Amazon goes union ● GOP rigs elections ● USW’s Gerard retires

Thursday, May 30, 2019




► In today’s Seattle Times — Amazon switches to union security contractors; 1,066 laid-off workers may apply for new jobs — Amazon has chosen two unionized contractors to handle security at its campuses in Seattle and nationally. Security Industry Specialists (SIS), the contractor that has provided security at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters since 2012, was the subject of employee complaints and a union organizing campaign. SIS is preparing to lay off 1,066 workers, but can apply to work for the new vendors, Allied Universal and Securitas. “We think it’s a great step in the right direction to finally get this announcement after so many years of organizing and fighting to bring good union jobs to the Amazon campus,” said Greg Ramirez of SEIU Local 6.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Dozens of dairy workers demand $1 million in alleged unpaid wages from Mabton farm — Dozens of dairy workers from Mabton demonstrated in Yakima on Wednesday night, demanding years of alleged unpaid wages from a Darigold-affiliated dairy amounting to roughly $1 million.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Judge in Astria bankruptcy case orders company to provide ICU nurses — A federal judge enforced a stay Wednesday in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection case involving Astria Health, requiring a Nebraska-based health staffing company to provide three intensive care unit nurses as specified in its contract with Astria. The nonprofit has hospitals in Yakima, Toppenish and Sunnyside, along with a network of clinics.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford whistleblower who lost his job reaches settlement in lawsuit over safety concerns — Millwright Walter Ford filed a lawsuit against Bechtel National, the contractor building the $17 billion plant and Aecom, its primary subcontractor. The parties declined to talk about the settlement other than to say that all parties have reached a mutually satisfactory resolution of the case.

► In today’s LA Times — These solar workers will lose their jobs if Trump doesn’t get a China deal — Trump’s trade war with China could cost American families an extra several hundred dollars a year for everyday items such as suitcases, furniture and shampoo. But 150 workers at a central Washington solar factory (REC Silicon in Moses Lake) face far greater consequences. If Trump doesn’t seal a trade deal by the end of June, they’ll lose prime jobs not easily replaced in farm country about 150 miles east of Seattle.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — With Palumbo out, capital gains tax gets real for Democrats — The resignation of Guy Palumbo from the state Senate gives progressive Democratic lawmakers a clearer path to a capital gains tax, one of the few political peaks they failed to summit in the 2019 session. Palumbo quit May 24 and Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell) announced Tuesday he wants to fill the seat in the 1st District. If he gets the gig — and he’s a favorite — it changes the equation.

► In today’s Olympian — ‘How do I become a better executive?’ Inslee gets wonky during meeting with state workers — Gov. Jay Inslee channeled his inner policy wonk Wednesday as he met with state employees in Olympia to discuss ways to improve public services at an event held by Results Washington.




► From HuffPost — Boeing CEO apologizes to families affected by deadly crashes — Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg apologized Wednesday to the families of those who died in recent 737 Max jet crashes, saying he feels “terrible” about the deaths on board the since-grounded plane model.




► In today’s Columbian — In Vancouver, Sen. Patty Murray touts bill backing unions — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray visited a Vancouver union hall Wednesday on her first stop to promote her new pro-union bill, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. Introduced on the Senate floor on May 2, the Washington Democrat’s bill would give existing union protections some teeth — establishing financial penalties for companies that engage in illegal retaliation, securing the rights of workers to join class-action lawsuits and increasing transparency between labor and management. “We have seen the economy working really well for those at the top and corporations. I continue to hear from people at the bottom that their rights are eroding,” Murray said. “It’s harder and harder for people to get together and fight for themselves, their families and their co-workers.”

ALSO at The Stand — State’s Democrats in Congress aim to shore up union rights

► In today’s NY Times — Pelosi slow-walks Trump’s new NAFTA deal — Speaker Nancy Pelosi is resisting pressure from the Trump administration to quickly approve an updated North American trade deal and is telling lawmakers and union officials that a planned study of the agreement could drag on well into the fall.

► From HuffPost — Pelosi says she’s ‘optimistic’ on infrastructure deal with Trump — She said she’s “optimistic” that lawmakers can strike a bipartisan infrastructure deal, but acknowledged the long odds if Trump keeps lashing out over investigations into his administration.

► In today’s NY Times — Deceased GOP strategist’s hard drives reveal new details on census citizenship question — Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act — the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision.

► From The Hill — Trump: ‘I had nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected’ — Trump’s tweet appeared to be his first acknowledgement of the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in order to help his campaign.

► From Politico — Mueller remarks put Barr back into harsh spotlight — The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff called Mueller’s statement a “direct rebuke of Attorney General William Barr,” arguing that Barr had “deliberately and repeatedly misled the American people.”

► In today’s Washington Post — White House wanted USS John S. McCain covered up during Trump’s Japan visit — When senior Navy officials grasped what was happening, they directed Navy personnel who were present to remove a tarp obscuring the McCain name, a senior official said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Cadet Bone Spurs is such a delicate flower.




► In today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Leo Gerard to step down after 18 years as head of United Steelworkers — The United Steelworkers announced on Wednesday the retirement of four top officials, including International President Leo W. Gerard, effective mid-July. The changes begin a period of major leadership transition for the Pittsburgh-based union ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Gerard — high profile in the steel industry and recognizable for his sharp wit and Canadian lilt — will step down after more than 50 years with the largest manufacturing union in the country. The union has 850,000 members in North America.

► From Reuters — VW Tennessee plant employees to vote on whether to join union — Volkswagen AG and the United Auto Workers union confirmed on Wednesday that workers at the German automaker’s Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly will vote June 12-14 on whether to unionize.

► From CNBC — World Health Organization officially recognizes workplace ‘burnout’ as an occupational phenomenon — If you often feel exhausted or mentally distant at work, the WHO may have a diagnosis for you: Burnout. For the first time, the WHO has officially classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon in its latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases.


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

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