Monday, April 18, 2022
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, April 18 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 1,474,548 infections (14-day average of cases per day: 1,272) and 12,619 deaths.
► From the Tri-City Herald — More COVID deaths in Tri-Cities as new case rates tick upward elsewhere. Boosters urged — Public health officials are seeing severe illnesses in elderly people who may have received their initial vaccinations but then did not get boosters.
► From KIRO — Unvaccinated firefighters face termination — Several firefighters in King County say they’ll be out of a job at Eastside Fire and Rescue because they have not been vaccinated for COVID-19. They said their exemptions have not been accommodated.
The Stand (Oct. 18) — WSLC position on vaccine mandates
► From the (Everett) Herald — Verizon stores in Everett, Lynnwood vote to join union — Employees at Verizon stores in Everett and Lynnwood won their union election on Friday, making them the first unionized Verizon stores in the country outside of New York. The near-unanimous victory represents only the latest in a growing labor movement across the country that includes unionization of Starbucks stores and the first Amazon warehouse union. Austin Hitch, a Verizon employee and organizer in the union campaign:
“I already knew we were going to win. I’m already onto the next step. We just have to get more workers to join us and more stores to go union.”
The Stand (April 15) — Verizon Wireless workers vote Union YES!
EDITOR’S NOTE — 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!
► From the Seattle Times — Verizon workers in Snohomish County vote to unionize; Starbucks workers walk out — In a demonstration of how dissatisfied lower-wage workers are turning toward unions, workers at Verizon retail stores in Everett and Lynnwood voted Friday to unionize while employees at two Seattle Starbucks stores walked off the job.
► From KING — Workers at 2 downtown Seattle Starbucks stores picket over ‘unfair labor practices’ — Workers at two Starbucks stores said they are going on strike Friday to protest what the Starbuck Workers United Union called “unfair labor practices” and “union-busting tactics.”
? @Starbucks Unfair Labor Practices explained by a Barista on Strike:
“They can’t fire me for organizing a union in my store so they’re going to fire me for anything else they can
— Starbucks Worker Solidarity (@VentiSolidarity) April 16, 2022
► From Q13 — Concrete workers return to work, begin pouring concrete on West Seattle Bridge — Hundreds of concrete workers have agreed to return to work, and crews started structural concrete pouring to repair the West Seattle Bridge Saturday morning. Concrete trucks were coming and going on the West Seattle Bridge on Saturday, as structural concrete pours are underway. This, as hundreds of striking concrete workers have come back in good faith and contract negotiations continue.
► From KIRO — Delta pilots to picket at Sea-Tac Airport citing fatigue from staffing shortfall — Just like Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines pilots plan to picket at Sea-Tac Airport on Tuesday. Pilots are citing fatigue from a shortfall of staff needed for the airlines’ flight schedule as things return to pre-pandemic levels.
► From CNN — Fatigue is starting to put safety at risk, pilots say — Pilots at Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines say pilot exhaustion is on the rise, and they’re pressing the airlines treat fatigue and the mistakes that result as a safety risk.
► From Crosscut — Seattle proposes minimum wage for DoorDash, Rover, other gig workers — The Pay Up policy would provide a base-pay equivalent to Seattle’s minimum wage, along with other worker protections for app-based workers.
► From the Seattle Times — WA insurance chief Mike Kreidler accused of using racist slurs; staff allege mistreatment — Half a dozen former or potential employees disclosed instances of Kreidler being demeaning or rude, overly focused on race and using derogatory terms for transgender people and people of Mexican, Chinese, Italian or Spanish descent, as well as asking some employees of color for unusual favors. The instances are from 2017 to 2022.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
► From the AP — Some state lawmakers calling it quits, can’t afford to serve — Lawmakers in multiple states, often those with part-time “citizen” legislatures, have raised similar complaints. In Oregon, where the base pay is about $33,000 a year, three female state representatives announced in March they are not seeking reelection because they can’t afford to support their families on a part-time salary for what’s really full-time work. They called the situation “unsustainable” in a joint resignation letter.
► From the Oregonian — Oregon immigration is down sharply, fueling labor shortage — The number of working-age immigrants living in Oregon has fallen by nearly a third over the past five years, reversing decades of steady increases and contributing to the state’s labor shortage.
► From the AP — Biden to require U.S.-made steel, iron for infrastructure — The Biden administration is taking a key step toward ensuring that federal dollars will support U.S. manufacturing — issuing requirements for how projects funded by the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package source their construction material.
► From The Hill — Democrats prepare to take second run at Biden spending plan — The hopes of reviving Build Back Better—albeit, significantly altered and likely with a different name—comes after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) deep-sixed a roughly $2 trillion, House-passed bill late last year.
► From the NY Times — America has turned its back on its poorest families (by Ezra Klein) — The expanded child tax credit was a huge experiment, it was studied exhaustively, and we can now say this definitively: It worked. But Congress allowed it to expire and once again, we are accepting our prepandemic levels of child poverty as a permanent feature of our democracy. The Biden administration’s single biggest policy success has turned, for now, into a signal political failure. It’s a product of a broken Senate that now does much of its major legislating through the bizarre budget reconciliation process.
► From the NY Times — Treasury makes a plea for more IRS funding on Tax Day — The Biden administration continues to push for $80 billion in new funding for the tax collection agency.
► From the Washington Post — The IRS urgently needs more money and staff (editorial) — The IRS is currently limping along without enough staff or funding. Congress, especially Republicans, needs to face up to reality.
► From Vice — ‘What choice do I have?’ Freight train conductors are forced to work tired, sick, and stressed — Two weeks ago, a BNSF freight train conductor, who asked not to be named so he could speak freely about his experience, fell asleep on duty while the train was moving. He knows it’s a fireable offense, not to mention an unsafe practice that potentially endangers not only his own life but those of others near the tracks. But he couldn’t help it. He fell asleep because of the punishing attendance policy the railroad enacted in February called Hi Viz, a points system that requires workers to be on-call upwards of 90 percent of their lives, depriving them of any semblance of a non-work life.
► From HuffPost — For the Starbucks union campaign, a bruising contract fight is just beginning — Both sides are now girding for what’s likely to be a bruising fight at the negotiating table, one that could ultimately determine the future of unions inside Starbucks.
Want to know the details of @amazon agreements w/ 3rd party anti-union consultants fighting @amazonlabor @RWDSU? I downloaded & screenshot all the agreements I could find on DOL’s website. (I know it’s a Sunday. Some ppl knit. I do this). First one, from 2/23/22. A thread. 1/13 pic.twitter.com/czpgSYtReU
— Terri Gerstein (@TerriGerstein) April 17, 2022
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.