Friday, April 21, 2023
► From the (Everett) Herald — New law gives nurses stronger voice in setting hospital staffing levels — Nurses secured a greater role in deciding minimum staffing levels in hospitals across the state under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee. The legislation requires hospital administrators and nurses to agree on the number of staff assigned in each patient care unit, and how workers will be assured of receiving proper rest and meal breaks. Those details will be written into staffing plans. Hospitals that fail to comply with those plans could face fines and other penalties from the state Department of Health, as well as Labor & Industries. Hospitals with fewer than 25 acute care licensed beds and certified as critical access hospitals are exempt from some provisions. SB 5236 sponsor Sen. June Robinson (D-Everett) said:
“I’m just thrilled that we got it to the finish line. It will make conditions better for nurses and patients.”
► From KNKX — Short-haul truckers call for equitable distribution of Washington’s climate dollars — Short-haul truck drivers are one group asking for help with the transition to cleaner options. They move containers full of retail goods and other freight after they arrive in local ports. Also known as drayage truckers, they provide a key connection between ships to warehouses and other modes of transit like rail or long-haul trucks.
► From the Seattle Times — School closures, cuts to clubs and music possible as WA schools face ‘cliff’ — Faced with a need to slash school budgets in the coming years, school districts across the region are considering closing schools and cutting staff, salaries and the arts. Each proposed cut has been met with pushback from students and families worried what the reduction in popular extracurricular programs, dozens of teachers and unique programs for students will mean for students’ success. The budget dilemma is no surprise — education experts have been warning for more than a year that schools would face a financial cliff as federal COVID-19 rescue funds ran out. It’s been made worse because thousands of parents pulled their kids out of public schools during the pandemic and because some kids simply vanished from the system.
► From KOMO — Plan to reconfigure Sequim elementary schools gets backlash from parents and students — Dozens of parents pulled their students out of class on Monday for a walkout, in protest of the plan. A group of high school students also held an independent walkout, and the plan is to do it all again on Friday, in a show of solidarity against the reconfiguration plan.
► From KING — Seattle city workers frustrated over proposed 1% pay increase — Some 6,000 City of Seattle employees represented by 12 unions are speaking out about a 1% wage adjustment increase proposed by the city. Surrounding city workers represented by AFSCME saw higher cost of living adjustments for 2023. The highest is Tacoma with a 12.5% increase and the lowest is King County with a 4% increase. Anne Cisney, AFSCME Local 2083 union president, said some employees are already struggling with inflation:
“If wages aren’t keeping up with inflation and people are being priced out of the city then what happens when power goes down and we need people to bring that up or there’s a snowstorm and we need to open libraries to keep people warm.”
The Stand (April 19) — 50-foot petition to Seattle mayor, council: RSPCT city workers!
► From the NW Labor Press — Portland-area Painters set May 1 strike date — About 320 commercial, industrial and bridge painters in Painters Local 10 may go out on strike May 1 if they don’t reach agreement with union-signatory contractors before then. A painters strike would affect construction projects across the metro area. The construction labor market is about as tight as ever.
► From Maritime Executive — ILWU reports tentative agreement on some contract negotiation issues — The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced Thursday that it has reached a tentative agreement with the Pacific Maritime Association on what it terms “certain key issues” in the long-running contract negotiations covering the 29 U.S. West Coast ports.
► From Reuters — China issues report that Boeing sees as key to restart 737 MAX deliveries — China’s aviation regulator has published a report that Boeing views as a key step for the U.S. planemaker to resume deliveries of its 737 MAX to Chinese airlines more than four years after they were halted following two deadly crashes.
► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO launches ‘Stand with Su’ digital ad campaign, national mobilization effort to support Julie Su for Secretary of Labor — The AFL-CIO and our union and community-based partners are engaging in an all-out blitz to ensure Su’s record of supporting working people and increasing opportunity for all is front and center as senators consider her confirmation. Watch the first ad here.
TAKE A STAND — Please sign this AFL-CIO petition in support of Julie Su’s nomination.
► From the AFL-CIO — Julie Su’s confirmation hearing shows she is the right choice to lead the Department of Labor — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler:
“Julie Su’s testimony today before the Senate HELP Committee reinforced what the labor movement has always known: Su has the necessary experience, values and leadership qualities to be our secretary of labor. Her record of standing up for working people and marginalized communities is stellar and unimpeachable. She is the right person for the job. We call on the U.S. Senate to swiftly vote to confirm Julie Su.”
► From Roll Call — Senate supporters rally to Labor nominee Su against GOP critics — Panel schedules April 26 vote on her nomination.
► From the NY Times — Battle over Labor Secretary nominee reflects a larger fight for Biden — Su’s nomination represents a broader fight over workplace regulation, with business groups chafing against Biden’s push to strengthen unions and increase workers’ rights and benefits.
► From Politico — GOP tries to paint Biden’s labor nominee as radical, hoping to turn Dem votes against her — Senate Republicans hammered Biden’s pick for labor secretary on everything from her meetings with union leaders to her activism as a college student in a confirmation hearing Thursday, with an eye toward peeling off enough moderate Democrats to sink her nomination.
EDITOR’S NOTE — She met with union leaders?! (Gasp.)
► From the AP — Supreme Court set to decide on abortion pill access — The Supreme Court is facing a self-imposed Friday night deadline to decide whether women’s access to a widely used abortion pill will stay unchanged or be restricted while a legal challenge to its Food and Drug Administration approval goes on.
► From The Hill — Congressional standoff over Supreme Court escalates — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) call for Chief Justice John Roberts to testify before Congress about the Supreme Court’s ethical standards is sparking a firestorm on Capitol Hill.
► From the Washington Post — Top GOP lawyer decries ease of campus voting in private pitch to RNC — A top Republican legal strategist told a roomful of GOP donors over the weekend that conservatives must band together to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters.
► From the AP — Unions say rails should forgo buybacks and spend on safety — The 12 unions that represent all of the more than 100,000 workers across the industry said Friday that collectively the six biggest freight railroads spent over $165 billion on buybacks — well above the $119 billion they spent on upgrading and maintaining their track and equipment between 2015 and last year. At the same time, their safety record worsened as they cut costs and eliminated nearly one-third of all rail jobs. Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Division coalition, said:
“I think it has become increasingly apparent that the priorities of the railroads are out of whack.”
► From Politico — ‘Pissed off’: Rutgers unions mull resuming strike amid mounting frustration over finalizing contract — While the two sides reached a “framework” deal, unions have described the Rutgers University administration as being slow-moving on finishing it since negotiations resumed in New Brunswick.
NORTH OF THE BORDER
— Sonya Scanlan (@ScotianPrincess) April 20, 2023
► From CTV News — Union, government continue negotiations as both sides face pressure to get to a deal — An ongoing strike of thousands of public servants is causing service disruptions across the country as both sides are facing different kinds of pressure to reach a deal. Thursday marked the second day of job action by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which comes at the height of tax season and is expected to cause slowdowns at the border and pauses to new employment insurance, immigration and passport applications. In one of the largest strikes in Canada history, government workers walked off the job as of 12:01 a.m. EDT Wednesday, hitting the picket lines at some 250 locations across the country.
► This one goes out to the Fred Meyer workers in Sumner who just won their union with UFCW 367! (Get it?) And since we just celebrated 4/20, The Entire Staff of The Stand opted to go with Willie’s version. Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.