Monday, June 10, 2019
► In the Seattle Times — If salaried employees work overtime, compensate them fairly (by Sen. Karen Keiser and Rep. Mike Sells) — Today, it’s too easy to make employees exempt from overtime wages simply by calling them “managers” and paying them a few dollars more than the federal overtime threshold of $23,660 a year to comply with current law… That exemption threshold was not tied to inflation, and protections for salaried workers have eroded over time. In the 1970s, 63 percent of salaried workers were covered by overtime laws. Today, that number is less than 7 percent. With efforts to make progress stalled at the federal level, Washington state is now taking the lead. A new rule proposed by the state Department of Labor & Industries would increase the salary threshold and expand overtime protections to cover a quarter million more Washingtonians. Washington’s salaried workers urgently need this proposed rule because the status quo is woefully inadequate… Time is precious. Recognizing the value of workers’ time is good for workers and their families. It’s also good for employers and our communities.
ALSO at The Stand:
State moves to close overtime pay loophole (June 5, 2019)
Immediate, widespread support for updating OT pay rules (June 6, 2019)
► In the (Everett) Herald — Bothell state rep gets Democrats’ nod for Senate appointment — Derek Stanford is the top pick from 1st LD Democrats to take over a recently vacated state Senate position. In a party meeting Sunday, the state representative from Bothell emerged as its leading nominee. The final decision will be up to the King and Snohomish county councils.
► In the Tri-City Herald — Ben Franklin Transit and Teamsters are not “cozy” (by IBT 839 Secretary-Treasurer Russell Sjerven) — It was with great consternation that I opened my Sunday edition of the Tri-City Herald to discover, according to Mariya Frost of the Washington Policy Center, that Teamsters Local Union No. 839 has a “cozy relationship” with Ben Franklin Transit (BFT)… Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s disappointing yet clear that the Washington Policy Center has an agenda and has chosen workers as their targets. This organization’s goal is to roll back workers’ rights by undermining or even eliminating the unions that represent public sector workers. The targets of these attempts include public transit employees, school district employees, city, county, state employees, etc.
► From Teamsters 117 — Teamsters at ICS win strong contract after long struggle — After months of struggle, Teamsters who work at Industrial Container Services (ICS) have achieved a monumental win. The group voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ratify a new three-year contract. The contract contains a 5.2% wage increase in the first year for the majority of the group, paid union orientation for new hires, and healthcare protections for the workers’ families, among other improvements. “We’re happy with our new contract,” said Abel Garibay Flores. “All of us struggled together for better pay and benefits and it made a difference.”
► From The Stranger — Frye Art Museum won’t voluntarily recognize Art Workers Union — The snub proves that a business is still a business, baby, no matter how radical or boundary-breaking the art hanging on its walls is.
► In the Charleston Post-Courier — SC Boeing union supporters say they’re targeted as they wait for resolution to year-old vote — A year after voting to join a union, flight-line employees at Boeing Co.’s North Charleston campus describe a workplace filled with paranoia and punishment… “After the vote, we didn’t exist any more,” said Rich Mester, a flight-readiness technician who was fired in November purportedly for overlooking a bird strike on a 787-10 engine and is now suing Boeing for wrongful termination. The case is pending… Boeing’s North Charleston plant has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks because of reports alleging shoddy production and safety lapses on the assembly line. Anecdotes of haphazard work and debris left in planes come as the company has reduced quality inspections and allowed mechanics to approve their own work.
ALSO at The Stand — More heat for Boeing from both Washingtons on union firings
► From AFP — American Airlines cancels 737 MAX flights through Sept. 3 — American Airlines has canceled all scheduled flights with Boeing 737 MAX jets through September 3, extending the grounding of its fleet after two crashes involving the same aircraft model killed 346 people.
► In today’s NY Times — Migrants in custody at hospitals are treated like felons, doctors say — The problems range from shackling patients to beds and not permitting them to use restrooms to pressuring doctors to discharge patients quickly and certify that they can be held in crowded detention facilities that immigration officials themselves say are unsafe.
► From Politico — Chao created special path for McConnell’s favored projects — The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.
► In the Dallas News — Unhappy with wages, airline caterers take step that could create travel ‘ripple effect’ — A potential labor stoppage by nearly 900 airline catering workers in Dallas-Fort Worth could have a “ripple effect” across the country, leading to flight delays and cancellations during the busy summer travel season. The caterers, part of the UNITE HERE union that represents 18,000 workers at airports across the country, will cast votes next week on whether to strike.
EDITOR’S NOTE — LSG Sky Chefs is one of several airline catering firms serving Sea-Tac International Airport that are represented by UNITE HERE Local 8 and will be participating in this important vote.
► From Cine Montage — Vox union reaches accord with publisher a day after walkout — Vox Media staffers reached a tentative labor agreement with the online publisher Friday after a marathon 29 hours of negotiation and a one-day walkout. “We are thrilled to announce we have reached a tentative agreement with Vox Media for our first-ever collective bargaining agreement,” the bargaining committee reported.
► From the New Republic — The labor movement’s newest warriors: Grad students — These women, both members of Graduate Students United at UChicago, are among the new faces of unionization in America. They’re organizing what were once stable, middle class professions, which have seen wages and benefits erode precisely as positions opened up to women and minority candidates.
► In the NY Times — New evidence of age bias in hiring, and a push to fight it — Tens of thousands of workers say that even with the right qualifications for a job, they are repeatedly turned away because they are over 50, or even 40, and considered too old. The problem is getting more scrutiny after revelations that hundreds of employers shut out middle-aged and older Americans in their recruiting on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. Those disclosures are supercharging a wave of litigation.
► In the USA Today — ‘Can’t pay their bills with love’: In many teaching jobs, teachers’ salaries can’t cover rent — Despite widespread demand for higher salaries, teachers in some regions are actually making ends meet, especially as they approach the middle of their careers. In other areas, mid-career teachers are right to say they can’t afford to live on their salaries without picking up side hustles or commuting long distances. Some of those places are only affordable for the very highest-paid teachers.
► From Teen Vogue — How LGBTQ union activists transformed the labor movement — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has noted, “For many LGBTQ Americans, a union card is their only form of employment protection,” and he’s right.
► From Reuters — Employees sour on Tesla amid cost-cutting, layoffs — Tesla Inc’s rankings at two high-profile job websites have declined, suggesting that job dissatisfaction at the electric car company is intensifying amid layoffs, strategy shifts and executive turnover.
► Last Week with John Oliver — Equal Rights Amendment — There’s still nothing in the U.S. Constitution that explicitly prohibits sex discrimination, and the Trump administration is showing us why that’s a bad thing. So, which of the 13 states that never ratified the ERA will be the hero and put America over the top?
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.