The Stand

No movement in Kent | Cathy stands by her man | Train chaos

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Thursday, September 1, 2022

 


LOCAL

 

► From the Mercer Island Reporter — Mercer Island Homegrown employees strike over job safety, pay — At 7 a.m. on the first day of school, employees of the Homegrown Mercer Island location — many of whom are high school students — took to the streets with coffee in hand to strike over growing concerns relating to work conditions. “Good luck working on your own! Good morning, Homegrown!” was a chant that kicked off the strike Aug. 31.

► From Real Change News — Nothing without us: Unions stop work in area actions — Striking Seattle-area workers have shut down workplaces throughout the region this summer in an attempt to win better wages, working conditions and other changes.

► From the Seattle Times — Bellevue-based T-Mobile lays off engineering, network employees — T-Mobile has laid off several workers in engineering and network jobs this week as part of a restructuring program after the company’s merger with Sprint two years ago.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Remember when T-Mobile promised federal regulators that the Sprint merger would create jobs “from day one”? Good times. Good times.

 


EDUCATION

 

► From the Kent Reporter — Day 6 of Kent teachers’ strike: No school on Thursday, Sept. 1 — As the teachers’ strike enters its sixth day on Thursday, Sept. 1, their union leaders and local residents continue to show their frustration with the lack of a contract agreement or even any movement with the Kent School District negotiators. There has been 10 days of little to no movement from the district, a Kent Education Association (KEA, teachers’ union) spokesperson said Wednesday evening, Aug. 31.

TAKE A STAND — Join Kent Education Association educators on the picket lines from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at all schools. Also, please sign this petition urging the school district to reach a fair and equitable agreement with KEA.

► From the Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles educators to strike Tuesday — The Port Angeles Education Association called a strike to begin Tuesday after failing to reach a tentative agreement for a new contract with the Port Angeles School District late Wednesday. Members of the PAEA — which includes teachers, counselors, nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists — will be in class today for the first day of school and Friday as its bargaining team continues to negotiate with the district. PAEA’s contract with the district expired Wednesday. Members will work without a contract today and Friday.

► From the union-busting Columbian — Ridgefield schools welcome students amid open bargaining — Though it was the first day for students in Ridgefield, Wednesday was also the last day of a working contract for an estimated 200 certified staff members in the district that make up the Ridgefield Education Association. Some parents and teachers at gathered at Union Ridge expressed support for the teachers union, which has authorized a strike if they’re not able to reach a deal at their next bargaining session with district officials next week.

► From the Stranger — Seattle teachers strike looms — Wednesday morning, on the last day of their contract, the Seattle Education Association waved signs outside of many Seattle public schools to show the district that they mean business. With just one more day of bargaining left, the union is still not pleased with the district’s proposal for special education, which could lead to larger class sizes without the resources to accommodate students’ wide variety of needs. If Seattle Public Schools (SPS) doesn’t promise manageable class sizes, the union said a strike may be in order.

► From KUOW — Seattle teachers rally ahead of vote on whether to strike

► From KOMO — Educators from Seattle Public Schools set to vote on strike authorization this weekend

► From Q13 — Some Seattle Public Schools bus routes to be cancelled due to staffing shortages — On Wednesday, First Student announced it has agreed to take 78 school bus routes previously awarded to Zum. The startup admitted it lacked the drivers and buses to fulfill the terms of their contract, according to the news release

► From the Olympian — Olympia School District budget includes teacher raises amid millions in adjustments — Teachers will receive an 18% raise over the next three years.

 


AIRPORT WORKERS

 

► From the Stranger — Airport service workers deserve a living wage (by Rep. Adam Smith) — These essential workers—such as baggage handlers, cleaners, and food service providers—have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, risking their health and safety, while at the same time grappling with mass layoffs, reduced hours, and inadequate pay and health care benefits. These workers deserve better pay, better benefits, and stronger worker protections.

► From KING — Delta pilots to picket in Seattle, other cities ahead of Labor Day weekend — Some off-duty Delta pilots are planning to picket in major U.S. cities across the country Thursday calling for a new labor contract. That includes Seattle with pilots expected to line International Boulevard starting at 10:30 a.m. The Thursday morning picket marks the second time pilots have picketed this summer.

► From the Washington Post — It seems everyone is mad at airlines. Fall could bring calmer skies. — Labor Day will unofficially close out a season many travelers would rather forget, but also marks the start of a possible reprieve for the airline industry.

► From the AP — Lufthansa cancels many flights Friday due to pilots’ strike

 


SOUTH OF THE BORDER

 

► From KOIN — OHSU, healthcare workers reach impasse on negotiations — Talks between Oregon Health & Science University and thousands of union workers came to a standstill Tuesday after nearly six months of negotiations. AFSCME Local 328, the union representing more than 7,400 OHSU employees, declared an impasse in negotiations with OHSU after an overwhelming majority of members voted.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From the Spokesman-Review — At town hall, McMorris Rodgers questions FBI search of Trump’s home — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash., 5th) defended her recent votes in Congress on issues of drug pricing, benefits for veterans and contraception access in a Spokane town hall Wednesday, while questioning the “unprecedented” decision by the Justice Department to search the property of former President Trump. She said, “We all have concerns about weaponizing the FBI to go after somebody for political beliefs or a political position.” One member of the audience was escorted out of the room after shouting that the congresswoman “didn’t believe in the rule of law.”

