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Union YES at Boeing SC | Strike at UW? | Vegas deal | Neko’s Tacoma

Friday, June 1, 2018




► In the (Charleston, SC) Post and Courier — Boeing’s flight line workers in North Charleston vote for union, giving organized labor a boost in South — Anti-union ads, social media campaigns and a mea culpa from Boeing Co. executive Kevin McAllister weren’t enough to sway flight-line employees at the aerospace giant’s North Charleston campus Thursday, as they voted for union representation in a big win for organized labor in the South.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It should be noted that, once again, the Post and Courier newspaper itself also urged the Boeing workers to vote against the union with an editorial that regurgitated Boeing talking points like “The IAM can’t promise Boeing employees anything those employees can’t already win for themselves — except, of course, about $800 in annual dues and the ever-present risk of a protracted, costly strike.” It’s truly an amazing victory that these workers stood up to that nonsense and voted to join together and negotiate a fair return for their hard work.

ALSO at The Stand — Boeing South Carolina unit votes to join together with IAM

► In today’s Seattle Times — Flight line mechanics at Boeing South Carolina vote to join the Machinists union — A unit of 176 flight line mechanics at Boeing in South Carolina voted Thursday to join the Machinists union. Boeing management expressed disappointment with the result and said it will try to get the vote ruled illegal…. IAM District 751 President Jon Holden offered congratulations from Boeing’s Washington state IAM workforce to the mechanics in South Carolina “who have successfully stood up to the Boeing Company.” “The workers were not intimidated,” Holden said.




► From The Stranger — Finals week strike looms at the University of Washington — Members of UAW 4121—primarily graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants—are seeking pay raises, fee decreases, and better healthcare coverage. Their current contract expired April 30 and negotiations have been ongoing with mediators present. A final bargaining session is scheduled for Friday. If a deal is not reached, student workers plan to begin striking Saturday. The strike would continue from June 2 to 15. Final exams at UW run from June 2 to 8.

► From KNKX — UW teaching assistants and graders plan to go on strike starting on Saturday

ALSO at The Stand — UW’s proposed wage cuts are unfair, unequal, and inequitable (by Douglas Castro)




► In today’s Washington Post — It’s time to acknowledge that strikes work (by Alex Press) — In contrast to the view of political action as limited to, in the words of Labor Notes’ Chris Brooks, “the tired formula of ‘phone bank, rally, march, go home,’ ” striking teachers wrung concessions from politicians who would never have willingly handed them over. They did so out of desperation and at great risk: These strikes were illegal and took place in right-to-work states. … Whether it’s educators’ recent demands for greater funding of public education via taxes on extractive industries, nurses’ advocacy for single-payer health care, postal workers’ fight against the replacement of full-time jobs with unstable, part-time ones, or ILWU Local 10’s long history of work stoppages in service of social movements against racism, the lesson is clear: If workers can meld their own interests with the broader interests of working-class and poor people, they can win public support that strengthens their leverage against intransigent management, be they in the public or private sector.




► In today’s Yakima H-R — Metal tariffs could have big impact on Yakima Valley — A number of products made and grown in the Yakima Valley could be affected by the Trump administration’s decision to implement steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union starting Friday. In response, those countries say they plan to impose a number of tariffs on U.S. products. That potentially could hurt Yakima Valley exports.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Tariff war could hit Washington state apple sales to Mexico — In Washington state, apple growers waited anxiously for details of what the retaliation would be from Mexico, their biggest foreign market, which said it would impose tariffs on U.S. apples.

► From KNKX — Court says Seattle’s data from Lyft and Uber may be subject to public disclosure — The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that information submitted by Uber and Lyft to the city of Seattle falls under the category of trade secrets, but the court said that information may still be subject to public disclosure under state law.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Everett and its waterfront were built by the working class (by Julie Muhlstein) — Neil Anderson can picture the Everett peninsula of long ago, and name mill after mill after mill. From the bay to the Snohomish River, lumber, shingle, pulp and paper businesses once lined the waterfront. “That was the economic engine for Everett,” said Anderson, who serves on the city’s Historical Commission. “From 1900 to 1960, basically everybody’s dad or granddad or grandmother worked in a mill.” Local historian Jack O’Donnell is scheduled to tell that story — of Everett’s waterfront then and now — during a photo presentation at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Port of Everett’s Blue Heron Room.




► From AP — Washington state blamed for holding up fossil fuel exports — Republican lawmakers from Western states and industry executives on Thursday accused Washington state officials of unfairly blocking fossil fuel projects and dictating winners and losers among U.S. companies seeking to export products to Asia. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) singled out Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, for blocking increased coal exports from Wyoming and Montana, the nation’s top coal-producing region.




► From the AFL-CIO — When it comes to Janus, there is rhetoric and there is reality — The reality about Janus is significantly different than the rhetoric of those behind it. For example… RHETORIC: This is about stopping unions from funneling union members’ money to politicians the members disagree with. REALITY: Plaintiff Mark Janus has always enjoyed the legal protection that he’s seeking. Not one cent of his money can be used to support any candidate’s political campaign over his objection. Period.

