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Nurses deal and no-deal ● AFGE punches back ● Protect health-care workers first

Thursday, February 13, 2020




► In today’s News Tribune — New contract approved for Highline Medical Center’s nurses, caregivers — Nurses and caregivers at CHI Franciscan’s Highline Medical Center in Burien have voted to approve a new contract they contend will improve patient care and jobs at the hospital. A supermajority of the 550 health-care workers, represented by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, ratified the contract by 99 percent Friday.

The Stand (Feb. 10) — Highline nurses, staff ratify deal with safer staffing levels

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Swedish and SEIU back to bargaining after three-day strike — For the first time in nearly a month, Swedish Medical Center and the union representing nearly 8,000 of its employees are back bargaining for a new contract, but they’re not meeting face-to-face — yet. Per the recommendation of a federal mediator, both sides swapped proposals for a new deal through the intermediary because emotions are still high following the three-day strike in late January across all Swedish campuses, including Edmonds.

The Stand (Jan. 29) — Community backs Swedish hospital strikers in Seattle

► In today’s Washington Post — Newspaper giant McClatchy files for bankruptcy, hobbled by debt and declining print revenue — The Chapter 11 filing will allow the Sacramento-based company to keep its 30 newspapers afloat while it reorganizes more than $700 million in debt, 60 percent of which would be eliminated… McClatchy’s filing foreshadows further cost-cutting and retrenchment for one of the biggest players in local journalism, at a time when most U.S. newsrooms already are straining to cover their communities amid declining ad revenue and dwindling resources… Late last year, McClatchy suspended some pension payments, and now the company is asking the bankruptcy court to terminate the pension plan and make the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. the plan’s trustee.

EDITOR’S NOTE — McClatchy newspapers in Washington state are The Bellingham Herald, The (Tacoma) News Tribune, The Olympian, and the Tri-City Herald.

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Amazon delivery facility confirmed to open in Bremerton in 2020 — An Amazon spokeswoman said the project, a 117,000-square-foot building on Bree Drive east of Highway 3 and just northeast of the airport, is a “last-mile” delivery facility and will open in 2020.

► In today’s News Tribune — Staunch Republican strongly endorses a mental health tax. He’s not from around here. (by Matt Driscoll) — In Spokane County the tax has been broadly supported for years, said Spokane County Commissioner Al French, because “the alternative is not the morally right thing to do.” Go on… “I hate to sound pious on this, but the bottom line is that without these funds, I’m going to be putting people in jail who will not have a better life because they’re in jail. To put someone in jail because they’ve got a mental health issue is just cruel.” … Refreshing. And kind of depressing. If only it were so easy in Pierce County.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Initiative 976 remains on hold after judge largely upholds car-tab tax measure — A King County judge has largely upheld Initiative 976, the voter-approved measure to cut car-tab taxes, in a rebuke to Seattle, King County and others who argued the measure was unconstitutional. But drivers expecting a tax cut should be prepared to keep waiting. The measure will remain on hold for now and the judge’s decision on Wednesday is expected to be appealed.

► From KNKX — Where will they go? Washington nursing home for brain injured patients to close — After years of financial challenges, the third generation, family-run Delta Rehab nursing home in Snohomish is preparing to close its doors. The facility’s staff was notified of the impending closure Wednesday afternoon. It’s not yet clear where the facility’s residents will end up.




► In the Washington Post — The largest federal employee union punches back at Trump — As President Trump continues battering federal employees, their largest union sent him a rousing retort Monday that it might be bloodied, but not busted. Delegates to the American Federation of Government Employees legislative conference were fired up by high-profile speakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and three Republicans, who pledged their support as Trump continues to push policies that would hit the workers’ wallets and the ability of unions to represent them.

► From AFGE — AFGE activists urge lawmakers to support federal workers

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump seeks to bend the executive branch as part of impeachment vendetta –Trump is testing the rule of law one week after his acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial, seeking to bend the executive branch into an instrument for his personal and political vendetta against perceived enemies. And Trump — simmering with rage, fixated on exacting revenge against those he feels betrayed him and insulated by a compliant Republican Party — is increasingly comfortable doing so to the point of feeling untouchable, according to the president’s advisers and allies.




► From the EPI — Continued surge in strike activity signals worker dissatisfaction with wage growth — From teachers in North Carolina (and Willapa, above) to hospital workers in California, and from autoworkers in Michigan to grocery store cashiers in Boston, workers across the United States have participated in a resurgence in major work stoppages in the last two years. By far the most common form of work stoppage is a strike, which is when workers withhold their labor from their employer for a period of time during a labor dispute. By withholding their labor—labor that employers depend on to produce goods and provide services—workers are able to counteract the inherent power imbalance between themselves and their employer. In this way, strikes provide critical leverage to workers when bargaining with their employer over fair pay and working conditions or when their employer violates labor law.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dissatisfied with your wage growth? 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 — Health-care workers are the front-line warriors against coronavirus. We must protect them. (by Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker ) — In a very real sense, what happens to our health-care workers will be the metric of how we respond to this unfolding crisis. If we don’t do all we can to protect them, they will quickly transition from providers to patients, further stressing already overburdened facilities. We are no more prepared to deal with the rapid increases in coronavirus patients needing hospitalization in the United States than in China. If doctors, nurses and first responders are faced with coming to work without such equipment as respirators, gloves, eye protection and disposable suits, will they? And if hospitals become places where coronavirus is spread more than contained, will the public panic? … Governments must support private-sector manufacturers in providing N95s and other equipment to front-line health-care providers and other essential workers. In terms of minimizing illness and death, this will be more important than any border closing, airport screening or quarantine. And it is no less than our front-line warriors deserve.


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

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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!