► From Truthout — ‘Give millions of people a raise’: Progressives ask Biden to expand overtime law — The Congressional Progressive Caucus urged President Biden to extend his streak of major executive actions by greatly raising the overtime threshold, making overtime pay available to millions more workers in the U.S. CPC Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) issued a statement ahead of Labor Day calling for Biden and his Department of Labor to raise the overtime salary threshold from a meager $35,568 to the salary of the 55th percentile of full time salaried earners, or about $83,000, by 2026.

The Stand (Dec. 11, 2019) — Washington now has ‘strongest overtime law in the nation’ — WSLC hails Washington’s updated overtime pay rules, saying they will help ‘restore work-life balances’ for thousands of families.

► From the Washington Post — Republicans are readying lawsuits to block Biden’s student debt plan — GOP attorneys general, top lawmakers and conservative groups are discussing legal options, alleging the White House’s move to cancel student debt is illegal.

► From Roll Call — Survey: Budget boost raised Hill pay, but disparities remain — A majority of staff in both the House and Senate got raises after lawmakers boosted office budgets this year, but disparities in pay for people of color and women remain a concern, a new survey found.

 


ELECTION

 

► From Politico — Democrat Peltola beats Palin in Alaska special election upset — Democrat Mary Peltola has defeated Republican Sarah Palin in the special election for Alaska’s vacant House seat, a big upset over the former governor in the state’s first election under ranked-choice voting.

► From the Washington Post — Unions are growing more popular. Democrats should talk about that.Unions seem to be getting more and more popular. Which suggests that Democrats could be arguing more often, and more forcefully, for the virtues of collective bargaining. A new survey finds, by 56 percent to 37 percent, respondents said they sympathized more with workers trying to organize than with companies trying to maintain their business in a tough environment. Asked whether they’d support a Democratic candidate who supports unionization efforts or a Republican candidate who opposes them, they chose the Democrat by a 12-point margin. Thus, the time seems ripe for Democrats to amplify the case for unions.

 


NATIONAL

 

► MUST-READ from Wired — A U.S. freight rail crisis threatens more supply chain chaos — Since early this year, companies across numerous industries that ship goods via rail have issued increasingly stark warnings that the U.S. freight system is in a state of crisis—complaining of weeks-long waits for trains, backed up facilities, clogged ports, and suspended business. In April, the STB held hearings on the meltdown, where representatives from sectors including agriculture, energy, and chemicals joined trade unions to complain of poor service and working conditions. STB data says railroads cut their workforce by 45,000, or 29 percent, over the past six years, with pandemic furloughs pushing staffing levels past a tipping point. Worse, the U.S. freight rail system is now poised on the brink of total paralysis because of a contract dispute between 115,000 rail workers and their employers. Negotiations have dragged on since the last contract expired in 2019, during which time rail workers have not had a raise. All the while, rail companies have raked in much larger profits.

► From The Hill — Railroad workers prepared to strike next month: survey — Railroad Workers United, a grassroots organization representing rank-and-file railroaders, found that 96 percent of the nearly 3,200 rail workers surveyed are prepared to strike once they are legally allowed to on or after Sept. 16. The vast majority of workers surveyed said they would reject a recent labor agreement proposed by the White House-appointed Presidential Emergency Board.

► From Jacobin — The unionization wave is now hitting Chipotle — Chipotle workers in Lansing, Mich., formed the fast-food chain’s first recognized union in the United States, voting eleven-three on August 25 to join Teamsters Local 243. Of all the employers that have seen union drives over the past year, Chipotle — with 100,000 employees across three thousand stores and long-term plans to double its footprint in North America — is the most similar to Starbucks. They’re both outliers in fast food: their stores are primarily corporate-owned, rather than franchised out to smaller operators.

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 Guardian — Starbucks and Amazon accused of dragging their feet on union contracts — Experts say Starbucks and Amazon know that if they drag out contract negotiations, there will be huge employee turnover and workers might grow impatient and disgruntled with their unions, which may prompt them to vote to decertify it.

► From Hyper Allergic — Philadelphia museum workers vote for strike as union talks stall — The Philadelphia Museum of Art Union voted Aug. 30 in favor of a strike authorization by a 99% margin just days after the union filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the museum. The strike authorization raises the stakes of ongoing negotiations between the union and management which have been underway since October 2020.

► From the AP — Electric battery maker to locate factory in northern WVa — The batteries will be built at a 482,000-square-foot (4.5-hectare) plant in Taylor County off U.S. Route 50 near Bridgeport and eventually will employ 350 workers. An agreement with with the United Mine Workers union was announced in May to recruit and train dislocated miners to be the factory’s first production workers.

► From the Hollywood Reporter — SAG-AFTRA members vote to ratify Netflix deal

► From the LA Times — Newsom skipped meeting with UFW leaders. Now he should sign California’s farmworker union bill. (by George Skelton) — The farmworkers’ goal this time was to promote passage of a bill that would make it easier for them to vote in union elections. The bill passed both houses overwhelmingly Monday — the Assembly by a 55-18 vote and the Senate, 26-10 — and was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom. He vetoed a similar bill last year and has indicated he’ll also kill the latest version. Newsom needs to meet with the UFW and find a way to sign the bill. Don’t wait for another march.

► From the LA Times — How a new California law for fast food workers can set a path for industries nationwide (by Kate Andrias) — The California Legislature has just passed one of the most significant pieces of employment legislation in a generation. Assembly Bill 257, which builds on Progressive and New Deal-era legislation in the United States and successful models abroad, gives fast-food workers a collective voice in determining their working conditions on an industrywide basis.

 


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

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