Thursday, May 12, 2022
► From the Seattle Times — COVID cases are up. Most mandates ended months ago. So where does WA stand? — Shifting public health guidance, the emergence of new variants and continued strain on hospitals has made it difficult to gauge personal and community risk, leaving Washingtonians to wonder: Is this a new phase of the pandemic?
► From the Washington Post — Biden orders U.S. flags at half-staff to mark 1 million U.S. coronavirus deaths — He says we must “remain vigilant against this pandemic.”
► From the Washington Post — How 1 million Americans COVID deaths compares to other tragedies in U.S. history (visual essay) — Historians estimate the death toll for the American Civil War to be about 750,000 military and 50,000 civilian deaths. COVID has killed hundreds of thousands more people, in about half the time.
► From the Washington Post — COVID shutdowns in China are delaying medical scans in the U.S. — Doctors are postponing nonemergency tests after a GE Healthcare factory in Shanghai was closed amid COVID lockdowns.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Thanks for nothing, free traders.
NEW: Verizon fired Jesse Mason after he started unionizing with his coworkers.
Mason was terminated the day after he was photographed at a vote count party for two other Verizon stores.
Verizon has poured big money into an anti-union campaign. But workers are fighting back. pic.twitter.com/efgCwtTaEN
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) May 11, 2022
TODAY at The Stand — LaborLab tracks union-busting, empowers workers to unionize
► From the (Everett) Herald — 35 teachers get layoff notices as Marysville braces for loss of levies — Athletics and security staff are also in danger, as district leaders look to trim $13.5 million from next year’s budget.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Evergreen Public Schools’ staff push back against cuts — Evergreen Public Schools’ board of directors saw backlash from teachers and community stakeholders at Tuesday night’s meeting over the district’s cuts to staffing in its diversity, equity and inclusion department.
► From the UW Center for Labor Studies — Student profile: In museum union drive, Joshua Davis brings Labor Studies to the workplace — Spotlighted in the Seattle Times and Crosscut, Josh Davis (pictured at far right) is a University of Washington Labor Studies student and security worker at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) that has been playing an active role in unionizing with the assistance of the IUPAT Local 116. Davis and his co-workers previously aimed to encourage SAM to provide voluntary recognition of IUPAT 116 and sought their unionization to confront various workplace concerns. They later chose independent unionization and refiled under SAM VSO Union. Employees at SAM are currently voting whether or not to join the union. Davis spoke to the Bridges Center about his experiences and his education in Labor Studies at the UW:
“Among other reasons, we realized that there was no guarantee of the continuation of any of our benefits without a union contract.”
► From the Daily News — Postal union complaint alleges Longview worker removed over mask debate — A unionized Longview post office worker claims they were unjustly removed from duty in March during a dispute with management over the mask mandate.
► From L&I — Spokane cannabis business could owe employees $300,000 in unpaid wages — Three Lovely Buds cannabis shops in Spokane could owe employees as much as $300,000 in unpaid wages and overtime from the past three years.
► From Reuters — Boeing sees progress on 787, China, but supply chain risks loom — Boeing said on Wednesday it would study an equity raise after unlocking deliveries of its 787 and returning its cash-cow 737 MAX to service in China, but flagged supply chain risks amid broader certification and industrial problems. Resuming deliveries of 787 Dreamliners and clearing inventories of its 737 Max are vital for Boeing’s ability to emerge from overlapping crises. Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West said that when Boeing raises production, “it will be a function of our confidence in our supply chain, not the demand signals.”
► From the Northern Light — State labor council: BPA power agreement for Ferndale smelter could soon be decided — After nearly a year of Intalco power negotiations, a state union representative close to the discussions said Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) could have a decision as soon as within a week for the aluminum smelter’s potential buyer. However, a BPA spokesperson says conversations remain in a preliminary phase. “We are making progress but we’re not there yet,” Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) president Larry Brown told The Northern Light. “I think we should know in the next week or two.”
The Stand (May 9) — State’s manufacturing unions urge BPA power deal for Intalco
The Stand (March 14) — BPA power deal is the last hurdle to restarting Intalco (by WSLC President Larry Brown)
► From Accountable Northwest — Yachts Not Schools: Washington’s ultra-rich have banded together to avoid a capital gains tax — Some of the same uber-rich citizens who filed the original lawsuit against the tax are now funding a ballot initiative called “Repeal the Capital Gains Income Tax,” or I-1929. In fact, the list of contributors is practically a who’s who of the state’s investment bankers. If it qualifies for the ballot and passes, the capital gains tax law will be revoked and Washington state will have lost its latest opportunity to balance out the nation’s most regressive tax structure.
