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Empty merger promises | Another Starbucks | Social Security on the ballot

Wednesday, October 19, 2022





► From KING — Washington general election ballots must be mailed to voters by Friday — Washington state voters should have their ballots for the general election soon if they haven’t received them already. Oct. 21 marks the start of the 18-day voting period. Ballots are mailed at least 18 days before each election. Voters in King County can expect their ballots by today (Wednesday, Oct. 19).

TODAY at The Stand Got ballot? Check out labor’s endorsements

► From the (Everett) Herald — The wait is over: Voters set to receive general election ballots — Roughly 505,000 registered voters in Snohomish County are eligible to participate in the Nov. 8 general election. Ballots will be mailed to them Thursday.




► From the Seattle Times — In Seattle, Kroger-Albertsons merger raises fears of closures, ‘grocery deserts’ — Many will be wondering what a merger means for neighborhood shopping options. Some will be bracing for a repeat of the last mega-grocery merger, between Albertsons and Safeway in 2015, which was followed by bankruptcy, litigation, local closures and dismayed shoppers… One union concern: that divested locations get “spun off into a different company that is potentially nonunion, where people’s health care and pensions would be impacted,” says UFCW 3000 President Faye Guenther. The union represents nearly 26,000 workers at 265 Kroger and Albertsons locations and is “pretty stridently opposed” to the merger, Guenther says.

The Stand (Oct. 14) — Grocery unions decry proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

► From the Oregonian — What a $24.6 billion Kroger-Albertsons merger could mean for Oregonians — During the pandemic, grocery retailers saw record sales and continue to do so. In the most recent quarter, which ended in August, Kroger’s operating profits grew 13.7% from a year earlier, allowing it to boost its investors’ shares by 24%. It has also repurchased $975 million of its own shares this year. While retailers are paying more because of inflation and supply chain issues, those costs have only been passed down to consumers, said Jagjit Nagra, executive director of the nonprofit Oregon Consumer Justice, adding that he’s not convinced by Kroger-Albertsons’ argument that merging would translate to lower prices for consumers:

“Often, those are empty promises. And those empty promises end up resulting in higher prices for consumers, even though there’s significant cost savings for the business.”




► From the Cascadia Daily News — A third Bellingham Starbucks seeks unionization –Baristas at the Sehome location, near Western Washington University, published a letter addressed to the new Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan detailing their concerns regarding respect, operating conditions and worker empowerment:

“The working class Starbucks employees are given the title of ‘partner,’ but a true partnership is dependent on equality, respect, honesty, and equitability. We hope Starbucks will work with us in good faith as we have worked with them. We cannot pour from an empty cup, so we look forward to negotiations.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for a true partnership on the job? 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 PS Business Journal — As Amazon scraps warehouse plans across U.S., Washington projects see delays — An Amazon warehouse in Burlington slated to open earlier this year is facing delays. It’s one of a number of warehouse projects in Washington the Seattle-based tech giant is putting on the slow track as it looks to get a handle on soaring logistics costs.

► From the Columbia Basin Herald — Moses Lake company fined for safety violations — Two Rivers Terminal LLC, a fertilizer and chemical distributor with plants in Pasco, Umatilla and Moses Lake, was cited for 46 serious and 17 general safety and health violations, according to the release.




► From the Washington Post — Republicans to use debt limit to force spending cuts, McCarthy says — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that if Republicans win control of the House the GOP will use raising the debt limit as leverage to force spending cuts — which could include cuts to Medicare and Social Security — and limit additional funding to Ukraine.

► From The Hill — Social Security, Medicare are on the line this November — and women older than 50 know it (by Beth Almeida and Maggie Jo Buchanan) —  Roughly 75 percent of Republicans in the U.S. House have signed on to a budget plan that would cut these programs. And a new report out this week reveals that all four Republicans running for the top slot on the House Budget Committee are vowing to hold America’s credit rating hostage and plunge our economy into recession in order to force severe cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash., 5th) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash., 4th) are both members of the “Republican Study Committee” with stated budget priorities that include significantly reducing the size of America’s social safety net and raising the age requirement to receive full Social Security benefits.

► From the Washington Post — You can keep more money from the IRS next year, thanks to inflation — The IRS will allow Americans to shield more of their income from taxes in 2023, raising income thresholds for all tax brackets.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Gee… thanks, Inflation! Here’s your reminder that inflation is a worldwide problem, not something caused by Congress or the president. It is caused by pandemic-disrupted supply chains and the greedy corporations that see this as an opportunity to charge more for everything…




► From the AP — Big businesses want to hide trade data used to trace overseas labor abuse — A group of major U.S. businesses wants the government to hide key import data — a move trade experts say would make it more difficult for Americans to link the products they buy to labor abuse overseas.

► A related story from Reuters — Hyundai should address child labor at U.S. suppliers, investor group, unions say — A group that works with union pension funds is pressing Hyundai Motor Co. to respond to reports of child labor at U.S. parts suppliers, warning of potential reputational damage to the Korean automaker.

► From the AP — Amazon workers reject union bid in upstate New York — The Amazon Labor Union has lost its second straight election at an Amazon warehouse, 406-206, delivering a blow to the momentum the new union had built with its historic win in April and underscoring the heavy odds stacked against organizing inside one of the world’s most powerful and richest corporations.

► From Vox — Amazon Labor Union suffers another loss but vows to keep fighting

► From WESA — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalists begin strike, as contract impasse continues — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalists started a strike at noon on Tuesday, following unmet demands from the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh that the company “end its illegally declared impasse to contract negotiations” and return to the bargaining table with the union.

► From CBS News — New York City files lawsuit against Starbucks over firing of employee Austin Locke, who started a union — Calling it a groundbreaking case, the Department of Consumer and Worker Production says Starbucks violated the city’s new just-cause protection.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

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!