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SW WA educators take a stand | Biden boosts unions | Right-wing ‘wrecking ball’

Tuesday, August 29, 2023




► From the union-busting Columbian — Camas teachers to strike for second day — The Camas Education Association is striking for a second day Tuesday after Monday’s bargaining session again failed to yield a deal on a new contract with the Camas School District. Schools in the Camas School District were closed for the first day of classes Monday as members of the Camas Education Association went on strike amid stalled contract negotiations. The union — which represents 460 certificated staff members across the district — picketed outside several schools early Monday morning, waving signs and leading chants in support of teachers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Picketing continues Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at all CSD school buildings.

The Stand (updated today) — Camas educators launch first-ever strike; bargaining resumes

► From the Washington State Standard — Teachers strike in southwest Washington delays school year for thousands of students — Camas educators are on strike. If labor negotiations fail in two other districts in the region, teachers there are set to follow.

The Stand (Aug. 24) — Evergreen educators vote to authorize strike — Vancouver district’s teachers will strike if there’s no agreement. Classes are scheduled to start Wednesday, Aug. 30.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Battle Ground Education Association also has not reached a deal on a fair contract with the district. Like Evergreen, student instruction is set to start Wednesday. BGEA members will have a membership meeting tonight either to ratify a tentative agreement or vote to strike.

► From the Skagit Valley Herald — Mount Vernon teachers picket amid contract negotiations — Mount Vernon School District educators came together Monday to form a picket line around the district offices as contract negotiations continue. Mount Vernon Education Association President Cheryl Thramer said that issues still being negotiated included recess breaks for students, bathroom breaks for elementary school teachers, preparation limits at the secondary level for a reasonable workload, elementary and middle school enrichment activities, and comparable salaries.

► From KOMO — Marysville school board unanimously adopts 2023-24 school budget amid nearly $18M budget deficit — The Marysville school board gave the green light Monday night to the 2023-2024 budget that had to be decided on by Aug. 31. The budget has become a hot topic item in the community as the district faces a massive budget shortfall. The district cut district and school administrative positions, teachers, instructional programs, technology and online learning.

► From KXLY — Medical Lake community determined to rebuild following Gray Fire destruction — It’s been 10 days since the Gray Fire ripped through Medical Lake, claiming 240 homes in the process. A family member who used to live in the city says they think it will take at least a year to rebuild it.




► From Crosscut — Amid heavy smoke, wildfire crews work without practical respirators — America’s wildland firefighters spend long hours exerting themselves in wildfire smoke, but haven’t worn respirators while tackling wildland fire in both remote and increasingly urban areas. Capt. Jeff Wainwright, who chairs the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters’ wildland fire and mobilization committee, said he would if he could. But despite the danger, no one has ever manufactured a respirator suited to his job.

► From the Washington State Standard — WA Supreme Court Justice Whitener returning to work — State Supreme Court Justice G. Helen Whitener announced Monday she is returning from six months of medical leave and will participate in the court’s Fall term that begins next month.




► From the AP — As worker actions continue nationwide, White House highlights how administration is helping unions — As worker actions continue from Hollywood to Detroit, and new labor unions crop up at firms like Starbucks and Amazon, the White House on Monday was highlighting its effort to bolster worker organizing throughout the U.S. Since Biden took office, the administration has implemented a slew of executive orders, made it easier for union representatives to organize on federal property, and strengthened retaliation protections for private sector workers.

► From CNBC — Kamala Harris touts strength of labor unions to build the middle class — Unions boost pay 10% to 15% for members and improve fringe benefits, bolstering the middle class and economy, a U.S. Department of the Treasury report released Monday said. It also showed that unionization reduces wage gaps by race and gender and improves benefits and procedures such as retirement plans, grievance policies and steady work schedules.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for all those things? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From the Guardian — Biden is turning away from free trade – and that’s a great thing (by Robert Reich) — These “free trade” deals have benefited corporations, big investors, executives, Wall Street traders and other professionals. Middle- and working-class Americans have benefited from these deals as consumers – gaining access to lower-priced goods from China, Mexico and other countries where wages are lower than those in the US. But the trade deals also have caused millions of US jobs to be lost, and the wages of millions of Americans to stagnate or decline.

The Stand (July 1, 2021) — ‘Free trade’ died this week – with a whimper

► From HuffPost — Biden administration reveals first 10 drugs for Medicare price negotiation — The federal government just identified the first 10 medications that will be subject to direct price negotiations with manufacturers, as part of a major new initiative to reduce prescription drug costs in Medicare. The list includes a pair of widely used blood thinners, Eliquis and Xarelto, as well as the cancer therapy Imbruvica. It also includes Farxiga, Jardiance and Januvia, all of which treat diabetes.

► From the AP — Recruiting is underway for Trump-like ‘wrecking ball’ to shrink government and fire federal workers — With more than a year to go before the 2024 election, a constellation of conservative organizations is preparing for a possible second White House term for Donald Trump, recruiting thousands of Americans to come to Washington on a mission to dismantle the federal government and replace it with a vision closer to his own. The idea is to have the civic infrastructure in place on Day One to commandeer, reshape and do away with what Republicans deride as the “deep state” bureaucracy, in part by firing as many as 50,000 federal workers.

► From Politico — GOP salivates at the biggest campaign finance win since Citizens United — The GOP is growing increasingly optimistic about their prospects in a little-noticed lawsuit that would allow official party committees and candidates to coordinate freely by removing current spending restrictions. If successful, it would represent a seismic shift in how tens of millions of campaign dollars are spent and upend a well-established political ecosystem for TV advertising.




► From the LA Times — ‘It is high time comedians see their own union’: Comics show solidarity with actors on picket lines — Comics put on a stand-up show in front of Fox Studios in Century City on Monday. Comedians aren’t used to waking up before noon, joked stand-up Mona Shaikh, who organized the event. But they braved a 90-degree morning to show their solidarity with striking actors and writers. “It’s all one. We’re all under the same umbrella so we have to support each other,” said participating comedian and recent Roast Battle L.A. champion Sarah Fatemi.

► From the News & Observer — Duke Ph.D. students will form union after resounding election victory — Doctoral students at Duke University overwhelming voted to unionize Tuesday, giving more than 2,000 academic employees at the prestigious Durham school the right to have their pay and working conditions collectively bargained. Ballots in the mail-in election heavily favored the union (SEIU), with 1,000 votes in support to 131 votes against.

► From the Times Standard — California nurses ratify contract with Providence — Nurses (CNA/NNU) at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka and Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna approved a three-year contract with Providence after three months of negotiations. It includes staffing improvements such as designated break nurses and a gradually introduced 18% wage increase.

► And then, there’s this…


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!