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Win for WA State NewsGuild | QFC can’t bully us | MultiCited | On & On

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Friday, February 26, 2021

 


BLACK HISTORY MONTH

 

Each day during Black History Month, the unions that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO are honoring Black leaders, past and present, including Nate Long. Please share this graphic via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as #LaborCelebratesBHM!

► Also today, UFCW Local 367 is celebrating Joann Gardner. Please share this graphic via Facebook and Twitter as #LaborCelebratesBHM!

► From the House Democratic Caucus — Rep. Melanie Morgan calls on fellow lawmakers to make Juneteenth a state holiday — Rep. Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) called on her fellow legislators Thursday to pass legislation to make Juneteenth a legal state holiday. HB 1016 passed on the House floor and received overwhelming bipartisan support in a 89-9 vote. “This bill is more than just about a holiday,” Morgan said. “It’s about a true recognition and acknowledgement that chattel slavery happened in this country. Without this, then how can we advocate for racial equity? Today, we took a step towards reconciliation and healing by acknowledging Black pain and Black trauma. African Americans deserve to have their history remembered.”

 


COVID-19

 

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Feb. 26 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 337,653 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 837) and 4,942 deaths.

► From the NY Times — Bosses shouldn’t demand that you be vaccinated (by Katie Attwell and ) — The capacity of the nation’s federal and state governments to protect the public’s health remains limited, but we cannot leave COVID-19 vaccine mandates to the private sector. People need their governments to provide legitimate and effective vaccination policies.

 


LOCAL

 

► From the Bellingham Herald — McClatchy agrees to recognize union for journalists in four Washington state newsrooms — Eligible journalists at The News Tribune, The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald and the Tri-City Herald have organized as the Washington State NewsGuild. The announcement comes one day after a NLRB ruling that the four news organizations could organize as one guild. McClatchy had argued in January at a labor hearing that it was more appropriate for the employees to organize as four separate unions. In December, organizers said nearly 90 percent of eligible journalists have signed authorization cards.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t get left out! Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a real voice on the job, including better working conditions and fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From UFCW 21 — QFC CAN’T BULLY US — Frontline grocery workers at our QFC stores are heroes – coming to work every day to help feed our families. QFC workers put themselves, and their own families at risk of COVID, so they can help the rest of us. They need hazard pay. But Rodney McMullen, CEO of QFC’s parent company Kroger, doesn’t want to give our community’s heroes temporary raises. So he’s trying to bully and intimidate us. First, McMullen tries to threaten workers by closing stores in Seattle and Long Beach. Then he sues taxpayers and communities – like Seattle and Burien – just for trying to help QFC workers with hazard pay laws. Then he pays himself $21 million per year, 789 times what a median employee makes.

TAKE A STANDSign the petition to stand up against the bullying of QFC grocery workers.

► From MyNorthwest.com — Shades of hypocrisy, similarities in Seattle minimum wage and hazard pay debates (by Nick Bowman) — The battle to provide fair wages to workers in Seattle is one that dates back years. It’s also one that’s defined by an argument as old as time from large-scale employers, who claim that fair wages are somehow bad for everyone… Fast forward to 2021, where we’re seeing the same disconnects in logic, this time with the debate surrounding hazard pay for grocery store workers on the front lines of a pandemic.

The Stand (Feb. 17) — UFCW 21 decries Kroger/QFC’s ‘greed, bullying’ in Seattle

► From the Kitsap Sun — Bainbridge Island considers hazard pay mandate for grocery store workers — Bainbridge Island’s City Council is considering a pay hike mandate for workers at the island’s two grocery stores. Sue Wilmot, a Safeway checker and member of the UFCW 21 executive board, noted that Safeway had at one point paid out hazard pay to workers but stopped. “It’s not a bonus,” Wilmot said. “It’s about being fairly paid for the risks we face every day. These grocery companies that we work for have done very well during this pandemic, they have had record profits because of our risks we’ve taken on the front lines. We have been there for our communities every day, showing up every day despite the risks.”

The Stand (Jan. 26) — UFCW 21 celebrates victory on $4/hour hazard pay in Seattle — Help the union fight for grocery workers’ hazard pay in YOUR city!

