Tuesday, May 9, 2023
► From the Seattle Times — Big Ryanair order for 300 jets boosts Boeing’s uncertified 737 MAX 10 — Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, the largest airline in Europe, on Tuesday announced an order for up to 300 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, adding to growing sales momentum — despite MAX production faltering last month due to supply chain quality problems. The deal includes 150 firm orders and 150 purchase options to be delivered between 2027 and 2034. It’s likely all 300 will be delivered.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is great news for Boeing employees in both Renton and Everett, where Boeing is establishing a fourth 737 MAX assembly line.
► From the PS Business Journal — Kroger-Albertsons merger could cost Seattle grocery workers, study says — The acquisition by Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation’s largest operator of traditional supermarkets, of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, the second-largest traditional supermarket company in the country, would result in lower wages for 776,000 grocery store workers in 55 metro areas, a Economic Policy Institute study found.
TODAY at The Stand — Study: Kroger-Albertsons merger will cost workers over $300M — Study shows the limiting competition for grocery labor will cost Seattle-area workers more than $17 million. Layoffs and reduced hours would make the damage even worse.
The Stand (Oct. 14, 2022) — Grocery unions decry proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger
► From the Seattle Times — Fred Meyer, QFC illegally barred BLM pins at work, judge rules — Western Washington Fred Meyer and QFC stores unlawfully barred employees from wearing Black Lives Matter pins and face masks at work in 2020, a NLRB judge ruled. The administrative law judge’s ruling is in line with September 2021 findings by the NLRB’s Northwest regional office in Seattle, which found the stores violated federal labor law by prohibiting workers from wearing union-sponsored Black Lives Matter pins, and by sending home workers who refused to remove them.
► From the Skagit Valley Herald — Mount Vernon staff and students picket outside of school district office — A group of Mount Vernon School District staff and students were outside the District Office on Monday afternoon picketing the the cuts the district is making to staff. According to Mount Vernon Education Association President Cheryl Thramer, there have been 32 non-renewal letters sent out to teachers, largely at the secondary level.
► From KOMO — Tacoma teachers vote no confidence in middle school’s admin over academic, safety concerns — A group of Tacoma teachers voted no confidence in their administrators at Gray Middle School. The statement, which passed by a vast majority, states no confidence in both academics and safety at the school.
► From KOMO — Seattle City Council expected to vote on legislation aimed at protecting firefighters — The Seattle City Council is expected to vote on legislation Tuesday aimed at protecting firefighters responding to emergencies.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Sound Transit: Prioritize Lynnwood over East Link — Sound Transit staff has recommended prioritizing Lynnwood light rail service over an East Link “starter line” in recent board committee meetings.
► From KOMO — Inslee signs law allowing duplexes, fourplexes in Washington — At a time of soaring home prices, rising homelessness and a housing crisis in Washington that will require 1 million homes over the next two-plus decades to keep up with population growth, Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday signed a law legalizing duplexes and fourplexes in most neighborhoods in nearly every city to increase the state’s housing supply.
EDITOR’S NOTE — HB 1110 was among the legislative priorities of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. It will increase housing options for the unhoused, retirees, and low- and middle-income families by reforming exclusionary zoning and making it easier to build affordable housing.
WELCOME to the Washington State Standard, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet that provides original reporting, analysis and commentary on Washington state government and politics.” It launched today and features reporting by veteran Capitol journalists like Jerry Cornfield (formerly of The Herald) and Laurel Demkovich (formerly of the Spokesman-Review). Its articles are available to other outlets under Creative Commons licensing.
► From WA State Standard — The race begins for Washington attorney general — State Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) on Monday launched her campaign to become Washington’s next attorney general. Dhingra, a former senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County and the current Senate deputy majority leader, is the first candidate to enter the race to succeed Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson who is campaigning for governor.
► From WA State Standard — He cast doubt on the 2020 election, now he wants a lead job tallying votes — Former state lawmaker Robert Sutherland is running for auditor in one of the state’s biggest counties. Washington’s top election official says it’ll be “a disaster” if he wins.
► From WA State Standard — ‘This is what the capital budget should be about’ — $650,000 advocates secured for a community park in Bothell is just one example of how lawmakers spread over $231 million for local projects around the state.
