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Can your boss do that? | The good-job shortage | Unhealed in Tulsa

Tuesday, June 1, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 1 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 435,849 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,004) and 5,765 deaths.

► From Salon — Unions are horrified at the mask mandate rollback — and fear workers’ lives are at risk again — The unions that represent healthcare professionals and essential frontline workers are speaking out about the CDC’s walkback on masks. These workers, they say, have paid for and will continue to pay for the nation’s scandalous lack of preparation for this totally foreseeable event.




► From the SWCLC — Can your boss really do that? Is it even legal? With Diana Winther and Daniel Hutzenbiler (Working to Live in SW Washington podcast with Diana Winther and Daniel Hutzenbiler) — Far too many people feel mistreated at work, but when is that mistreatment because of a “bad boss,” and when is it actually a violation of the law? Shannon and Harold talk to two Labor attorneys to find out where that line is drawn, and what recourse working people have under the law.

► From the Seattle Times — Complaints about sexual harassment and workplace culture at Casa Latina in Seattle lead to board investigation — Casa Latina, a decades-old organization founded to empower immigrant workers and provide job and educational opportunities, has been thrust into turmoil amid a series of protests questioning the nonprofit’s handling of sexual harassment and assault allegations. The board announced last week it would investigate after hearing complaints related to the allegations and “overall workplace culture” from some of its 37 staffers, as well as from former employees and people whom Casa Latina refers to as “members” — those who come to the organization for job referrals.

The Stand (April 21) — Casa Latina staff among wave of non-profits to unionize

► From the (Everett) Herald — A cash payment for teacher retention draws auditor’s interest — A $400 payment to every teacher in the Marysville School District has caught the attention of state auditors concerned it could be viewed as a gift of public funds because the school board failed to spell out precisely what the money was for.




► From the News Tribune — WA restaurants are desperate to hire, but people aren’t applying. What gives? — Reasons cited in the nationwide hand-wringing over understaffed restaurants include the responsibility of child care keeping parents — especially women — at home, the ongoing risks associated with a very public-facing job, and the reality of an industry known for low wages and little benefits, which affects financial stability as much as emotional and mental well-being. All circumstances have worsened during the pandemic.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Tri-Cities hotels, restaurants are hiring. But where are the workers?

► From the Washington Post — Those $300 pandemic checks aren’t the only reason restaurant employees might not want to go back to work (by Micheline Maynard) — New Orleans chef Jason Goodenough sympathizes with the respondents to a recent union-affiliated survey, more than half of whom said they intended to quit their restaurant jobs — with nearly 80 percent of those planning to quit citing low wages as their reason for leaving. “I think people aren’t returning because restaurant work sucks, is underpaid or provides no upward mobility or benefits,” Goodenough said. “The pandemic has laid bare this reality, and people just don’t want to do it anymore. Ever.”

► From The Atlantic — Workers should have the power to say ‘no’ (by Annie Lowrey) — Policy makers should not rush in to help ensure a flood of low-wage workers for America’s businesses. As the pandemic abates and the economy strengthens, why not focus on creating good ones?

► From the NY Times — To motivate workers, Republican governors experiment with pain (by Binyamin Appelbaum) — Together they intend to reject more than $26 billion in federal aid payments to 4.5 million unemployed workers — money that would have helped those workers and surely would have been spent mostly in those states. A lot of people are going to get hurt, and the pain will not be distributed randomly. … States administer unemployment benefits because racist Southern senators in the 1930s and the 1940s prevented the creation of a federal system. Almost a century later, Southern states still operate the stingiest unemployment programs. Although Americans generally agree that government should not act with racist intent, the unemployment safety net was designed with racist intent. And it continues to work in the way that it was designed, allowing Mississippi to badly serve Americans who live there. The creation of a federal system to provide aid to jobless workers is long overdue.





► From KIMA — State changes rules for fully vaccinated farmworkers — Following pressure from farm groups, the state has relaxed its masking and social distancing rules for fully vaccinated farmworkers. In February, wafla and the Washington Farm Bureau sued the state arguing the state’s rules didn’t make sense as more was learned about Covid, saying the restrictions were economically devastating. On Friday, L&I and DOH announced masks are no longer needed for fully vaccinated workers living in temporary housing. Edgar Franks with Familias Unidas por la Justicia says in light of Gilbert Orchard’s recent Covid outbreak involving 45 infected workers, he’s still recommending his members continue masking and social distancing to err on the side of caution.

► From the Seattle Times — Republican Matt Larkin to challenge Rep. Kim Schrier as GOP looks to Washington state to help flip House in 2022 — Matt Larkin, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general last year, declared a bid for Schrier’s seat this month.

► From OPB — Oregon legislative employees become first in the nation to unionize — Legislative employees within Oregon’s Capitol will become the first in the nation to unionize, after a 75-31 vote by staff members Friday in favor of joining the IBEW Local 89. With the vote, 180 Capitol aides can begin taking steps toward bargaining with the Legislature on a contract for the first time, a move they hope will give them more input into how the building runs.




