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Hospitals: SOS | NLRB takes on union busters | UC strike in 5th week

Wednesday, December 14, 2022




► From KIRO — Hundreds of Fred Meyer, QFC employees say they’ve experienced problems receiving paychecks — Hundreds of workers at local Fred Meyer stores are telling KIRO 7 that there’s an ongoing problem with their paychecks. Some say their paychecks are coming up short, while others say they’re not getting paid at all. Unions representing Fred Meyer and QFC workers say they’ve tried everything to resolve this problem and blame the rollout of a new computerized payroll program in October.

TODAY at The Stand Union to Kroger: Fix your payroll problems — UFCW 367 calls on Fred Meyer, QFC parent company to pay employees what they’ve earned amid payroll software glitches.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Lynnwood light rail could sit unused for months — Issues related to the pandemic and the concrete driver strike potentially bumped the Lynnwood Link initially set for mid-2024 by at least a few months.




► From the Seattle Times — Blockbuster order from United boosts Boeing — The massive United Airlines order announced Tuesday — for 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliner twin-aisle jets plus 100 single-aisle 737 MAXs — provides Boeing a double confidence boost. Tuesday’s deal shows Boeing’s workforce a path toward a brighter future and offers job security specifically in North Charleston and Renton… Boeing workers in Washington state, who originally designed and built the 787, will miss out on most of the work for that jet.

► From the PS Business Journal — Boeing deliveries jump, but overall orders ‘sluggish’ in November — The Boeing Co. increased deliveries to 48 last month, including 32 Renton-made 737 MAX jets.




► From the Seattle Times — WA hospitals start cutting services as huge financial losses continue — Washington hospital leaders are pleading for help from the state as they’ve been hit with massive financial losses for the third quarter in a row — a deficit they blame on rising costs of labor and supplies, and lengthy patient stays. When Washington’s legislative session gets underway in mid-January, hospital leaders will push lawmakers to significantly increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, add more funding for staffing at long-term care facilities, make changes in interpretation of the state’s guardianship laws and invest in more emergency behavioral health centers.

► From the House Democrats — Rep. Berry named chair of WA House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee — “Our state’s greatest strengths are our diverse workforce and innovative businesses,” said Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle), who previously served as Vice Chair of the committee under former Rep. Mike Sells. “I’m deeply honored to take on this new position and remain committed to giving all Washingtonians a seat at the table as we address the most urgent workplace challenges they face.”

► From the (Everett) Herald — Recount confirms Clyde Shavers win in 10th Legislative District — Shavers, a Democrat, defeated Republican Rep. Greg Gilday by 216 votes following a machine recount.

► From KIRO — WSTC votes in favor of switching to pay-per-mile charge for Washington drivers, rather than gas tax — On Tuesday, the Washington State Transportation Commission voted unanimously to recommend replacing Washington’s relatively high gas tax with a per-mile charge. The commission calls it the road usage charge, or RUC.




► From the New Republic — Rail workers in 11 states and D.C. rally after forced labor deal with no sick days — Masses of rail workers across the country are rallying Tuesday in efforts to draw the public attention toward their demands, including giving rail workers paid sick days, after President Joe Biden signed legislation imposing a labor deal on workers.

► From More Perfect Union — Rail workers oust union president who backed labor deal — Eddie Hall, a working engineer who pushed for a more aggressive stance in contract showdown, wins upset victory to lead major rail union BLET.

► From CNN — Railroad unions hopeful Biden will act to give workers paid sick time — Railroad workers could get the paid sick days that were at the heart of their threat to go on strike – if the Biden administration steps in with an executive order. Workers have been unsuccessful getting their demands for paid sick leave met through months of negotiations with the freight rail companies, or through congressional action. But on Friday, 70 Democrats in Congress signed a letter asking for President Joe Biden or some federal agency to issue an order giving rail workers the seven sick days a year they were seeking.

► From CNBC — Unions, rails clash over hiring data as Union Pacific faces regulatory heat in Washington — Union Pacific’s use of embargoes, a freight railroad practice in which trade is stopped in order to clear up congestion, is at the center of a two-day hearing at the Surface Transportation Board in Washington, D.C., that started Tuesday. Also under scrutiny: the railroad’s staffing data, including new hiring and retention of existing employees, which union officials at the hearing say doesn’t present the full picture of declining employment in the sector.