► From the AP — Deal or default? Biden, GOP must decide what’s on the table — Before President Joe Biden and congressional leaders can even try to avert an unprecedented U.S. government default, their initial challenge on Tuesday will be to agree on what exactly they’re talking about as they hold their first substantive meeting in months. With the government at risk of being unable to meet its obligations as soon as June 1, raising the specter of potential economic calamity, Republicans are coming to the White House hoping to negotiate sweeping cuts to federal spending in exchange for allowing new borrowing to avoid default.
The Stand (May 5) — How Republican spending cuts will hurt Washington state
► From Politico — A new, dire debt warning: U.S. could breach limit in early June — The latest forecast piles further urgency onto Tuesday’s White House meeting on the looming fiscal crisis despite slim prospects for a major breakthrough between the parties.
► From the NY Times — Are Republicans willing to raise the debt ceiling? (editorial) — Republicans who have seized on debt ceiling votes as useful leverage are playing a dangerous game. A functional government cannot debate whether to pay its bills, and Biden has rightly insisted that there can be no price for raising the debt ceiling. But there is a difference between talking about the federal debt and talking about the debt ceiling. Congress has an obligation to pay what is already owed, but the president and congressional Republicans ought to spend more time talking with each other about the scale of future borrowing.
► From The Hill — Government employees union sues Yellen, Biden over ‘unconstitutional’ debt limit law — The National Association of Government Employees/SEIU lawsuit contends that, if the debt limit is reached, President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would be forced to decide which payments to prioritize, violating the separation of powers by taking over Congress’s spending authority.
► From the Washington Post — Biden’s nursing home staff mandates expected soon — The Biden administration is poised to propose minimum staffing levels for the nation’s some 15,500 nursing homes, setting up a showdown with powerful industry lobbies. For over two decades, nursing home advocates say they’ve fought for federal minimum staffing requirements to no avail. But the coronavirus’s massive toll on nursing home residents and staff put a spotlight on the facilities, and is spurring the Biden administration to take action.
► From the Washington Post — Most U.S. adults say the abortion pill mifepristone should stay on the market, poll finds — The poll finds that 66 percent of U.S. adults say mifepristone should remain on the market, while 24 percent say it should be taken off the market. Just under half, 47 percent, say access to mifepristone should be kept as is; 12 percent say it should remain on the market but be more restricted than it is now.
► From Jacobin — The WGA strike is a fight against Silicon Valley’s gigification of the entire economy — Thousands of Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers in New York City and Los Angeles are on strike fighting the impact of technological innovation on their industry and earnings. These entertainment writers are in many ways the original gig workers. Even for unionized writers, job security never lasts more than a few weeks. At their core, the challenges facing gig workers are driven by Silicon Valley’s ethos of rule-breaking in the name of “disruption” that is slowly impacting every sector of the economy. If the ongoing film and TV writers strike is successful, the WGA could establish a model for how service sector, app-based gig workers can take on Silicon Valley.
► From the LA Times — This Hollywood battle was always ugly. It’ll get worse — Battles over streaming residuals, minimum staffing and AI spell a long conflict ahead after years of simmering anger.
► From WTOL — Union workers at Clarios automobile battery manufacturer go on strike — Hundreds of union workers at the Clarios automobile battery plant in Holland, Ohio, walked off the job Monday morning after 98% of the membership voted down the company’s most recent contract proposal.
► From the AP — ‘Outraged’ letter carriers demand action to stop robberies — Robberies of postal carriers have exploded, surging 78% to nearly 500 in 2022, according to data provided to the AP. Letter carriers are demanding action from the U.S. Postal Service. “The National Association of Letter Carriers is outraged and angered by the assaults, armed robberies and even murders that America’s letter carriers increasingly face as they deliver the mail. These attacks are completely unacceptable,” said Paul Barner, the union’s executive vice president.
► From the Federal News Network — USPS sees ‘massive turnover’ in non-career workers as union protests short-staffing — The American Postal Workers Union says the agency remains too short-staffed to meet service standards, leading to burnout and a high rate of employee turnover.
► From the Chicago Sun-Times — Chicago REI store workers vote to join union — Workers at the Near North Side store of REI have voted to unionize, part of a nationwide push to organize at the outdoors retailer. Organizers cited a “living wage” and more predictable hours as key goals for collective bargaining. They also cited a pattern of unfair treatment by REI, a company based near Seattle that is organized as a co-op.
EDITOR’S NOTE — REI employees in Bellingham have filed for a union election.
Ready for a voice at work? 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!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.