Wednesday, October 4, 2023
► From the AP — Thousands of Kaiser workers go on strike in multiple states over wages and staff shortages — Picketing began Wednesday morning at Kaiser Permanente hospitals as some 75,000 health care workers go on strike in Virginia, California and three other states over wages and staffing shortages, marking the latest major labor unrest in the United States. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, representing about 85,000 of the health system’s employees nationally, approved a strike for three days in California, Colorado, Oregon and southwest Washington, and for one day in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
TODAY at The Stand — Kaiser unions launch nationwide strike over low pay, staffing
TAKE A STAND — Show your solidarity with striking Kaiser workers by joining the picket line at the Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park Medical Office, 12607 SE Mill Plain Blvd in Vancouver, WA, starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday through Friday. Click here for details or to RSVP.
— Diana Noinala (@NoinalaD) October 3, 2023
► From KIRO — Tacoma city workers rally on steps of City Hall for a fair contract –City workers in Tacoma rallied on the steps of City Hall before a council meeting Tuesday. They’re demanding that the city negotiate an equitable contract that ensures wages keep up with the cost of living. Workers held banners reading “We run this city.” Contract negotiations with the city have been in progress for nearly a year.
► From KOMO — Tacoma city workers rally for equitable wage contract that keeps up with rising cost of living — City of Tacoma workers who are members of Teamsters 117 and IBEW 483 held a rally outside of city hall Tuesday afternoon. In a press release, Teamsters 117 said: “The city continues to make anemic wage proposals that are significantly below inflation and significantly below what the city has offered its non-represented managerial staff.”
► From KXLY — Staffing shortages cause Spokane paramedics to work constant overtime — Staffing shortages are causing Spokane Fire Department paramedics to work extra shifts every week. One paramedic with SFD says in 2022, he worked more than 900 hours of overtime, and the shortage continues to impact his work-life balance every day.
► From Reuters — Exclusive: Boeing sets record 737 production goal for July 2025 — Boeing plans to push production of its bestselling 737 narrowbody jet to a record of at least 57 per month by July 2025, reflecting rising orders and the company’s recovery after the 737 MAX crisis, according to two sources.
► From KUOW — WA drafts permanent rules to better protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke — When wildfires tear through Northwest forests, pouring heavy smoke across Washington state, health officials’ guidance is often to simply stay inside. But that’s not an option for people who work outdoors. After two years of emergency rules guiding smoke response for employers and employees, the state is drafting a set of permanent rules.
► From the Washington State Standard — As union lawsuit falters, state readies Tukwila psychiatric hospital for patients — The state is planning to admit patients before the end of the month at a recently acquired psychiatric hospital in Tukwila, in spite of a union lawsuit seeking to stall the facility’s sale. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW asked a federal judge to pause the sale until it could settle a contract dispute with Cascade Behavioral Hospital LLC, the owner and previous operator of the hospital who is selling its facility to the state. But the judge denied SEIU’s request for a preliminary injunction that the union was unlikely to prevail in its challenge.
► From KING — Officials at Echo Glen Children’s Center were warned about an escape. Then, 7 teens still made it out — In the aftermath of a May escape at a juvenile detention center, employees who were working that night complained the state failed to do enough to stop it.
► From WFSE (June 1) — Echo Glen workers call for change after escape, staff assault — More than 100 workers have signed a petition calling for management to immediately address the staffing crisis at the juvenile detention center. Dangerous conditions at the Echo Glen Children’s Center made headlines yet again after seven residents assaulted a staff member and broke out of custody on Saturday, May 27.
► From the Washington State Standard — Washington State Library cuts hours and leaves jobs unfilled as its budget takes a hit — Effective this week, the library in Tumwater will be closed Mondays and its Ask A Librarian program halted indefinitely to deal with the shortfall created by a decline in revenue from fees paid on real estate transactions.
► From the union-busting Columbian — State takes wise approach to minimum wage (editorial) — While there is room for reasonable debate about the minimum wage, one positive aspect of Washington’s law is clear. Linking the rate to inflation avoids contentious legislative debates and allows for gradual wage increases rather than large jumps that jolt the economy – or long periods of stagnant wages for low-income workers.
