Monday, January 9, 2023
► From the AP — State’s legislative session to start Monday — Washington state legislative leaders appeared largely aligned with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in citing homelessness and a significant housing shortage as top priorities for the legislative session starting Monday in Olympia. Leaders of both parties in an annual meeting with reporters Thursday said they’re concerned about the housing shortage as well as a workforce shortage affecting all areas of Washingtonians lives from child care to education to health care.
The Stand (Jan. 5) — WSLC announces 2023 agenda for state legislature — Among the legislative priorities of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO: Housing Options for Working Families. Working families are struggling to get affordable housing near their jobs and communities. The Legislature can increase housing options for the unhoused, retirees, and low- and middle-income families by reforming exclusionary zoning, legalizing significant density near transit, and making it easier to build affordable housing.
► From KNKX — Legislature is back in-person, but virtual public comment has more Washingtonians calling in — On Monday, state lawmakers returned to Olympia, for the legislative session – and for the first time since 2020, things are back to some semblance of a pre-pandemic “normal.” But one important thing from the pandemic is sticking around: virtual public comment.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Nursing home staff shortage a ‘crisis’ in Clark County — A lack of skilled staff at nursing homes and adult family homes is creating a situation in which local hospitals are filled with people who should be discharged to a skilled nursing facility or long-term care home but can’t find a bed.
► From the Seattle Times — Amid labor shortage, WA aerospace plants hire untapped talent — Inside two South Seattle manufacturing plants, work is slowly building back up as the aerospace industry recovers from a disastrous downturn. Revenue at the Pioneer Industries plants, which supply aircraft parts to Boeing and other companies, dropped by more than half due to the pandemic and two fatal 737 MAX crashes, which grounded the jets worldwide. But a top executive says the business has had a competitive edge in weathering the storm: an eager, reliable labor force drawn largely from people who were previously incarcerated.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Interested in career in aerospace? Check out the Machinists Institute. Established by the International Association of Machinists District 751, it provides cutting-edge education and training to build a highly-skilled and diverse workforce to help you achieve your career goals and meet employer demand.
► From Vox — Supreme Court hears a case this week that endangers workers’ ability to strike — The Supreme Court hears a labor dispute on Tuesday involving striking truck drivers in Washington state who walked off the job to try to secure a better contract from their employer, a company that provides premixed concrete for construction projects. Yet, while Glacier Northwest v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters is a fairly unremarkable case, the stakes for unionized workers could be enormous. Glacier Northwest, the employer beyond this case, seeks to upend a more than 60-year-old rule protecting unions from lawsuits when workers exercise their federally protected right to strike.
► From The Hill — House begins legislative business after Speaker spectacle — The House is set to begin its legislative business on Monday after last week’s four-day Speaker election spectacle, which ended with Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) securing the gavel following 15 rounds of voting.
► From the NY Times — Noncompetes depress wages and kill innovation (by FTC chair Lina Khan) — When you’re subject to a noncompete clause, you lose your right to go work for a competing company or start your own, typically within a certain geographic area and for a certain period of time. Unless you’re willing to move hundreds of miles away or take a huge pay cut to restart your career from scratch, a noncompete can effectively lock you into a job. That’s a clear restriction of individual liberty.
► From the NY Times — Mass arrests in Brazil after anti-democracy riots — Scores were taken into custody after supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right former president, stormed official buildings in the capital to protest what they falsely believe was a stolen election.
► Point, from HuffPost — Biden condemns Jan. 6-style assault in Brazil, says democracy has ‘our full support’
► Counterpoint, from the Guardian — Republicans filed record number of anti-voting lawsuits in 2022 — Efforts challenging election results and attacking voting rights peaked last year, but courts ruled against the majority of them.
► From the AP — Nurses go on strike at 2 big New York City hospitals — Nurses at two of New York City’s largest hospitals went on strike Monday in a dispute over pay and staffing levels after a weekend of negotiations did not produce a deal for a new contract. The walkout involves as many as 3,500 nurses at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and about 3,600 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The New York State Nurses Association, which represents the workers, said it was being forced into the drastic step because of chronic understaffing that leaves them caring for too many patients.
► From Polygon — World of Warcraft support studio to form third union under Activision Blizzard — As two unions under Activision Blizzard move forward into contract negotiations, a third subsidiary studio is organizing. Workers at Boston-based World of Warcraft support studio Proletariat are unionizing under the CWA, just like Raven Software and Blizzard Albany before them. Proletariat’s group of 57 workers, which includes all of the studio’s positions except management, is called Proletariat Workers Alliance. They announced their petition in late December.
EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s right. The Proletatiat are organizing. What about you? Are you ready for a voice at work? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From the Washington Post — ‘We know what it’s like’: Workers in dangerous jobs empathize with NFL’s Hamlin — “We’ve been praying for Damar and his family,” said Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America. “We know what it’s like for a loved one to go off to work and not come back.” Roughly 5,200 U.S. workers died of injuries sustained on the job in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure, averaging nearly 15 fatalities a day, doesn’t include workers who perish as a result of chronic job site hazards, such as black lung disease, cancers from chemical exposure or cardiovascular disease. Private employers reported an additional 2.6 million nonfatal workplace illnesses or injuries in 2021, according to federal data, a figure experts say is almost surely an undercount because many workers do not report illness and injury for fear of missing work or retribution.
► From Rolling Stone — Musicians sue NBC for wages on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show,’ other live broadcasts — The American Federation of Musicians claims NBC “failed” to pay money owed for work on Clarkson’s show as well as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Today.
► From the Washington Post — New variant XBB.1.5 is ‘most transmissible’ yet, could fuel another COVID wave — Three years after the novel coronavirus emerged, a new variant, XBB.1.5, is quickly becoming the dominant strain in parts of the United States because of a potent mix of mutations that makes it easier to spread broadly, including among those who have been previously infected or vaccinated.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.