Friday, March 3, 2023
Great day of worker solidarity out there telling Meta that cafe workers deserve to know what’s happening, and demanding severance on par with other workers at the company. #whatsthewordzuckerberg pic.twitter.com/vu7kFWTDJJ
— UNITE HERE! Local 8 (@UniteHereLocal8) March 3, 2023
► From KING — Meta hospitality workers to protest over layoffs, lack of transparency — Dozens of hospitality workers (UNITE HERE) who contract with Facebook parent company Meta are calling for more transparency over potential layoffs as the company plans to close local offices. Doug Lawson, a lead line cook, said workers are asking Meta for any information regarding their future employment and are also calling for equal severance packages as the tech workers and engineers they serve.
► From the NW Labor Press — Labor champions of SW Washington — Individuals and organizations who went above and beyond the call of duty for the cause of labor in Southwest Washington were honored Feb. 25 at a second annual Southwest Washington Labor Awards dinner. Hosted jointly by all-volunteer SW Washington Central Labor Council and Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council, the event was held at the union-represented Vancouver Hilton Convention Center and included a raffle and silent auction to benefit Labor’s Community Services Agency. Despite ice and snow remaining from the record snowfall of Feb. 22, about 200 people turned out.
► From NW Labor Press — Laborers strike shuts Certainteed shingle plant — Three days after voting down a company contract offer, members of Laborers Local 737 at Certainteed Roofing, a Northwest Portland roof shingle factory, walked out and shut it down.
► From the Olympian — 50,000 new housing units per year needed just to keep up with expected growth, WA state says — Washington state needs to add more than 648,000 homes for those at the lowest income levels over the next 20 years to meet projected needs, according to a new report. In all, the state must add 1.1 million homes at a pace of at least 50,000 new units per year to keep up with expected population growth, the Washington state Department of Commerce announced in a report released Thursday.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Among the legislative priorities of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO: Housing Options for Working Families. The Legislature can increase housing options for the unhoused, retirees, and low- and middle-income families by reforming exclusionary zoning, legalizing significant density near transit, and making it easier to build affordable housing.
► From the Seattle Times — The battle is on to increase housing supply; we’ll see if it works (by Jon Talton) — A total of 13 bills are moving through the Legislature with bipartisan support. They would speed permitting, make it easier to build “mother-in-law” units adjacent to existing houses, and allow lots of more than 1,500 square feet to be subdivided to allow for more building.
► From Q13 — Deadline looms in Olympia for certain bills to be considered or passed out of House — As the halfway point of the session arrives, there is a scramble to get dozens of bills a vote ahead of the March 8 cut-off for bills to pass their house of origin.
The Stand (updated TODAY) — Status report on pro-worker bills in Olympia
► From the (Everett) Herald — Edmonds-Kingston is back to 2 boats, but it’s no ferry tale ending — Service on the Edmonds-Kingston route was officially restored to two boats this week. But it’s far from smooth sailing. Restoration of some routes is delayed. The ferry system was — and is — affected by crew shortages, fewer riders and not enough boats.
► From the Seattle Times — Starbucks says Schultz isn’t involved in union matters; Sanders disagrees — Starbucks reiterated Thursday that its outgoing CEO Howard Schultz is not the right person to testify on behalf of the company at a congressional hearing requested by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). Despite being the public face of the Seattle-based coffee giant, the company said Schultz hasn’t been involved in making decisions regarding union matters. In response, Sanders said Thursday he wants Schultz to testify because as the head of the company, “he is the man who engineered and continues to make labor decisions at Starbucks.” Sanders has scheduled a subpoena vote for next Wednesday to force Schultz to testify after Starbucks declined to make the CEO available.
TAKE A STAND — Starbucks Workers United Seattle is asking union members and community supporters to email Sen. Patty Murray, who serves on the Senate HELP Committee, and urge her to vote to #SubpoenaSchultz!
► From the Guardian — ‘They’re more concerned about profit’: OSHA, DOJ take on Amazon’s grueling working conditions — The U.S.’s top workplace safety regulator and the justice department are pressuring Amazon to explain safety practices that have led to injury rates for warehouse workers that are on average close to twice as high as the company’s competitors and in one case five times higher. Said one Amazon employee:
“Amazon really needs to get their act together. They need to put action to their words. We have the highest injuries than anybody else in the country. I know a few people who have left in ambulances and have not come back.”
► From the AP — GOP senators complain about child care requirement for semiconductor subsidies — Republican senators are accusing the Biden administration of using $39 billion meant to build computer chip factories to require some recipients to offer child care and encourage the use of union labor. No prospective applicant has complained publicly about the child care provision. Companies seeking the money are given a preference if they use labor agreements for construction, a boost for building trade unions. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted for the law, said.
“What President Biden is doing by jamming woke and green agenda items into legislation we pass is making it harder for him to ever get legislation passed again.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Oh, so providing workers child care and promoting union labor is “woke” now? What does that word even mean anymore?
► From Semafor — The bill that would give Americans a four-day workweek — Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) is reintroducing a bill to put Americans on a four-day work week, capitalizing on a spate of recent news about the concept. Labor groups, including the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and the UFCW, are backing the bill.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th) is a co-sponsor.
► From Politico — Biden hails bipartisan rail safety bill — The legislation would bolster a slew of railroad safety measures including raising fines for safety infractions, increasing inspections and imposing new requirements for trains carrying toxic or hazardous materials.
► From the Guardian — Leaked audio reveals rail workers were told to skip inspections as Ohio crash incites scrutiny to industry — A manager for one of the US’s largest rail companies can be heard explaining to a former carman that they should stop tagging railcars for broken bearings. The manager says doing so delays other cargo. The disclosure comes as federal agencies investigate the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. A wheel-bearing failure was cited as the cause of the crash in a preliminary report.
► From the NY Times — ‘Evacuate us!’ Fear and anxiety boil over as residents confront train company on derailment — As Darrell Wilson, a top government relations official for Norfolk Southern, tried repeatedly to apologize to the community and outline the company’s recovery efforts, residents interrupted and shouted over him, demanding that he commit to getting them out of the area, and that the company “do the right thing.”
► From Politico — Walgreens won’t distribute abortion pills in some states where they remain legal — The nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain confirmed Thursday that it will not dispense abortion pills in several states where they remain legal — acting out of an abundance of caution amid a shifting policy landscape, threats from state officials and pressure from anti-abortion activists.
► From the Washington Post — Nordstrom to close all its Canadian stores, lay off 2,500 workers — Retail giant Nordstrom will exit the Canadian market, shutting down its 13 stores in the country amid stagnant sales, the company said. The move will cut approximately 2,500 jobs.
► From the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post — New contract announced between Continental Cement, USW — The deal marks a resolution to months of negotiations and an eight-day strike that began last Wednesday.
► From Reuters — Caterpillar workers to vote on tentative labor agreement
► The world lost a modern jazz legend this week with the passing of tenor saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter at the age of 89. (See the excellent New York Times obituary.) He was a member of two of the greatest jazz groups ever, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Miles Davis Quintet; he co-founded the ’70s fusion band Weather Report; and he collaborated with everyone from Joni Mitchell, to Steely Dan, to Carlos Santana. Here’s just a taste of what this genius could do. R.I.P., Mr. Shorter.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.