Tuesday, November 9, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Nov. 9 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 742,919 infections (14-day average of cases per day: 1,917) and 8,827 deaths.
► From Vox — Why the U.S. nursing crisis is getting worse — Burnout, vaccine hesitancy, and plum traveling gigs are making it harder for hospitals to hire the nurses they need.
The Stand (Oct. 21) — Healthcare unions: WA hospitals must mitigate staffing crisis — WSNA, SEIU 1199NW and UFCW 21: Short-sighted and costly stopgap measures are only a Band-Aid; hospitals have the tools and resources to alleviate burnout nightmare.
► From KNKX — Filipino American health workers reflect on trauma and healing on COVID’s frontlines (by Rosem Morton) — For Filipino Americans like me working in all aspects of health care, being so close to a new and devastating virus in the early days of the pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll. Filipinos and Filipino Americans make up just 4% of registered nurses in the U.S., but account for nearly a third of all COVID-related deaths among registered nurses, according to one study. The history of Filipino nurses working in the U.S. goes back many decades as Americans established U.S.-style nursing schools in the Philippines during the U.S. occupation and colonization of the early 1900s. When the U.S. has faced nursing shortages after World War II and more recently, Filipinos have answered the call.
► From the Seattle Times — Wyman botches vaccine-mandate decision (editorial) — The outgoing Secretary of State is the only one of eight independently elected statewide officials who failed to follow Gov. Jay Inslee in requiring all workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Wyman’s irresponsible decision flouted public health advice and placed her employees and the public needlessly at risk.
► From NPR — Court rules United Airlines can put workers with vaccine exemptions on unpaid leave — A group of United employees, including two pilots, a flight attendant and an aircraft technician, had asked the court to block the policy. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman expressed sympathy toward the plaintiffs but denied their motion for a preliminary injunction.
► From Politico — Biden plan to make unvaccinated workers pay for COVID testing could backfire — The prospect of hitting businesses with new testing costs as many struggle to staff back up could harden opposition to Biden’s plan, and hamper the president’s latest push to end the pandemic.
► From the AFL-CIO — United labor movement supports Kaiser Permanente employees’ strike notice — “When you attack one of us, you attack all of us.” So begins a joint statement from AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, AFT President Randi Weingarten, IBT General President James P. Hoffa, IUOE General President James. T. Callahan, UFCW International President Marc Perrone, UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor, and USW International President Thomas M. Conway.
The Stand (Nov. 5) — Support Kaiser workers on verge of strike — Thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers, including in Oregon and SW Washington, will strike on Nov. 15.
► From the NW Labor Press — Northwest Carpenters placed in trusteeship — The Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters has been placed under trusteeship by its national organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. According to a Nov. 3 letter to members, Evelyn Shapiro, the regional council’s top elected officer since 2018, has resigned her position and her union membership, along with Juan Sanchez, organizing director, and Dan Hutchins, director of contract administration.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This Carpenters are an independent union that is not affiliated with the AFL-CIO or the Washington State Labor Council.
► From the NW Labor Press — IBEW 48: $9 in raises, and an end to marijuana testing
► From the NW Labor Press — Portland bus drivers win raises up to $6/hour
► From the NW Labor Press — Daimler Machinists: $4 raise plus essential worker bonus
EDITOR’S NOTE — How do wages and raises like that sound to you? Get 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!
EDITOR’S NOTE — For more great labor news in Oregon and Southwest Washington, subscribe to the Northwest Labor Press!
► From the Seattle Times — Boeing planes still just trickling out to customers, latest figures show — Boeing production remained at a low ebb in October, reduced by limited demand during the pandemic, a slow ramp-up of the 737 MAX assembly line and a complete block on 787 Dreamliner deliveries due to manufacturing quality problems. Data released Tuesday shows Boeing delivered 27 jets in October, 18 of which were narrowbody 737 MAXs built in Renton. Boeing had zero deliveries of its 787, now built exclusively in South Carolina.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Inslee: State agency vehicles must be all-electric by 2035 — The governor, who is in Scotland for an international climate conference, set an aggressive timeline.
► From the Washington Post — The infrastructure package puts $66 billion into rail. It could power the biggest expansion in Amtrak’s 50-year history. — The bill includes $66 billion in new funding for rail to address Amtrak’s repair backlog, improve stations, replace old trains and create a path to modernize the Washington-to-Boston corridor, the nation’s busiest. It would be the biggest boost of federal aid to Amtrak since Congress created it half a century ago. “It’s transformative,” said Amtrak chief executive William J. Flynn.
The Stand (Nov. 8) — Infrastructure bill passes; Build Back Better package next — Union and political leaders hail the passage of job-creating bill, but say the work’s not done until the Build Back Better reconciliation package is also approved.
