Thursday, April 20, 2023
► From the Yakima H-R — UFW President Teresa Romero joins union rally at Sunnyside mushroom farm — The United Farm Workers organization signaled its continued support for workers at the Windmill Farms mushroom plant Tuesday as UFW President Teresa Romero rallied with workers and community members. Romero kept the focus on Windmill Farms employees who were marching, waving flags and chanting “sí se puede” on Midvale Road. She called for Windmill Farms to recognize the union and for consumers and investors to recognize farmworkers’ importance to the company’s mushrooms. “As long as we have the workers’ support, we’ll continue to fight for them,” Romero said. “Agricultural (workers) are probably some of the most vulnerable workers.”
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:
Ostrom Mushroom sold; UFW blasts new anti-union owners (Feb. 24, 2023)
Solidarity rally with Ostrom workers on Jan. 13 (Jan. 12, 2023)
Ostrom workers demand fair wages, respect (Sept. 19, 2022)
Sign petition for Ostrom Mushroom workers (July 6, 2022)
► From the (Everett) Herald — Layoffs loom as Snohomish County schools face budget shortfalls — Edmonds, Mukilteo, Everett, Arlington and Stanwood-Camano plan to cut programs and eliminate jobs next school year. Andi Nofziger, president of the Edmonds Education Association, assailed her school district’s budget plan, calling proposed cuts “irresponsible, unreasonable and likely unnecessary.”
► From the News Tribune — Tacoma hospital’s latest issue: ‘Anesthesia doctors have been leaving for several months’ — St. Joseph Medical Center, part of the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health system, is severing ties with an anesthesia group that serves the hospital, according to a UFCW 3000 spokesman.
► From KUOW — Washington can now look to out-of-state shipbuilders for its next ferries — Washington state has charted a bipartisan course to overhaul its ferry procurement plans. Officials will now broaden their scope when seeking builders for the state’s new ships. The revised procurement rules give a modest bid credit to shipbuilders who’ll assemble the vessels in Washington, while also inviting national competition from the get-go.
The results with having a pro-worker @USDOL Secretary of Labor speak for themselves: Our U.S. economy has added a record 12.6 million jobs, unemployment is less than 4 percent. All while labor force participation has returned to pre-pandemic levels. #StandWithSu! pic.twitter.com/lZcqqzYsQH
— AFL-CIO #PassThePROAct (@AFLCIO) April 20, 2023
► From NY1 News — Su to face questioning by Senate HELP Committee for top labor job — When President Joe Biden nominated Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su to succeed Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary last month, the move was met with thunderous applause from labor advocates and Democrats alike. The AFL-CIO has endorsed Su’s nomination; President Liz Shuler told Spectrum News that Su is “eminently qualified” to be the next labor secretary:
“This has been her life’s work. She’s spent pretty much literally every waking hour of every day thinking about how to improve the lives of working people for decades. Whether it’s wage theft, misclassification of workers, you speaking up for workers who have no voice, particularly her work with immigrant workers. And we know [with] the famed Thai garment workers case that she took on, she’s just not afraid to take on the big challenges, even when the odds are against her.”
TAKE A STAND — Please sign this AFL-CIO petition in support of Julie Su’s nomination as Secretary of Labor.
► From CNN — Key Senate Democrats remain non-committal on Biden’s labor secretary pick ahead of confirmation hearing — In the 51-49 Democratic-controlled Senate, more than two liberal defections could tank the nomination. And if California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has been away from Congress while recovering from shingles for the past two months, or another Democratic senator is absent, the path would narrow ever more. Two Democratic senators up for reelection in red states, Montana Sen. Jon Tester and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, are not ready to throw their support behind her yet. It’s also not clear how Arizona independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party last year but kept her committee assignments with the majority, will vote.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Feinstein’s absence from Senate leaves Spokane judge’s confirmation in limbo — The extended absence of the Senate’s oldest member has delayed the confirmation of President Biden’s judicial nominees, including a Spokane County judge, and resurfaced uncomfortable questions about when aging and ailing lawmakers should retire.
