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12 days and counting | Michigan may ditch RTW | Stevie and Jeff

Friday, January 13, 2023




► From the Seattle Times — UW librarians announce second strike if deal isn’t reached — University of Washington librarians and staff are calling for a second strike on Jan. 25 if a contract agreement with the university isn’t reached by then. Members of SEIU 925, which has about 130 librarians and press workers, said at Thursday’s UW Board of Regents quarterly meeting that librarians and staff will strike if negotiations continue to stall.

► From UW Daily — UW librarians, press staff announce strike date

TODAY at The Stand UW Libraries staff announce Jan. 25 strike

The Stand (April 5, 2022) — UW tops in research, bottom in library pay (by Jason Sokoloff)

► From the (Everett) Herald — Providence to close inpatient hospice unit in Everett — Providence will permanently close its 16-bed inpatient hospice unit in Everett on Feb. 10. Thirty-six employees learned Monday afternoon that they would lose these jobs. They will all be offered positions with Providence visiting hospice patients in their homes, be that private residences, assisted living facilities or elsewhere. Many of the hospice employees are represented by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. Secretary-treasurer Yolanda King-Lowe said that the union is “saddened” by Providence’s decision and waiting for a response to a request for information.

► From the PSBJ — Alaska Airlines aims to hire more than 3,500 employees as travel demand rebounds — Alaska Airlines (NYSE: ALK) said this week it aims to hire more than 3,500 people in 2023, including management, flight attendants and customer service agents. It will also keep up its pilot recruitment efforts, looking to fill 550 open positions. Most of the new positions will be based on the West Coast, primarily at its Seattle and Portland hubs.

► From KIRO — U.S. Postal Service holding hiring events across Washington

► From the Seattle Times — In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., volunteer and help build community (by Amber Martin-Jahn) — As the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service approaches, how will you serve your community?

The Stand (Jan. 12) — Virtual, in-person events planned all weekend for MLK Day




► From the Seattle Times — Washington’s jobless workers living ‘surrealistic nightmare’ as recession looms — Even as economists are forecasting an economic slowdown and rising unemployment in Washington later this year, the state system that provides benefits to jobless workers hasn’t even recovered from the last slump. Washingtonians still wait longer to get benefits from the state Employment Security Department than they did before COVID shuttered the economy in 2020, even though fewer are filing claims. Workers whose benefits are delayed struggle to get help: calls to the ESD’s help desk were answered just 12.5% of the time in December.

► From Crosscut — ‘The whole thing is broken’: Temp staffing costs strain WA hospitals — Amid a retention crisis, rural hospitals turned to pricey travel-nurse agencies with little oversight or transparency. Now they need a way forward.




► From Reuters — Boeing 737 MAX makes first passenger flight in China since March 2019 — A Boeing 737 MAX made its first passenger flight in China in nearly four years on Friday, marking a major milestone in the U.S. planemaker’s attempt to rebuild its business in the world’s second-largest aviation market.




The Stand (Jan. 9) — April Sims, Cherika Carter make history as WSLC leaders

► From the Spokesman-Review — White House calls on Cantwell, McMorris Rodgers to work together to rein in ‘Big Tech’ — The White House on Thursday called on two powerful Washington lawmakers — Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Spokane Republican — to work together to limit the way “Big Tech” companies collect and use data on Americans, one of the few issues where Republicans and Democrats could make bipartisan progress in a divided government this year.

► From Politico — House GOP tempts fall government shutdown with impossible spending demands — House Republicans are vowing to put Don Quixote to shame by tilting at a huge windmill: slashing federal spending by at least $130 billion without cutting defense. It’s a proposition that’s severely unlikely on its face, before factoring in a Democratic Senate and White House that would never accept such cuts. Even the GOP’s fallback plan for avoiding a shutdown later this year — passing a short-term funding patch that would trigger reductions as an incentive for lawmakers to finish comprehensive spending bills — is inconceivable this term.

► From the NY Times — Why Republican politicians still hate Medicare (by Paul Krugman) — The Republicans who now control the House will soon try to slash Social Security and Medicare. They plan to achieve this by holding the economy hostage, threatening to create a financial crisis by refusing to raise the federal debt ceiling. The interesting questions are why they want to do this, given that it appears politically suicidal, and how Democrats will respond.

► From NPR — Many workers barely recall signing noncompetes, until they try to change jobs — Researchers estimate that one in five workers in the U.S. — some 30 million people — have signed noncompete agreements, prohibiting them from taking jobs at similar businesses or starting a rival business of their own within a certain time period, typically six months to two years. Now the Federal Trade Commission is looking into banning the agreements, saying they suppress wages, hamper innovation, and deprive workers of their economic liberties.

► From the Guardian — Rightwing group pours millions in ‘dark money’ into U.S. voter suppression bid — The advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation, the powerful conservative thinktank based in Washington, spent more than $5 million on lobbying in 2021 as it worked to block federal voting rights legislation and advance an ambitious plan to spread its far-right agenda calling for aggressive voter suppression measures in battleground states.




► From the USA Today — Michigan could become first state in nearly 60 years to ditch ‘right-to-work’ law — A fight brewing over the future of Michigan’s “right-to-work” law is drawing national attention as Democratic lawmakers in Lansing eye repealing the law Republicans passed just over a decade ago allowing workers in unionized jobs to opt out of paying union dues and fees.

The Stand (April 19, 2016) — The racist past and present of ‘right-to-work’ laws (by John Boyle and Michael Hureaux) — Of all the language-twisting political slogans of our time, few have had so long a lease on life as the phrase “right-to-work.” Right-to-work laws (RTW) are rooted in the quest for super-exploited labor. They are used to justify racial exclusion, destroy established collective bargaining agreements, and derail workers’ right to organize a workplace.

► From CBS — Apple’s first US labor union, based in Towson, reaches new milestone for tech industry — Apple store workers in Towson, Maryland, who made history in June by voting to form the first union at one of the tech giant’s US stores, started contract negotiations with Apple management on Wednesday morning. The worker group, based out of a mall near Baltimore, is organized with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) union.

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 Politico — What workers want from tech (by Derek Robertson) — Last week at CES I spoke with Amanda Ballantyne, the director of the AFL-CIO’s Technology Institute, who described how the past few years’ increased focus on American-made tech and manufacturing has been a salutary development for workers. But that’s not all labor wants.

► From Vox — America’s public hospitals are privatizing. That’s bad news for low-income patients. — Over the past four decades, U,S, hospitals have gradually moved from public hands to private ones. The share of hospitals owned and operated by a government body — as opposed to a private entity, either a for-profit enterprise or a nonprofit — declined by 42 percent from 1983 to 2019. That trend has brought serious consequences for the poorer patients who seek care at these hospitals. When private companies assume control of public hospitals, low-income patients on Medicaid lose access to health care, according to new research on this longstanding but under-analyzed trend in American health care.




► This week, guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck died suddenly and unexpectedly at 78. Like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, Beck got famous as a member of the Yardbirds. His later releases with the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice spanned genres and styles from blues rock to hard rock to jazz fusion and even electronica. He was considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Beck also had a hand in writing the following song with Stevie Wonder when he played guitar in the Talking Book sessions in 1972. R.I.P., Mr. Beck.


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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!