Tuesday, April 5, 2022
► From KIRO — Alaska Airlines cancels more flights as pilot shortage continues — On Monday, 30 flights were canceled at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. At least ten more flights scheduled for Tuesday have also been canceled. In total, the airline has canceled at least 361 flights, impacting more than 43,100 customers, in just the past four days. These cancellations started the same day as members of the Alaska Airlines Pilots Union began
striking picketing for a new contract following two years of failed negotiations. Will McQuillen, the Alaska Airlines MEC chairman for the Air Line Pilots Association, said:
“We’re simply seeking work rules and scheduling flexibility, What you’re seeing is something that we warned the company about starting late last fall, and ongoing warnings issued throughout the spring, about the fact that attrition was becoming a material concern, that they would not have enough pilots to operate the schedule as the seasonal flying spooled up come spring and summer.”
► From the Yakima H-R — Demand for H-2A workers continues to grow in Yakima Valley, Washington state — The use of temporary agriculture workers from Mexico and elsewhere has increased greatly over the past 10-15 years in the Yakima Valley and state of Washington, and that trend is expected to continue in 2022.
► From Huffpost — How Amazon workers beat the union busters at their own game — Amazon spent millions on anti-union consultants last year. One worker explains how he and his friends discredited and flustered them to win a historic election. “Their job is to operate in the shadows,” Connor Spence said of the consultants. “When you expose them for what they are, it makes it very difficult for them to do their job.” He and his friends were able to compile unflattering dossiers, to show workers that the consultants get rich “convincing poor people to stay poor.”
The Stand (April 1) — WSLC congratulates NYC Amazon workers
► From the NY Times — Maybe Amazon shouldn’t have dissed its own workers (by Jamelle Bouie) — Faced with an unexpectedly strong organizing campaign by workers at one of its Staten Island warehouses, Amazon initially turned to one of the oldest tricks in the anti-union playbook: a little bit of racism. In March 2020, David Zapolsky, Amazon’s general counsel, believed the company could discredit the organizers if they made Christian Smalls — who is young, Black and has tattoos on his neck — “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.” If that was the plan, it backfired.
— Christian Smalls (@Shut_downAmazon) April 5, 2022
► Meanwhile from the PS Business Journal — Amazon CEO Andy Jassy granted $212M stock award last year — Amazon CEO Andy Jassy received an eye-popping compensation package in 2021, when he took over the company’s top job. Jassy’s total compensation in 2021 was more than $212 million, according to a SEC filing submitted Friday.
► From the Intercept — Leaked: New Amazon worker chat app would ban words like “union,” “restrooms,” “pay raise,” and “plantation” — Amazon will block and flag employee posts on a planned internal messaging app that contain keywords pertaining to labor unions, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Intercept. An automatic word monitor would also block a variety of terms that could represent potential critiques of Amazon’s working conditions, like “slave labor,” “prison,” and “plantation,” as well as “restrooms” — presumably related to reports of Amazon employees relieving themselves in bottles to meet punishing quotas.
► From the Spokesman-Review — The pandemic potty-mouth draws well-earned rebuke from House, party (by Shawn Vestal) — As we were reminded last week, sometimes when people act badly, they trot out a raft of self-pitying, self-justifying words right in the place where an apology belongs, in a way that only deepens the original offense. That’s the case with Will Smith, and his ludicrous, weepy pivot toward God’s plan at the Oscars. And it’s the case in a matter you’ve surely heard a lot less about: Rep. Robert Sutherland’s crude, defiant refusal to follow COVID-19 protocols and to paint himself as a victim of tyrannical security guards.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Washington allows campaign funds to cover child care — With the stroke of a pen, Washington became the 16th state in the nation to allow candidates to use campaign funds to cover child care costs.
► From the AP — Murkowski, Romney back Jackson, all but assure confirmation — Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney say they will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic elevation to the Supreme Court, giving President Joe Biden’s nominee a burst of bipartisan support and all but assuring she’ll become the first Black female justice.
► From the Washington Post — With Obama looking on, White House to open ACA plans to more families — President Biden plans to announce Tuesday that his administration is making a tweak to federal rules long sought by advocates that would allow millions of additional families to buy health plans through the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. The announcement will represent Biden’s latest effort to use the ACA as the main fulcrum for his goal of making health insurance more available and affordable to American consumers.
► From Roll Call — Senate reaches deal on $10 billion in COVID-19 spending — Senate negotiators on Monday released text of their deal to provide $10 billion in supplemental funding to the DHHS for the government’s ongoing COVID-19 response. The package, which unlike an earlier agreement does not include any international aid, is fully offset by repurposing $10 billion in unspent funds from prior pandemic relief laws.
► From Roll Call — Infrastructure law demands new focus on transit worker assaults — Transit operators and unions say they’ve seen a spike in violence against transit workers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And workers complain it’s hard to quantify that spike. Provisions of the new infrastructure law create a legal definition of assault to better capture the full scope of assaults.
► From the LA Times — A grocery worker strike was imminent. Then came a 30-hour bargaining marathon. — A union representing 47,000 Southern California grocery workers tentatively signed a new three-year contract with Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, averting a strike they had authorized last week. The contract will be put to a vote next week by rank-and-file members of seven UFCW locals representing employees at 540 stores from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.
► From Yahoo Finance — Starbucks baristas react to ‘threat of unionization’ comments from interim CEO Schultz — Interim Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz held a town hall meeting with partners (as Starbucks employees are known) on Monday and said:
“Now here’s where it gets a little sensitive — because I’ve been coached a little bit — but I do want to talk about something pretty serious. We can’t ignore what is happening in the country as it relates to companies throughout the country being assaulted in many ways, by the threat of unionization.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Starbucks “partners” ARE the union! The only threat to Starbucks workers is from management and high-paid union-busting consultants who may fire them if they support the freedom to join together in a union. Just ask a(nother) pro-union Starbucks worker who just got fired…
— laila dalton (@lailaddaltonn) April 4, 2022
The Stand (March 30) — Starbucks workers ‘burnt out, sick and tired’
The Stand (Feb. 14) — Tell Starbucks: Reinstate fired workers, stop union busting!
► From the Washington Post — Big oil companies are using wartime profits to enrich investors, report says — The nation’s biggest oil and gas companies have significantly increased stock buybacks and dividends since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, raising questions about whether the firms are using wartime profits to enrich investors instead of curbing Americans’ pain at the pump, three liberal advocacy groups write in a new report.
The Stand (March 16) — Build state’s green economy by taxing Big Oil’s windfall profits (by John Burbank)
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.