Thursday, April 13, 2023
► From CNBC — Amazon workers seriously injured at more than twice the rate of other warehouses, study finds — Amazon warehouses are a more dangerous place to work than comparable facilities, new federal injury data shows. In 2022, there were 6.6 serious injuries for every 100 Amazon workers, according to a report released Wednesday from the union coalition Strategic Organizing Center, which relies on data submitted by Amazon to OSHA. That’s more than double the rate of all non-Amazon warehouses, which had 3.2 serious injuries for every 100 workers.
► A friendlier perspective on the same news from the Seattle Times — Amazon warehouse work is getting safer but still more dangerous than 2020
EDITOR’S NOTE — HB 1762 aims to improve worker safety at large warehouses by requiring employers to inform workers what their production quotas are and to ensure that their employees do not work through their rest, bathroom or meal breaks. It passed the Washington State House, but this week it was amended in the Senate to strip the bill of enforcement provisions and to exclude many warehouse workers from its protections. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is urging the House not to concur with the changes so the Senate can fix it.
► From KIMA — Yakima fire union’s frustration with city leaders continues to grow — Yakima is seeing more bad fires, which includes the aftermath of a garage fire near south 41st Ave in West Valley. The fire union says they need more resources to prevent fires, but city council continues to make no changes. “It’s totally sustainable and fundable they’re just choosing to not do it at this point,” said Mark Buskas the Vice President for Yakima Firefighters IAFF Local 469.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Vancouver Public Schools board backs changes to VEA contract — At their core, the changes provide more training and clarity on student disciplinary measures, increased protections on teachers’ time and availability during the day while placing more responsibility on the district to address staffing concerns without asking teachers to sacrifice planning time to cover for others.
More from #AFTWADayofAction yesterday. #WaLeg must invest in Washington students by investing in our community and technical colleges. See the full album here: https://t.co/C5dgTebmxV#FullyFundWA #InvestinWA@AFTWA pic.twitter.com/NGFfcBpbtQ
— AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) (@wfsec28) April 12, 2023
► From KUOE — Seattle Colleges staff demand equitable raises, better working conditions in walkout — Staff and students at Washington’s largest community college district — which includes Seattle Central, North Seattle, and South Seattle colleges — are demanding better working conditions and equitable pay raises. Dozens of Seattle Colleges teachers walked out of their classes Tuesday morning. “Especially in the last year or two, it has been really clear that I’m just not making it,” said Helena Ribeiro, an English teacher at Seattle Central College. “Relying on credit cards a lot for groceries and, you know, just not being able to get out of that debt.”
► From the Yakima H-R — YVC faculty and students call on Legislature to fully fund community colleges — More than 100 Yakima Valley College faculty members, students and supporters rallied Tuesday morning to press the Legislature to prioritize funding for community and technical colleges. The local walkout, rally, march and “teach-in” were a part of a statewide day of action calling for the Legislature to support Washington’s community and technical colleges. The American Federation of Teachers and Communities for Our Colleges organized the events, and dozens of YVC students and faculty traveled to Olympia to join the demonstration there.
► From the News Tribune — WA is first state to grant Uber and Lyft drivers family and medical leave, unemployment — On Tuesday, Washington became the first state to establish family and medical leave and unemployment benefits for the state’s Uber and Lyft drivers. The Legislature set the precedent through its approval of HB 1570, which awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature before being set into law.
► From KUOW — Final steps for the state’s middle housing bill — The middle housing bill passed the Washington state Senate this week. It would allow duplexes and townhomes in neighborhoods currently dominated by single-family homes. But where the density goes is still being negotiated.
► From Reuters — Airlines, repair shops in North America rely on used, generic parts to keep aircraft flying — Driving demand is the struggle aerospace suppliers face to fill new orders as air traffic soars and the supply chain for aircraft parts recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, when labor shortages and lockdowns slowed production. Higher costs and a shortage of available new parts are also delaying aircraft repairs, which risk pushing up air fares.
► From the AP — Appeals court preserves partial access to abortion pill, but with tighter rules — A federal appeals court preserved access to the abortion pill mifepristone for now but reduced the period of pregnancy when the drug can be used and said it could not be dispensed by mail. The ruling late Wednesday temporarily narrowed a decision by a lower court judge in Texas that had completely blocked the FDA’s approval of the nation’s most commonly used method of abortion. The case is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Which brings us to…
► From The Lever — Thomas pushed to kill disclosure laws while getting secret billionaire gifts — “This court should invalidate mandatory disclosure and reporting requirements,” wrote U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who did not disclose years of gifts from a billionaire.
► From the Washington Post — Americans take a dim view of Clarence Thomas’s ethics — For the second time in a year, polling indicates that Americans see something objectionable in what Thomas has done and are concerned about the line between his jurisprudence and his personal life.