► From the Seattle Times — Infrastructure plan makes historic investments in tribal coastal resiliency (by Deb Haaland) — When I toured the Quinault Indian Nation earlier this year, I saw firsthand how climate-related impacts are displacing Indigenous coastal communities from their ancestral homelands. President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal passed by Congress — a central pillar of the president’s Build Back Better agenda — includes $216 million to support community-led transitions for the most vulnerable tribal communities, including relocation planning, design and implementation.
► From the Olympian — Washington’s Fawn Sharp becomes first Tribal leader to receive diplomatic credentials — National Congress of American Indians President and Washington state Tribal leader Fawn Sharp has become the first Tribal leader to receive diplomatic credentials from the U.S. State Department, joining its delegation to the United Nations’ 26th annual Conference of the Parties, or COP26.
► From Roll Call — Independent analysis says budget bill could add $200B to deficits — House Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill could increase federal deficits by roughly $200 billion over 10 years, falling short of lawmakers’ ambitions to fully pay for the climate and social spending package, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group said Monday. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said in an analysis that House Democrats’ latest version of the bill includes $2.4 trillion in spending and tax expenditures but only $2.2 trillion in offsets.
EDITOR’S NOTE — No problem. See photo.
► From The Hill — American middle-class musicians are worth fighting for (by Blake Morgan) — The United States is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid for radio airplay. Only Iran, North Korea, and China share the United States’ position on this issue. Following years of grass-roots organizing and growing political will, a bipartisan group in Congress has introduced the American Music Fairness Act. This bill — supported by both Republicans and Democrats even in this polarized political environment — would close the loophole that’s allowed terrestrial radio broadcasters to go nearly a century without paying artists. No single stroke of a pen could affect a larger number of middle-class American musicians… Music is one of the things America still makes that the world still wants. The people who make that music should be paid fairly for their work.
TAKE A STAND — Sign a petition in support of the American Music Fairness Act here: IRespectMusic.org.
► From the NY Times — The biggest kink in America’s supply chain: Not enough truckers — Truck drivers have been in short supply for years, but a wave of retirements combined with those simply quitting for less stressful jobs is exacerbating the supply chain crisis in the United States, leading to empty store shelves, panicked holiday shoppers and congestion at ports. Warehouses around the country are overflowing with products, and delivery times have stretched to months from days or weeks for many goods. The shortage has alarmed trucking companies, which say there are not enough young people to replace those aging out of the work force. Trucking companies have also struggled to retain workers: Turnover rates have reached as high as 90 percent for large carriers.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Better headline: “The biggest kink in America’s supply chain: Not enough TEAMSTERS.” The trucking companies can’t find people willing to do the job because they’ve busted what was once a heavily unionized industry and created horrible working conditions. As one driver pointed out in a similar report last week:
“The shippers, they treat us like criminals, basically. Don’t use the bathroom, don’t get out of your truck. The port-a-potty’s in the yard, but it’s 25 degrees out.”
There’s not a labor shortage in the trucking industry, there’s a shortage of jobs that pay livable wages and have decent working conditions. And the biggest single reason that’s true is because America’s labor laws are broken. When truckers vote to exercise their right to join together in unions and try to improve their working conditions, they get fired. That’s illegal, but our labor laws are so weak that companies routinely break the law to avoid unionization. If lawmakers are serious about fixing America’s supply chain, they should immediately pass the Richard L. Trumka PRO Act!
► From the NY Times (via the Seattle Times) — Starbucks seeks to delay union election as vote nears — Just days before workers at three Starbucks stores in the Buffalo, New York, area were scheduled to begin voting on unionization, both labor and management took steps that reflect the high stakes involved, including an attempt by Seattle-based Starbucks on Monday to delay the election. The union filed a charge with the NLRB last week accusing the company of unlawfully “engaging in a campaign of threats, intimidation, surveillance, solicitation of grievances and the closing of facilities” during the election campaign.
► From Fortune — Starbucks has cultivated a progressive brand—but it’s urging Buffalo employees to reject a union in this week’s landmark vote — Employees say they love the company but want to secure a say to address issues like schedules that sometimes provide inadequate hours and wages that don’t sufficiently reward longer-serving staff, as well as security to speak up when confronted with hazards like harassment from customers about masks. “You can’t tell us that we’re essential workers and then also tell us that we shouldn’t have a voice or equal say,” said Jaz Brisack, an activist barista.
► And then, there’s this…
Former Secretary of Labor @ElaineChao just said on @BloombergTV that workers have “a patriotic duty” to take jobs companies can’t fill. What about an employer’s patriotic duty to provide jobs with decent wages and benefits? (Cricket sounds here.) pic.twitter.com/ndocwpawZX
— Eve Tahmincioglu (@EveAsks) November 8, 2021
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.