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$10 billion in union jobs | GOP’s default terrorists | Hello Dolly

Thursday, January 19, 2023




► From the NW Labor Press — Proposed $10 billion hydrogen project commits to use union labor — State building trades councils in Oregon and Washington are backing plans by Obsidian Renewables to produce, store and transport hydrogen in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council and Pendleton Building and Construction Trades Council signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Dec. 2 with Obsidian Renewables covering its proposed Obsidian Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub. The project would include the construction of two production plants and a network of pipelines to deliver the fuel to customers. The MOU says Obsidian will negotiate with the councils to reach a project labor agreement covering the project.




► From the Spokesman-Review — Legislature again looks to tackle safe staffing requirements in hospitals — A bill making its way through the Legislature would attempt to alleviate some staffing issues by requiring hospitals to adopt safe staffing standards, including assigning certain staff members a set number of patients. A similar bill last year would have put staff-to-patient ratios in state law. This year’s proposal, sponsored by Sen. June Robinson (D-Everett), focuses more on accountability to hospital staffing committees without having set ratios in statute. It drew support among nurses and unions who say more workers are needed to keep staff from burning out, but again received sharp criticism from hospital leaders who say they don’t have enough staff to abide by staffing quotas.

The Stand (Jan. 6) — WA healthcare workers renew fight for safe staffing standards

► From KOMO — State lawmakers expected to introduce bill taxing wealthy Washingtonians — Sen. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) and Rep. My-Linh Thai (D-Bellevue) on Thursday will announce the introduction of a “Washington state wealth tax” that would create a “narrowly tailored property tax on extreme wealth derived from the ownership of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets.” according to a press release. The first $250 million of assessed value would be exempt from the tax.

► From the Spokesman-Review — In a bid at ‘keeping child care on the agenda,’ Murray talks funding in Olympia — Sen. Patty Murray joined state legislators, moms and kids in the Capitol on Wednesday to talk about federal and state efforts to address the child care crisis, an issue she said continues to be a top priority for her. As Congress reconvenes this year, Murray will serve as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and as the first woman to serve as president pro tempore, which makes her third in line for the presidency.




► From the Washington Post — U.S. braces for ‘extraordinary’ steps to avoid debt ceiling — The Biden administration is expected to begin implementing “extraordinary measures” as soon as Thursday to prevent the federal government from breaching its debt limit and hurtling toward default, a grim scenario with the potential to destabilize markets and devastate the economy. Newly emboldened House Republicans are trying to leverage the standoff to extract major spending cuts — including to such safety nets as Social Security and Medicare — insisting that previous Congresses and administrations have spent too much on social programs. The White House has said it will not negotiate on the debt ceiling.

► From the Washington Post — What is the debt ceiling, and what happens if the U.S. hits it? — Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, previously found that a prolonged impasse over the debt ceiling would cost the U.S. economy up to 6 million jobs, wipe out as much as $15 trillion in household wealth, and send the unemployment rate surging to roughly 9 percent from around 5 percent.

► From HR Dive — DHS strengthens deportation protection for undocumented workers involved in employment claims — “Workers rely on each other to take action to help enforce our labor laws, so we are all at risk when employers can use immigration threats to scare workers into silence,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “The commonsense procedures DHS has put in place will provide temporary status protections and work permits to workers who are exercising their workplace rights and reporting violations.”

► From NPR — Behind your speedy Amazon delivery are serious hazards for workers, government finds — Federal OSHA inspectors have concluded that the twisting, bending and long reaches that Amazon warehouse workers perform as much as nine times per minute put them at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders and constitute an unacceptable hazard.

► From the NY Times — Medicare begins to rein in drug costs for older Americans — Reforms embedded in the Inflation Reduction Act will bring savings to seniors this year. Already some lawmakers are aiming to repeal the changes.

► From Vox — A new Supreme Court case could turn every workplace into a religious battleground — The fight over whether religious conservatives enjoy special rights is coming to a workplace near you.

