Friday, May 5, 2023
► From The Stand — Stop intimidating workers! Join Huttig rally TODAY in Auburn — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) is calling on union and community members across the Puget Sound area to join workers at Huttig, members of Teamsters Local 117, at a solidarity rally this Friday in their fight against the company’s intimidation and surveillance tactics. A Union Rally to Stop Huttig Intimidation will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 5 at Huttig’s warehouse facility, 525 C St. in Auburn.
► From KUOW — Seattle Schools plan would drain rainy day fund to help cover $131M shortfall — Superintendent Brent Jones renewed his intention to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, proposing cuts of nearly $32 million from the central office and about $10 million from staff and programs at the school level.
► From the WSCFF — WSCFF President elected leader of federation representing U.S. states and Canadian provinces — Washington State Council of Fire Fighters President Dennis J. Lawson has been unanimously elected as Chair of the IAFF Federation of State & Provincial Professional Fire Fighters. The FSPPFF is comprised of officers from fire fighter associations across the United States and Canada and meets to exchange knowledge and information of legislative, political action, and current issues affecting fire fighters and to provide a means for stronger relationships and coordination between state and provincial associations.
JOINING TOGETHER at REI
► From the Seattle Times — Employees at REI store seek to unionize, be first in Washington — REI store employees in Bellingham are trying to join a union, saying they want a voice in company decisions that affect their lives and working conditions. They filed for union elections with the NLRB on Monday. If successful, it will be the first REI store to unionize in Washington. Workers at REI stores in New York, Berkeley, Calif., and Cleveland have voted to unionize. Elections in Chicago, Boston, Durham, N.C., and Eugene, Ore., are still to take place. Ben Reynolds, a spokesperson from UFCW Local 3000, the labor union that will represent the Bellingham workers if they decide to unionize, said:
“We would hope to see a progressive company like REI respect the rights of its workers to unionize and bargain together for the changes they’d like to see.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for some changes at your workplace? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
Meanwhile, some related news…
► A related story in today’s Chicago Tribune — Employees at REI’s only Chicago location vote to unionize — Employees said yes to the union in a vote of 41-8.
BREAKING: REI DURHAM UNION EMERGENCY STRIKE
Today at 12:15pm, we walked out of our store in solidarity with our coworker, Steven, who was unlawfully put on “administrative leave” as an act of retaliation for his involvement in our union. pic.twitter.com/vMmkTsY3ej
— REI Union Durham (@reiuniondurham) May 4, 2023
— Teamsters 117 (@teamsters117) May 4, 2023
The Stand (April 3) — Support HB 1762 to improve warehouse safety
► From Leeham News — Spirit says 737 manufacturing errors will disrupt deliveries through July — The manufacturing errors its team made on Boeing 737 MAX fuselages will cost Spirit AeroSystems at least $31 million to fix, with work on the units still at the Wichita factory going on until the end of July, the company reported.
“Can we take a second & realize how broken this system is? To live in a country with wealth on levels never seen before—$30 million homes, mega yachts, billionaires who fly rockets into space while people are working 40 hours a week & cannot live with basic dignity.” @LizShuler pic.twitter.com/Mt7mqdDEkF
— AFL-CIO ✊ (@AFLCIO) May 4, 2023
► From the Guardian — Bernie Sanders unveils plan for $17-an-hour minimum wage — Sanders intends to next month formally introduce legislation raising the minimum wage over a five-year period to a level $2 higher than the $15 an hour Joe Biden and many Democrats have pushed for in recent years. But there is no sign of Republicans wavering in their opposition to the proposal. Sanders said:
“As a result of inflation, $15 an hour back in 2021 would be over $17 an hour today. In the year 2023, in the richest country in the history of the world, nobody should be forced to work for starvation wages. That’s not a radical idea. If you work 40-50 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty. It is time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage.”
► From The Hill — Sanders’s $17 minimum wage proposal creates political headache for Schumer — Schumer wants to protect his vulnerable colleagues from taking tough votes before the 2024 election, when Democrats will have to defend 23 seats to keep their narrow Senate majority.
► From CNBC — More than 250 business leaders back Julie Su for Labor secretary as nomination hangs in the balance — “Julie Su is a trailblazer whose track record speaks for itself,” reads a letter signed by the business leaders. “She led efforts to combat wage theft, expand access to health care and paid family leave, and provide legal services for workers facing exploitation. Additionally, her experience as U.S. Deputy Labor Secretary has given her a thorough understanding of the Labor Department and the current issues facing the economy, businesses, and workers.”
► From the NY Times — Wages climb rapidly, defying the Fed’s hopes for a slowdown — Pay gains picked up last month, the opposite of what Federal Reserve officials are hoping for as they try to cool inflation.
