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Intimidation at Fred Meyer ● Trump scales back OT rule ● UAW leading the way

Tuesday, September 24, 2019




► In today’s Oregonian — Union calls for Fred Meyer boycott over alleged intimidation as contract negotiations drag on — The boycott call comes after UFCW Local 555 accused the company of pulling employees into one-on-one meetings as an intimidation tactic, which the union said amounts to a violation of federal labor laws. The grocery chain has also posted flyers seeking replacement workers in preparation for a potential strike. The union and representatives for most major local grocery chains will meet Thursday and Friday. “We hope will make Fred Meyer and other employers come prepared to offer something close to a reasonable settlement,” said UFCW 555 spokesperson Kelley McAllister.

ALSO at The Stand — UFCW 555 calls for Fred Meyer boycott in Oregon, SW Wash.

► In The Stranger — UW Residents will strike for 15 minutes this Wednesday — Putting maximum pressure on the boss can be difficult when your job involves saving lives, but the resident physicians at the University of Washington have found a way. This Wednesday at noon, residents and fellows working at hospitals across Seattle will walk off the job for a 15-minute “unity break” to draw attention to the “unacceptable” contract UW is offering its frontline doctors.

ALSO at The Stand — UW’s medical trainees need fair pay, will walk out Sept. 25

► In the Kitsap Sun — PSNS employee describes ‘culture of toxic behavior’ at shipyard — When Brandon Hunt got a job in the rigger shop at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, her interviewer gave an ominous warning: “You have to have thick skin to work here.” What followed in nine years of employment haunted Hunt to the point she says she could not remain silent.




► Today from Bloomberg — Long-awaited Trump overtime pay requirements unveiled — The Trump administration today will unveil a final rule to extend overtime pay eligibility to an estimated 1 million workers, replacing a stalled Obama-era initiative that would have covered four times as many employees. The department’s new rule lifts the annual salary threshold below which workers qualify for overtime wages to $35,568 from the current level of roughly $23,600.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Overtime pay comment period ends; Washington state’s final rule coming in December — “The Trump administration’s proposal is way too weak and totally insufficient to restore the basic protections of the 40-hour work week,” said WSLC President Larry Brown. “Because the overtime pay protections have been allowed to erode for decades, millions of Americans have been forced to work longer and longer hours without extra pay. If everyone who makes just $35,000 per year can be denied extra pay, it’s like their time doesn’t count.”

► In today’s Olympian — Preventing mass shootings will take money for school behavioral health support, lawmaker says — Washington state Rep. Laurie Dolan (D-Olympia) on Monday called on the Legislature in 2020 to revise the state budget to provide more funding for school safety and mental health support for students.




► From The Hill — Federal investigators find FAA safety inspectors were ‘underqualified’ — Investigators have concluded that the safety inspectors that were in charge of the training curriculum for Boeing 737 Max pilots were “underqualified” and that the FAA provided misleading information about the issue to Congress.




► From Talk Poverty — Eugene Scalia ruled it’s OK to make disabled workers soil themselves on the job — Today, the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions committee will vote on the nomination of Eugene Scalia to be the next secretary of labor. During the course of his career as a corporate lawyer, Scalia has denied the science behind repetitive stress injuries, prevented UPS drivers injured on the job from having the ability to form a class to sue, and — most outrageously — insisted that an employee at Ford Motor Company should soil themselves at work rather than be allowed the privacy to work from home.

ALSO at The Stand — Reject labor secretary nominee Eugene Scalia

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump ordered hold on Ukraine aid before calling its leader, officials say — President Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before a phone call in which Trump is said to have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden, according to three senior administration officials.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Washington lawmakers want transcript of Trump call with Ukrainian president — Members of Washington’s congressional delegation are calling for the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president that a whistleblower alleged was an attempt to invite foreign interference in the 2020 election. Those calling for the transcript include GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

► In today’s NY Times — Mr. Trump, blow us away with your transparency (editorial) — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says that “President Trump is going to blow you away with his willingness to disclose and be transparent about this phone call, because I think he did nothing wrong and he has nothing to hide.” The president should welcome the opportunity to let Congress clear up this matter.

► From Politico — ‘Seismic change’: Democratic hold-outs rush toward impeachment — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to make a statement on the issue Tuesday and has seemed more open to the idea of an impeachment investigation than ever before.

► Snowflake update — White House press secretary: Trump stopped briefings because reporters were mean




► In today’s Detroit News — GM strike, day 9: Negotiations press on as layoffs mount — Bargainers for the two sides worked a long day Monday, with negotiations ending at about 8 p.m. Their divide is centered around wages and health care and securing a pathway for temporary workers to get seniority.

► MUST-READ in the NY Daily News — Our economy is broken. The UAW is showing us how to fix it. (by Richard Trumka) –Over the past three years, GM has pocketed $35 billion in North America alone, allowing CEO Mary Barra to claim her seat as the world’s highest-paid auto executive. After years of sacrifice, GM workers were ready to claim their share of that success. These patriots had toiled for the sake of something greater — to preserve a social contract that Americans had come to expect. We worked hard, and in exchange, we could rely on secure, good-paying union jobs here in the United States. But their bosses had other plans. Barra wasn’t interested in sharing wealth built squarely on her employees’ backs. She stonewalled contract negotiations and ultimately showed workers the door. Faced with no other option, autoworkers made the painful decision to go on strike, finding strength in each other even as GM retaliated against them.

CEO Barra didn’t hesitate to strip away health coverage as punishment for daring to fight back. One worker’s spouse woke up from surgery without insurance, while another’s young daughter continues to be denied physical therapy. It’s cruel, petty and painfully normal. Over the past four decades, those in power have tossed aside the norms that used to ensure some semblance of fairness in our economy. In its place, they have built a twisted set of economic and political rules that preserve virtually everything for themselves.

TAKE A STAND! — UAW members’ fight is OUR fight. As this critically important strike drags on, and UAW families continue to make extraordinary sacrifices to compel GM to do the right thing, working families around the nation need to bolster them with solidarity. Please sign Washington state supports UAW strikers!

► From the USA Today — GM strike exposes anti-worker flaws in US labor laws. Companies have the upper hand. (by Kate Andrias) — U.S. labor law encourages firms to compete by busting unions and lowering wages. Workers need a collective voice to even hope for fair wages.

► From The Nation — The path to climate justice runs through the UAW strike (by Jane McAlevey) — The number-one priority for every organized group supporting bold climate solutions has to be winning a settlement that is good for the autoworkers — one that guarantees that any transition to electric-oriented jobs in the GM plants will preserve the workers’ union contract, create permanent jobs, and offer wages and benefits of the same standard as those enjoyed by full-time GM workers before the Great Recession.




► In today’s LA Times — If you want to save money on healthcare, get sick in some other country (by David Lazurus) — It never fails to astonish when some Americans say they prefer paying the highest healthcare prices in the world and having millions of people uninsured rather than adopt effective approaches to affordable universal coverage found in nearly all other developed countries.


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