► From Q13 — Massive backlog of appeals from Employment Security Department affecting about 22,000 Washingtonians — After historic jobless claims in Washington State during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings is now working on a massive backlog of appeals from the Employment Security Department.
► From AP — Democrats’ bid to secure Roe v. Wade falls to Republican-led filibuster — The Senate fell far short Wednesday in a rushed effort toward enshrining Roe v. Wade abortion access as federal law, blocked by a Republican filibuster in a blunt display of the nation’s partisan divide over the landmark court decision and the limits of legislative action. The almost party-line tally promises to be the first of several efforts to preserve the 50-year-old court ruling, which declares a constitutional right to abortion services but is at serious risk of being overturned this summer by a conservative Supreme Court.
TODAY at The Stand — Nurses: All deserve reproductive health care — Washington State and Oregon Nurses Associations are “unequivocally opposed” to the criminalization of abortion.
I’m live on the Senate floor ahead of our vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act.
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) May 11, 2022
► From The Hill — Experts warn overturning Roe would hit poor people hardest
► From the AP — Justices to meet for 1st time since leak of draft Roe ruling
► From Vox — The end of Roe will mean more children living in poverty — How “pro-life” states are failing new parents and babies.
► From the NY Times — Lisa Cook is confirmed as a new Fed governor — The Senate confirmed Lisa D. Cook as a Federal Reserve governor on Tuesday, making her the first Black woman to hold that influential policy post. Her confirmation came after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-to-50 tie in the Senate, moving the Biden administration one step closer to reshaping the leadership team at the central bank.
► From The Hill — The privatization of space is taking off, but not everyone is over the moon — In 2030, NASA plans to retire the International Space Station. But humans are not leaving space. NASA has partnered with numerous companies to design and build private space stations, which NASA will lease space on. These commercial stations represent a new phase of space exploration and inhabitation, with proponents of privatization saying it will lead to lower costs, more research and development and a robust space economy. Critics point to the risks: lack of accountability, labor issues, environmental damage and more.
► From Business Insider — If you want a construction project finished on time without worker shortages, hire a unionized crew, a new report says — Like businesses across the country, construction contractors say they’re dealing with a labor shortage. But the authors of a new report from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign argue that the labor supply crunch is nothing new. There is, however, one factor that seems to make the difference in whether contractors can keep their workers and finish projects on time: If their workers are unionized.
► From Bloomberg — Starbucks baristas are unionizing, and even Howard Schultz can’t make them stop — Why Starbucks? Dozens of baristas across eight states say the reality of the green apron falls short of the picture Schultz paints, and short of U.S. workers’ rising expectations. Even before the pandemic, Starbucks stores were understaffed. COVID-19 exacerbated that and added major health risks, as corporate failed to account for staff shortages, provide employees with high-quality masks, or reinstitute its mask mandate once a new variant came along. The newly unionized employees are demanding stronger job protections, deeper staffing, and higher pay that also accounts for inflation. If staffing issues mean one of them has to do double the work for a shift, they say, that person should get paid double, too.
BREAKING: California now has its first two unionized Starbucks stores.
Workers in Santa Cruz won both union elections today, as @SBWorkersUnited racked up a combined vote tally of 27-3.
There are 18 more stores in California with union elections to come.
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) May 11, 2022
► From the NY Times — A union blitzed Starbucks. At Amazon, it’s a slog. — To win, a union must get the backing of more than 50 percent of the workers who cast a vote. That means 15 or 20 pro-union workers can ensure victory in a typical Starbucks store — a level of support that can be summoned in hours or days. At Amazon warehouses, a union frequently would have to win hundreds or thousands of votes. Organizers for the Amazon Labor Union spent hundreds of hours talking with co-workers inside the warehouse during breaks, after work and on days off.
► From the New Republic — Target workers are joining the union wave — On Tuesday, a new retail store joined the recent frenzy of union activity: Workers at a Target in Christiansburg, Virginia, filed for a union election with the NLRB. The workers behind the drive at that location hope to be the first of many for the retail chain. Other stores are working in concert with these organizers on following suit, although none are ready yet to call their own elections. Adam Ryan, one of the lead organizers at Target Workers Unite — the umbrella organization for Target employees seeking to unionize — and the Christiansburg store, estimates that workers at about a half-dozen Target stores currently have active but early stage campaigns.
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!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.