ALSO at The Stand — Building Strong Unions: Get ready for Janus! — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is urging all affiliated unions — whether they represent public or private employees — to get ready for the Supreme Court’s Janus decision in three ways…




► In today’s Seattle Times — Separating immigrant families is inhumane (editorial) — People fleeing violence and poverty deserve our nation’s compassion, not a demonstration of its cruelty. The Trump administration’s tactic of separating parents from their children to deter illegal border crossings is horrific, cruel and undermines the United States’ record as a defender of human rights.

► In today’s Washington Post — Vulnerable Republicans see immigration as political salvation — Nearly two dozen other House Republicans — about half of them politically vulnerable and many in districts with large Hispanic populations — have affixed their signatures to a petition that is just a few votes short of forcing Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote on legislation to protect the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. If it works, it will push the party into a divisive, and politically risky, election year debate on immigration. To avoid such a showdown, the speaker has scheduled a two-hour meeting on immigration with his rank and file when lawmakers return to Washington next week.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Republicans who’ve signed reportedly include retiring Rep. Dave Reichert. But Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse have refused to sign the discharge petition that would force that vote.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trudeau says NAFTA talks broke down after Pence made ultimatum — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said months of intense negotiations between his country, the United States and Mexico imploded Tuesday when Vice President Pence demanded that any deal expire automatically in five years. Trudeau said he was prepared to travel to Washington this week to try to finalize a rework of the NAFTA, but Pence, in the phone call, said a meeting would occur only if the “sunset” provision was agreed to in advance.

► From Reuters — Coal lobby fights black-lung tax as disease rates soar — The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, a federal fund for ex-miners with black lung disease, risks insolvency due to soaring debt and a slashing of coal-company contributions through a tax cut scheduled for the end of the year. That shortfall — which comes as black lung rates hit highs not seen in decades — could force the fund to restrict benefits or shift some of the financial burden to taxpayers.

► In the Washington Post — What and who are fueling the movement to privatize public education — and why you should care (by Valerie Strauss) — This is an important article by author Joanne Barkan about the history of the movement to privatize U.S. public schools, which is now at the heart of the national debate about the future of publicly funded education in this country. We now have an education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who is admittedly doing everything she can to promote alternatives to traditional publicly funded education. Many state legislatures are helping her with programs using taxpayer money to fund private and religious education. Supporters of America’s public education system are concerned about what they say is an assault on the most important civic institution in the country.




► BREAKING from AP — Las Vegas hotel and casino workers reach tentative labor deal with Caesars, union says — There appears to be a tentative labor agreement that would cover about a quarter of the 50,000 hotel and casino workers who are threatening to strike in Las Vegas. The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said in a tweet Friday that the new five-year deal covers about 12,000 workers at nine casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Tens of thousands of bartenders, housekeepers, bellmen and other unionized workers at 34 casino-hotels on the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas have sought a new, five-year contract since February.

► From Bloomberg — United Airlines accused of broad anti-union campaign — The huge installations United Airlines uses to prepare and cook inflight food recently got a new addition: some television screens. But rather than just providing news or talk show chatter, they broadcast messages explaining why workers shouldn’t unionize. Employees at all five of United Continental Holdings Inc.’s kitchens in the U.S. said the screens, installed this year, broadcast a company line urging opposition to hospitality union UNITE HERE, which is seeking to organize its workers. Among the messages are warnings about the cost of union dues, the potential for workers to lose benefits if they unionize and the difficulty of getting rid of a union once it’s been voted in. The last point, the workers said, is illustrated with the image of a forearm with a “Together Forever” tattoo.

► From Reuters — U.S. job growth surges, unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent — U.S. job growth accelerated in May and the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, pointing to rapidly tightening labor market conditions.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Costco boosting hourly wages for 130,000 U.S. employees — On June 11, Costco will increase the starting wage for its U.S. employees by $1 to as much as $14.50 an hour, while other hourly wage rates will increase 25 to 50 cents an hour. The raise will be paid for with part of Costco’s savings from U.S. federal corporate tax cuts that took effect this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE — ALL workers should get an annual cost-of-living wage increase so they don’t lose ground to the rising cost of food, gasoline, housing and other basic necessities. In this historically tight labor market, they should be getting BIGGER raises, if companies want to retain their experienced workers. And yet, when a company like Costco announced a small wage increase and says it will pay for it with some of its savings from the Trump tax cut, newspapers trip over each other to credit the tax cuts, as if Costco workers would not have gotten a raise without it. “The raise is a windfall from Costco’s savings due to U.S. federal corporate tax cuts that took effect this year,” gushes The Seattle Times. Puh-lease.

► From Vox — Walmart’s too-good-to-be-true “$1 a day” college tuition plan, explained — It’s essentially a bulk purchasing discount for a narrow range of online college courses… The old-fashioned strategy of paying more continues to be something corporate America resists.




► Tacoma’s own Neko Case, a favorite of The Entire Staff of The Stand, releases her latest solo album today. Reportedly, it has a number of songs inspired by her Puget Sound roots, including “Curse of the I-5 Corridor.” But our favorite remains this 2000 classic about her hometown, “that dusty old jewel in the South Puget Sound.” Enjoy.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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