Thursday, May 26, 2022
► From the (Everett) Herald — As COVID trends up again, officials ‘strongly recommend’ masks — State health officials are again asking Washingtonians to mask up and think twice about crowds as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations trend upward.
► From the Olympian — Both Washington Gov. Inslee and Lt. Gov. Denny Heck have tested positive for COVID — The Lt. Governor Office says the two have not been in proximity to one another in recent days, and their cases are unrelated.
► From the Seattle Times — Alaska pilots authorize future strike if talks and mediation fail — Alaska Airlines pilots voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike at some future date if the current negotiations with management and federal mediation efforts fail. The Air Line Pilots Association said Wednesday that nearly 96% of its members cast mail-in votes and that 99% of those authorized the union’s leaders to call a strike if necessary and when permitted after a prolonged process managed by the National Mediation Board. Following an informational picket in April by 1,500 off-duty pilots, the almost unanimous resolve indicated by the vote result will increase pressure on Alaska Air management to come to a settlement on the contract.
► From the ALPA — Alaska Airlines pilots vote overwhelmingly to authorize a strike
► From the PS Business Journal — National ready-mix concrete base supplier opens Seattle-area office as strike remains unsettled — St. Louis-headquartered Concrete Strategies has opened an office in Marysville. The company did not answer a question about whether the move is related to the ongoing strike by 300-plus Teamsters ready-mix truck drivers. The strike by Local 174 began in November and spread in early December, grinding construction to a halt on public and private projects in King County until the union made “an unconditional return to work” in April. Negotiations were to continue as work resumes.
The Stand (April 9) — Teamsters concrete strikers offer unconditional return to work
► From KUOW — A Seattle-area charter school’s controversial approach to holding students back — Many parents of students at Impact Puget Sound Elementary, a charter school in Tukwila, received holdback letters based on a single test, rather than students’ overall abilities. Three teachers told KUOW that they’ve had up to one-third of their students on the “promotion in doubt” list.
► From The Onion — ‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens
The Stand (May 25) — AFT: We know this problem can be solved — Teachers union calls for action to end gun violence in our schools and communities.
TAKE A STAND — Send a message to your U.S. senators urging them to vote YES on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act. In reaction the horrific racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo last week, the House passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, a bill to strengthen the capacity of the federal government to combat domestic terrorism. The need for this action has been punctuated by the horrific mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where the lives of 19 children and two educators have been lost. Only in America do people go grocery shopping and get mowed down by a shooter with hate in his heart; only in this country are parents not assured that their kids will be safe at school.
► From Politico — Senate GOP set to block domestic terrorism bill as gun debate heats up — In the wake of a recent racist shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will hold a vote on House-passed legislation that would set up offices at the Justice Department, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to focus on domestic terrorism. The bill is expected to get few if any Republican votes.
► From the Guardian — Millions risk losing health care when COVID emergency declaration expires — According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an estimated 5.3 million to 14.2 million could lose their Medicaid coverage when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends on July 15, if it is not extended.
► From Politico — ‘This is a crisis point’: Job training deficit leaves critical jobs unfilled — The U.S. spends far less on workforce development than most other wealthy nations, which has made it difficult for its workforce and supply chain to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
► From Jacobin — Starbucks is the country’s worst labor law violator. Joe Biden should rein it in. (by John Logan) — Since its workers began organizing last September, Starbucks has engaged in a lawless, gloves-off anti-union campaign. The incredible success of the union drive has obscured the intensity and brutality of Starbucks’s unlawful union busting, which is much worse than most people could imagine. It remains to be seen whether the Joe Biden NLRB can or will act quickly and decisively enough to stop Starbucks’s incredible wave of lawless union busting from undermining the clear will of its pro-union workers.
► From the AP — Unionized Starbucks stores face hard work of bargaining — When Starbucks workers’ victory celebrations die down, a daunting hurdle remains: To win the changes they seek — like better pay and more reliable schedules — unionized stores must sit down with Starbucks and negotiate a contract. It’s a painstaking process that can take years.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It only takes years when an intransigent employer refuses to negotiate in good faith. If our labor laws had any teeth at all, corporations wouldn’t get away with dragging out negotiations that last years instead of weeks.
► From the AP — CEO pay up 17% as profits, stocks soar; workers fall behind — Even when regular workers win their biggest raises in decades, they look minuscule compared with what CEOs are getting. The typical compensation package for chief executives who run S&P 500 companies soared 17.1% last year, to a median $14.5 million, according to new data. The gain towers over the 4.4% increase in wages and benefits netted by private-sector workers through 2021, which was the fastest on record going back to 2001. The raises for many rank-and-file workers also failed to keep up with inflation, which reached 7% at the end of last year.
► From the Seattle Times — Amazon shareholders approve $212M payout to CEO Jassy, reject worker safety, climate initiatives — At its annual meeting for shareholders, Amazon’s investors approved a more than $212 million payout for CEO Andy Jassy and voted against 15 proposals asking the company to report on worker safety, climate goals, pay rates, use of its face recognition technology and its stance on workers’ right to unionize.
► From the AP — Oklahoma governor signs the nation’s strictest abortion ban — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed into law the nation’s strictest abortion ban, making the state the first in the nation to effectively end availability of the procedure. State lawmakers approved the ban enforced by civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution, similar to a Texas law that was passed last year. The law takes effect immediately upon Stitt’s signature and prohibits all abortions with few exceptions. Abortion providers have said they will stop performing the procedure as soon as the bill is signed.
The Stand (May 3) — WSLC: ‘Reproductive rights are workers’ rights’
► From the AP — Housekeepers struggle as U.S. hotels ditch daily room cleaning — Industry insiders say the move away from daily cleaning, which gained traction during the pandemic, is driven by customer preferences. But others say it has more to do with profit and has allowed hotels to cut the number of housekeepers at a time when many of the mostly immigrant women who take those jobs are still reeling from lost work during coronavirus shutdowns.
The Stand (Sept. 15, 2021) — Tell Hilton: Hotel rooms should be cleaned every day
► From Reuters — Globalization’s cheerleaders grasp for new buzzwords at Davos — World leaders, financiers and chief executives have an urgent sense of the need to reboot and redefine “globalization” as trade spats fan economic nationalism, a pandemic exposes the fragility of global supply networks and a war in Europe could reshape the geopolitical landscape. Officials clutched at new euphemisms for describing a new style of globalization, with “multilateralism” a favorite among buzzwords including “reshoring,” “friendshoring,” “self-sufficiency,” and “resilience.”
The Stand (July 1, 2021) — ‘Free trade’ died this week – with a whimper (by David Groves) — New ITC assessment of 40 years of trade deals: They didn’t help much. Our assessment: Their economic and political consequences are incalculable.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.