Friday, March 4, 2022
► From the Seattle Times — 20,000 West Coast port workers refuse to handle Russian cargo — As the Russia invasion of Ukraine shows no sign of letting up, longshore workers on Thursday said they would refuse to load or unload any Russian vessel or handle any incoming or outgoing Russian cargo. The announcement by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union covers some 20,000 workers at all 29 U.S. West Coast ports. “With this action in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, we send a strong message that we unequivocally condemn the Russian invasion,” said ILWU International President Willie Adams.
► From the Tri-City Herald — Franklin sheriff won’t concede after Teamsters win contract dispute to go inside jail — The Franklin County sheriff lost a fight against the Teamsters union, but he’s not surrendering. Robin Romeo, an independent arbitrator, ruled recently that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office violated its union contract when it stopped a Local 839 representative from visiting jail employees whenever and wherever he wanted. The union’s victory comes after more than a year of disputing Sheriff Jim Raymond’s decision to prevent union officials from going inside the jail after normal business hours and unescorted by the sheriff or a human resources employee.
The Stand (March 2) — Sheriff blocks deputies’ access to union reps at county jail
► From the (Everett) Herald — Bill to set minimum hospital staffing dies in state Senate — A fierce legislative fight over staffing levels and worker protections in hospitals is over. For now. A bill that would have limited the number of patients assigned to a nurse and imposed hefty fines on hospitals that failed to comply with staffing plans died in a Senate committee earlier this week. Disappointed backers will renew the debate next session. Jack Sorenson, a spokesman for WA Safe + Healthy, a coalition of unions representing nurses and hospital employees:
“Our health care workers need real solutions to the staffing crisis and resulting burnout. It’s getting worse, and hospital executives have provided no answers. We’re absolutely not done fighting for the safety of health care workers and patients.”
TODAY at The Stand:
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
► From the AP — Oregon Legislature approves overtime pay for farmworkers — Farmworkers in Oregon would earn overtime pay under a bill that the Legislature approved on Thursday, after more than 1,000 people submitted testimony, including farmworkers who felt they have been taken advantage of for too long for their important labor. If Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signs the bill, the state will be joining a handful of others, including California, Washington state and New York state, in ensuring that farmworkers are eligible for overtime pay.
WSLC 2021 Legislative Report — Historic end of a racist legacy: Farmworkers win OT pay
► From Reuters — Biden to boost made-in-America goods as Siemens adds factory jobs — U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday will announce requirements for the government to buy more made-in-America goods at a White House event where Germany’s Siemens AG will commit to new investments in U.S. manufacturing. Biden has vowed to direct more of the $600 billion in federal spending each year toward domestically manufactured goods in hopes that doing so will rebuild factories in hard-up regions, create blue-collar jobs and shift the country away from a reliance on competitors like China.
► From HuffPost — U.S. added 678,000 jobs in February as Omicron eases — U.S. employers added a robust 678,000 jobs in February, another gain that underscored the economy’s solid health as the Omicron wave fades and more Americans venture out to spend at restaurants, shops and hotels despite surging inflation.
► From the Washington Post — House passes bill to expand health care for veterans exposed to toxins; 174 Republicans vote against — The bill would expand health-care eligibility for veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxins. The U.S. military used burn pits throughout Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste, medical and hazardous materials, and jet fuel, exposing veterans to toxins that have caused long-lasting medical problems. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she was “amazed and surprised” by Republicans’ criticism of the bill’s price tag:
“It’s a cost of war. For the Republicans to go to the floor and say that veterans really don’t want this help because it’s going to cost money, and they’re more concerned about the budget [than] they are about their health. Oh, really? You just gave tax cuts in 2017 to the richest people in America. Tax cuts for the rich, cancer for our veterans. That’s how we view this discussion.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington Republican Reps. Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted “no.”
► From the Washington Post — Trump’s border wall has been breached more than 3,000 times by smugglers, CBP records show — Trump promised Mexico would pay for the structure, but his administration spent roughly $11 billion in taxpayer funds on the wall, most of which he diverted from Defense Department accounts.
► From the Washington Post — IRS rushes to hire 10,000 workers but giant backlog expected to persist through 2022 — The agency does not expect to resolve its backlog of 24 million tax returns until the end of the year.
► From HuffPost — New York Times tech workers vote to unionize — Software engineers and product designers at The New York Times have voted overwhelmingly to unionize, creating a large union of tech workers at the paper of record and extending labor’s winning streak in media. An NLRB ballot count on Thursday showed 404 workers supported forming a union while 88 opposed it. The employees will be represented by the NewsGuild-CWA, the same union that includes reporters, editors and other journalists in The New York Times newsroom.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Are you ready to bargain? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better working conditions and a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From the Washington Post — Amazon is now facing a third union vote at one of its warehouses — A third Amazon warehouse has collected enough signatures to hold a vote on whether to unionize, the NLRB confirmed Thursday, part of a movement spreading throughout the e-commerce giant to push for better working conditions. The warehouse is the second on Staten Island to push for a union.
► From Jacobin — Despite Amazon’s propaganda, local Alabamans overwhelmingly support the Bessemer union drive — New polling finds that a near supermajority of Black residents in Jefferson Country, Alabama, back the worker-led effort to unionize the massive facility in Bessemer.
► From Forbes — First Starbucks, now REI: The movement to unionize retail workers picks up — The successful REI union vote comes on the heels of Starbucks employees in three New York locations and one in Mesa, AZ choosing union representation. While only a handful of Starbucks’ nearly 9,000 company-owned locations are affected, employees in more than 100 locations across 26 states reportedly have filed to join Workers United, an affiliate of the SEIU.
NEW: Leaked video shows a Starbucks manager reprimanding a 19-year-old barista to tears in a union-busting effort.
Phoenix shift supervisor Laila Dalton was disciplined after handing out union cards to coworkers.
Starbucks tried to make her quit. Instead they filed for a union. pic.twitter.com/JKLmkwtNVf
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) March 4, 2022
The Stand (Feb. 14) — Tell Starbucks: Reinstate fired workers, stop union busting!
► From the NY Times — Florida lawmakers vote to ban abortions after 15 weeks — The legislation is modeled after an abortion law in Mississippi that the Supreme Court appears poised to uphold in a ruling expected this summer.
EDITOR’S NOTE — With the 2019 passage of Resolution #31, “the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, affirms that reproductive rights are workers’ rights and will defend and support efforts to obtain and maintain health care for working people covering all reproductive rights choices.”
► From Reuters — Jury acquits only Louisville officer charged in Breonna Taylor raid — A Kentucky jury on Thursday acquitted a white former detective of endangering neighbors of Breonna Taylor during a botched raid that killed the Black woman in her home, clearing law enforcement of all criminal liability in a case that rocked the United States in 2020.
► This week, The Entire Staff of The Stand read a feature in the New York Times about DakhaBrakha:
For years, the Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha has ended its shows chanting, “Stop Putin! No war!” What they had protested has now come to pass. DakhaBrakha, based in Kyiv, has long served as ambassadors for Ukrainian music and culture, at once preserving and transforming them. The group gives the polyphonic harmonies of Ukrainian traditional songs a contemporary, internationalist makeover, using African, Australian, Arabic, Indian and Russian instrumentation alongside punk, scatting, hip-hop, trance and dance influences.
So naturally we had to check them out. The group’s name derives from Ukrainian verbs Давати and Брати, meaning “give” and “take,” and they sound amazing! Today, we hope for safety for them, for all the people of Ukraine, and for all people affected by ongoing armed conflicts across the globe in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, and elsewhere.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.