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Mud getting done | ‘Completely stressed,’ all right | Harris, Walsh BFFs

Monday, April 11, 2022




► From the Seattle Times — Teamsters say they will end Seattle-area concrete strike, but still no deal with employers — Hundreds of striking Seattle-area concrete mixer drivers will return to work without a deal, ending a work stoppage that has upended construction projects across the region. Teamsters Local 174 said Friday afternoon that all of the more than 300 striking drivers, who work for six local companies, have “offered an unconditional return to work starting on Monday.” The union had previously sent a portion of its drivers back to work. Brett Gallagher, a mixer driver and member of the union bargaining committee, said:

“This won’t stop the negotiations. It will just stop people thinking we’re to blame and we’re the bad guys. We have a lot of mud to get done and a lot of people to get back to work.”

► From the PS Business Journal — Concrete deliveries in Seattle appear set to resume on Monday — Striking ready-mix truck drivers said Friday they’ll return to work Monday, and their employers said they’ll welcome them. It’s the first major breakthrough in a long-running strike that has ground the construction industry to a near halt and idled thousands of non-striking construction workers whose work depends on the flow of concrete. Negotiations between Teamsters Local 174 and concrete suppliers are to continue when deliveries resume.

► From the PS Business Journal — If you build it… — The $1.9 billion addition to the newly named Seattle Convention Center is expected to attract more events to the region. The tourism industry is banking on it… A strike by concrete ready-mix drivers is the latest delay for the 1.5 million-square-foot project, which after nearly four years of construction is tantalizingly close to completion.

► From the PS Business Journal — Alaska Airlines cuts flights through June amid pilot shortage — With brisk spring break traffic portending high summer demand, Alaska Airlines revealed plans to cut 2% of its flights through June in response to a shortfall of pilots to fly them. The SeaTac-based airline canceled hundreds of flights in the first week of April. The cancellations came against the backdrop of unrest among pilots, around 1,500 of whom demonstrated April 1 against a lack of progress on negotiations for a new contract.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Ben Franklin Transit tax on the chopping block for a second time — Ben Franklin Transit leaders are looking at an estimated $7 million tax cut that could also mean missing out on $75 million in state grants. For the second time in less than a year, the transit board will decide whether it wants to reduce the 0.6% sales tax. The board rejected a similar measure in August.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Don’t cut Tri-Cities bus service. Your disabled neighbors rely on Ben Franklin Transit. (editorial)




► From the Spokesman-Review — ‘The whole system is completely stressed’ — Washington’s rural hospitals grapple with ongoing staff shortage as fierce competition for workers gives big cities the advantage… Even as the latest COVID wave has receded, rural hospitals are struggling to fill their vacant nursing roles. Rural hospital administrators say they still aren’t back to pre-pandemic staffing levels, which is why they voiced concerns over a proposal at the Legislature that would have required them to hire even more staff.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This reporter didn’t bother to contact or include comment from the advocates for the safe-staffing bill. If she had, she might have learned that under the legislation, rural Critical Access Hospitals — including the one profiled in this report — would have lots of extra time (up to four years) to comply with the safe-staffing ratios. And even then, if the hospital can demonstrate that hiring sufficient staff to keep patients and nurses safe was infeasible, they could be granted a variance. Instead, she parroted the talking points of the hospital lobbyists about their struggles to recruit nurses amid a pandemic. Unsafe staffing levels are a problem that existed long before the pandemic. It was caused by cost-cutting profit-minded hospitals demanding that nurses cover more and more patients.

► From KIRO — Washington State Ferries struggling with worker shortage (video)




► From the Washington Post — Kamala Harris, Marty Walsh and the unlikely bonds of politicsOne speaks with a thick Boston accent, the other is a proud daughter of California. One has distinct Irish roots, the other has ancestors in India and Jamaica. One proudly wears pearls, the other has a declared love of cargo shorts. In what has become one of the more unusual pairings in the Biden administration, Vice President Harris and Marty Walsh, the secretary of Labor, have struck up a tight bond that started with policy and has evolved into a personal connection that has surprised those close to them. The two have been thrown together in large part because Harris has focused much of her attention on labor issues, as the Biden White House works furiously to slow the exodus of blue-collar workers from the Democratic Party.

► From The Guardian — Republican-run states mimic Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ bill in chilling wave of gag orders — Since Florida passed its controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, conservative states across America have been taking on similar style bills as they attempt to ban the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms.




► From HuffPost — The Starbucks union campaign has won 16 elections and lost just one — The union representing Starbucks workers continues to grow every week. Workers at all three of the coffee chain’s locations in Ithaca, New York, voted almost unanimously to join the union Workers United on Friday. The election results for the trio of stores were 19-1, 13-1 and 15-1. Following this week’s vote counts, the campaign known as Starbucks Workers United has won 16 elections and lost only one, and now represents hundreds of workers in several states. All told, the campaign has filed for elections at roughly 200 stores around the country, making it likely many more will choose to unionize.

► From Vice — Starbucks just fired a(nother) union organizer for allegedly breaking a sink — Starbucks fired the 20-year-old barista and organizer just days before employees begin voting on whether to unionize.

► From More Perfect Union — Starbucks barista challenges CEO Howard Schultz at airport meeting — “If you hate Starbucks so much, why don’t you go somewhere else?” Schultz told a barista who challenged his anti-union stance.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Howard: Good jobs are created by people who REFUSE to quit; people who join together to insist on better wages and working conditions. That’s a sign that they love their company, not that they hate it.

Are YOU ready for a voice at work? 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!

P.S. Be like $10.50 an hour Shelly. Know your rights!




► From The Guardian — Largest U.S. union federation presses Fifa on labor rights around 2026 World Cup — The U.S.’s largest federation of labor unions is leading a coalition demanding Fifa address concerns around human and labor rights at the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and commit to minimum standards on these issues. The 2022 tournament in Qatar, to be held later this year, has already been marred in egregious human rights and labor violations, including the deaths of thousands of migrant workers who were brought into the country to build stadiums and infrastructure for the event; evidence of forced labor, reports of withheld wages; exorbitant recruitment fees charged to workers; and paltry pay.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!