► From Politico — U.S. adds a strong 253,000 jobs despite Fed’s rate hikes — The job market has remained strong despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes over the past year to fight inflation.
► From Politico — Americans don’t know who to blame for potential debt default, poll shows — Most people polled agree with President Biden’s view on debt payment, however.
TODAY at The Stand — How Republican spending cuts will hurt Washington state
► From NPR — Julie Chávez Rodríguez grew up in the labor movement. Now she runs Biden’s campaign — On a table in the Oval Office, just behind the Resolute Desk, there’s a bronze bust of a famous labor leader prominently displayed among photos of President Biden’s family. The bust honors United Farm Workers union leader César Chávez. And now, Biden has named his granddaughter — Julie Chávez Rodríguez — as campaign manager for his 2024 reelection campaign. For years, she’s worked mainly out of the spotlight in Democratic politics. Now, she will oversee thousands of political staff and volunteers and coordinate closely with the White House to get Biden’s message out to voters.
► From The Hill — Clarence Thomas’s problems multiply at Supreme Court — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is facing a fresh round of scrutiny after the third blockbuster report in less than a month links him financially to GOP megadonor Harlan Crow. ProPublica reported Thursday that Crow, a Dallas-based real estate developer, paid thousands of dollars in tuition to a private boarding school for Thomas’s great-nephew, whom Thomas has said he raised “as a son.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Make that four blockbuster reports…
► Today from the Washington Post — Judicial activist directed fees to Clarence Thomas’s wife, urged ‘no mention of Ginni’ — Conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo arranged for the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be paid tens of thousands of dollars for consulting work just over a decade ago, specifying that her name be left off billing paperwork.
► From the USA Today — What is Cinco de Mayo? The holiday’s origin and why it’s celebrated in Mexico, U.S. — Cinco de Mayo marks Mexico’s against-all-odds victory against invading French troops in 1862. But to some Americans, it’s simply Cinco de Drinko, an excuse to party with little to no understanding of what the Mexican holiday celebrates. Many who think they know what Cinco de Mayo is about wrongly assume it’s Mexico’s Independence Day. (It’s not.)
► From the AP — WHO downgrades COVID pandemic, says it’s no longer emergency
► From the American Prospect — Teamsters begin major Amazon fight — On April 24, Amazon delivery drivers at a company contractor in Southern California announced that they had joined the Teamsters, gaining a toehold in Amazon’s sprawling logistics network. The following week, 84 delivery workers and dispatchers ratified their union contract with boosting wages to $30 an hour by September; drivers currently earn $19.75. That rate is set by Amazon, one of many aspects of the job the company controls. Workers negotiating a collective-bargaining agreement at an Amazon subcontractor sets a historic precedent. It opens new possibilities for a legal challenge to Amazon’s model of subcontracting out delivery and denying that drivers are its employees, which has in part propelled the company to its commanding position in the logistics industry.
► From the LA Times — The writers’ strike is partly about AI. They’re right to worry (by two MIT professors) — Can the owners of capital assets (the studios) use AI to substantially replace workers (the writers) and tilt the balance of power in their favor? Or is there a way to address the entirely reasonable demand from writers that this increasingly capable software remain a tool under the control of workers?
► From Fox 2 — St. Louis union strikes, leaving many construction projects on hold — Workers from St. Louis-area IUOE Local 513 are on strike after their contract with the AGC expired a few days sgo, placing some St. Louis area construction projects are on hold.
► From the Washington Post — Iowa governor will sign bill rolling back labor protections for children — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Thursday said she will sign a bill to roll back labor protections for children, allowing them to work longer hours and take jobs that had been prohibited.
► From Vox — Your boss is obsessed with productivity without knowing what it means — A new study finds at-home workers felt more connected to a company’s mission and customers than in-office employees, a counterintuitive finding that likely speaks to how satisfied they felt about their work situation. But a growing number of companies are still calling workers back to the office in the name of productivity.
► This week, Canadian folk singer and hit songwriter Gordon Lightfoot passed away at 84. The New York Times writes that the following 1976 song “famously defied Top 40 logic,” a 6-minute folk song about a real-life shipwreck that became a worldwide hit. It was inspired by an Associated Press article Lightfoot read about the sinking of an iron-ore carrier in Lake Superior in 1975, with the loss of all 29 crew members. The song is meticulously accurate in every detail. Decades later, after investigations into the accident revealed that waves, not crew error, had led to the shipwreck, he even changed the lyrics slightly to account for the report. Lightfoot remained proud of the song for decades, and he kept newspaper clippings and items given to him by the crew members’ surviving families in his home. R.I.P., Mr. Lightfoot.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.