Monday, October 2, 2023
► From Reuters — International Longshore and Warehouse dockworkers union files for bankruptcy — The ILWU, representing West Coast dockworkers, has filed for a chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to resolve a pending litigation with the Oregon affiliate of the International Container Terminal Services Inc. The union is facing a looming trial over allegations it illegally slowed down operations over several years at the Port of Portland, then operated by an affiliate of Philippines-based maritime company. ILWU President Willie Adams:
“While we have attempted numerous times to resolve the decade-long litigation with ICTSI Oregon, at this point, the Union can no longer afford to defend against ICTSI’s scorched-earth litigation tactic. We intend to use the chapter 11 process to implement a plan that will bring this matter to resolution and ensure that our Union continues to do its important work for our members and the community.”
► From the Wall Street Journal — ILWU dockworkers union’s sway at West Coast ports is tested in bankruptcy — The 22,000-member union has flexed its muscle during labor disputes, but the actions at Oregon’s Port of Portland may carry a heavy price.
► From the Cascadia Daily News — Frustration with PeaceHealth has become a political issue — Some are suggesting that PeaceHealth no longer provides enough public benefit to earn the tax breaks it now enjoys from the City of Bellingham. The frustration has also prompted a mini-groundswell of support for a new approach to health care in Whatcom County, through something called a public hospital district.
► From KING — ‘100% of the pay, 80% of the hours, 100% of the output’: San Juan County begins 32-hour work week — San Juan County began a 32-hour work week for some employees on Oct. 1. The county announced the move back in August as a plan to improve employee recruitment and retention, maintain fiscal health and prioritize the well-being of islanders.
► From KNKX — Understaffed jails, treatment centers complicate Seattle’s plan to reduce public drug use — Seattle’s mayor and city attorney say they want to use a new state law to push people into treatment — but what happens when that’s not available?
► From The Hill — Kaiser Permanente workers prep for possibility of largest health care strike in U.S. history — The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which represents over 85,000 health care workers in seven states and D.C., said Sunday it did not reach an agreement with the organization ahead of the contract’s expiration, setting the stage for the possibility of the largest health care strike in U.S. history late this week.
► From Reuters — Kaiser Permanente workers say deal unlikely to avert strike — The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions said it and the company remained far apart on important issues. Kaiser Permanenete said that it is continuing to bargain with the union and work stoppages will not begin until Oct. 4.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Initially, this strike would include Kaiser workers in Oregon and southwest Washington, who already voted to authorize a strike. Kaiser Washington workers in the rest of the state (SEIU Healthcare 1199NW) are currently voting on that authorization. Get the latest at UnionCoalition.org. Meanwhile, this is also happening…
► From KGW — Kaiser Permanente pharmacy workers in Oregon, SW Washington begin 21-day unfair labor practices strike Sunday — Pharmacy healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente medical facilities in Oregon and Southwest Washington began a 21-day unfair labor practices (ULP) strike on Sunday at 6 a.m., according to UFCW Local 555. “We’re working full time,” Megan Mayes, an administrative assistant at Kaiser Permanente, said. “And then we’re working overtime, and then we’re working double time.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — UFCW 555 has announced four picket locations in Portland, but none (yet) in southwest Washington.
► From the Seattle Times — WA minimum wage to increase to $16.28 an hour next year — The Washington Department of Labor and Industries calculates the minimum wage for the coming year based on federal estimates of price increases. The 3.37% increase announced Friday reflects rising costs of housing, food, medical care and other expenses as shown in the Consumer Price Index.
TODAY at The Stand — State minimum wage will increase to $16.28/hour in 2024
► From the Seattle Times — WA unemployment system still suffering from COVID-era problems — The problems, which range from organized unemployment fraud to $1 billion in mistakenly paid benefits, are adding pressure on the state Employment Security Department as it braces for a post-COVID-19 normal marked by heightened risks and fewer resources.
► From the Washington Post — Once seen as the future, Boeing struggles to make a case for Starliner — Boeing had big plans for its new space capsule, even before it won a $4.2 billion contract in 2014 to develop a spacecraft for NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. Nearly a decade later, those dreams have crumbled. Not a single person has flown Boeing’s spacecraft to space. The company has had to absorb about $1.4 billion in cost overruns, and NASA’s safety advisers have called for an independent review of the program. Meanwhile, SpaceX, which received a contract at the same time Boeing did, but for nearly 40 percent less money, has flown eight missions to the ISS for NASA, as well as additional private astronaut crews. What went wrong?
