Friday, September 20, 2019
► From the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions — More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers to strike beginning Oct. 14 — More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers in six states and the District of Columbia will begin a nationwide, seven-day unfair labor practices strike Oct. 14. Picket lines will be set up at Kaiser Permanente hospitals, medical office buildings and other facilities in southwest Washington, California, Colorado, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The workers’ national contract expired Sept. 30, 2018, and in December 2018 the National Labor Relations Board charged Kaiser Permanente with failing to bargain in good faith. Since then, Kaiser has continued to commit unfair labor practices.
► From KNKX — Kaiser Permanente workers in Puget Sound area won’t be part of upcoming strike action — A one-week strike planned by 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers for October does not include Puget Sound-area employees. That’s because the union contract between SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Kaiser Permanente in Seattle, Tacoma and elsewhere in the region isn’t up until the end of the year. But union workers at clinics in Southwest Washington will be part of any strike.
► From Teamsters 117 — Seattle Uber, Lyft drivers support mayor’s proposal to raise pay and address unwarranted deactivations –The Mayor’s plan would engage the driver community in developing a fair pay standard. It would also give drivers who have been terminated from a TNC platform access to a hearing with representation before an appeals panel.
► In the NW Labor Press — Workers could strike Oregon universities Sept. 30 — Rejecting a 2% wage increase as too little too late, Oregon public university support workers voted by over 95% to authorize a strike. SEIU Local 503 issued a 10-day strike notice immediately afterward, with the strike set to begin Monday, Sept. 30 at 7 a.m.
► From the AP — FAA chief meets Boeing officials, tries out Max simulator — New FAA chief Stephen Dickson tested the Boeing 737 Max in a flight simulator Thursday, but the FAA declined to say how its updated anti-stall software performed. The agency has no timetable for reviewing changes that Boeing is making to the plane.
► From Bloomberg — Delta’s CEO expects Boeing will go ahead and build the ‘797’ — The carrier’s CEO dangled the possibility of hundreds of jet sales if Boeing proceeds with the midrange jet.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State sues Trump over $89M diverted from Naval Base Kitsap to the border wall — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Trump and other administration officials, saying it was a “misuse of his presidential emergency powers to accomplish an ideological political goal.”
ALSO at The Stand — Trump’s border-wall military cuts hit home at Naval Base Kitsap
► Meanwhile, Trump doubles down, in today’s Washington Post — For border wall, officials consider diverting billions more in military funds — Internal projections show that the president’s goal of completing nearly 500 miles of new barriers by the 2020 election will require $18.4 billion, far more than the administration has publicly disclosed.
► In the Midnight Sun — State of Alaska sues ASEA over automatic collection of dues in latest attack on unions — The state of Alaska escalated its fight with organized labor on Monday when it announced it was suing the Alaska State Employees Association over the automatic collection of union dues and halting the collection of dues for certain employees.
► In the Juneau Empire — Alaska retains Trump lawyers in lawsuit aimed at union dues — Union representatives believe that going to the Supreme Court is the goal of Alaska’s Republican governor and attorney general. “I don’t see how to come to any other conclusion,” said Joelle Hall of the Alaska AFL-CIO. Clarkson’s opinion is “so out of line with the current ruling” that the case would necessarily have to go beyond Alaska courts, she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The goal here is to get the anti-union 5-4 Supreme Court majority to double down on its Janus attack against unions by forcing all public employees who benefit from union contracts to opt-in to paying union dues rather than opt-out. Clearly, the corporate interests and billionaires who financed the Janus case are upset that decision didn’t have its desired effect: defunding and eliminating public employee unions. So they aim to go right back to their Supreme Court.
► Meanwhile in Massachusetts, from WBUR — State Senate overrides veto of union dues bill — Massachusetts has a new law enabling public sector unions to recover costs associated with representing non-members. The state Senate on Thursday completed a veto override initiated in the House on Wednesday. The House voted 154-1 to turn back Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the so-called Janus bill; the vote in the Senate was 39-1.
► From Common Dreams — ‘Secretary of Corporate Interests’ more like it, say critics of Trump’s anti-worker labor nominee — Corporate attorney Eugene Scalia, Trump’s pick to lead the Labor Department, faced a hearing Thursday in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the committee’s ranking member. “If there’s one consistent pattern in Mr. Scalia’s long career, it’s hostility to the very workers he would be charged with protecting, and the very laws he would be charged with enforcing if he were confirmed.”
ALSO at The Stand — Reject labor secretary nominee Eugene Scalia
TAKE A STAND — Eugene Scalia has spent his entire career making life more difficult and dangerous for working people. The secretary of labor needs to be a true advocate for workers. Please sign this petition urging Congress to REJECT Scalia’s nomination.
► In the Washington Post — An ex-lobbyist is Trump’s pick for labor secretary. Democrats found anti-gay op-eds he wrote in college. — Scalia was put on the spot about his past claim that gay parents should be treated differently than a “traditional family” under law. He worked to parry back many of the more pointed questions during the hearing, but he declined to give specific answers about whether some of his past views have changed… Scalia remains very popular among Republicans, though, and is expected to be confirmed by the Senate because the GOP holds a 53-47 majority.
