Monday, October 31, 2022
► From the Seattle Times — WA’s COVID state of emergency will lift on Oct. 31, Inslee says — Inslee’s office has gradually rolled back the majority of his 85 COVID emergency orders. All remaining restrictions issued by Inslee under the emergency order will be lifted by Oct. 31. That includes vaccination mandates for health care and education workers, but those employers will be able to require vaccines if they choose. In the Puget Sound area, UW Medicine, Providence Swedish and Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, among other health care systems, will continue to require COVID vaccinations for employees, according to hospital spokespeople. It also includes the governor’s emergency order last year requiring COVID-19 vaccines for state employees — a requirement that led to the firing and resignations of hundreds of state workers. Inslee has announced a plan to make vaccines a permanent condition of employment for state workers, and is now finalizing requirements that will provide incentives, but not a mandate, for booster shots.
The Stand (Oct. 18, 2021) — WSLC position on vaccine mandates — Labor council says that workers must have a voice in the consequences of vaccine mandates.
► From Crosscut — WA and Seattle ended their COVID states of emergency. What’s next? — Do any restrictions remain in place? Can I still get tests and vaccines? How do I protect myself from the virus?
► From the Tri-City Herald — 5 more Tri-Cities COVID deaths. Hospitals admitting more children for RSV — Public health officials are concerned as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is sending people to the hospital and there are indications a rough influenza season could be ahead. RSV poses a particular risk to babies and the elderly.
► From the AP — Weyerhaeuser strike ends — Union workers at the timber company Weyerhaeuser have ended their strike and could be back on the job as early as next week in Oregon and Washington. More than 1,000 employees took to the picket line for 46 days because of sticking points over health care costs in union negotiations, KLCC Radio reported. Workers could be back Monday or Tuesday.
The Stand (Oct. 28) — IAM members ratify Weyerhaeuser contract — The 46-day strike ends as union members vote to accept an improved 4-year deal.
► From the Seattle Times — Tukwila voters to weigh in on minimum wage increase — Initiative Measure No. 1 would increase the city’s minimum wage to match SeaTac, requiring large employers to pay about $19 an hour starting next summer.
► From KUOW — Proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger under state scrutiny — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined several of his counterparts in other states in expressing concerns about the $4 billion shareholder payout in November that’s part of the merger. In a joint letter to Albertsons, the attorneys general noted that federal and state laws forbid companies to enter agreements that would substantially lessen competition or restrain trade. They say paying a dividend this size before the merger is approved could deprive Albertsons of cash and affect its ability to operate and compete with Kroger. Union leaders representing 26,000 grocery workers in Washington applauded the move, adding that any rush payment would threaten thousands of jobs, reduce consumer choice and increase costs.
The Stand (Oct. 14) — Grocery unions decry proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger — Unions say the proposed merger would be “devastating for workers and consumers,” and call on anti-trust regulators to block it.
► From the NY Times — Supreme Court to hear arguments on the fate of affirmative action — The court’s conservative supermajority may be skeptical of admissions programs at Harvard and U.N.C. that take account of race to foster educational diversity.
► From the LA Times — The Supreme Court will end affirmative action. What happens next? (by Aaron Tang) — Tweaking university admissions policies is a woefully inadequate response to America’s uneven educational playing field. To make progress against that problem, advocates must confront the staggering disparities in the American K-12 education system.
► From the Washington Post — Attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband follows years of GOP demonizing her — A man with right-wing views who broke into the House speaker’s home yelled “Where is Nancy?” before assaulting Paul Pelosi with a hammer, police say.
► From the Washington Post — Elon Musk, right-wing figures push misinformation about Pelosi attack — Twitter’s new owner sowed doubt about law enforcement’s account as suggestions of a “false flag” flooded social media sites.
► From the Washington Post — Don’t blame ‘both sides.’ The right is driving political violence. (by Max Boot) — It should not be controversial to say that America has a major problem with right-wing political violence. The evidence continues to accumulate — yet the Republican Party continues to deny responsibility for this horrifying trend.
► From the Guardian — ‘We’re going to win’: the union fighting for Democratic votes during the U.S. midterms — Nene Diallo is one of hundreds of UNITE HERE members participating in the union’s massive canvassing efforts across Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania, the largest such operation in each of the battleground states. These three states could determine control of the U.S. Senate in November.
The Stand (Oct. 26) — GOTV volunteers are needed for election’s home stretch
► From the Washington Post — Starbucks will get reporters’ messages with union, federal judge rules — A federal judge has ordered the organization behind a unionization drive at Starbucks stores in western New York to turn over all of its messages with journalists — a sweeping and unusual ruling that will let the company peek into communications that courts usually view as private and protected.
► From the Verge — Apple’s first unionized workers say the company is withholding new benefits — The union says they’re disappointed to learn the company won’t be offering workers at the unionized location in Towson, Md., some new health and education benefits that are rolling out to other retail employees. The union also says that Apple has been spreading “misinformation” by saying workers would have to bargain for those benefits to be included in their contract.
► From Art Forum — Columbus Museum of Art workers vote to form union — Staff at the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) in Ohio on October 27 voted overwhelmingly to unionize as the Columbus Museum of Art Workers United under the aegis of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, the local branch of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
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!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.