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Enumclaw nurses picket ● #1 vs. #50 ● Unions, PhRMA unite ● La grève!

Thursday, December 5, 2019





► In today’s News Tribune — Enumclaw nurses picket over pay, staffing as CHI Franciscan aligns with other provider — Nurses at an Enumclaw hospital launched an informational picket Wednesday as contract negotiations continue into their seventh month. The rally at CHI Franciscan’s St. Elizabeth Hospital aimed to highlight the staff’s issues, including wages and benefits, patient care and staffing. The union also is calling attention to CHI Franciscan’s role in a new corporate operating structure finalized earlier this year.

ALSO at The Stand — St. Elizabeth nurses in Enumclaw to picket, rally on Dec. 4

► In today’s (Aberdeen) Daily World — Willapa Valley teachers strike reaches day 2 — The teachers strike in the Willapa Valley School District entered its second day Wednesday, Dec.4. Classes were canceled for the second day, and negotiations between the school district and the teachers union with a state mediator continued Wednesday.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The strike and mediated negotiations continue Thursday. In a blog post today, the Washington Education Association, writes: It’s a tough time of year to go on strike, and a strike fund has been set up for Willapa Valley educators. Please help out by sending checks to:

“Willapa Valley EA”
c/o WEA Chinook
5220 Capitol Blvd. SE
Tumwater, WA 98501-4419




► In today’s Olympian — U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, who represents Olympia and Pierce County, to retire at end of term — The Democrat made the announcement in a letter to supporters. He said while he has enjoyed his time in Congress, the discourse in Washington, D.C., has left him feeling discouraged. Heck, who lives in Olympia, said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Paula, and writing “at least two books.”

ALSO at The Stand — WSLC’s Brown: Heck has served state ‘with honor and distinction’

► In today’s Olympian — Who’ll succeed retiring Denny Heck in Congress? It’s a crowded field of maybes — State Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia) said she is “seriously considering” running. Other possible candidates include Rep. Laurie Dolan (D-Olympia), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal; Sen. Steve O’Ban (R-University Place); Suzan “Suzi” LeVine, commissioner of the Employment Security Department; and state Reps. Mari Leavitt and Christine Kilduff, both (D-University Place).

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Our secret is out — Washington tops list of this Best States ranking — A study released by earlier this year found that people are moving to Washington state at such a rate that a number of counties actually have fewer native Washingtonians than adults who born elsewhere and moved to the Evergreen State. An annual Best States ranking published recently by U.S. News and World Report may lend some insight into exactly why — turns out Washington isn’t just good, it’s the best.

ALSO at The Stand — Guess which state has the strongest unions in the nation? — New national analysis finds Washington’s unions are strongest… and growing.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington state is No. 1. Of course! But which states are the worst? — The report was based on more than 70 metrics, including access to health care, quality of education, public safety, the state’s economy, GDP growth, migration into the state, patents, new businesses, natural environment and infrastructure, which takes into account not only bridges and roads but also broadband and power grids… At the very bottom of the rankings are Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, with Louisiana coming in dead last.

EDITOR’S NOTE — These three “worst” states are all “right-to-work” states that discourage unions and block people from joining together to improve their jobs and their communities. As WSLC President Larry Brown points out: “Unions in Washington state are strong and growing. Our members not only join together to win great contracts for themselves and their families, they also advocate for innovative labor standards that lift up all workers in this state.”

► From the AP — Supreme Court: Car tab measure to remain on hold — The state Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a voter-approved $30 car tab measure will remain on hold while a legal fight over the initiative’s constitutionality plays out.

► In today’s Olympian — Governor appoints new justice to Washington State Supreme Court — Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that he is appointing Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis to the state Supreme Court. Montoya-Lewis has been on the Superior Court bench since 2015, and has served as the chief judge of the Nooksack Tribe, Skagit Tribe and Lummi Tribe, among other experience. The 51-year-old will be the first Native American Supreme Court justice in the state.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sound Transit removes top safety chief after report on fatal Amtrak crash — Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff has removed his agency’s top safety officer as a result of the fatal Amtrak Cascades passenger-train derailment on Sound Transit-owned tracks in DuPont, Pierce County, in December 2017.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — When asked their opinion on contract talks, they were silent — In 2017, Republicans in Olympia fought for and won changes guaranteeing lawmakers a chance to influence future contract negotiations with thousands of state employees. A reinvigorated Joint Committee on Employment Relations, a panel made up of two members from each caucus in the House and Senate, would meet at least six times a year “to identify goals and objectives” that it wants the governor to consider during the next round of collective bargaining. Yet when the chance arrived Tuesday to provide such counsel, legislators demurred. “Do we have time to think through this? This needs a little thought,” said Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia), the committee’s chairman and the lead GOP budget writer.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — House leaders get Shea report, but public release delayed — Top House members of both parties were informed Wednesday of the results of a four-month investigation of Rep. Matt Shea, but it may be next week – at the earliest – before the public sees some version of that report.




► From the AP — 668,000 will lose food stamp benefits under new work rules — Hundreds of thousands of Americans who rely on the federal food stamp program will lose their benefits under a new Trump administration rule that will tighten work requirements for recipients.

► In today’s Seattle Times — New Trump administration restriction on food stamps to hit more than 75,000 people in Washington state

EDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the following statement Wednesday: “It’s hard to see this as anything but the President being cruel for cruelty’s sake. There is absolutely no reason to deny struggling individuals the food assistance they need. President Trump may not understand how much damage steps like this cause—but I do and I’m not going to stop fighting to get this heartless rule and others like it reversed.”