► In today’s Washington Post — Whistleblower complaint about Trump involves Ukraine — The complaint involved communications with a foreign leader and a “promise” that Trump made, which was so alarming that a U.S. intelligence official who had worked at the White House went to the inspector general of the intelligence community. Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected in May. That call is already under investigation by House Democrats who are examining whether Trump and his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign.
► From HuffPost — ‘It’s treachery if not treason’: Harvard law professor on Trump-Ukraine report — “He violates the emoluments clauses, he enriches himself at the expense of American taxpayers, he takes money from foreign governments in order to benefit himself, he bends policy in the direction of those governments, whether it’s Saudi Arabia or another country, to enhance his own wealth,” said Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. “And now, we understand, he may have been making some kind of deal with Ukraine, perhaps to get information of a negative kind about Joe Biden’s son in exchange for aid to Ukraine.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Lock him up.
► In the Detroit News — GM strike, day 5: Negotiators start early-morning talks — The two sides are working through differences on job security, health care and seniority for temporary employees, among other issues. The negotiators had made “some progress,” UAW’s Terry Dittes reported, but he added many issues “remain unresolved” and said bargaining would continue into the weekend, if needed.
► From Labor 411 — GM, which made $8.1 billion in profit and paid its CEO $22 million, just cancelled health benefits for 50,000 workers — GM has abruptly cancelled health benefits for striking workers. And to make matters worse, the cancellation takes effect immediately.
► From Fox 17 Nashville — ‘We had no warning:’ Wife of GM employee on strike wakes up from surgery without insurance — The news is devastating for families, as they now have to worry about how they’re going to pay for everything from medication to major surgery. Union leaders telling FOX 17 News members went in for cancer treatments and to pick up prescriptions on Monday and that’s how they found out they were uninsured. Laura Prater heard the news when she woke up from a $40,000 stomach operation… “It makes me feel terrible,” says Prater. “Before I started working for GM, I was Army. I’m a veteran so things like integrity, honesty those things mean something to me.”
► In today’s Detroit Free Press — UAW strike against GM had to happen (by DFP’s editorial page editor) — This is a strike that needed to happen, a ritualized reckoning that may or may not have come in time to avert a wider and more unpredictable confrontation between workers and employers. This is only the latest storm in a sustained season of labor unrest that began with last year’s successful teacher’s strike in West Virginia and inspired subsequent strikes in the hotel, grocery store and fast food industries. The UAW’s members, it seems, are not the only workers whose wages have not kept up with inflation, and theirs is not the only industry in which employment and benefits have failed to match the pace of corporate earnings. According to the Gallup organization, popular support for unions is hovering above 60%, a 50-year high. That’s more than half-again the 40% approval rating Donald Trump enjoys on a good day, and helps explain why, when workers strike in 2019, a majority of their neighbors are rooting for them.
► In the Washington Post — The UAW is on strike against General Motors. Here’s what that says about today’s labor movement. — 1. Strikes can be painful for workers but tend to produce results. 2. Strikes are increasing in the United States. 3. When the public supports a strike, unions have more leverage. 4. Of course, no one knows what will happen with the UAW and GM. But expect more strikes.
► From the Washington Post — ‘I hope the politicians hear us’: Millions of youth around the world strike for climate action — Young people from more than 150 countries are skipping school in solidarity on Friday, as part of another series of global climate protests urging world leaders to act more aggressively to combat climate change. Friday’s protests began to unfold in Australia, where an estimated 300,000 young people in Melbourne, Sydney and elsewhere took to the streets. Similar scenes soon played out in towns and cities across the globe, from small island nations such as Kiribati to teeming cities such as Mumbai. Protesters gathered in small groups in parts of Africa and in swelling masses in European capitals. In London, thousands marched passed 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, some holding aloft signs that read “Winter is NOT coming” and “I’m taking time out of my lessons to teach you.”
► From the AP — Walmart CEO McMillon named Business Roundtable chairman
EDITOR’S NOTE — “We need to pick somebody that represents our core values.”
► Not since Prince’s untimely death has the Entire Staff of The Stand been so glum about a musician’s passing. Ric Ocasek, who died last Sunday at the age of 75, was guitarist/singer for The Cars. Not only was Ocasek a gifted songwriter with a unique voice and a knack for unforgettable hooks, he was a highly respected and sought-after music producer. Although he made a few solo albums after the band broke up, it’s the string of hits by The Cars from 1978 to 1988 that made this band a huge contributor to the soundtrack of our youth. Those songs take us back to a time and place whenever we hear them, just like what our kids are listening to today will for them. And when the person responsible for those songs dies — even if they have been out of the spotlight for decades, like Ocasek — it feels like the loss is personal.
R.I.P., Ric, and thank you.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.