Thursday, December 15, 2022
The Stand is going on hiatus for the remainder of the year. We’ll see you in 2023!
► From KING — Airport taxi drivers want union rights, public oversight from Port Commission — During Tuesday’s Port of Seattle Commission meeting, dozens of taxi drivers showed up to call for public oversight of the on-demand ground transportation system at Seattle-Tacoma International airport. Samson Hailegiorgis, who has been driving taxis for 17 years, says it is about taxi drivers having their voices heard. “They are deciding on our future,” said Hailegiorgis. “Airport taxi drivers are packing a port commission meeting to demand public oversight and union rights for taxi drivers,” said Joshua Welter with Teamsters 117.
► From the Olympian — Local nurses beg support from Thurston County board of commissioners amid staffing crisis (video) — Several local nurses represented by UFCW 3000 spoke during the Thurston County board of commissioners’ Dec. 13 meeting, asking for their support amid a staffing crisis at Providence Centralia and St. Peter hospitals.
► From the Northwest Labor Press — A new ambassador for labor in Southwest Washington — Southwest Washington Central Labor Council (SWWACLC) has a new president. Shaun Gundert, a high school science teacher and member of Evergreen Education Association, was nominated and elected unopposed at the council’s monthly delegates meeting Dec. 7. Immediately following the election, outgoing president Shannon Myers handed the meeting over to him.
► From the Seattle Times — Gov. Inslee proposes effort to build thousands of housing units — Gov. Jay Inslee proposed Wednesday that state spending over the next two years prioritize “pressing needs” such as housing, including an ambitious effort to quickly build thousands of new units that would require approval from Washington voters. The governor’s proposed budget would have the state spend $70 billion over the two-year period starting July 2023.
EDITOR’S NOTE — State employee collective bargaining agreements are funded in the proposal, but as for the state’s contributions to educators’ wages…
► From the Washington Education Association — Statement on Gov. Inslee’s proposed budget — “Governor Inslee’s proposed budget falls short of what Washington’s students need to learn and succeed and it would continue the unacceptable trend of education, our state’s paramount duty, shrinking as a portion of the state’s budget.”
► From the WFSE — Fund our Communities, Fund our Contracts! — Members of the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 must come to Olympia to lobby during the 2023 legislative session to ensure funding for our contracts, which will benefit our communities, workplaces and families.
TODAY at The Stand — Register for the WSLC’s 2023 Legislative Conference — At the Washington State Labor Council’s Legislative Reception and Conference on Feb. 2-3 in Olympia, union members will learn about the issues and meet with their legislators.
► From the NW Labor Press — Rideshare driver protections start Jan. 1 in Washington — Regulations improving work conditions for Uber and Lyft drivers will take effect Jan. 1 throughout Washington state. They include minimum per-minute, per-mile and per-trip rates drivers must be paid; paid sick leave; workers compensation; and just-cause employment protection.
► From the NW Labor Press — Workers unionize at two more New Seasons stores — The New Seasons Labor Union (NSLU) grew by 125 workers Dec. 9 when workers at the Woodstock New Seasons Market in Southeast Portland voted 80-18 to join, and another 110 members Dec. 13, when Grant Park store workers voted 72-22 to join.
► From the NW Labor Press — New leader sworn in at Oregon AFL-CIO — Oregon AFL-CIO has a new number two officer. At the Dec. 8 meeting of the union federation’s Executive Board, Aida Aranda was unopposed for secretary-treasurer, was declared elected by acclamation, and was sworn into office immediately after.
EDITOR’S NOTE — For more great labor news in Oregon and Southwest Washington, subscribe to the Northwest Labor Press!
► From The Nation — Democrats can win rural seats if they listen to Marie Gluesenkamp Perez — Without party support, Gluesenkamp Perez built a different kind of Democratic campaign. She talked candidly about the decline of the timber industry and the loss of manufacturing jobs, while promoting right-to-repair legislation, which would give people the tools and legal authority to repair everything from cell phones to John Deere tractors to medical equipment. Right-to-repair is an especially important issue in rural areas, where repairing heavy machinery can be banned by manufacturers.
► From Politico — House OKs stopgap funding fix with broader deal still under wraps — The chamber voted Wednesday night to extend federal cash for another week while negotiators hammer out a $1.7 trillion spending deal.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Just nine Republican representatives defied the House GOP leadership’s order to vote “no” and risk the financial chaos of another government shutdown and the U.S. defaulting on its loan obligations. Among the nine GOP members voting “yes” was outgoing Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. Not among them: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse.
► From NPR — You can order free COVID tests again by mail — Americans can order four more free COVID-19 tests through the mail, starting on Thursday. It’s part of the Biden administration’s plan to deal with an increase in COVID cases sparked by indoor holiday gatherings. The tests can be ordered on COVIDtests.gov and will start to ship the week of Dec. 19.
► From Vox — How workers fought back in 2022 — Even as the worst of the pandemic has waned and many things have returned to normal, many are refusing to let work return to how it was before. Workers are expressing that sentiment by their willingness to quit their jobs. Currently, the quit rate in the U.S. is at 2.6 percent, down from its peak of 3 percent last winter but still above historic norms. In other words, the Great Resignation is still going. Others are trying to improve the jobs they’re in through collective action like unionizing and striking… Workers are not only taking stands on single issues like remote work, they’re collectively organizing to tackle a much broader range of issues. Americans are joining unions at levels not seen in years, as workers organize to get better conditions. More than 1,000 unions have won elections in 2022, the most since 2015, according to preliminary data for this year provided by Bloomberg Law, which will likely be revised upward.
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!
► From the LA Times — ‘Enough is enough!’ Striking UC workers say they are weary but won’t give up — During the fifth week of the historic strike by University of California academic workers, hundreds of demonstrators converged on the UCLA campus, shouting for better pay and benefits, and forcing the delay of a regent’s meeting, as picketers said they were determined to show that winter break will not erode their momentum.
► From MPR News — ‘They heard us’: Minnesota nurses union approves three-year contract — Nurses have been in negotiations since March and working without a contract since early summer. After a three-day strike in September, nurses were prepared to walk out again this month.
► From the Washington Post — HarperCollins staffers are striking. Here’s why that matters to readers. — The striking workers have three demands: HarperCollins should raise its minimum starting salary from $45,000 to $50,000; address the lack of diversity in its workforce; and provide more security for unionized workers.
► From the American Prospect — What’s wrong at the Times — The New York Times management authorized $150 million for a stock buyback this year but resists the union’s wage proposal, which would yearly come to $15 million more than the paper wants to pay.
► Rolling Stone has announced the Best Albums of 2022 and… (spoiler alert)… topping the list is Beyoncé‘s Renaissance: “The album finds her unabashedly celebrating Black pleasure in all its multitudes and illustrates that theme with dozens of sampled voices and sounds, esteemed guests (Grace Jones!), and echoes to global club styles past and present.” When the record’s biggest hit was certified platinum last week, Beyoncé decided to celebrate by releasing this compilation of her Beyhive fans dancing to this certified banger. Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.