Thursday, June 23, 2022
► From the Yakima H-R — Ostrom Mushroom Farms workers in Sunnyside submit petition seeking fair pay, respect — Ostrom Mushroom Farm workers in Sunnyside delivered a petition to the company Wednesday demanding fair pay and safe working conditions. About 100 workers and community members, including United Farm Workers representatives, gathered in a park in Sunnyside and then went to the plant on Midvale Road to submit the petition. Workers earlier elected a leadership committee and organized to advocate for “fair pay, safe working conditions, and respect,” according to the petition. Several workers said conditions have become worse in the last 3-5 months.
► From the Seattle Times — Machinists’ union contract deal gives raises to Alaska Airlines gate agents, office staff and some ramp workers — The machinists’ union has reached a deal with Alaska Airlines management for a two-year contract extension that provides substantial raises for 5,300 gate agents, stores personnel and office staff, as well as for ramp workers who load cargo. The airline, however, is still embroiled in more consequential contract talks with its pilot union, the Air Line Pilots Association , representing about 3,000 pilots.
ALSO see the IAM press release on the Alaska Airlines contract.
► From the Seattle Times — Baristas at Seattle’s marquee Starbucks reassigned to make way for ‘Heritage Markets’ ahead of union vote — After her Tuesday shift at a downtown Seattle Starbucks, Katherine Van got a call from her manager. No need to come back to the store at First Avenue and Pike Street tomorrow, her manager said, as Van recalled the evening call. She had a choice: either transfer to another store — taking a pay cut and facing possibly longer commutes — or leave Starbucks. Van, 18, was one of nearly two dozen workers at the First and Pike store to receive such a call yesterday. Their workplace — a high-profile Starbucks cafe that Van and others had been working for weeks to unionize — was to be rebranded one of three “Heritage Markets” in the city as part of an initiative announced by the company Tuesday.
► From Jacobin — Starbucks is breaking ground as one of the worst union busters in recent memory — One reason that Starbucks union drive has been so successful is its stores’ relative lack of managerial supervision. Store managers don’t often work on the floor, which means baristas have plenty of time to talk union. When they are left to decide for themselves, they overwhelmingly choose to unionize, even in some of the most conservative parts of the country.
► From the Seattle Times — Starbucks likely to tap board director to fill top job as Howard Schultz exit looms
► From the AP — Washington revenue forecast up $1.46 billion — Updated state revenue projections show that collections for the 2021-2023 budget exceed what had been forecast in February by about $1.46 billion. And projections for the next two-year budget cycle that ends in mid-2025 increased by about $632 million.
► From the (Everett) Herald — As Biden urges federal gas tax holiday, Inslee opposes state tax break — Gov. Jay Inslee and Democratic legislators say suspending the state’s 49-cent tax will only enrich oil companies.
► From the Washington Post — As Biden touts gas tax pause, even some of his own officials balk — The president on Wednesday urged Congress to suspend the federal gas tax to cut prices for consumers. Privately, some officials doubted it would work.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Gas tax holiday could end up costing us even more (editorial) — Motorists would likely see only a minimal drop in the price of gas.
► From the NY Times — GOP testimony at Jan. 6 panel exposes a party torn between truth and Trump — The powerful testimony from a parade of Republicans, in four tightly produced hearings, has exposed in searing and consequential detail how divided the party has become between the faction that accepts the reality of the 2020 election and the many more who still cling to Trump’s anti-democratic falsehoods about a stolen election.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash., 5th) was the only member of our congressional delegation to vote against impeaching Donald Trump over the Capitol attack. While she says President Biden was legitimately elected, she says she still has “concerns about election integrity,” a term Republicans have used to lend credence to Trump’s false claims of massive voter fraud. Last week, amid the Jan. 6 committee’s dramatic hearings detailing Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, McMorris Rodgers parroted Trump’s criticism of the committee’s structure as too partisan. Remember that Republicans chose to boycott the committee, but Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) stepped up to serve anyway.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Two Democrats and a Republican seek to unseat Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, who’s eyeing 10th term — Natasha Hill, a 39-year-old local attorney and Hillyard native, and Ann Marie Danimus, a 51-year-old marketing professional with ties to the region’s rural reaches, have both filed as Democrats to unseat McMorris Rodgers, 53, who’s seeking a 10th term. Hill has earned endorsements from former state senator and previous District 5 candidate Lisa Brown, along with state lawmakers Andy Billig, Marcus Riccelli and Timm Ormsby. She’s also received endorsements from local labor groups, including Teamsters Joint Council 28, which covers Washington, Alaska and North Idaho, and the Washington State Labor Council.
The Stand (May 22) — WSLC makes 2022 election endorsements
► From WGBH — Rep. Pressley and Sen. Warren renew calls to cancel student debt — Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) renewed their calls Wednesday for President Joe Biden to cancel student debt. They joined union leaders and borrowers for a roundtable hosted by the AFL-CIO. Warren framed the student debt crisis as a labor issue and highlighted the importance of strong unions:
“Unions lift the voices of working people across this nation, and at this moment, tens of millions of Americans turn to our unions saying, ‘Lift my voice. Help us with this student loan debt.’”
TAKE A STAND — Add your name to the AFL-CIO Petition urging President Biden to offer broad-based student debt cancellation, increase borrowers’ financial security, and invigorate our economy.
► From The Guardian — Low-paid U.S. airport workers may get reprieve with $15 minimum wage bill — On June 16, three Democrats introduced the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, which would raise the minimum wage for U.S. airport workers, including those who work for contractors, to $15 an hour, provide paid time off and at least $4.60 an hour toward health insurance. The bill is backed by large U.S. transportation unions, including the SEIU, CWA, UNITE HERE, the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Teamsters, the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO).
► From Reuters — Harris meets Democratic attorneys general as White House gears up for abortion ruling — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet a group of seven Democratic attorneys general (reportedly including Washington’s Rob McKenna) on Thursday, a White House official said, to discuss the defense to a major ruling that could dramatically curtail abortion rights in the country.
► From the American Prospect — Philadelphia Art Museum workers struggle for a contract — While organizers succeeded in unionizing the facility, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Union still does not have a contract, despite two years of negotiations. Now, the union is raising the stakes with public pressure campaigns, deliberately timed rallies, and a looming strike.
► From DCist — Union Kitchen workers declare victory in their efforts to unionize — The NLRB determined Tuesday that a majority of roughly 50 Union Kitchen workers at six stores voted to unionize, according to UFCW Local 400.
► From Forbes — Why worker organizing is so essential to the food industry (by
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for some collective power 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 Hill — Work to do: Our full labor history must include Asian Pacific Americans (by Leah Milne) — Even as employees at corporations such as Apple, Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft are organizing unions, the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to U.S. union history remain overlooked. Deep connections exist between labor history and historically underrepresented groups, making the early unionizing efforts of AAPIs significant.
The Stand (April 23) — Join APALA now to build power for API workers
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.