► From the Washington Post — New penalties for companies that illegally fire workers who unionizeCompanies that illegally fire or demote unionizing workers can now be held responsible for workers’ financial demise — including credit card late fees, lost housing or cars and health-care costs — in a move that could help some workers who have been fired from Starbucks and Amazon, labor activists say. In a big win for labor unions, the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday to expand the fees and penalties the agency can collect from employers that illegally terminate workers for labor activism, both union and nonunion, in a move long sought after by the labor movement.

► From Time — Progressives push Congress to shore up agency that protects workers’ rights before it’s too late — With Democrats on the brink of losing unilateral control of the federal government, progressives are pushing their party’s leaders to boost funding for the agency that helps guard workers’ rights to organize. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY):

“We need to get this done this Congress, between now and December 31st, because I’m not going to sit here and pretend that a Republican-controlled Congress is going to put this at the top of the docket.”

The Stand (Dec. 13) — Tell senators: Fund the National Labor Relations Board

TAKE A STAND — Please take two minutes to send a letter to your senators to demand funding for the NLRB.

► From Politico — Top appropriators clinch deal on government funding framework — Leading negotiators didn’t release government funding totals in announcing the deal, but appropriators have largely settled on an $858 billion defense budget in recent weeks.

► From The Hill — House GOP pushes members to vote against short-term funding bill — House Republican leadership is urging members to vote against a short-term government funding bill lawmakers are hoping to quickly pass ahead of a looming shutdown deadline.

► From the Washington Post — What the Respect for Marriage Act means for LGBTQ, interracial families — On Tuesday, President Biden signed landmark legislation that will protect their marriages. The Respect for Marriage Act grants federal protection to same-sex and interracial couples, requiring that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage is valid in the state where it was performed. The issue became a legislative priority after the Supreme Court in June ended the constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years, at which time Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should also reexamine cases that set precedent on LGBT rights. Here are the stories of 13 couples whose marriages will be protected under the new law.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Northwest Republicans’ votes reflect conflicts within GOP on same-sex marriage law — All 220 Democrats and 47 Republicans voted for it – including Rep. Dan Newhouse. The 157 GOP lawmakers who opposed the measure in July included Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler.

► From the AP — Fed set to extend inflation fight with 7th rate hike of 2022 — After four straight three-quarter-point interest rate hikes, the Federal Reserve is set to announce a smaller half-point increase in its key rate Wednesday, a first step toward dialing back its efforts to combat inflation.




► From Jacobin — The massive University of California strike is now in its fifth week — As the largest academic worker strike in US history enters its fifth week, systematic organizing by thousands of workers across the state has resulted in the widespread suspension of cutting-edge research projects and thousands of class cancellations and ungraded assessments. The UC continues to stonewall on the major demands put forth by UAW Local 2865 and Student Researchers United–UAW (SRU-UAW), the unions representing graduate student workers and student researchers — including a substantive wage increase, adequately expansive health care coverage, and the remission of both extra tuition paid by non-California residents and a xenophobic fee exacted from primarily international student workers. (Postdoctoral and academic researchers, represented by UAW Local 5810, ratified their own contracts on Friday, December 9, the end of the fourth week of the strike.)

► From the Washington Post — How progressive can a college be when instructors make poverty wages? (by Helaine Olen) — In a three-week strike by adjuncts at New York City university the New School, which concluded this weekend, the immediate issue was a basic one: pay and benefits. But rumbling beneath the surface was the gap between the school’s progressive rhetoric and the grubby reality of how adjunct professors are treated.

► From Axios — The year labor organizing came to tech — 2022 saw an unprecedented rise in labor organizing in U.S. tech firms, with some workers pushing for collective rights just as a tanking economy changed the industry’s dynamics. “The rate of organizing and the significance of the wins that we’re seeing is like nothing I’ve experienced in my lifetime,” Sara Steffens, secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America, which has been involved in several tech organization efforts, told Axios.

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!


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