Pandemic-era free school lunch programs ending: With federal funding for universal free school lunches running out, the Seattle Times reports half of Washington's public school students will have to pay for their lunch for the first time in two years. Washington's State Legislature passed a new law that should help expand access to free lunches for kids who need them, but that program will need an additional influx of cash in the next legislative session to stay solvent. 

Please, let it end: Hopefully this will be the last Slog AM of the year to lead with a heat advisory, as cooler temperatures are allegedly on the way after Labor Day.

Homegrown workers on strike: The sandwich makers are striking this afternoon on Mercer Island to demand their employer improve the A/C at their workplace. Workers report that temperatures on the sandwich line can reach as high as 103 degrees, which is well above what anyone should have to tolerate at their job. Those conditions leave employees with symptoms of heat stress, with one employee saying the heat makes her feel dizzy, nauseous, and gives her chills. Early this morning, Homegrown workers at the Capitol Hill location went on strike for better COVID sick pay. 

Hit me with that 1990s crime bill energy, Grandpa Joe: Here's a crazy idea, maybe use some of that money on paying psychologists and sociologists to do this work without guns?

I'm begging you, Mr. President, read a white paper: It's not complicated. More cops means more misdemeanor arrests, according to a new study of police budgets in major US cities over the last 29 years. One co-author of that study pointed out in Slate that a single misdemeanor arrest "makes a person less likely to stay in school schoolbe hired for a job, or obtain housing." 

Instead, let's fund more of this: The Seattle Times reports that City leaders will boost the budget for the Seattle Conservation Corps by $900,000 through 2028 as part of the Mayor's new Park District plan set to be released later today. The program provides employment, job training, and mentorship to people experiencing homelessness, and it boasts a 70% "completion rate," meaning someone has secured housing and a full-time job. 

SDOT employee with racist beliefs cashes in: I read this entire story from KNKX about the City's recent $125,000 settlement with an employee who sent racist and harassing messages to a Black woman during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, and I have no idea how this guy still has a job. That's no shade on the excellent reporting, just a reminder that our legal system has no moral compass, and the gulf between what's just and what's legal widens further with each passing day.

Speaking of City employment: Our fair municipality is currently without a Director of Public Safety after Andrew Myerberg lost that title in a staff shakeup in the Mayor's Office. If you're a City Hall employee who wants to spill some tea on how that all went down, then drop me a line.

You'll want to listen to this: I cannot wait for the first episode of KNKX's The Walk Home podcast, which tells the story of how Manny Ellis's sister pressed authorities for answers after the police killed her brother and sparked a reckoning on police oversight in Washington state. The series kicks off next Wednesday, but do yourself a favor and subscribe now.

Good public health news? According to public health officials, new monkeypox cases may be hitting their peak across the country. KUOW reports that CDC data shows a "25% drop in the 7-day average of new cases over the past two weeks." Public health officials credit the slowdown in new infections to behavioral precautions among men who have sex with men, the predominant group currently at risk for monkeypox, as well as wider availability of vaccines. 

Kent teacher strike continues: KOMO reports that the school district sent the teachers' union a new contract proposal late last night, but so far the details of the latest offer remain unknown. The teachers will continue striking today as they bargain for better salaries, class size limits, and increased supports for their students' mental health.

Seattle Public School teachers could join them soon: KING 5 reports that the Seattle Education Association (SEA), the union that represents the 6,000 educators in the city's public schools, will hold a vote over the weekend to authorize a strike as negotiations over their next contract threaten to drag on into the school year. SEA members are picketing outside Seattle Public School buildings today to pressure the district into proposing a fair contract ahead of the first day of school next Wednesday.

Collective action on the rise: Vox reports that people have had more success organizing their workplaces this year than in any year for the past two decades. Organizers have won more than 3/4 of union elections this year, and public opinion of unions reached its highest level since 1965. 

Keep up the fight, comrades: In light of this good news, we'll end AM with a classic from Pete Seeger.