Friday, February 24, 2023
► From Jacobin — Rail carriers’ cost-cutting is endangering all of us — Rail carriers are operating longer, heavier freight trains, and with fewer workers than ever. The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, is a reminder that the issues railworkers nearly struck over last year are far from resolved.
► From ABC News — Union officials say cost cutting led to significant derailment rate increase — National union officials say years of cost-cutting and staff reductions within the freight rail industry have led to an increase in the rate of derailments and fostered an increasingly unsafe environment for workers and the public. They urge a strengthening of protection for whistleblowers, among other steps.
► From the Seattle Times — State lawmakers consider limits to length of freight trains moving through WA — Washington lawmakers are considering a bill to limit the length of trains moving through the state, a restriction proponents say could reduce the risk of incidents like the derailment earlier this month in East Palestine, Ohio, that released hazardous chemicals. HB 1839 cleared the state House Transportation Committee Thursday and is strongly opposed by railroad companies. It would cap the length of a train traveling through Washington with a standard crew at no more than 7,500 feet. If an additional crew member was added to the end of the train to monitor movements, the train could be up to 10,000 feet in length. Jared Cassity, chief of safety for SMART-Transportation Division:
“I am a locomotive engineer, and the forces with long trains are astronomical, and they increase the difficulty for an engineer to control the train in a way that’s hard to put into words.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Unions representing railroad workers are also supporting HB 1548 / SB 5267, which would provide job protections for rail workers — who notoriously lack paid sick leave — when they take certain unpaid leave. Rail workers are only asking not to be fired or disciplined when they must take unpaid leave for illnesses or absences. Learn more here.
► From the AP — Train crew had little warning before Ohio wreck, probe finds — The crew operating a freight train that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, didn’t get much warning before dozens of cars went off the tracks, and there is no indication that crew members did anything wrong, federal investigators said Thursday as they released a preliminary report into the fiery wreck that prompted a toxic chemical release and an evacuation.
► From PubliCola — Study: Human services wages are even worse than you imagined — It’s well-known that human services workers, particularly those who work for nonprofit agencies, are underpaid, making less than both private-market workers with similar backgrounds and skills and government employees who do similar work. A new city-funded study, initiated by the Seattle Human Services Coalition and conducted by researchers at the University of Washington found that nonprofit human-services workers are paid 37 percent less than workers in other industries with comparable jobs, and that people who left jobs in human services for jobs in other fields saw their wages increase more than 14 percent.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Are you an employee at a non-profit organization who’s ready for better wages and working conditions? 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 ILWU
Joint News release: ILWU-PMA Update on Contract Talks
The ILWU and PMA announced today that they continue to negotiate and remain hopeful of reaching a deal soon. The parties have agreed not to discuss negotiations in the media as collective bargaining continues. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/Z7eMGczoKD
— ILWU Coast Longshore Division (@ilwulongshore) February 23, 2023
► From Reuters — Boeing temporarily halts deliveries of 787 Dreamliner jets – FAA — Boeing has temporarily halted deliveries of its 787 jets as the company conducts additional analysis on a fuselage component, the FAA said on Thursday. Deliveries will not resume until the FAA is satisfied that the issue has been addressed, the agency said. Boeing said in reviewing certification records it “discovered an analysis error by our supplier (Spirit AeroSystems) related to the 787 forward pressure bulkhead.”
► From Reuters — Boeing shares fall after new Dreamliner delivery halt
► From the AP — Boeing plans to end production of ‘Top Gun’ plane in 2025
► From the PS Business Journal — Biographer says Boeing founder would be ‘mortified’ over what’s happened to the company — What might Bill Boeing Sr. think of the company that still bears his name today? “I think he would be mortified,” author and historian David Williams says. “I think Senior had enough money and wealth that the airplane company, while it had to show a profit, wasn’t motivated by profit and shareholder value. It was motivated by trying to make the very best product they could. So now if Senior were to see all the decisions made that have compromised the product, he would be furious.”
