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Unsafe warehouses take a toll | Debt threat | Biden’s Medicare plan

Tuesday, March 7, 2023




► From the Seattle Times — WA Legislature can protect warehouse workers when employers won’t (by Rep. Beth Doglio and Sen. Steve Conway) — In 2020, 23.9 out of every 100 workers in Amazon’s DuPont distribution center in Pierce County fell victim to a serious injury. Let us say that again. Nearly a quarter of all workers at the warehouse were injured seriously. That’s one of the highest injury rates in the country. Those injuries range from carpal tunnel to back sprains to more debilitating musculoskeletal disorders from doing strenuous tasks and repetitive motions for hours… That is why we are sponsoring SB 5348 and HB 1762, common-sense solutions that require employers to be transparent about their use of quotas with workers and safety regulators, and prohibits quotas from interfering with meal and rest breaks and exposure to health and safety hazards.

► From the House Democrats — Doglio’s warehouse worker protection bill passes in the House — HB 1762, protecting warehouse workers, was passed in the House 53-42 on March 6 and will now advance to the Senate for further consideration.

► From WA Safe & Healthy — State Senate passes hospital safe staffing bill — The final bill, which passed on a bipartisan 35-13 vote, reflects a compromise between healthcare worker unions and hospital executives after negotiations led by Sens. June Robinson (D-Everett) and Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah).

The Stand (updated TODAY) — Status report on pro-worker bills in Olympia — The deadline for bills to pass from their houses of origin is tomorrow (Wednesday).

► From the (Everett) Herald — Long-term care needs help to attract, keep workers (editorial) — Two bills propose expansion of a family home aide program and increased reimbursement for care.




► From the Seattle Times — Microsoft cuts another 689 Seattle-area jobs amid cost reductions — So far, Microsoft has laid off nearly 2,200 Seattle-area workers, or 22% of the 10,000 global cuts CEO Satya Nadella said in January were necessary to “align our cost structure with our revenue and where we see customer demand.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready to have a seat at the table when the multi-millionaire ($800M, in this case) boss wants to “align your cost structure”? 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 Leeham News — New software issue delays some 737 MAX deliveries — The FAA views a new software program’s use as a safety matter that must be resolved before delivery on aircraft undergoing reconfiguration. It is not a safety issue when aircraft are delivered to the originally intended operator.




Washington Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse

► From the NY Times — Debt default would cripple U.S. economy, new analysis warns — The U.S. economy could quickly shed a million jobs and fall into recession if lawmakers fail to raise the nation’s borrowing limit before the federal government exhausts its ability to pay its bills on time, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics will warn a Senate panel on Tuesday. The damage could spiral to seven million jobs lost and a 2008-style financial crisis in the event of a prolonged breach of the debt limit, in which House Republicans refuse for months to join Democrats in voting to raise the cap.

► From the Washington Post — Biden unveils plan averting Medicare funding crisis, challenging GOP — The White House on Tuesday proposed raising taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000 and reducing what Medicare pays for prescription drugs in an attempt to ensure that the health-care program for seniors is funded for the next two decades, challenging Republicans over an imminent funding crisis.

► From the NY Times — My plan to extend Medicare for another generation (by President Joe Biden) — The budget I am releasing this week will make the Medicare trust fund solvent beyond 2050 without cutting a penny in benefits. In fact, we can get better value, making sure Americans receive better care for the money they pay into Medicare.

► From the NY Times — Bernie Sanders presses ahead with subpoena of Starbucks CEO — The senator has set a Wednesday vote to compel Howard Schultz, the billionaire Starbucks chief executive, to testify about his company’s violations of federal labor law.




► BREAKING from the Wall St. Journal — Norfolk Southern conductor killed in incident at Cleveland-Cliffs facility — The railroad operator said Tuesday that the conductor, Louis Shuster, was struck by a dump truck as a Norfolk Southern train was moving through a crossing at the Cleveland-Cliffs Cleveland Works steel plant in Cleveland. The death comes as Norfolk Southern deals with scrutiny over its operations following two recent derailments in Ohio, including one that resulted in the release of hazardous chemicals in East Palestine.

► From Vice — Republicans are pushing to make child labor easier — Several Republican-controlled states are currently considering weakening child labor laws, including a bill in Arkansas that would allow children as young as 14 to work without first obtaining permission. The moves come as national outrage unfolds over the increasing use of child labor to work dangerous jobs in the country and the Biden administration vows a crackdown on the problem.

► From the Washington Post — California to cut ties with Walgreens over abortion pill sales, Newsom says — California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said that the state will not do business with pharmacy chain Walgreens after its recent announcement that it will not distribute abortion pills in some states where abortion is legal, as drugstores become the latest battleground for abortion rights in the United States.

► From the Nation — How minor league ballplayers won a union — The players who make America’s pastime possible have had enough of dismal working conditions, and they’re organizing to change them.

► From NBC Chicago — Hundreds of United Center concessions workers stage 1-day walkout during Bulls game — The brief strike by members of Unite Here Local 1 was designed to ratchet up pressure on their employer for this week’s Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, which runs Wednesday through next Sunday at the United Center.

► From the Bloomberg — Microsoft construction workers fired for protesting wage theft, complaint claims — Dozens of construction staff working on a Microsoft Corp. data center in Virginia were illegally fired for protesting, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters alleged in a NLRB complaint.




► From the Guardian — Protests and disruption in France as transport workers start strikes — Road, rail and air services affected in protest over plans to raise pension age from 62 to 64.

► From the NY Times — Unions vow to bring France to a ‘standstill’ over Macron’s retirement plan — Travel, schools and services were disrupted by nationwide strikes for a sixth time as the battle for public support intensified.

► From Reuters — French union urges Airbus to reopen salary pact due to inflation


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!