► From Reuters — Spirit Aero names board member Shanahan as interim CEO — Patrick Shanahan, who has served on the company’s board since November 2021, was previously an executive with Boeing, Spirit’s biggest customer.
► From The Hill — Congress votes to avert shutdown — Congress averted a shutdown with just hours to spare, capping a dramatic Saturday that started with a lapse in government funding appearing all but inevitable. The Senate voted 88-9 to pass a “clean” continuing resolution that funds the government at current levels through Nov. 17 and gives the Biden administration $16 billion it requested to assist victims of natural disasters. The House had earlier passed the measure in a bipartisan 335-91 vote. The CR notably lacks any funding for Ukraine, spending cuts or border policy changes.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Every members of Washington’s congressional delegation — Democratic and Republican — voted to approve the continuing resolution.
► From AFGE — AFGE reacts to bipartisan deal to avoid government shutdown — AFGE President Everett Kelley:
“As I’ve said many times in recent days, I’ve always remained hopeful that a bipartisan deal to avoid a government shutdown was possible, however unlikely it seemed at times. The costs to federal employees, to the economy, to our communities, and to the American people are simply too great. I applaud members of Congress for listening to the voices of thousands of AFGE members across the country who have called, sent letters, held meetings, and spoken to the media about the need to prevent a disastrous shutdown and the pain it would cause working Americans.”
► From the Washington Post — For Supreme Court, ethics have become the elephant in the courtroom — Some of the issues and political stalemates that haunt the Supreme Court are returning for the term that begins Monday, accompanied by another concern: how to convince the public that the justices take seriously their ethical obligations.
► From The Hill — Former Harris adviser Laphonza Butler named to Feinstein Senate seat — Laphonza Butler, a former adviser to Vice President Harris who currently serves as president of EMILY’s List, was named to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat in California that was held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who died at the age of 90 on Friday. Butler has been a labor leader as well as the leader of EMILY’S List, a powerful group that works to elect women.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Before taking the job at Emily’s List, Butler spent nearly two decades at SEIU, where she organized nurses and janitors before moving in 2009 to California, where she rose to eventually lead the largest union in California, SEIU 2015 representing 325,000 home-care workers.
► From the Washington Post — Biden and UAW’s Shawn Fain forge an uneasy alliance amid labor turmoil — Their conflicting styles have become pivotal as the at-times tense relationship they have forged over the past six months now holds outsize sway over the nation’s economic and political futures.
► From NPR — The Hollywood writers strike is over, but the actors strike could drag on. Here’s why. — As SAG-AFTRA leaders head into talks Monday with the big Hollywood studios, the union’s members are hoping for as favorable a deal as the writers union managed to secure with the studios last week. But the months of strikes may not be over as fast as some people think.
► From the LA Times — Newsom vetoes bill to give California’s striking workers unemployment benefits — California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation Saturday that would have granted striking workers unemployment benefits, a measure strongly supported by Hollywood unions and other influential labor organizations in California. Newsom’s rejection of SB 799 delivers a rare blow to organized labor, which has enjoyed strong support in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature.
CEO pay of the largest carmakers in the world.
Folks, don’t believe it for a second that US automakers can’t afford to pay workers better wages.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) October 1, 2023
► From Reuters — New auto sales likely rose in Q3, but UAW strikes may pose speed bump — U.S. new vehicle sales likely rose in the third quarter on improving supply and steady demand, but a strike by autoworkers has muddied the outlook for the “Detroit Three” for the rest of the year, analysts said.
► From CNN — Mack Trucks strike narrowly avoided as company reaches tentative deal with UAW union — An 11th-hour tentative contract agreement reached between Mack Trucks and the UAW union late Sunday narrowly averted a strike by 3,900 employees at the company.
► From the LA Times — After three months of rolling strikes, second L.A. hotel reaches tentative agreement with union — UNITE HERE Local 11 said that once the contract is ratified, the 300 workers at the Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles will see “unprecedented wage increases that keep pace with the soaring cost of housing.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for an unprecedented wage increase? 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!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.