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Strike at UW | Share the ports’ profits | Merck greed | The Girl got $120

Wednesday, June 7, 2023




► From KIRO — Hundreds of UW researchers, postdocs now on strike — Hundreds of University of Washington researchers and postdocs are on strike Wednesday. For months, the group of 2,400 postdoctoral researchers and research scientists/engineers (RSEs) has been bargaining with the university to reach an agreement. They are demanding fair pay — postdocs say the university is refusing to pay them a living wage. They are also asking for support for childcare and an inclusive workforce.

TODAY at The StandUW Postdocs, Researchers are on STRIKE! — Here’s how to support UW strikers — starting with rally Wednesday at noon.

TAKE A STAND — All union members and supporters are urged to attend the strike kickoff rally at noon at the UW Seattle campus’s Red Square, 4063 Spokane Lane. In addition, check out the strike linktree where you’ll find information about how to contribute to the strike hardship fund, picket shift signups, solidarity petitions and letters, and more. Get the latest updates via Twitter @UAW4121.




► From the Washington Post — Labor dispute snarls West Coast ports; White House urged to step inA deepening standoff between dockworkers and port operators has snarled some of the nation’s most crucial import hubs, a dispute that has drawn the attention of the Biden administration as it scrambles to contain work stoppages. Portions of the ports at Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and Seattle have intermittently shuttered or slowed in recent days as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association, which represents port operators, try to work out a new contract. The union and port employers have mostly settled issues related to port automation and benefits, but they remain far apart on pay, sources say. ILWU President Willie Adams points to “historic” profits made by port operators, which the union estimated topped $510 billion during the pandemic:

“We aren’t going to settle for an economic package that doesn’t recognize the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce that lifted the shipping industry to record profits.”

► From the Ellensburg Daily Record — KVFR fields IAFF grievance related to non-emergent transfers — Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue is wrestling with a grievance filed by IAFF Local 1758, dealing largely with issues pertaining to hospital-to-hospital transfers.




What could possibly go wrong?

► From Reuters — New 787 issue could slow delivery of 90 jets in Boeing’s inventory — Boeing said on Tuesday it could be forced to slow deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner after the company discovered a new production flaw that will require it to inspect all 90 jets in its inventory, the latest in a series of setbacks for the widebody plane. The problem involves a fitting for the 787’s horizontal stabilizer installed by a Boeing production facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company said.




► From Stateline — Workers are less productive in key states. What it means for the economy. — U.S. worker productivity has dropped significantly, including in key large states, leaving some economists alarmed by the decrease in a measure that could mean trillions of dollars to the economy. Labor productivity — the value of the goods and services produced on average by an hour’s work — ranged from $58.80 in Mississippi to $120.67 in New York last year, according to a Stateline analysis of federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released in May.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Hat tip to Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) who shared this report and tweeted: “Wow! Washington ranks #2 in nation with new BLS data. New York is #1. WA workers produce $107.12 for every hour worked. Texas at measly $88.27 per hour worked. N. Carolina even lower at just $76.88.” It’s worth noting that New York has the highest union density of any state, and Washington ranks #3 in that category. Meanwhile, this article’s map showing the states with the lowest worker productivity looks like a map of right-to-work (anti-union) states.

► From the WA State Standard — Early fire conditions mark start of ‘a very long’ season — Washington’s heightened fire risk west of the Cascades is unusual this early in the year and is worrying officials.

► From the News Tribune — WA airport-coordinating commission to meet for final time. Will it recommend a location?




► From Roll Call — Merck sues government over drug price negotiation — Drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. sued the federal government Tuesday, seeking an injunction against parts of last year’s reconciliation law that allow the Health and Human Services Department to negotiate for lower prices on drugs. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, argues that the negotiation program is “extortion.” Merck said it “intends to litigate this matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said: “Merck is doing everything it can to protect its profits at the expense of patients who need their prescriptions to stay healthy and get treatment for everything from cancer to diabetes.”

► From the Alliance for Retired Americans — Merck lawsuit over drug price negotiation reflects industry greed, disregard for seniors and taxpayers

► From Politico — Biden back on the attack — hits GOP for threatening Social Security — The White House has begun warning anew that Republicans are coming after social insurance programs. The Wall Street Journal reinforced this, reporting that Speaker McCarthy “wants to organize a bipartisan commission to look at the entirety of government spending, including mandatory spending programs like Medicaid and Social Security.”

► From the AP — House conservatives block GOP bills, voice frustration in response to last week’s debt ceiling vote — Led by outspoken members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of 11 Republicans broke with their party on an otherwise routine procedural vote that threw the day’s schedule — and the rest of the week — into disarray. It’s the first such procedural rule vote to fail in nearly two decades.

► From The Hill — Political world braces for possible federal indictment of Trump




► From The Guardian — ‘The best state for workers’: What are Minnesota’s new labor laws? (by Steven Greenhouse) — Minnesota’s Democratic governor and legislature has enacted one of the most pro-worker packages of legislation that any U.S. state has passed in decades which includes paid family and medical leave, prohibits non-compete clauses, bars employers from holding anti-union captive audience meetings, and strengthens protections for meatpacking workers and Amazon warehouse employees.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington state already has or recently approved many of those pro-worker policies. One exception: State  legislators considered legislation banning captive-audience meetings this year: SB 5417, The Employee Free Choice Act sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines). Although it failed to advance from the Senate, it will be back.

► From the LA Times — A Hollywood mess: Writers are striking, and actors may too, over the future of the industry (editorial) — Writers and actors see their careers at stake and have been steadfast in demanding contract terms that protect their income and ensure that there are good jobs for the next generation of creators and performers. If SAG-AFTRA can’t reach an agreement with the studios by June 30, the second strike will shut down the industry, possibly for months. The sooner all sides get into serious negotiations to protect the creators, the performers and the long-term viability of the industry, the better it will be for everyone.

► From the Kansas City Star — Boilermakers union president ousted after claims of ‘shocking’ corruption — Newton B. Jones, the longtime president of the Boilermakers union, has been ousted by his own executive council, accused of misappropriating union funds.

► From the Washington Post — Canadian wildfire smoke brings dangerous air pollution to U.S. — Smoke and haze from the wildfires ravaging swaths of Canadian forest have reached the eastern United States. Hazardous fine particles have degraded air quality in regions as far away as South Carolina, turning the skies gray and brown. In New York City, which is now behind only New Delhi for poor air pollution levels worldwide.




► This is the final Daily News posting for The Stand this week.

So today the Entire Staff of The Stand presents the soft, beguiling vocals of Brazilian bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto, who passed away this week at the age of 83. In 1963, Astrud accompanied then-husband musician João Gilberto to a recording session in New York with jazz legend Stan Getz. The producer wanted an English-language singer to help “The Girl from Ipanema” cross over to a U.S. audience, and Astrud – who had no previous recording experience – was asked to sing it. When it was released as a single in 1964, the song became a worldwide hit, winning a Grammy award for song of the year and a nomination for best vocal performance by a female. It has been reported that Getz made more than $1 million on the song, but Astrud was only paid the American Musicians Union’s standard rate for a night of session work: $120. Astrud went on to have a successful career as a professional singer, but… come on.

R.I.P., Astrud.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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