► From SEIU Healthcare 1199NW — 650 nurses strike Logan Health Management in Kalispell — After more than a year and a half at the bargaining table calling on Kalispell Regional Healthcare/Logan Health to invest in patient care, the 650 nurses in the clinics, hospital, long-term care facility, behavioral health and home care and hospice gave notice May 21 that, unless Logan Health bargains in good faith for an agreement that invests in care and jobs, they have no choice but to hold an unfair labor practice strike, June 1-3.




► From Politico — Biden’s budget goes big on spending in bid to lift middle class — President Joe Biden has released a $6 trillion budget request that stitches his most ambitious spending plans into one massive proposal, pitching historic investments in highways, child care and climate change. Assuming a federal budget gap of more than $1 trillion for the next decade, the long-delayed document focuses on lifting the middle class, expanding the social safety net and boosting American competitiveness across the globe. It combines Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, his $1.8 trillion families proposal and $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending to fund federal agencies for the upcoming fiscal year.

► From Vox — Biden’s $6 trillion budget proposal would rebuild America’s social safety net — As proposed, the budget would reinvest in infrastructure and education, raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and meet many — but not all — of Biden’s campaign promises. It also represents the most substantial expansion of the federal government’s spending powers since World War II and a direct rebuttal of the small-government principles of his Republican, and even many Democratic, predecessors.

► From The Hill — On infrastructure and clean energy, America must play to win (by Richard Trumka and Ernest Moniz) — We must invest quickly and decisively to reduce emissions and stem climate change, and to improve our lagging competitiveness. New infrastructure must also deliver results on social equity, inequality, and systemic racism, 21st century crises whose solutions cannot be deferred. That’s why the AFL-CIO and the Energy Future Initiative formed the Labor Energy Partnership — to forge a path to modernize our energy infrastructure, address climate change with the urgency it deserves, and seize the opportunity to create high-quality union jobs. Like President Biden, we put workers’ rights, dignity and power at the center of the clean energy transition.

► From Politico — ‘Pretty damn scary’: Failure of Jan. 6 commission exposes Senate wounds — Post-Jan. 6 resentment that’s dominated the House made its way to the Senate Friday as Republicans blocked a commission to probe the riot.

► From the NY Times — Push for voting overhaul in Congress falters — Opposition from Republicans and some of their own senators has left Democrats struggling to determine whether they should try to nix the filibuster to save a top priority.

► From The Hill — Democrats set for filibuster brawl amid escalating tensions — In June, a number of high-profile measures important to Democrats seem set to be blocked by the GOP’s filibuster, which supporters hope will convince wary Democrats to back ending the filibuster. The blocking of Democratic priorities will certainly enrage those liberals who already want the filibuster killed off.

► From Reuters — Major rulings including Obamacare loom for U.S. Supreme Court — The U.S. Supreme Court heads into the last month of its current term with several major cases yet to be decided including a Republican bid to invalidate the Obamacare healthcare law, a dispute involving LGBT and religious rights and another focused on voting restrictions.

► From The Hill — Biden aims to address racial wealth disparity on centennial of Tulsa massacre — The president on Tuesday will lay out his administration’s efforts to close the racial wealth gap during a visit to Tulsa, Okla., to mark the 100th anniversary of the Black Wall Street Massacre, in which white mobs killed hundreds of Black people in the city’s Greenwood neighborhood.




► From the AP — At century mark, Tulsa Race Massacre’s wounds still unhealed — The Black Wall Street Market is nowhere near Black Wall Street. The original Black Wall Street vaporized a hundred years ago, when a murderous white mob laid waste to what was the nation’s most prosperous Black-owned business district and residential neighborhood. When Billie Parker set out to memorialize the name with her new development, she built it far from Tulsa’s historic Greenwood neighborhood. She followed the trail of the city’s Black population. There were roughly 10,000 Black Tulsans in 1921; displaced by the massacre, they would be pushed farther and farther north into what is unambiguously an underdeveloped and underserved section of the city today. The 6 miles between the old and new incarnations of Black Wall Street belie the dire connection that links them: Racial and socioeconomic inequality on Tulsa’s north side has its roots in the 100-year-old atrocity of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

► From NPR — Texas Democrats walk out to block voting restrictions; governor threatens ‘no pay’ — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he intends to withhold paychecks to state lawmakers after House Democrats staged a walkout to block voting restrictions proposed by their Republican counterparts.

► From The Guardian — Striking coal miners in Alabama energize support across the south — United Mine Workers of America members are fighting for better wages and benefits and have filed unfair labor practice charges against Warrior Met Coal.

EDITOR’S NOTE — These workers at Warrior Met Coal have been on an Unfair Labor Practice strike since April 1. They could use your support so they can stay out “one day longer” and ultimately force Warrior Met to agree to a fair and equitable contract. Donate to the UMWA 2021 Strike Fund here.


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