► From Politico — She fixes cars. Can she fix Congress’ elitism problem? (by Natalie Fertig) — I met up with Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez for lunch at Charlie Palmer Steakhouse in D.C. — its white tablecloths and suit-clad patrons casting a stark contrast with the antler-forward decor and outdoor gear of the other Washington’s eateries. I wanted to learn more about how she plans to represent her largely middle-class district (where I had grown up) and what Democrats could learn from her unexpected win. Over a steak salad — rare — Gluesenkamp Perez gave a bracing critique of her party’s deeply out-of-touch approach to the middle class, why the party’s leaders seem to be making that problem worse, not better, and how closing the widening gap between the party’s brain trust and its blue-collar roots can be accomplished by reconnecting Americans with our lost ability to “fix your own shit.”

► From the Washington Post — Republicans are proving they’re no ‘workers party’ (by Paul Waldman) — If you value liberty and free markets, as every Republican will tell you they do, then noncompete agreements should be intolerable. They deprive workers of something fundamental, the ability to go down the road and find a better job. So where are the “pro-worker” Republicans on this issue? No. The few conservatives who have said anything about it have criticized FTC chair Lina Khan for regulating, which happens to be her job.




► From HuffPost — Starbucks committed ‘substantial’ legal violations to defeat union, officials say — Federal labor officials say Starbucks broke the law repeatedly during a union organizing campaign in Florida and should be forced to bargain with the workers there. A regional director for the NLRB filed a complaint against the company on Tuesday, asking that a judge take the rare step of issuing a “bargaining order” for the Starbucks store in Estero, Florida. Such an order would effectively throw out the results of an election in which workers voted 21-11 against unionizing in an initial tally last May.

► From NPR — Southwest pilots union calls for May vote on potential strike — The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said the airline’s “lack of discussion or commitment” to fix the issues that led to the December meltdown pushed the union to call for a vote.

► From the Johnson Center — More nonprofit employees are moving to unionize — Nonprofit practitioners are increasingly interested in unionization not only as a way to boost salaries and workplace power, but as a means of achieving a host of social goals… For partnerships committed to building community wealth, sector leadership talent, and workplace equity, unionization may become a more intriguing and popular tool.

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 Atlanta J-C — As Teamsters push better deal, UPS touts pay, career development — Negotiations between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union and Sandy Springs-based UPS, which start in February, will be one of the most closely watched of 2023. Teamsters-represented workers at UPS total about two-thirds of UPS’s employees, and unions have felt emboldened coming out of the worst of the pandemic as companies struggle to attract and retain workers. Teamsters union general president Sean O’Brien has pledged to take “a hard line” with UPS in negotiations to reduce subcontracting, increase part-time pay and improve other conditions for workers.

► From Reuters — U.S. weekly jobless claims unexpectedly fall

EDITOR’S NOTE — Oh, no! We better raise interest rates! Must… have… unemployment.




► From Reuters — French strikers say ‘non’ to Macron’s pension reform — French workers went on strike and joined marches across the country on Thursday, halting trains and cutting electricity production in protest against government plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.




► From the NY Times — How to divide the working class (by Charles Blow) — A lot has changed since 1863, but devices of race division and provocation remain, a means of dividing the white from the nonwhite working class by stoking a combination of grievance against outsiders and against the government and wealthy elites seen to be favoring their interests over those of “ordinary” (i.e., white) citizens. For much of American history, the holy grail of liberal politics and activism has been to find a way past such divisions, a way to make poor and working-class people of all races see that their fates and interests are linked. But race, then as now, remains a powerful tool for driving a wedge in the working class.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This column succinctly explains why the Washington State Labor Council has prioritized its Race and Labor work. Unions need to integrate racial justice into every area of their organizations to combat the divide-and-conquer strategy of our enemies.




The Entire Staff of The Stand (and the WSLC, for that matter) are spending Friday focused on strategic planning, so this is our last posting of Daily News for the week.

Happy 77th birthday to an American icon: singer-songwriter, actress and philanthropist Dolly Parton. The ESOTS watched her perform on a 2022 New Year’s Eve TV special alongside Miley Cyrus — with guests Sia and David Byrne(!) — and Dolly still delivers the sweet voice and the energy. Here she is singing the title song from the movie that was “married to a movement.”


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

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!