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Step up on sick leave | COMAC cleared for takeoff | Protect pregnant workers

Wednesday, November 30, 2022




► From the AP — Congress prepares to take up bill preventing rail strike — Congress is moving swiftly to prevent a looming U.S. rail workers strike, reluctantly intervening in a labor dispute to stop what would surely be a devastating blow to the nation’s economy. The House was expected to act first on Wednesday after President Joe Biden asked Congress to step in. The bill lawmakers are considering would impose a compromise labor agreement brokered by his administration that was ultimately voted down by four of the 12 unions representing more than 100,000 employees at large freight rail carriers. The unions have threatened to strike if an agreement can’t be reached before a Dec. 9 deadline.

TODAY at The Stand AFL-CIO urges Congress to pass paid sick days for rail workers

► From the AP — Railroad unions decry Biden’s plan to block possible strike — Railroad unions on Tuesday decried Biden’s call for Congress to intervene in their contract dispute, saying it undercuts their efforts to address workers’ quality-of-life concerns. In a statement, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division-IBT, one of the four unions that rejected the deal, said:

“It is not enough to ‘share workers’ concerns.’ A call to Congress to act immediately to pass legislation that adopts tentative agreements that exclude paid sick leave ignores the railroad workers’ concerns.”

► From Politico — Congress lines up behind Biden’s strike plan — but it might not be quick — Democratic and Republican leaders lined up Tuesday behind Biden’s call for Congress to head off a potential freight rail strike. Quick passage is more complicated in the Senate, where dissenters from both parties have threatened to slow the action, saying it gives short shrift to rail workers who have been demanding sick leave, which was left out of the deal.

► From the AP — At Michigan chip plant, Biden says unions ‘built middle class’ — He reminded Americans he is a “pro-union” president Tuesday as he toured a technology plant to highlight a $300 million expansion, just a day after he sided with business leaders in asking Congress to pass legislation to stave off a crippling rail strike.




► From the PS Business Journal — China’s rival to Boeing and Airbus cleared for mass production — The narrow-body aircraft China hopes will eventually break the duopoly enjoyed by the Boeing and Airbus has been given the green light to begin mass production. China’s aviation regulator has awarded production certification to the new C919, the country’s homegrown passenger jet built by Commercial Aviation Corp. of China (COMAC). That follows type certification for the new airliner in late September, with China Eastern Airlines expected to receive the first C919 before the end of the year.

► From the Seattle Times — Cantwell pushes to clear Boeing’s final 737 MAX models, with conditions — In what could be good news for Boeing, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell on Tuesday circulated draft legislation that would clear the way for the final two Boeing 737 MAX models to enter service without changes to the Renton-assembled aircraft. The Washington Democrat’s legislative amendment would remove the deadline in a 2020 law that threatens to force Boeing to substantially change the crew alerting systems on the MAX 7 and MAX 10 models to get them certified to fly passengers.

► From STL Today — St. Charles LMI Aerospace workers to hold union election — The union that represents Boeing workers has launched an attempt to organize one of the company’s suppliers: St. Charles-based components manufacturer LMI Aerospace. The IAMAW filed a petition with the NLRB to hold a union election for about 50 employees at LMI’s St. Charles facilities. The workers will vote on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16.




► From the (Everett) Herald — Unvaccinated firefighters put on unpaid leave sue to recoup back pay — Eight Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue firefighters placed on unpaid leave when they refused to comply with a COVID vaccine mandate are suing for back pay, accrued vacation days and other benefits lost while off the job.




Rep. Kim Schrier poses with union volunteers on Oct. 22 as they prepare for a Labor Neighbor walk in Renton. Schrier was re-elected in a race some pundits thought was too close to call.

► From the St. Louis Labor Tribune — Working people key in driving midterm wins — and we’re just getting started (by Liz Shuler) — In state after state, union households provided critical votes that put pro-worker candidates over the top. Our approach to politics is simple: Organize. Face to face. Cut through the noise with real conversations about the issues that matter. It’s a feedback loop. Organizers talk with workers. Workers share their concerns, which informs future conversations… The issue-based conversations that were the heart and soul of this effort will only intensify in the coming months as we head toward 2024. Soon, the midterm elections will be in the rearview mirror. But working people aren’t heading home. We’re staying in the fight to rebuild our economy, brick by brick, until America’s promise is fully realized.