► From the Spokesman-Review — Aside from oversight, new police union contract would have financial impact — Including both pay and benefits, the average annual increase would be 3.5% over the life of the tentative five-year deal. Four of those five years are retroactive because the new agreement would be the first since the previous iteration expired at the end of 2016.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From the News Tribune — MultiCare plans appeal after urgent care clinic in Puyallup cited for COVID violations — L&I on Feb. 19 issued a citation and notice of assessment to MultiCare following a COVID-19 safety inspection at its Indigo Urgent Care clinic in Puyallup. The citation carries fines totaling $28,400. The L&I action comes months after staff represented by the UAPD first made public their issues over a lack of N95 masks and other COVID safety issues they contend workers have faced while dealing with COVID-19 testing at the clinics. In November, clinic workers participated in a two-day labor strike over the issue. One of the participants later tested positive with COVID-19. The union has noted that several of its workers have become ill during the pandemic.

The Stand (Nov. 20, 2020) — MultiCare Indigo docs in region strike for safer conditions

► From the (Everett) Herald — Federal package could drive more than $10B to Washington — A massive federal COVID relief bill steaming toward its first vote in Congress would steer roughly $10 billion into coffers of cities, counties, school districts and state government in Washington. The $1.9 trillion package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan Act, also would provide millions of dollars to individual transit agencies and airport operators, extend pandemic unemployment assistance, provide financial aid for struggling businesses and increase tax credits for child care. And it would send $1,400 to each adult earning under $75,000 a year as well as their dependents.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Inslee: All of Washington to stay in Phase 2 for a few weeks — The governor issued a weekslong pause on regions moving backward, but has yet to outline a Phase 3.

► A MUST-READ from Crosscut — I’m inheriting an enormous amount of wealth — WA should tax me more (by Alysha Fung Koehler) — While I am new to having wealth, the suddenness of it all has made me consider more deeply the moral obligations I have to my community as someone living with abundance while so many live in scarcity. Right now, Washingtonians with the lowest incomes pay six times more of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthiest. The upside down nature of Washington’s tax code is unjust. It makes no sense for people like me to hoard wealth from others when we could be helping the communities we are all a part of. It’s really that simple.

The Stand (Feb. 17) — Senate panel advances capital gains tax to fund child care

 


BOEING

 

► From the Washington Post — FAA fines Boeing $5.4 million for not fulfilling terms of long-running safety agreementThe FAA announced a $5.4 million fine Thursday against Boeing, saying the jet maker did not live up to the terms of a legal agreement designed to force the company to overhaul its safety culture. The agency said Boeing also agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve a pair of cases in which the FAA alleged managers had put improper pressure on employees assigned to conduct safety work on behalf of the government.

► From The Hill — Boeing 777 makes emergency landing in Moscow

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From the Washington Post — Minimum-wage increase imperiled in COVID relief bill by Senate official’s ruling — Biden’s proposed $15-an-hour minimum-wage increase cannot remain in his coronavirus relief bill as written, the Senate’s parliamentarian said Thursday, imperiling a major Biden campaign promise and top priority for the Democratic Party’s liberal wing.

► From the NY Times — House poised to pass relief bill, a day after top Senate official disqualified key provision — House Democrats planned to barrel ahead with a vote on the minimum-wage language as part of the full package, demonstrating their support for a critical progressive priority that they had approved as a stand-alone bill during the previous Congress. But the ruling Thursday evening from Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, all but sealed the fate of Democrats’ push to gradually raise the wage to $15 by 2025.

► From Reuters — Biden weighs path forward for $15 minimum wage after Senate roadblock

► From the NY Times — What’s ‘Southern Hospitality’ without a living wage? (by Ariel Felton) — In Georgia, low-wage service sector workers and their employers are wrestling with the details, and the morality, of a $15 minimum wage.

► From Politico — Historic LGBTQ rights bill passes — after exposing GOP divisions — The House passed sweeping legislation on Thursday to ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, delivering a major victory to the LGBTQ community — while exposing an ugly rift in the GOP.

TODAY at The StandLabor, Democrats celebrate House passage of Equality Act

► From the Seattle Times — U.S. expands unemployment insurance rules to include workers who rejected offers for unsafe jobs — The Biden administration expanded unemployment insurance eligibility Thursday to include workers who refused job offers at unsafe worksites, making good on a pledge to reduce the pressure on people who say they have been forced to choose between staying healthy or getting a paycheck.

