dukes that she wasn't alone, that many other women had similar complaints. They said they would like to use her and five other former and current Wal-Mart employees to file the class action lawsuit.
"My jaw fell open," Dukes said when told of the other complaining women. "I thought I was by myself."
That was nine years ago. And with Wal-Mart insisting the lawsuit is without merit and vowing to continue its fight, it appears the litigation has more years to go.
Dukes is undeterred by that prospect and sanguine about the outcome.
"It's a very courageous thing for a person to do, to stick with it over such a long period of time," said Marcia Greenberger, founder of the Washington D.C. advocacy group National Women's Law Center. "The individuals who step forward pay a very big price to be willing to tell their stories and to hold their records up to public scrutiny."
The center has filed a "friend of the court" brief supporting the Dukes lawsuit, as have the NAACP and Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also filed a brief supporting the lawsuit.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, fearful that a ruling in Dukes' favor will expose other companies to costly lawsuits, have filed briefs urging dismissal of the complaint.
Ms. Magazine named her one of its "Women of the Year" for 2004, the same year Liz Featherstone's book "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart" was published. Featherstone has compared Dukes to Rosa Parks, the civil rights crusader.
"I am very grateful that I'm on this platform," Dukes said. "In this life, you have to stand up or be trampled."
She leans heavily on her faith, believing she has God on her side and that she's been called upon to fight for others.
Through it all, Dukes has remained humble, saying she lives with her mother because she can't afford a place of her own on her $15.23 an hour salary.
"There are times that I can't afford my lunch," she said, wrapping her chicken nuggets in a napkin for later. "But I'm still blessed."
She's guarded about her past life, vaguely saying she has faced "many tsunamis." Dukes mother moved the family from their native Louisiana to California 50 years ago. Dukes was married briefly but is single today and childless.
She preaches often at her church on Sunday and said that fellow employees often approach her for spiritual counseling. She slipped into preacher mode when asked about Betty versus Goliath characterization.
"David had five stones but only need one," she said, comparing the biblical victory to the single lawsuit that she hopes will be decided in favor of Wal-Mart's women employees.
Dukes said that there have been few problems with managers and co-workers since the lawsuit was filed in 2001. She said the work atmosphere gets a "little chilly" after courtroom victories are reported in the media.
Seligman, her lawyer, said her involvement in the lawsuit may even have benefited her.
"It seems like that at every pivotal moment in the litigation," Seligman said, "Betty gets a raise."

 


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