► From the Washington Post — House GOP unveils bill to cut spending, lift debt ceiling — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday unveiled a bill to raise the debt ceiling into next year, slash federal spending by roughly $130 billion and unwind some of President Biden’s priorities and recent legislative accomplishments, including his program to cancel college student debt. An estimated $130 billion in spending cuts for 2024 would target federal health care, science, education, climate, energy, labor and research programs. Millions of low-income Americans who receive food stamps and health insurance from the federal government would have to work longer hours in exchange for benefits.
► From The Hill — Corporate America seeks to unravel FTC noncompete ban — The Federal Trade Commission’s proposed ban on noncompete agreements has sparked a lobbying blitz from corporate America to weaken the rule or block it altogether. The FTC estimates that one in five U.S. workers are bound by noncompete agreements, which limit or prohibit workers from taking a job at a competitor or starting their own business.
► From Politico — Teachers union chief hires seasoned lawyer ahead of Hill testimony — Randi Weingarten has retained a top white-collar defense attorney ahead of her scheduled testimony on school closures during the height of the COVID-19 crisis to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic next week. Weingarten is taking a swipe at the panel’s Republicans ahead of an all-but-assured grilling from conservatives looking to probe the union’s alleged influence over federal disease-mitigation guidelines the GOP blames for closing schools.
► From the AP — The Supreme Court fight over an abortion pill: What’s next? — The Supreme Court initially gave itself a deadline of Wednesday to decide whether women seeking access to a widely used abortion pill would face more restrictions while a court case plays out. The court said it now expects to act by Friday evening. There was no explanation of the reason for the delay.
► From The Guardian — Judicial record undermines Clarence Thomas defense in luxury gifts scandal — The justice has insisted that “this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends” (Texas billionaire and GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow) did not have to be reported under federal ethics laws. He emphasized that the friend in question “did not have business before the court.” But a close look at Thomas’s judicial activities from the time he became friends with Crow, in the mid-1990s, suggests that the statement might fall short of the full picture. It reveals that a conservative organization affiliated with Crow did have business before the supreme court while Thomas was on the bench.
► From The Hill — Thomas’s ethics issues stir GOP unease, set up reform push
NORTH OF THE BORDER
► From the BBC — Canada federal workers launch largest strike in decades — More than 155,000 federal workers (Public Service Alliance of Canada) have gone on strike, marking the biggest action of its kind in the country in more than three decades. The strike comes after the union for federal workers failed to reach an agreement with the government on issues related to wages and work-from-home. It is expected to affect multiple government services, from tax filings to passport renewals.
► From the Cascadia Daily News — Officials: Canadian labor strike shouldn’t affect border travel
► From the LA Times — How a stripper, a barista and an electrician ended up at a ‘Troublemakers School’ for L.A. labor activists — More than 400 activists poured onto the campus of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College for a daylong “Troublemakers School,” put on by Labor Notes, a Detroit-based nonprofit that is a key player in labor’s progressive wing. Among the attendees were hotel housekeepers, longshoremen, university researchers, warehouse forklift drivers, nurses and construction workers. And there were workers from rarely unionized businesses: baristas, video game developers and Hollywood animation staffers.
► From Reuters — Meta lays off tech teams, battering employee morale — Meta Platforms Inc. on Wednesday carried out another round of job cuts, this time hitting engineers and adjacent tech teams, as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg further moved to streamline the business in a bid to make 2023 a “year of efficiency.”
► From Vice — CEO celebrates worker who sold family dog after he demanded they return to office — “You have misinterpreted my kindness for weakness,” said Clearlink CEO James Clarke in a bizarre video call in which he expressed skepticism of his own employees’ motives and capacity to juggle work and parenthood.
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!
► From the Seattle Times — SpaceX giant rocket explodes minutes after launch from Texas — SpaceX’s giant new rocket blasted off on its first test flight Thursday but exploded minutes after rising from the launch pad and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Elon Musk’s company was aiming to send the nearly 400-foot (120-meter) Starship rocket on a round-the-world trip from the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border. It carried no people or satellites.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.