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Strike continues in Kent | Homegrown drivers win | Rail workers’ options

Monday, August 29, 2022




► From the Seattle Times — Kent teachers strike continues; no classes Monday — Negotiations between the Kent School District and its striking teachers continued over the weekend, and the school district said there would be no classes on Monday because of the ongoing work stoppage. After a weekend of negotiations, the teachers union said its members would again picket at schools on Monday.

TAKE A STAND — Speak up for Kent students! Students need us to demand that the Kent School Board and Superintendent invest in their schools and listen to their educators. Click here to send them a message to urge them to reach a fair and equitable agreement with Kent Education Association. And if you’re in the area, show your solidarity by picketing with striking teachers at all Kent schools during school hours.


► From KING — Kent School District considers lawsuit against teachers union — The board is holding an executive session Monday at 5:30 pm followed by a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. to discuss a potential lawsuit against the Kent Education Association. The Kent School Board is considering seeking injunctive relief against the Kent Education Association, meaning the board would try and order teachers back to work.

► A related stroy from Crosscut — PNW schools scramble to find staff before the start of classes — Districts report worker shortages from bus drivers to special education teachers. They’re hiring less experienced candidates to fill the gaps.

► From KING — Homegrown delivery drivers put a stop to surveillance efforts in Seattle — “They were recording us, tracking our movement and notifying our bosses of our activity,” said delivery driver Manya Janowitz, describing how it was uncomfortable being recorded doing a job she’d done well for the past two years. “All day, this camera would be focused on you, like you your face constantly. It was hard to think about anything else honestly.” said Janowitz. Workers have been organizing since June with UNITE HERE Local 8. They are still trying to be recognized as a union. They went on strike for one day, which was all they needed. “We won. We were very thrilled to come into work days later and won the right to cover the cameras with the privacy screening,” Janowitz said.

► From Vice — Striking Seattle workers win against surveillance cameras in vehicles — Sandwich company Homegrown put artificial intelligence powered cameras in drivers’ vehicles. Now drivers will be allowed to cover them up.

The Stand (Aug. 26) — Homegrown workers strike at Seattle, Redmond locations

► From the Bellingham Herald — During staff shortages and missing mail, the USPS is hiring local positions at $21 an hour — The agency is currently hiring for many positions throughout Whatcom County, with entry-level positions earning an average pay of $21 an hour with no diploma or degree required. Postal workers can earn an average of $72,320 annually, along with federal benefits and pension.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Looking for a good Union job in King County? MLK Labor and Partnership in Employment are hosting a Union Jobs Fair this Thursday, Sept. 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Seattle Labor Temple, 5030 1st Ave S. Get details and register!

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle Fire Department staff shortage forces extreme hours, $37.7M of OT — SFD paid out $37.7 million in overtime last year, a 49% increase over 2019 and the most in department history, as it grappled with an uptick in emergencies, shouldered a broader workload and lost firefighters.




► From the People’s World — AFL-CIO kicks off Labor Day with detailed political plan — The AFL-CIO kicked off the Labor Day weekend, in advance, with a detailed political plan for the fall elections and beyond, released August 24 in a nationwide zoom call. The plan features massive from-the-ground-up member-driven involvement, including a feedback loop where workers’ recommendations will adjust the federation’s issue priorities between now and Election Day, and afterwards, President Liz Shuler said:

“What we need to be thinking about is how we’re taking these (issues) out into the field, listening to our members, talking about what matters to them and what matters locally,” and changing accordingly. “We start with worksite communications, then to local unions, then connecting back to state federations and local labor councils” and finally the national headquarters. Then the issues members decide on locally would be applied to campaigns “from school boards to the U.S. Senate.”




► From Roll Call — Immigrant advocates pan scope of eligibility for new ‘Dreamers’ rule — Advocates from immigrant groups condemned the administration’s decision to leave in place eligibility requirements laid out in the original 2012 Homeland Security Department memo creating the program. The rule requires DACA applicants to have arrived in the U.S. before June 2007 to qualify, which bars young immigrants who arrived in the past 15 years. Applicants also must have been younger than 16 when they entered.

► From the Washington Post — A $1.6 billion donation lays bare a broken campaign finance system (editorial) — One man has donated $1.6 billion to a nonprofit group controlled by a conservative activist who has crusaded, with startling success, to transform the country’s politics. The only reason the public knows about it? An insider tip-off to the New York Times. Congress should close the tax loophole these donors exploit.




► From the NW Labor Press — Railroads: nationwide contract, or nationwide strike — Railroad companies have said they support the deal, so the decision is now in the hands of union members — or possibly Congress, which could intervene to force a deal. But many rail workers are opposed to the recommendations, which they view as lopsided in favor of railroad companies. Rail workers haven’t had a raise since 2019. The emergency board recommends retroactive raises of 3% for 2020 and 3.5% for 2021, followed by annual increases of 4% to 7% through 2024—plus $1,000 bonuses for each year of the five years. But the board’s proposed settlement also increases worker contributions to monthly health insurance premiums. And it does little to address what’s become one of the biggest concerns for rail workers—overwork and a lack of time off.

► From Jacobin — One of the largest nurses’ strikes in U.S. history is brewing in Minnesota — The Minnesota Nurses Association is prepared to launch what the union claims is one of the largest nurses’ strikes in U.S. history. After a summer of stalled contract negotiations, 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities area overwhelmingly authorized a strike, sending an ultimatum to the seven corporate health care systems that employ them. They echo the demands of nurses’ unions around the country: staff our hospitals, keep nurses safe, and put “patients before profits.”

► From the — DHL Teamsters overwhelmingly ratify national contract — Teamsters at DHL have overwhelmingly ratified a new national contract that provides significant wage increases, improves working conditions, and maintains strong member benefits.

► From KTVU — REI employees vote to unionize, becoming chain’s second union store — REI employees in Berkeley made history Thursday as a majority voted in favor of unionizing, becoming the second store in REI’s nationwide chain to organize. REI workers hugged and celebrated at Berkeley’s Cedar Rose Park Thursday evening. Top of the list, they say, is getting better pay. Wages currently are between $19/hour to $21/hour.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Want better pay? 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 ESPN — MLBPA sends out union authorization cards in first step toward unionizing minor leaguers

► From Workday Minnesota — After walking away from workers, Millennium gets heat from convention delegates — Housekeepers and other hotel employees took the stage on Day 1 of the AFL-CIO’s Pride at Work convention and told delegates that the Millennium Hotel had pulled back tentative agreements with their union two months after booking the convention. Delegates didn’t take the news sitting down.

► From The Hill — Crist names teachers union chief as running mate — Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fl.) on Saturday named teachers’ union chief Karla Hernández-Matz as his running mate in his bid to unseat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in November. “Meet the next lieutenant governor of Florida,” Crist said at a rally Sunday, announcing the addition of Hernández-Matz to the Democratic ticket.


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

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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!