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Licey hospital | Starbucks: Cease and desist | 4 > 5

Wednesday, February 22, 2023




► From the News Tribune — State inspects Tacoma psychiatric hospital after workers complain of violence, lice — A union representing workers at Tacoma’s Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital has filed a complaint with the state over the site’s working conditions. The action comes more than year after employees voted to unionize under the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW banner. Union members have been negotiating for their first contract with the hospital for months. Union representatives say the two sides remain far apart on issues.

► From the AP — Seattle becomes first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination — The Seattle City Council on Tuesday added caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws, becoming the first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination and the first in the world to pass such a law outside South Asia.

► From the Seattle Times — How India’s caste system manifests in Seattle-area workplaces and beyond (by Naomi Ishisaka) — The South Asian caste system that exists today is a hierarchical system dating back thousands of years that originated from Hinduism in India but is practiced now throughout South Asia and among people of many religions.




► From KUOW — With new chairs, Washington’s GOP and Democrats focused on next round of local candidates — Shasti Conrad is the new chair of the Washington State Democratic Party. She’s the first woman of color to hold the position, and at just 38 years old, she’s also the youngest chair in the organization’s history. The Washington State Republican party recently re-elected Caleb Heimlich, 37, who has been the chair since 2018.




► From The Hill — U.S. could default on debt as soon as June: analysis — The U.S. could default on the national debt as soon as June if lawmakers and the White House do not strike a deal to raise the federal borrowing limit, according to projections released Wednesday by prominent non-partisan think tank.

► From HuffPost — After weakening critical rail safety rules, Trump heads to East Palestine — So far, Republicans’ criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of the train derailment have not turned into anything resembling action that could prevent crashes or break the GOP’s arm-in-arm embrace of the railroad industry, which relentlessly and successfully pushed to cut costs and roll back regulations during Trump’s four years in office.

► From Roll Call — House cafeteria workers eyeing pickets, walkouts if contract talks sour — If contract negotiations with dining services operator Sodexo don’t improve, UNITE HERE, the union representing House cafeteria and catering workers, expects some representatives, staff and visitors may have to skip lunch at some point later this year.

► From the NY Times — Why Medicare and Social Security are sustainable (by Paul Krugman) — Yes, our major social programs are on a trajectory that will cause them to cost more in the future than they do today. But how we deal with that trajectory is a choice, and the solution need not involve benefit cuts.

► From the NY Intelligencer — Social Security, Medicare cuts are a trap Republicans just can’t resist — Republicans with the “entitlement reform” stain on their records need to appreciate how deadly it has been for leaders in their party to touch what was once known as the “third rail of American politics.”




► From the American Prospect — Federal court tells Starbucks to stop illegal union-busting (by Steven Greenhouse) — Last Friday, a federal judge ruled that workers have it hard enough without having to also wait for months or years to receive a bare modicum of justice. Judge Mark Goldsmith of the District Court of Eastern Michigan granted an injunction sought by NLRB attorneys requiring Starbucks to reinstate an unlawfully fired worker, post and read the Court’s order, and importantly, immediately cease and desist from its unlawful activities nationwide. The injunction would remain in place while the judge hears the specific case involving the firing of a Starbucks union organizer. This is, to my knowledge, the first cease-and-desist order that a federal court has issued in many decades to immediately block a corporation’s illegal campaign against its employees’ right to organize.

► From Jacobin — Inside the Teamsters’ preparations for a UPS strike — The UPS contract is the largest private sector union contract in the United States, and UPS CEO Carol Tomé has said she doesn’t believe the company and the union are far apart as they prepare to negotiate a new five-year contract. Union members aren’t so sure. They are preparing for a strike. So this summer, some 350,000 UPS workers could walk off the job in the United States’ largest strike in the 21st century thus far. The Teamsters are getting ready. Here’s a look at how.

► From the Guardian — As U.S. hospital profits, health workers struggle with chronic understaffing — Union contracts covering 22,000 healthcare workers at HCA, the largest hospital corporation in the U.S., are expiring in the coming months at 30 hospitals in five states as healthcare workers push the company to address chronic understaffing they say burns out workers and jeopardizes patient safety.

► From the Washington Post — Why are nurses quitting? Ask the nurse no hospital will hire. — Katie Duke is a 40-year-old, 5-foot-tall troublemaker in black and mocha suede Jordans who emerged from the pandemic as a nursing celebrity. Duke is a nurse practitioner (NP), content creator and health-care advocate who hosts a society and culture podcast titled “Bad Decisions.” Duke has been pushing back on expectations about what a nurse is and how she (it’s almost always a she) should act for nearly a decade. Among them, she told me later that week: Nurses should work in hospitals; nurses are merely support staff for doctors; nursing isn’t creative or entrepreneurial; nurses are tireless and have endless reserves of patience; nurses keep their discontent to themselves.

► From Vice — Companies can’t ask you to shut up to receive severance, NLRB rules — The board reverses two previous decisions that held that such severance agreements were lawful. Limits on free speech have become increasingly common aspect of many severance agreements.

► From the NY Times — New York’s wind power future is taking shape. In Rhode Island. — States and cities all along the East Coast are vying with New York to be hubs for the fast-growing business of harnessing wind power offshore. But Rhode Island took the lead by building the first offshore wind farm in the United States several years ago. “Everybody wants to think they’re at the forefront, that they’re the leader,” said Michael F. Sabitoni, the president of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council. “You can print this: Rhode Island’s the leader.”




► From the Washington Post — A four-day workweek pilot was so successful most firms say they won’t go back — Dozens of companies in the United Kingdom took part in the world’s largest trial of the four-day workweek — and a majority of supervisors and employees liked it so much they’ve decided to keep the arrangement. In fact, 15 percent of the employees who participated said “no amount of money” would convince them to go back to working five days a week.

► From Reuters — Toyota accepts union demands for biggest wage hike in two decades — Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, said on Wednesday it would accept a union demand for the biggest base salary increase in 20 years and a rise in bonus payments, as Japan steps up calls for businesses to hike pay.


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