The Stand

Concrete strike update | Free-agent nurses | More movies, more jobs

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Monday, March 28, 2022

 

 


LOCAL

 

► From the PS Business Journal — Teamsters balk at concrete companies’ return-to-work offer — Four concrete companies have made an offer to get all striking concrete-delivery truck drivers back to work by April 1 at the latest, but the head of Teamsters Local 174 said it amounted to a request to end the strike. Update: The union on Monday clarified it had not rejected the offer, as a previous version of this article stated; instead, the union said it was attempting Friday to schedule an in-person meeting with the companies to ask additional questions about their proposal. As of Friday evening, the union was awaiting response from the companies’ lead negotiator as to when the two sides could meet.

► From the Seattle Times — U.S. Labor Secretary Walsh talks Starbucks, Amazon and the labor movement during Seattle visit — Workers and representatives of labor groups met Friday with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Pramila Jayapal to talk unions, workforce development and Seattle. The federal officials visited a Machinists union hall in South Park to push support for Murray’s PRO Act, or the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. The legislation, which passed the House and is currently in the Senate, would expand labor protections for employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. Murray said:

“Unions can actually give workers a very powerful voice … to demand their share of this economic growth, demand better wages and working conditions that allow them to take care of their own families, and for those businesses to be able to grow and help us be a better country. So it is our job to protect every single worker’s right.”

ALSO TODAY at The StandMore than ever, Americans need the PRO Act

► From the PS Business Journal — Nurses for hire: More nurses leaving hospitals for better-paying jobs as contract workers — Nurses across the country have left the profession during the pandemic due to burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder. That toll pushed 500,000 health care workers out of the industry in just the first year of the pandemic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. The agency projects another 500,000 workers to leave health care, either through retirement or to career shifts, by the end of 2022, bringing the nationwide shortage to 1.1 million. In Washington, the demand for staff nurses is estimated between 6,000 and 12,000 open jobs. That doesn’t include nurses assistants or other support roles.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From the AP — Governor signs $17B spending package for state transportation system — A nearly $17 billion, 16-year transportation spending package that will pay for a variety of projects across the state was signed Friday by Gov. Jay Inslee. Under the plan, money will be spent on highway preservation, bridge maintenance, road projects, transit expansion, fulfilling the state’s court-ordered obligation to remove fish passage barriers, and expanding bike, bus and pedestrian programs. There’s money to build four electric state ferries and to allow anyone under the age of 18 to ride free on buses, the state ferries and Amtrak. There is $1 billion to cover the state’s share for a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River connecting Washington and Oregon. And there is $150 million to continue the state’s pursuit of high speed rail from Portland to Vancouver, B.C.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Inslee signs transportation package into law with funding for new electric ferries — New funding for transportation over the next 16 years means new transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects, maintenance of roads and electrifying the ferry fleet in Washington.

► From the Seattle Times — Legislature passes bill giving moviemakers more incentives to film in state — A bill that passed the state Legislature this month would increase the annual tax break cap for filmmakers to $15 million, quadrupling the limit to the amount of money that Washington businesses could deductively donate to support the state’s film industry. For years, Washington’s moviemaking tax breaks have lagged behind nearly every other state. Of the 33 states with film industry tax incentives, Washington’s annual cap of $3.5 million — the statewide total that businesses could receive in tax write-offs — is higher than only Nevada’s $1 million. Meanwhile, California’s $330 million and Oregon’s $20 million tax caps end up drawing away movie producers with meaningful Washington stories, according to film industry professionals.

► From KUOW — Why are these 23 WA state lawmakers choosing not to seek re-election? — There are 23 Washington state lawmakers who have decided not to run for re-election this year. And sure, it happens. Lawmakers retire. They move on to new or existing obligations. But it’s hard not to take note of the exodus in Olympia, especially given the current overall political climate.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Rep. Sutherland reprimanded for berating, swearing at security chief — An investigation found the Granite Falls Republican’s behavior, including use of profanity, violated rules of conduct. Sutherland must take a “refresher course” on respectful workplace expectations and attend “constructive conflict coaching” approved and paid for by the House, according to the reprimand letter.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From Bloomberg — U.S. union chief cautions Fed against ‘rashly’ raising rates — The Federal Reserve should be careful to avoid raising interest rates too aggressively so as not to harm the jobs recovery, according to the head of the largest trade-union federation in the U.S. “We’re concerned and we’re watching it very closely,” Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg News editors and reporters on Thursday in Washington. She likened the moment to the 1970s, when persistent inflation spurred the central bank to sharply raise borrowing costs, which sent the economy into a recession.

► From the Washington Post — Biden to unveil new minimum tax on billionaires in budget — The White House will unveil a new minimum tax targeting billionaires as part of its 2023 budget Monday, proposing a tax on the richest 700 Americans for the first time. The “Billionaire Minimum Income Tax” plan under President Biden would establish a 20 percent minimum tax rate on all American households worth more than $100 million, the document says. The majority of new revenue raised by the tax would come from billionaires.

► From Reuters — Supreme Court turns away challenge to Trump steel tariffs — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge by steel companies to former President Trump’s 2018 decision to double tariffs on steel imports from Turkey on national security grounds — a policy move defended by President Biden’s administration.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From Reuters — Grocery workers vote to strike if needed in southern California for higher wages — Around 48,000 grocery workers voted to strike if needed when seeking higher wages from stores owned by Kroger Co. and Albertsons Companies Inc. in Southern California, the UFCW 770 union said on Saturday. The union has been seeking significantly higher and equal pay, sufficient staffing and enough working hours in their negotiations with the grocers, which began on Jan. 28. As U.S. food prices rise, workers are pushing big corporations that have been posting record profits to offer more.

► From al.com — ‘I feel very unsafe’: Union alleges unsafe conditions at Alabama Amazon facility — Workers at an Alabama Amazon facility were allegedly told to keep working Friday at potentially vaporized oil spread throughout a series of floors. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is seeking to represent workers at the facility, made the allegations know about the Bessemer facility.

► From C-Net — The first Google Fiber workers have unionized — Google Fiber contractors in Missouri have unionized. On Friday, they signed up with the Alphabet Workers Union, the umbrella union representing employees of Google’s parent company, and they’ll be the first AWU unit to bargain for a contract.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Are you ready to bargain for better wages and working conditions? 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!

► From MPR — Minneapolis educators approve contract, classes set to resume Tuesday — Minneapolis teachers and education support professionals have approved a new contract, the district said Sunday night. Over the weekend as members voted, the union and district agreed to a plan to to bring educators back on Monday as a transition day, with students returning on Tuesday. The strike lasted nearly three weeks.

► From Vox — Teachers across the country are demanding better pay and support — As the Minneapolis strike ends, however, another is starting: Public school teachers and support staff in Sacramento began their own walk-out on Wednesday, which has shuttered schools for 40,000 students across the K-12 district. Other teacher strikes in Sonoma County, California, and Illinois also took place earlier this year as part of a wave of protest against underfunded classrooms, low wages, and COVID-19 protocols. Much of the fighting between educators and district officials have been squarely rooted in the issue of funding. Teachers and school support staff, like those who’ve been striking in Minneapolis, are demanding better salaries, mental health support, and safer in-school pandemic protocols. In response, district officials tend to argue they don’t have enough money to make those kinds of investments.

 


INTERNATIONAL

 

► From the NY Times — General strike throws India into confusion — The two-day strike, involving both public and private sector workers, was called to protest the Modi government’s economic policies, including a privatization plan.

 


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

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