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April Sims on Equal Pay Day | Unsafe quotas | Pressing the pharmacies

Tuesday, March 14, 2023




► From the (Tacoma) News Tribune — It’s Equal Pay Day. What’s the best way to close the gender wage gap? Join a union (by WSLC President April Sims) — March 14 is Equal Pay Day, the day symbolizing how far into the new year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year. We agree that people should earn a fair wage for the work they do, no matter their gender. But the data tell us that the pay gap still persists. How do we fix such an entrenched problem? One simple answer: union membership. Women in union jobs make 23% more on average than non-union women, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s about $200 more in your weekly check. And union membership reduces the pay gap between men and women by more than 40%.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Close the gap! Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From NPR — It’s Equal Pay Day. The gender pay gap has hardly budged in 20 years. What gives? — Women earn about 82 cents for every dollar a man earns. For Black women, it’s about 65 cents. For Latina women, it’s about 60 cents. Those gaps widen when comparing what women of color earn to the salaries of white men. These numbers have basically not budged in 20 years.




► From the union-busting Columbian — Big cuts loom for Washougal School District — The Washougal School District announced it will be forced to cut 244 staff positions for the 2023-24 school year if its educational programs and operations and capital facilities and technology levies fail again in April.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Students urge Central Valley school board to avoid teacher layoffs — Nearly 30 Ridgeline High School students stood outside in the rain Monday evening to protest Central Valley School District’s recent notice that 90 teachers might not have jobs next year.

► From the PS Business Journal — Providence reports $1.7B in operating losses for 2022 — Washington’s largest hospital network Providence, which operates 14 hospitals statewide and dozens more in six other states, recorded a systemwide operating loss of $1.7 billion in 2022, according to its annual report filed last week. The Renton-based provider’s regional Providence Swedish brand endured operating losses of $540 million.

► From the Seattle Times — Ahead of contract fight, PCC workers demand better pay and conditions — In light of the skyrocketing cost of living and management’s decision to trim staffing, unionized workers at PCC stores across the state (UFCW 3000) are asking the co-op to come to the bargaining table early. Their contract is set to expire at the end of the year.




► From KOIN — Oregon Historical Society unveils the state’s History Makers of 2023 — The Oregon Historical Society has named the 2023 Oregon History Makers Awards’ honorees. They include AFL-CIO President (and Milwaukie native) Liz Shuler who “grew up in a union household.” Her parents both worked for Portland General Electric, and her father was a member of the IBEW. Shuler later began working for IBEW’s Local Union 125, before joining AFL-CIO.

► From the Oregonian — National Education Association picks Portland for national convention, the city’s biggest ever — The National Education Association will hold its annual conference at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland in 2025, attracting more than 5,500 visitors from around the country for the five-day event. The teachers union meeting takes place annually at the end of June and beginning of July.




► From the Seattle Times — Slow motion in February, but Boeing projects faster pace ahead — Boeing had a very slow February and production still badly lags rival Airbus, though company leaders say the pace will pick up from here. Facing parts shortages across all jet programs and an enforced halt on the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing delivered just 28 jets in February, including 24 single-aisle 737 MAXs.

► From Reuters — Boeing nabs order for 78 Dreamliners from two Saudi airlines — Two Saudi Arabian airlines announced plans on Tuesday to order 78 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, a massive win for Boeing that marks the fifth largest commercial order by value in its history.




► From the PS Business Journal — House passes bill taking aim at warehouse productivity quotas — HB 1762, which passed the House on March 6, would require employers to provide written descriptions of their production quotas and work speed data. Employers would have to factor in sufficient time for breaks and would be prohibited from retaliating over missed quotas.

► ICYMI 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… 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.

