Educators ready to walk | Windmill workers fight on | Kaiser strike vote

Friday, August 25, 2023




► From the union-busting Columbian — Evergreen, Camas teachers vote for potential strike if deal can’t be reached with districts — Two of Clark County’s biggest school districts — Evergreen Public Schools and the Camas School District — could see delays to the start of the school year as respective teachers unions in each district have authorized potential strikes amid stalled contract negotiations. The Battle Ground Education Association, which represents certificated staff in Battle Ground Public Schools, has also not yet reached a deal on a new contract as of Thursday. The union has a membership meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday to determine next steps.

TODAY at The StandCamas educators OK strike beginning Aug. 28 if no deal — Informational picket planned Friday, Aug. 25 in front of school district’s HQ.

The Stand (Aug. 24) — Evergreen educators vote to authorize strike — Vancouver district’s teachers will strike if no agreement; classes scheduled to start Aug. 30.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane Public Schools approves $768 million budget, bracing for pullback in federal COVID support

► From the Seattle Times — It’s nearly impossible for WA farmworkers to unionize. Here’s why that matters. — A majority of employees at the Ostrom mushroom farm in Sunnyside in Yakima County voted to unionize last year. But because farmworkers aren’t covered by the National Labor Relations Act, which lays out a legal framework for union recognition, it’s up to individual employers to choose whether to recognize union committees. Ostrom did not. Windmill Farms, which purchased the company in February, has followed suit, claiming a union is unnecessary and refuting allegations of discrimination. Jose Martinez and his former colleagues have said their fight for union recognition isn’t over, however. Advocates continue to fight for union support, hosting weekly public events to increase the pressure on Windmill Farms leaders.

TODAY at The Stand ‘Living billboard’ for mushroom workers Aug. 31 in Seattle — Join Windmill Farms workers, UFW’s Teresa Romero in mile-long billboard and solidarity rally.

► From the Cascadia Daily News — PeaceHealth to restore palliative care — PeaceHealth in Whatcom County is bringing back its outpatient palliative care program, after hearing a wave of criticism from patients and community members when the program was cut in May. Details about what palliative care at PeaceHealth will look like, or when it will resume, weren’t immediately available.

► From the Seattle Times — Bellevue-based T-Mobile to lay off 7% of staff over costs, competition — The roles that will be cut are mostly corporate, back-office and some tech, said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. Retail and customer-care employees will not be affected.

► From the Yakima H-R — Northwest Harvest temporarily closes Fruitvale market in Yakima because of volunteer shortage — A volunteer shortage led to the temporary closure of the Northwest Harvest market on Fruitvale Boulevard in Yakima. The plan is to reopen on Sept. 6.

► From the Seattle Times — Eastside-only light rail should open in March, Sound Transit says




► From the union-busting Columbian — Clark County’s state lawmakers fight to save Larch Corrections Center — Local efforts to keep Larch Corrections Center near Yacolt open have drawn the support of state lawmakers. A bipartisan group of lawmakers representing Clark County, led by 49th District Democratic Rep. Sharon Wylie, sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and Department of Corrections Secretary Cheryl Strange earlier this month urging them to keep the facility open.

The Stand (Aug. 17) — Clark County legislators: Keep Larch Correctional Center open

The Stand (July 26) — Larch is a shining success. Don’t close it. (by John Scearcy)

TAKE A STAND — Please send a message to Olympia and the DOC: Keep Larch open! Keep local communities together! Also, Teamsters who provide services at Larch have set up an online petition at calling on the DOC to keep Larch open. Please sign it to keep Larch open!




► From the Washington Post — Trump surrenders at Fulton County Jail for his first mug shot — Donald Trump surrendered at an Atlanta jail on Thursday and was booked on felony charges alleging he participated in a sweeping criminal conspiracy to illegally overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia — an unprecedented moment resulting in the first mug shot of a former American president. Trump’s booking at the Fulton County Jail came 10 days after the former president was charged in Georgia in what was his fourth criminal indictment since March — and his second tied to his alleged efforts to subvert the 2020 election results and remain in the White House.

► From Reuters — FAA hires 1,500 air traffic controllers but staffing challenges remain — The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Thursday it had met its goal of hiring 1,500 air traffic controllers for the year even as staffing challenges continue to impact travel and aviation near misses prompt safety concerns.




► From the AFL-CIO — America’s unions continue the march toward justice — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond on the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:

“The work that began six decades ago is far from finished. Today, our democracy is under attack, and we have witnessed the deterioration of our hard-earned gains on civil, human and workers’ rights. Corporations and extremist politicians and judges are bent on dividing us and erasing the progress we’ve made on racial justice, voting rights, collective bargaining, access to reproductive healthcare, education and so much more. Now is the time for working people to come together and take bold action.”

► From then LA Times — Tens of thousands of Kaiser healthcare workers to vote on possible strike — Tens of thousands of workers at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics across the country will soon vote on whether to authorize a strike, union officials announced Thursday. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which includes a dozen local unions with members in seven states and the District of Columbia, said voting would begin Saturday and extend into the middle of September. Any strike would start no earlier than Oct. 1. More than 80,000 employees are represented by the coalition, which counts among its members a wide range of hospital and clinic workers including nursing assistants, phlebotomists, pharmacy technicians and housekeepers. The coalition said that it represents roughly 40% of the overall Kaiser Permanente workforce.

► From HuffPost — UNITE HERE calls for convention boycott of Los Angeles — Members of Unite Here Local 11 announced the boycott Thursday, describing it as a “major escalation” in a battle with hotels that has rattled LA’s tourism industry. They want groups planning large-scale meetings to cancel or postpone them until the union has reached new deals with the hotels, or to move the events to another town.

► From Wisconsin Public Radio — GOP lawmakers propose eliminating work permits for Wisconsin’s 14- and 15-year-olds — Labor groups say proposal rolls back protections for minors in the workplace.

► From Vox — Extreme heat is transforming work — As the mercury rises, many US jobs become magnitudes more difficult and dangerous — and not just on construction sites and farm fields, where the majority of heat-related deaths happen. Many workers toiling in places without sufficient cooling or ventilation face high risk, too, including those in factories and warehouses, restaurant employees, and delivery drivers and gig workers exposed to dangerous temperatures as they lug packages out in the sun. Even people who work in indoor environments with cooling mechanisms are at risk, given that faulty or weak HVAC systems are common — as teachers across the country are experiencing. The list of jobs where heat can be a health hazard is endless.




► As many millions of us have now witnessed, when Barbie decides to go to the Real World, her go-to car karaoke song is “Closer to Fine.” And thus, Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster movie has introduced Indigo Girls to a new generation of fans. It also inspired Washington’s own Brandi Carlile, a longtime Indigo Girls fan, to record a lovely new version of the song with her wife, Catherine. Here are the originals singing the Grammy winning hit as they make their network TV debut in 1989. Enjoy.


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

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