The Stand (Oct. 2) — State minimum wage will increase to $16.28/hour in 2024
► From the AP — Child care programs just lost thousands of federal dollars. Families and providers scramble to cope. — Providers say millions of children and their families are now at risk of losing child care. After two years of receiving federal subsidies, 220,000 child care programs across the country were cut off from funding Saturday. The largest investment in child care in U.S. history, the monthly payments ranged from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, and stabilized the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families and providers are calling on Congress to create a permanent funding solution to the crisis, warning of the ripple effects on the nation’s economy.
► From The Hill — House makes history, removes McCarthy as Speaker — The House on Tuesday voted to remove Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as Speaker, a never-before-seen historic vote that leaves the lower chamber of Congress in chaos. The mutiny, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), came days after McCarthy averted a government shutdown by putting a stopgap measure on the floor that garnered Democratic support — a move that infuriated hardline Republicans.
► From the NY Times — McCarthy’s extraordinary downfall reflects an ungovernable GOP — Kevin McCarthy made many unfulfilled promises and paid a price. But his collapse also reflected the challenge of a majority that refuses to be controlled.
► From The Hill — Senate Republicans watch McCarthy ouster with alarm, disbelief
► From the Washington Post — Laphonza Butler sworn in as the third Black female senator in history — Laphonza Butler was sworn in as the third female Black U.S. senator in history Tuesday — bringing greater diversity to the upper chamber after nearly three years in which there have been no Black women serving in the Senate. Butler, 44, a onetime labor leader who was most recently the head of Emily’s List, was tapped to fill the term of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died at 90 last week.
► From Politico — Labor launched Laphonza Butler — and could hold the keys to a Senate run — Unions could vault Butler into serious contention should she choose to run.
► From the USA Today — Student loan debt forgiveness arrives for some borrowers as payments resume for others
► From NPR — Why this fight is so personal for the UAW workers on strike — Decades ago, equal pay for equal work was a sacrosanct UAW right. But before and during the Great Recession, the union accepted lower pay for newer workers. It was one of many concessions the UAW agreed to in order to help automakers stay afloat. And this is fundamentally what the union’s push is all about as the UAW embarks on an unprecedented strike against all Big Three automakers at once. It’s an attempt to reset the relationship with the Big 3 automakers, roll back the clock, and bring back the pay and benefits that previous generations of autoworkers enjoyed.
► From Reuters — Ford makes new offer in labor dispute, GM furloughs more workers — Ford said on Tuesday it had made a new comprehensive contract offer in an effort to resolve a 19-day old targeted strike by the UAW but said a dispute over battery plants remained unresolved. UAW President Shawn Fain on Friday expanded the first-ever simultaneous strike against the Detroit Three to a GM Lansing, Michigan, plant and a Ford Chicago assembly plant, but Stellantis was spared after last-minute concessions.
► From CBS News — SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood studios resume negotiating, more talks Wednesday — After negotiators for SAG-AFTRA and the major Hollywood studios met for the first time since the actors union walked off the job in mid-July, talks are set to resume Wednesday in a bid to put scripted film and TV productions back in business.
► From the LA Times — Disney VFX workers vote to unionize with IATSE — Walt Disney Pictures visual effects workers voted to unionize under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb, in a statement, said the workers’ collective action “represents a seismic shift in this critical moment in our industry… This unanimous vote sends a clear message that the demands of VFX workers for dignity, respect, and fairness must be heard.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready to be heard at work? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions — and a voice on the job. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From the Washington Post — Tom Conway, steel union chief who backed climate fight, dies at 71 — Tom Conway, a onetime millwright in a struggling Midwest steel plant who rose to lead the United Steelworkers union and push the industry to embrace eco-friendly transitions such as wind power in hopes of safeguarding the future of American steel, died Sept. 25 at his home in Pittsburgh. He was 71.
► From the Dallas Morning News — One of nation’s key labor leaders, North Texan Robert Martinez, is retiring — In Fort Worth lies a lineage of union men. A grandfather, father and son. Each generation introduced the next to the principles of the working class — how to stand in solidarity with other workers and how a union could provide stability for families. For now, this story ends with Robert Martinez Jr., the international president of IAM, one of the largest labor unions in the U.S.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.