The Stand (March 9) — Status report on pro-worker bills in Olympia

► From KIMA — Local farm owners forced to cut back worker hours due to current overtime laws — SB 5476, sponsored by Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima), would allow farm owners to pick up to 12 weeks a year to raise the current work cap to 50 hours a week before overtime pay is required. Farmworker advocates don’t think this would be a fair change. “We feel that there is misinformation that the ag industry is putting forward to blame legislation and hours cut on farm workers and finding ways to pay workers less,” Edgar Franks, with Familias Unidas Por La Justicia, said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The WSLC opposes SB 5476. As WSLC Government Affairs Director Sybill Hyppolite said:

“Overtime pay is a fundamental right that has protected most workers since the New Deal. (In) 2021, we all carefully negotiated the terms of these rights for workers. Employers were given a slow three-year phase-in to full overtime rights for their employees. Workers were given a date certain for the realization of their full rights. This bill backs out of that agreement, a compromise that was favorable to employers.”

► From KING — Some Washingtonians see food benefits cut in half after federal SNAP benefits end — A Northwest Harvest leader said this month would “be something like a hunger cliff.” Is the food bank seeing those impacts?




► From The Hill — Senate Democrats press pharmacies to ensure access to abortion drug — A group of Democratic senators sent letters to seven pharmacies on Monday to urge them to ensure customers have access to an abortion drug as some states seek restrictions on the pill. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in a Tuesday release said she and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) led 16 other Democrats (including Sen. Maria Cantwell) in sending the letters to seven of the largest pharmacies in the country — Walgreens, Albertsons, Costco, Kroger, Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid. Walgreens said earlier this month that it would not provide mifepristone in several states, including some without strict abortion restrictions, following the warning of legal action from Republican attorneys general.

The Stand: (June 27, 2022) — Amid attacks on abortion rights, unions must fight back (by Shaunie Wheeler James and Cherika Carter, June 27, 2022) — We have the tools to transform protests into concrete actions defending bodily autonomy.

► From the AP — Former Rep. Pat Schroeder, pioneer for women’s rights, dies — Schroeder took on the powerful elite with her rapier wit and antics for 24 years, shaking up stodgy government institutions by forcing them to acknowledge that women had a role in government.

► From The Hill — McConnell discharged from hospital, won’t return to Senate immediately




► From The Progressive — What union-buster Howard Schultz owes Starbucks workers — At long last, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is being held to account for his company’s union-busting tactics. Union members with Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) reacted with surprise, excitement, and a sense of vindication to the news that Schultz will be appearing under oath in front of a U.S. Senate committee on March 29. “[It’s] huge,” Boston-based barista Tyler Daguerre tells The Progressive. “We haven’t been able to get Howard to move like that.”

The Stand (March 10) — Rally on March 22 at Starbucks HQ in Seattle — Let’s send a message to Schultz & Co.: Union busting is disgusting!

► From Vice — eBay finally has its first worker union in 27 years — Workers at eBay-owned trading card seller TCGPlayer have successfully voted to unionize. The union won with a strong majority of 136-87. The workers, who work at the company’s trading card authentication center in Syracuse, NY, have unionized with the CWA, the largest communications and media worker union in the country.

► From The Hill — South Carolina GOP lawmakers propose death penalty for women who have abortions — Republican lawmakers in South Carolina are considering a change to the state’s criminal code that would make a person who gets an abortion eligible for the death penalty. The bill does not provide an exception for rape or incest.

► From The Hill — Illinois becomes third state to mandate paid leave for workers — Only Maine and Nevada mandate earned paid time off and allot employees the freedom to decide how to use it, but Illinois’ law is further reaching, unencumbered by limits based on business size. Similarly structured regulations that require employers to offer paid sick leave exist in 14 states and Washington, D.C., but workers can only use that for health-related reasons.

► From the AP — California court rules for Uber, Lyft in ride-hailing case — App-based ride hailing and delivery companies like Uber and Lyft can continue to treat their California drivers as independent contractors, a state appeals court ruled Monday, allowing the tech giants to bypass other state laws requiring worker protections and benefits.

► From the AP — Facebook parent Meta slashes another 10,000 jobs — Facebook parent Meta is slashing another 10,000 jobs and will not fill 5,000 open positions as the social media pioneer cuts costs. The company announced 11,000 job cuts in November, about 13% of its workforce at the time.

► From the Washington Post — Railroad merger draws increased scrutiny in wake of Ohio derailment — A proposed $31 billion freight railroad merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern, creating a single rail line connecting the U.S., Mexico and Canada, is taking extra heat in the aftermath of the toxic train derailment in Ohio.


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!