The Stand (Nov. 19) — Labor’s grassroots activism makes difference in midterm elections

► From HuffPost — Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is going from an auto repair shop to Congress — Gluesenkamp Perez, who owns an auto repair and parts shop with husband Dean Gluesenkamp, is one of the unlikely Democratic success stories of the 2022 election cycle. She received limited support from the national Democratic Party but prevailed with a message of protecting abortion rights, respecting democracy and finding practical solutions to working people’s problems.

► From the union-busting Columbian — Final results: Perez beat Kent by 2,629 votes

► From the (Everett) Herald — Shavers wins by narrow margin as Dems flip seat in 10th District — Democrat Clyde Shavers won by 211 votes against incumbent state Rep. Greg Gilday. It’s close enough for a recount.

► From Politico — ‘A huge opportunity for the labor movement’: Unions jump on newly won Democratic trifectas — If Democrats succeed in repealing certain laws in Michigan — and in pushing through other union-backed measures — union officials hope to rekindle the labor movement’s influence in other states. Democrats are putting their energy toward raising the minimum wage, banning so-called captive audience meetings where employers can warn against unionization, and more.

► From Roll Call — Fresh off big Senate wins, UNITE HERE leader thinks even bigger — For UNITE HERE President D. Taylor, being in Washington is a chance to see that convergence in action. The Capitol is both a workplace in its own right — and the place where decisions get made that affect workers all across the country.




► From Politico — Crunch time for Democrats is holding up bipartisan bill to protect pregnant workers — Legislation that would give pregnant workers more job protections has all the ingredients for success in a narrowly divided Congress — robust bipartisan support, momentum in both chambers, backing from business and unions — except the most crucial one: a firm plan to pass it before Democrats’ time is up.

TAKE A STAND — Too many employers discriminate and retaliate against pregnant workers when they ask for necessary workplace accommodations. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) would change that. Please send a message today to your U.S. senators urging them to pass the PWFA.

► From the AP — U.S. lawmakers skeptical Kroger-Albertsons merger will mean lower prices — U.S. senators from both parties expressed skepticism Tuesday that a proposed merger between grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons would result in lower prices for consumers. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) noted the subcommittee would have little say in whether the merger will go through. That will be a decision for the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department. But he said the hearing was an important opportunity for the public to understand a merger that could impact their lives.

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

► From CNN — There’s a big problem with the Kroger-Albertsons supermarket merger — When Christine Martinez found out last month that Kroger and Albertsons planned to merge in a deal worth nearly $25 billion, she thought, “here we go again.” Martinez lost her job as a pharmacy technician in the aftermath of a prior supermarket mega-merger: Albertsons’ $9 billion tie-up with Safeway in 2014. That deal has since become a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when two supermarket giants merge. Now the fallout from that troubled transaction hangs over this latest, even bigger merger proposal.

► From The Hill — Senate passes landmark protections for same-sex marriage — Senators on Tuesday passed legislation cementing federal protections for same-sex marriage, a historic step that follows months of bipartisan negotiations and puts the landmark bill just steps away from becoming law. The Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act in a 61-36 vote, with 12 Republicans joining forces with all Democrats present to advance the bill across the Capitol complex. The measure required 60 votes to pass.

► From Politico — ‘A complete about face:’ Some Republicans change tune on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion — The latest round of Medicaid expansion negotiations comes as states prepare for the eventual end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and as nearly a third of rural hospitals are at risk of closure.

► From NPR — Jeffries poised to make history as first Black person to lead congressional party — Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), 52, is running unopposed to serve as House Minority Leader starting in January. He is 30 years younger than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and will become the first Black person to lead a major political party in Congress.

► BREAKING from AP — Jeffries elected to lead House Dems’ next generation

► From the NY Times — Oath Keepers leader convicted of sedition in landmark Jan. 6 case — A jury in federal court in Washington convicted Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right militia, and one of his subordinates for a plot to keep Donald Trump in power.




► From the LA Times — UC postdoctoral scholars and researchers reach tentative deal, but strike continues — The University of California and its postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers reached a tentative agreement Tuesday that would elevate their pay to among the highest in the nation — but they won’t return to campus yet in solidarity with some 36,000 graduate student employees who remain on strike.

► From the New Yorker — What’s at stake in the University of California graduate-worker strike (by Jay Caspian Kang) — The seventy per cent of Americans who support unions should understand that the future of organized labor won’t be in coal mines or steel mills but in places that might cut against the stereotypes.

► From the AP — More than 150 agents back striking HarperCollins workers — More than 150 literary agents, whose clients include Danielle Jackson, V.E. Schwab and L.A. Chandlar, have signed an open letter to HarperCollins vowing to “omit” the publisher from upcoming book submissions until it reaches an agreement with striking employees.





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