Apprenticeships pay | Nurses fed up | Strengthen, don’t cut

  Tuesday, February 14, 2023 




► From NPR — High-paying jobs that don’t need a college degree? Thousands of them are sitting empty — Back in 2018, the demand for ironworkers was rising – and it still is: the sector is growing 4% annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ironworkers earn, on average, $27.48 per hour, or $57,160 per year. Morgan was already working on a job site when he wasn’t at the Pacific Northwest Ironworkers shop. At 20, he was earning $28.36 an hour, plus benefits. Five years later, he’s on the job full time, working “six-10s” — industry lingo for 10 hours a day, six days a week. He helped build the Rainier Square Tower in Seattle and a data center for Microsoft. “I’m loving it every day,” he said. “It was absolutely the right choice.” As for his friends from high school? “Someday maybe they’ll make as much as me.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Do you want to “earn while you learn” a family-wage career in the trades? Check out the Construct a Career website from the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council about how to get started in a union apprenticeship program today!

► From the Wenatchee World — Wenatchee School District to cut at least 75 positions under budget scenarios — At least 75 positions will be reduced from the Wenatchee School District as the board attempts to close a budget shortfall through a phased approach. Each scenario would reduce staffing by at least 8% across the district.

► From the PS Business Journal — Alaska Airlines, Delta award millions in bonuses to Seattle-area workers — Alaska Air Group said it paid out the largest bonus in the history of its incentive program, with $257 million in incentive wages across its organization. Of that, more than $123 million went to employees in the Seattle area.

► From the Skagit Valley Herald — Guemes Island ferry workers reject county’s contract offer — Guemes Island ferry crew members voted unanimously last week to reject the latest contract offer from Skagit County.




► From the PS Business Journal — Nearly half of Washington health care workers ‘likely’ leaving industry soon, survey finds —  The report polled 1,200 unionized nurses and other hospital staff from across the state. The results show 49% said they are likely to leave health care in the next few years, while 79% said they were burned out by their jobs. The report was released by the WA Safe + Healthy, a coalition of health care workers and advocacy groups calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation requiring hospitals to adopt nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in an attempt to address industry burnout and workforce shortages.

MORE coverage from KING and KIMA.

TODAY at The Stand Tell Senators: We need safe staffing now! — With new poll showing half of healthcare workers likely to quit, urge Ways & Means members: Pass SB 5236!

TAKE A STAND — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is urging all supporters of healthcare workers and safe staffing to click here and sign in as PRO on SB 5236 in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Push is on to tax the super rich — HB 1473, to be heard this morning, would treat stocks, bonds and other financial assets as property, and impose a 1% tax on that property. The first $250 million of assessed value would be exempt. Proceeds would be funneled into education, housing, disability services and tax credits for working families.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Capital gains tax will help rural communities and struggling families (by Kris Cameron) — Washington’s Supreme Court will soon make a critical decision that will have a major impact on rural communities. The Court will either decide to uphold the capital gains excise tax on the extremely wealthy, an important step towards balancing the state’s regressive unfair tax code. Or it will continue to entrench this unfair system by striking the tax down.

► From the PS Business Journal — Amazon pledges $25M for transit-oriented housing as state lawmakers consider bill — The Seattle-based tech giant said it will give $25 million from its Housing Equity Fund to the public-private partnership that SB 5466 would establish. The donation would expand on the $100 million the company has already given to transit-oriented developments.

► From the Seattle Times — WA lawmakers want to beef up state aid for college students — Several legislative bills are designed to beef up the Washington College Grant by extending the timeline or expanding money to provide further support for college students.




► From HuffPost — Bernie Sanders, Democrats introduce bill boosting Social Security benefits — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and progressive Democrats on Monday reintroduced a bill to increase Social Security retirement benefits and shore up the program’s finances solely by taxing corporations and the wealthy. Sanders has introduced identical bills in the past, including in 2022, but the newest version of the legislation comes out amid a national debate over Social Security between President Joe Biden and congressional Republicans.

► From The Hill — Hard Labor: Biden faces tough choice to replace Marty Walsh — Asian Americans in Congress are hopeful that with the expected exit of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Biden will finally name an Asian American to his Cabinet by promoting deputy secretary Julie Su. But ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has thrown former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) name into the mix, complicating Biden’s decision. Some of the largest unions, including AFL-CIO, have not endorsed anyone yet for the role.

► From the Guardian — Inflation eases again for seventh consecutive month — Inflation continued to cool in the U.S. in January, rising at an annual rate of 6.4%, according to figures released on Tuesday.




► From DCist — Nurses at the George Washington University Hospital are organizing a union — Some 750 registered nurses at the George Washington University Hospital are working to form a union, with the D.C. Nurses Association as its bargaining representative. Said the organizers:

“We are driven by a desire to provide the safest, most compassionate and most patient-centered care possible. Unfortunately, repeated attempts to work personally and directly with hospital leadership have failed to yield lasting systemic improvements.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for some systemic improvements? 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 Bloomberg — Tesla workers launch union campaign in New York — The employees, who label data for Tesla’s Autopilot technology at the company’s plant in Buffalo, N.Y., sent an email to CEO Elon Musk early Tuesday with their intent to unionize. Employees say they’re seeking better pay and job security alongside a reduction in production pressures that they say have been harmful to their health.

► From Jacobin — Google’s YouTube music workers are on strike — A week after YouTube Music workers filed for a union election, Google issued a return-to-office order for the remote workforce. Employees, who say the order is an illegal attempt to interfere with the election, are now on strike.


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

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