Thursday, October 20, 2022
► From E&E News.com — Unions press Biden to save aluminum plant — The AFL-CIO is urging the White House to help save a shuttered aluminum plant amid media reports that the Biden administration is considering a crackdown on imports of the metal from Russia. Brad Markell, executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, said in an interview that his organization — the largest federation of labor unions in the nation — has talked with the White House for months about helping aluminum plants that closed or curbed production due to market conditions. A primary focus in those conversations is Intalco, a smelter in Washington state that was mothballed two years ago. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler wrote a letter in July asking President Joe Biden to directly intervene with getting a cheap electricity hookup that could help restart the plant.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:
WA congressional delegation to BPA: Power up Intalco! (May 27)
Machinists ratify new labor deal at Intalco, urge BPA power deal (May 20)
BPA power deal is the last hurdle to restarting Intalco (by Larry Brown, March 14)
► From the Sweet Home (Ore.) News — Weyerhaeuser employee strike continues — Weyerhaeuser employees finished their fifth week of a strike Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Lebanon site. The strike now enters a sixth week as contract negotiations between the company and union members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge W246 (IAM) continue to prove unfruitful following the most recent meetings, held Oct. 13-14. More than 1,100 employees on the West Coast halted production at two log export facilities, two log truck operations, seven logging camps and four sawmills on Sept. 13.
The Stand (Oct. 7) — Striking Weyco workers reject company offer
TAKE A STAND — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO and the Oregon AFL-CIO are urging all union members and other supporters of the strikers to step up and show Weyerhaeuser that the community has these workers’ backs. Here’s how you — and your union — can show solidarity with the IAMAW strikers:
1) Contribute to this GoFundMe fundraiser to support families of striking Weyerhaeuser workers who are experiencing hardship.
2) Please sign this petition to tell Weyerhaeuser: Timber workers and their families deserve living wages, good health care, and a secure retirement!
3) Join picket lines at Weyerhaeuser facilities and donating food/supplies at the these locations. The union says “community support (on the strike lines) has been amazing” and “each location would appreciate you stopping by; hold a sign, talk with us, bring a treat or two, anything to show your support.”
► From the Spokesman-Review — Hundreds of jobs are coming to Moses Lake — The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $200 million to a pair of companies planning to build factories in Moses Lake that would employ hundreds of people to develop and produce battery materials for use in electric vehicles.
► From the Yakima H-R — EFSEC moves forward on two Yakima County solar farms
► From the union-busting Columbian — Hobbs is the stronger choice for Secretary of State — During a year in office, Hobbs has proven adept at combating threats — both foreign and domestic — to Washington’s elections. He is expanding his office’s security operations center to defend against cyberattacks and provide support for the 39 county auditors who directly oversee elections. He also is focusing on voter outreach, not only to get more citizens involved in the process but also to better inform the electorate about security measures.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Steve Hobbs has earned the Washington State Labor Council’s endorsement as well. See all of the WSLC’s recommendations.
The Stand (Oct. 19) — Got ballot? Check out labor’s endorsements
TODAY at The Stand — Join the fun: Volunteer for Labor Neighbor! — Make sure your union is represented as WSLC gets out the labor vote.
► From DCist — After unionizing and picketing, Senate cafeteria workers secure $20 minimum wage and benefits — Cafeteria workers at the U.S. Senate have ratified their first contract, securing a $20 per hour minimum wage and benefits like pension contributions and affordable platinum-level health insurance with coverage for family members. The workers are organized with UNITE HERE Local 23.
EDITOR’S NOTE — How do wages and benefits like that sound to you? 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 Wall Street Journal — Drugmakers look to curb Medicare’s power to negotiate lower drug prices — Drugmakers are trying to blunt Medicare’s newfound power under the Inflation Reduction Act to negotiate prices while coping with internal industry disputes and ebbing influence in Washington, D.C.
► From MSNBC — American workers are rediscovering the power of going on strike (by Kate Bahn) — Dire headlines about inflation are masking one of the biggest economic shifts in the U.S. labor market: After decades of decline, the American labor movement is showing signs of revival. With support for unions increasing, workers have more power as they request better pay and workplace benefits — and this could have a significant impact in reversing the long-standing trend of sluggish wage growth and low job quality for workers, despite increasing productivity and economic growth.
► From Jacobin — Kaiser mental healthcare workers are on strike for safe staffing levels — At Kaiser Permanente in California, 2,000 mental health care workers have been on strike since August 15. They say Kaiser consistently fails to provide adequate staffing and wages, with patients waiting weeks or months for a second appointment.
► From Jacobin — Amazon workers staged walkouts at 4 warehouses for Prime Week — Last week workers at four different Amazon warehouse across the U.S. walked out to protest the company’s low pay and brutal working conditions. The actions were timed to coincide with Amazon’s Prime Day promotional sales rush.
► From WITF — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalists begin strike, as contract impasse continues — “We want to be doing strong journalism, we want to be reporting for the Pittsburgh region, we don’t want to be out here on the streets doing this.”
► From NPR — They inhaled asbestos for decades on the job. Now, workers break their silence. — In the early 1990s, the dangers of asbestos were already irrefutable. The United States had prohibited its use in pipe insulation and branded it so risky that remediators had to wear hazmat suits to remove it. But unlike dozens of other countries that banned the potent carcinogen outright, the United States never did.
► From the Hollywood Reporter — IATSE, commercial producers reach deal on TV contract — During negotiations, the crew union and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers also worked out a neutrality agreement over organizing production workers.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking tomorrow off to celebrate our birthday. So this one goes out to… us.
See you on Monday.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.