Wednesday, March 15, 2023
► From The Stranger — SIFF staff is unionizing — According to a press release from the Seattle International Film Festival’s year-round cinema staff, workers unanimously opted to file for unionization. Workers are calling for “living wages, stable hours and scheduling, just-cause protections, and greater input into SIFF’s long term sustainability as an organization.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for living wages and stable scheduling? 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 Seattle Times — No clear answers as WA Supreme Court hears case on school construction — The Wahkiakum School District’s lawsuit against Washington state could mean a massive shift in the way school construction is funded, or no change at all. A state Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday offered few clues as to how this might shake out. The Wahkiakum School District, which hasn’t passed a bond in 22 years, sued the state last year claiming that reliance on local taxpayers to fund basic construction costs is a violation of the state’s Constitution. The state maintains that funding construction is not an obligation.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Evergreen staff, community members question district budget cuts — A standing-room-only crowd at Tuesday evening’s Evergreen Public Schools Board of Directors meeting spoke out against last week’s announcement of budget reductions, which included cuts to support and intervention staff, athletic directors and teacher librarians.
► From Supermarket News — Massive coalition out to stop Kroger/Albertsons deal — A coalition of 100 organizations representing diverse interests from around the country have joined forces in the “Stop the Merger” campaign, a national and state-level effort to oppose the proposed $25 billion merger of grocery store chain giants Kroger and Albertsons. The coalition is announcing the launch of its website NoGroceryMerger.com.
► From the Washington Post — Airline safety is at a breaking point. We can’t wait for tragedy to fix it. (by Lee Moak, former Delta pilot and past ALPA president) — Over the past three months, an unusual number of commercial aviation incidents have come close to resulting in tragic accidents. The number, nature and potential tragedy of the results involved are unacceptable and concerning. We cannot wait for our aging and understaffed aviation infrastructure to break, and a tragedy to occur, to demand action. Meanwhile, the FAA has been without a permanent administrator for almost a year. And Congress has underfunded the FAA for decades, leaving the safety regulator to make do without the technology, tools and staffing needed to upgrade aging systems, physical and digital infrastructure, and keep pace with new technologies.
► From the Tri-City Herald — Record Hanford WA nuclear cleanup budget proposed. But will it hit a political roadblock? — Washington state officials are optimistic that the Hanford nuclear reservation budget for the next fiscal year could top $3 billion — a record level of funding. Hanford funding is in a good position with powerful support from Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) as chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA, 4th) serving on the House Appropriations Committee.
► From the AP — Stocks fall on Wall Street on renewed fears about banks
► From The Hill — Warren, Porter unveil bill to undo Trump-era Dodd-Frank rollback after Silicon Valley Bank collapse — The bill, called the Secure Viable Banking Act, would put banks with at least $50 billion in assets back under strict Federal Reserve oversight and Dodd-Frank Act stress tests. A bipartisan 2018 bill to loosen Dodd-Frank raised that threshold to $250 billion, which exempted Silicon Valley Bank and dozens of other banks from the strictest federal oversight.
— AFL-CIO #PassThePROAct (@AFLCIO) March 15, 2023
► From Vox — Did the Fed break Silicon Valley Bank? — There’s little doubt interest rate hikes were a contributor to SVB’s swift, stunning decline. They were also likely in play in the demise of Silvergate and Signature Bank, both of which have been shuttered in March. If rates continue to go up quickly, it could pose more problems for more banks.
► From the Washington Post — Michigan Senate repeals right-to-work law in historic victory for organized labor — In a narrow 20-to-17 vote on Tuesday, along party lines, the Michigan Senate approved a bill to repeal the state’s right to work laws in a major victory for unions and organized labor in the state, setting the state up to become one of the first in the country to overturn its right-to-work laws. The House voted to pass a similar law last week, but must sign off on final language. The existence of right-to-work laws in 27 U.S. states, mostly in the South and Midwest, has been credited with the dramatic decline in union membership in the United States over the past several decades.
The Stand (April 19, 2016) — The racist past and present of ‘right-to-work’ laws — Of all the language-twisting political slogans of our time, few have had so long a lease on life as the phrase “right-to-work.” Right-to-work laws are rooted in the quest for super-exploited labor. They are used to justify racial exclusion, destroy established collective bargaining agreements, and derail workers’ right to organize a workplace.
► From the AP — Abortion pill challenge goes before judge in Texas — A federal judge will hear arguments Wednesday in a high-stakes court case that could threaten access to medication abortion. There is essentially no precedent for a lone judge overruling the scientific decisions of the FDA. And legal experts have warned of far-reaching consequences if judges begin second-guessing FDA decisions on drug safety and effectiveness.
► From the LA Times — LAUSD unions to announce timing of three-day strike that would shut down schools — Leaders of a union that represents financially struggling low-wage workers will announce on Wednesday the timing of a three-day strike that would involve teachers and force the shutdown of Los Angeles public schools.
► From CNN — Tyson is laying off nearly 1,700 poultry plant workers — Tyson is closing two poultry plants in Glen Allen, Virginia, and Van Buren, Arkansas.
► From the AP — First major U.S. railroad merger in 2 decades will go forward — Federal regulators have approved Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion acquisition of Kansas City Southern.
► From the NY Times — Garbage mounts in odorous last stand against France’s pension change — A bill raising the retirement age for most workers to 64 could become law this week, despite protests, including a strike by garbage workers.
► From Reuters — Swiss Google workers walk out as job cuts hit Europe
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.