► From AFGE — Largest DoD civilian union applauds Biden’s action to revoke Trump’s anti-union memo — President Biden has revoked a memo Trump issued in January 2020 that gave the Secretary of Defense or their designee the authority to eliminate collective bargaining rights for civilian workers in the Department of Defense. AFGE President Everett Kelley said:

“The previous administration’s attempt to strip DoD civilians of their union rights under the guise of national security was a blatant union-busting tactic that was repudiated by lawmakers from both political parties and never acted upon by the Secretary of Defense. President Biden’s decision to revoke this memo ensures that DoD workers will retain the right to join a union and bargain collectively for better working conditions, and it is yet another positive step by his administration to support the working people who serve our country with honor and distinction.”

► From the Washington Post — Biden’s choice for trade chief calls for ‘worker-centered’ approachKatherine Tai, Biden’s nominee to become the chief U.S. trade negotiator, said Thursday that U.S. policies must be rethought to safeguard the critical supply lines that feed American factories and to regain the support of “regular people” who have felt victimized by previous commercial deals. Speaking at her Senate confirmation hearing, Tai promised a “worker-centered” trade policy that would break with both the Trump administration’s protectionism and the reflexive pro-trade stance of earlier Democratic presidents.

► From the Washington Post — Exchange between GOP senator, transgender nominee draws fire from DemocratsSen. Rand Paul’s questions contained “harmful misrepresentations,” committee chair says.

► From the AP — Native American nominee’s grilling raises questions on bias — Descriptions of the Interior secretary nominee Deb Haaland as “radical” — by white, male Republicans — left some feeling Haaland is being treated differently because she is a Native American woman.

► From The Hill — Biden approval holds steady as Democrats eye $1.9 T COVID-19 relief bill — Roughly 6 in 10 voters approve of the job Biden is doing.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From Vice — Amazon sends ‘Vote NO’ instructions to unionizing employees, tells them to use mysterious new mailboxUnionizing Amazon workers in Alabama received a mailer from the company with instructions imploring them to “Vote NO” on the historic union election and to then “mail the … envelope right away to make your vote count!” A USPS mailbox intended for mailing union ballots was recently installed just feet from where Amazon workers exit and enter the warehouse, a move that workers say makes them feel surveilled in the election, which is supposed to be anonymous.

► From The Nation — The Amazon workers’ campaign shows the need for labor law reform (by Lynn Rhinehart) — Despite an overwhelming demand on the part of workers to have a collective voice on the job, current law gives employers like Amazon far too much power to interfere with workers’ free choice and thwart union organizing. Earlier this month, comprehensive legislation—the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act—was reintroduced in Congress. The PRO Act would address many of the major obstacles that stand in the way when workers want to organize.

The Stand (Feb. 11) — Washington Democrats step up for workers on PRO Act — Both of the state’s U.S. senators and all seven Democratic U.S> Representatives co-sponsor legislation to build back better with unions.

► From Labor Notes — After 7-year battle, Massachusetts Comcast techs win first contract — After voting to form a union seven and a half years ago, Comcast technicians at the Fairhaven, Mass., garage finally have a first contract. IBEW Local 2322’s new two-year contract was ratified by 79 percent of the eligible membership on Feb. 3.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It should be ILLEGAL for employers to refuse to agree to a union contract for seven years after workers vote to form a union. The PRO Act would fix that.

► From the WV Metro News — Gov. Justice says right-to-work, prevailing wage fizzled — and Democrats cheer — “Really and truly, let’s just be brutally honest,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said during Wednesday night’s town hall. “We passed the right-to-work law in West Virginia. And we ran to the windows looking to see all the people that were going to come — and they didn’t come. We got rid of prevailing wage. We changed our corporate taxes and we’ve done a lot of different things. And we’ve run to the windows and they haven’t come. We’ve absolutely built the field in a lot of different places thinking build the field and they’ll come, and they didn’t come.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — It should be ILLEGAL for so-called “right-to-work” states to take away workers’ (and employers’) freedom to agree to union-security clauses in their contracts. The PRO Act would fix that.

 


T.G.I.F.

 

► Today, the Entire Staff of The Stand wishes neo soul singer-songwriter, record producer and actress Erykah Badu a happy 50th birthday. Born and raised in our hometown of Dallas, Texas, Badu attended Grambling University, where she majored in theatre and minored in Quantum Physics, but left to pursue a career in music. In 1997, she released her first album, Baduizm, which went triple platinum and the rest is history. Here’s Badu performing the debut single that launched her brilliant career. Enjoy!

 


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

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