► From NPR — Medicare tests a solution to soaring hospice costs: Let private insurers run it — For the last four decades, Medicare has covered hospice services – including grief counseling, spiritual support and pain management – for terminally ill people. The benefit has helped more than 25 million Americans die more on their own terms, often at home, with the support of chaplains, social workers, nurses and others. But concerns about access, fraud and runaway costs – which topped $20 billion in 2019 – dog the program. In response, Medicare has begun a federal pilot project to test handing the reins of some hospice care over to private insurers, giving them more flexibility to rein in costs while also expanding access.
TODAY at The Stand — Rise of Medicare Advantage: The creation of a myth — Myth: Medicare Advantage offers lower cost and higher quality health care than Traditional Medicare. Fact: Medicare Advantage is a duplicitous scheme to increase the profits of insurance companies through denial and delay of health care and submission of fraudulent data to Medicare.
► From the Washington Post — Biden to remake U.S. auto industry with toughest emissions limits ever — The Biden administration announced Wednesday the strictest restrictions on auto emissions ever, in an ambitious and fraught bid to advance the president’s climate agenda by forcing U.S. car companies to rapidly accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In response, the UAW issues a statement:
“People who build cars for a living don’t do it because we’re passionate about combustion engines or electric vehicles. We do it because we’re passionate about our families and our communities. We can have both economic and climate justice—and that starts by ensuring that the electric vehicle industry is entirely unionized. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to hold the auto industry accountable to that mission.”
► From the LA Times — Biden to expand DACA immigrants’ access to health plans, officials say — DACA recipients would be eligible for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges.
► From The Hill — Georgia Democrats fume after party picks Chicago for 2024 convention — One of the obstacles to Atlanta’s selection was a lobbying effort by the AFL-CIO to pass on the city, penning a letter to DNC leadership arguing that the city had too few union-backed hotels to support the convention.
— Liz Shuler (@LizShuler) April 13, 2023
► From Gothamist — Striking Rutgers faculty vows to ramp up pressure Thursday, worries an injunction is coming — Members of striking Rutgers’ faculty unions said they feel the threat of an injunction to stop their historic walkout bearing down, even as they continue to make progress in talks with university negotiations.
► From Jacobin — Graduate workers at Stanford University are organizing a union — The higher ed unionization wave may soon reach Stanford University, where graduate student workers are trying to form a union. Jacobin spoke with two worker-organizers about their organizing effort.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for a voice at work? 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!
► A related story from Vice — Harvard tells grad students to get food stamps to supplement the unlivable wages it pays them — Harvard University is holding an event to help graduate students sign up for government food assistance programs.
► And a related story from the LA Times — With a $300-million donation to Harvard, a hedge fund billionaire shows why we need a wealth tax (by Michael Hiltzik) — The dirty little secret about how plutocrats finance the charitable deductions that get their names on distinguished institutions is only one aspect of Kenneth Griffin’s gift that should concern all Americans. More broadly, it points to the wisdom of a wealth tax on American millionaires and billionaires. As we’ve noted in the past, concentration of wealth on the scale seen in America today would have appalled the Founding Fathers.
► From Teamster.org — Teamsters on strike at Republic Services in Tennessee — Republic Services workers went on strike Wednesday in Memphis and Millington, Tenn., in response to unfair labor practices by the company and weeks of contentious contract negotiations with management. Teamsters Local 667 members are also protesting the death of a Republic Services employee who was killed on the job in a work-related incident at the Memphis landfill on March 31.
The Stand (April 4) — Why MLK was in Memphis when he was assassinated
► From Teamser.org — Teamsters to UPS: No national talks until supplemental contracts resolved — The Teamsters began supplemental negotiations with UPS in January. Out of 40 supplements to the national contract nationwide, 30 remain unresolved after repeated delays by UPS. Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said:
“This is not a game. But you wouldn’t know that based on UPS’s behavior. The livelihoods of our members are at stake. UPS delays, disappears, drags its feet, and refuses to talk about the real issues that workers need addressed. The Teamsters aren’t going to stand for it.”
► From the LA Times — L.A. City Council members propose $30-an-hour wage by 2028 for hotel and LAX workers — The minimum wages of workers at larger hotels and Los Angeles International Airport would rise to $30 an hour by 2028 under a proposal put forth Wednesday by several L.A. City Council members. Labor groups UNITE HERE Local 11 and SEIU-United Service Workers West are pushing the initiative.
► From NPR — Both Black Tennessee lawmakers have been reinstated after being expelled by GOP — Less than a week after Republicans expelled them from the state House after leading a protest in the legislature calling for gun law reforms, Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson have gotten their seats back.
► From NBC News — A 16-year-old says he’s still cleaning a Kansas slaughterhouse months after his employer was fined for employing kids — The Labor Department found over 100 children cleaning Midwest slaughterhouses and fined Packers Sanitation Services Inc. $1.5 million. But Pedro, 16, told NBC News he’s still on the job.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.