► From Roll Call — Federal workers oppose proposed Pentagon civilian workforce cut — The American Federation of Government Employees, in a letter to congressional and administration leaders, criticized a plan to purportedly save $25 billion in each of the next five years by not filling a portion of the civilian positions at the Defense Department that are vacated each year.
► From The Hill — The high cost of citizenship hurts our economy (by Lucia Martel Dow) — Currently, there are over 9 million permanent residents eligible for citizenship, but only 10 percent naturalize each year. High costs, lack of legal knowledge to guide the process and language barriers all prevent lawful permanent residents from naturalizing.
The Stand (Aug. 6, 2020) — WSLC is now offering naturalization legal aid — First-of-its-kind program helps legal permanent residents gain citizenship.
► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO statement on one year of war in Ukraine — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Secretary Treasurer Fred Redmond:
“As we mark one year since the start of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, the labor movement continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We reiterate our call for an end to the violent invasion of a sovereign nation, and remain committed to re-establishing peace and democracy in Ukraine and the region.
“The working people and families of Ukraine have exemplified nothing less than courage even in the face of such brutal aggression. We commend their bravery, and we will continue to work alongside our trade union partners and allies on the ground to provide crucial, lifesaving humanitarian support.”
► From ESPN — MLS Players Association becomes AFL-CIO affiliate — The Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) announced on Thursday that it has become an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. MLSPA members will join the more than 12.5 million workers that make up the unions of the AFL-CIO. The players associations of MLB, NFL, NWSL, WNBA and the USWNT are all AFL-CIO members.
► From AFSCME — AFSCME launches ‘Staff the Front Lines’ initiative — Nationwide, more than 500,000 public-sector jobs are vacant, AFSCME’s research shows. That means vital public services aren’t being delivered. The staffing shortage also means that public service workers are shouldering impossible workloads, leaving them exhausted. But AFSCME is fighting back. This month, AFSCME is launching a massive retention, recruitment and outreach initiative called Staff the Front Lines, which will address the public service worker shortages.
► From Vox — The pay gap between hospital CEOs and nurses is expanding even faster than we thought — The pay disparity between hospitals’ administrative staff and clinical staff is exploding: Some of the individual hospital CEOs covered in a new study saw their salaries increase by more than 700 percent in just a few years, while doctors and nurses got a fraction of that salary increase, 15 to 20 percent, across an entire decade.
► From the Washington Post — Audi eyes U.S. factory to nab ‘attractive’ subsidies, CEO says — Volkswagen-owned Audi is considering building a U.S. factory to take advantage of new federal subsidies, the carmaker’s chief executive said Friday. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said subsidies provided by the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act made the prospect of a U.S. factory “much more attractive.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — But then, there’s this…
► From Reuters — Hyundai to divest Alabama subsidiary following child labor revelations — South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. on Friday told shareholders that it would divest its controlling stake in a major Alabama auto parts plant where Reuters last year documented children as young as 12 were working.
EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s right. A foreign corporation is divesting from an American factory because of violations of basic internationally recognized human rights, like some Third World sweatshop.
► From NBC News — Company hired same ‘known minor’ twice to clean slaughterhouses, internal document shows — Wisconsin-based Packers Sanitation Services Inc., a company that the Labor Department says used more than 100 children to clean slaughterhouses, hired the same child twice under different names, an internal company document shows.
► From the Washington Post — ‘Incredibly damning:’ Fox News documents stun some legal experts — “You just don’t often get smoking-gun evidence of a news organization saying internally, ‘We know this is patently false, but let’s forge ahead with it,’” said RonNell Andersen Jones, a University of Utah professor who specializes in media law.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand sorely misses the web series Live from Daryl’s House. We were reminded of that fact when this song popped into our YouTube feed this week. Nothing against John Oates, but this 2012 performance of “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” by Cee Lo Green and Daryl Hall is superior to the original — and brings the funk. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.