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Cuts to SNAP would disadvantage those seeking jobs (editorial) — The Trump administration’s recent push to finalize new rules to tighten eligibility and reduce benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — also known as food stamps — is a solution in search of a problem. And it’s a heartless, unnecessary and counter-productive one, at that.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing chief engineer at center of 737 MAX crisis retires — Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief engineer John Hamilton, who was appointed in March to lead its response to the deadly 737 MAX crashes and testified before Congress alongside CEO Dennis Muilenburg, is retiring, the company informed employees Wednesday.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Flight chief at Horizon Air alarmed at pilots’ safety culture — One flight out of Paine Field in Everett discovered a 4.5-ton discrepancy in weight after take-off.




► In the NY Times — Labor unions team up with drug makers to defeat drug-price proposals — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill to lower drug prices has the backing of many of the nation’s biggest labor groups, including the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO, and unions representing teachers and other government workers. But a group called the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association, a coalition that includes major drugmakers like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson as well as large construction-industry unions whose members help build pharmaceutical plants and research labs, has been opposing Pelosi’s bill and other drug-price proposals around the country. The group has been hiring former labor officials and well-known union lobbyists to deliver its message, which aligns closely with the talking points of drug companies.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In Washington state, the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association has hired one former labor leader as its registered lobbyist: Lee Newgent, former Executive Secretary of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council.

► From Bloomberg — NLRB used flawed data to back union election rule — The National Labor Relations Board used flawed data to support a rule change that would reduce unions’ power to defend against anti-labor campaigns, a Bloomberg Law analysis found. Deficiencies in the data could weaken the board’s defense in a legal challenge, two administrative law professors said.

► From the People’s World — Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries lobby lawmakers for permanent right to stay — Jose Palma and his family came to the U.S., legally, from El Salvador, decades ago. He wants to stay. So does Rena Sorto, another Salvadoran. So does Emanuel Baraq, who came from Haiti and now lives in Florida. Bricklayers’ union president Jim Boland wants to ensure they — and 400,000 other people from 14 countries overall — stay here for good.

► In today’s NY Times — The American health care industry is killing people (by ) — Last week, health researchers reported that American life expectancy is declining for the first time in half a century, and some of the leading causes have to do with the ruinous health care system. Even if it is the case that reforming American health care might eliminate some jobs, it would seem to be a good trade for the likely benefit: More people might gain access to affordable health care and get to keep living.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Listen to the working class (by David Von Drehle) — Leading Democratic theorists tend to explain their loss of the working class in terms of race, gender, patriarchy and disruption — favorite frames of reference that are necessary to understand our politics but far from sufficient. What these frames fail to capture is the practicality of working people and their hard-earned allergy to egghead notions that cannot be made to work efficiently in the field.




► BREAKING today from the Washington Post — Pelosi asks committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President Trump’s wrongdoing strikes at the heart of the Constitution and asked House committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment, saying lawmakers have “no choice but to act.”




► From the IBEW — The numbers are in: Union construction jobs are safer than nonunion — It may not be news to those in the business, but new numbers back up what IBEW and other union construction members already know: there’s safety in a union. New York’s Building Trades Employers Association, which represents more than 1,300 contractors in New York City, recently released new statistics using OSHA data. It found that union construction workers in the Big Apple are five times less likely to suffer a fatal accident compared to their nonunion counterparts.

ALSO at The Stand — A major court victory for safe workplaces (by Jennifer Robbins and Dmitri Iglitzin) — The Washington Supreme Court issued a strongly-worded opinion in Vargas v. Inland Washington, LLC on Nov. 21 that should help encourage general contractors to take more responsibility for making multi-employer workplaces safe.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Want a safer workplace? Get a union! Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► In today’s Washington Post — Fairfax Connector workers go on strike Thursday — Thousands of Northern Virginia bus riders will face limited to no service Thursday, as workers for the state’s largest transit system went on strike beginning at 3 a.m. They join a group of Metrobus workers who have been on strike since late October.

► From CNBC — UAW leaders approve Fiat Chrysler labor deal that includes $9,000 ratification bonuses, improved benefits — Local United Auto Workers leaders from across the country on Wednesday approved a new four-year labor contract with Fiat Chrysler, sending it to their rank-and-file members for final approval.

► From The New Republic — Labor took on ‘Bad Bosses’ long before #MeToo — For decades, concerted organizing and strike actions have curbed the reckless conduct of bosses across a wide range of fronts. To be sure, #MeToo activism has spurred greater awareness of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, but well before journalists were documenting the high-profile predations of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer et al., much of the day-to-day struggle against the sexual trespasses of workplace managers came at the behest of many workers — particularly those who are women and nonbinary — fighting off the discriminatory and harassing behaviors of their bosses.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Got a Bad Boss? Tired of being disrespected? Get a union! Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From HuffPost — Even when men take parental leave, they’re paid more, new study finds — The pay gap shows up even though women have access to more kinds of paid leave.

► From Bloomberg — ‘Culture of fear’ grips UPS; workers say injuries underreported

► From CBS News — AMC Theatre workers press for holiday and overtime pay

► From Vice — Uber office had separate bathrooms for drivers and ’employees’




► In today’s Washington Post — Unions striking over pension reform disrupt transportation across France — Thursday’s strike — expected to be the largest in decades — was yet another test for President Emmanuel Macron, who has pushed through plans to reform France’s retirement system despite sharp criticism from the country’s powerful trade unions. After months of “yellow vest” demonstrations against social inequality that stunned the government last year, Thursday’s strikes were expected to draw even larger crowds. By mid-day, 180,000 demonstrators had assembled in provincial towns and cities nationwide, according to police statistics reported by the Agence France-Presse news agency. But these figures did not include numbers from major cities such as Paris, Marseille and Lyon, where the demonstrations were slated to begin later in the afternoon.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!