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Virginia Mason pickets | Larch closes today | Writers ratify

Tuesday, October 10, 2023




► From KING — Nurses at Virginia Mason picket over workplace violence, low staffing and wages — Nurses with Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle are picketing Tuesday to demand better staffing, higher wages and more protections against workplace violence at the hospital. The 650 nurses represented by the Washington State Nurses Association are picketing from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and then again from noon to 2 p.m.

MORE coverage from KIRO and Q13.

TODAY at The Stand Nurses demanding safety at Virginia Mason

TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters are invited to participate in the informational picket line from 6 to 8:30 a.m. and again from noon to 2 p.m. outside Virginia Mason Hospital at 925 Seneca St. A 12:30 p.m. rally will feature WSNA nurses at Virginia Mason sharing their personal stories, plus WSLC President April Sims, state Rep. Liz Berry, and other elected officials.

► From the union-busting Columbian — 1,300 workers vote to authorize a strike at PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver, St. John in Longview — After months of negotiating with executives to address low wages and staffing shortages, more than 1,300 unionized health care workers (OFN/AFT 5017) have voted to authorize a strike at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver and PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview.

► From the LA Times (via Seattle Times) — How a fight over two jobs pushed the dockworker union into bankruptcy — Only weeks ago, the dockworkers union was riding high as its members voted to approve a new six-year contract, ensuring peace at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle and 26 other West Coast harbors. Now, the union has landed in bankruptcy protection as it figures out how to pay a hefty court judgment involving accusations of slowdowns and other labor actions during a 2011 dispute — the same kind of tactics employed during the recent contentious contract negotiation. Labor experts are concerned that a serious precedent is being set.

► From the Olympian — Where’s the contract? Residents blast Port of Olympia over lack of deal for new union — More than a dozen residents appeared before the Port of Olympia commission on Monday, calling again on the commission to do something about the protracted negotiations between the port and a new union known as (ILWU) Local 47-B.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Nuclear plant did not correctly check highly exposed workers for radiation — Energy Northwest will receive a second white finding for an incident in May 2021 that unexpectedly and significantly exposed workers to radiation, it was told at a meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The additional white finding is related to inadequate checks of workers who inhaled radioactive particles, preventing Energy Northwest from correctly assessing their internal dose of radiation, according to NRC documents.

► From the union-busting Columbian — City of Camas faces unexpected revenue shortfall — The city of Camas is facing an unexpected revenue shortfall that could prevent the hiring of more than 20 positions in 2024, including eight firefighters, two police officers, two police sergeants, a parks project manager and three street maintenance positions.




► From the Seattle Times — Boeing won big on September jet orders but 737 MAX snag cut deliveries — Amid hectic demand for jets from the world’s airlines, Boeing had a blockbuster sales month in September. But manufacturing quality lapses slowed production and cut jet deliveries. According to company data released Tuesday, Boeing booked a big tally of 214 net new commercial airplane orders last month.




► From the union-busting Columbian — Clark County judge denies labor union request; Larch will close Tuesday — Larch Corrections Center is scheduled to close Tuesday after a Clark County Superior Court judge denied a labor union’s request that would have kept the minimum-security prison open, at least temporarily. Teamsters Local 117, which represents 6,000 state corrections employees, filed a complaint Sept. 13 alleging the Washington Department of Corrections, under Secretary Cheryl Strange, had committed several violations leading up to Larch’s planned closure.

The Stand (Sept. 18) — Citing DOC mistakes, Teamsters sue to halt Larch closure

► From KNKX — Washington closes Larch prison as staff push back over jobs, wildfire risk — The final Friday of September was an emotional day at Larch Corrections Center. About 60 inmates loaded into large white buses with blacked-out windows. After the buses drove away, the only people still at the facility were staff. “I cry every day,” said Shelley Edwards, the prison’s nurse, as she wiped tears of grief from her eyes. “I know that they’re not going to get better medical care at other facilities.”




► From The Hill — Speaker race has no clear favorite as GOP tensions rise — The House GOP conference on Tuesday is set to hear from its two declared candidates for Speaker: Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — neither of whom have emerged as a frontrunner. Meanwhile, deposed Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opened the door to a second stint as Speaker on Monday, as lawmakers deal with the reality of a House unable to act in response to the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel that took place over the weekend.

► From NPR — The House has no speaker, but plenty to do. Here are 5 of the most pressing issues. — Aid for Ukraine. A global anti-HIV effort. Annual defense spending. COVID-era relief. And, oh yeah, all government funding bills.




► From the Washington Post — UAW workers reject Mack Trucks contract, go on strikeThousands of workers at Mack Trucks walked off the job Monday after overwhelmingly rejecting a proposed five-year contract. The action dramatically widens the number of striking United Auto Workers members, who since mid-September have been pressing Ford, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis for higher wages and other concessions through targeted actions at their plants. About 25,000 UAW workers had been on strike before the Mack walkout.

EDITOR’S NOTE — UAW President Shawn Fain:

“I’m inspired to see UAW members at Mack Trucks holding out for a better deal, and ready to stand up and walk off the job to win it. The members have the final say, and it’s their solidarity and organization that will win a fair contract at Mack.”

► From Reuters — GM faces two strikes after workers in Canada walkout — About 4,300 unionized workers went on strike at three General Motors plants in Canada on Tuesday, boosting pressure on the automaker grappling with a U.S. union work stoppage now in its fourth week.

► From the AP — Hollywood writers vote to approve contract deal that ended strike as actors negotiate — The Writers Guild of America announced Monday that 99% of the 8,525 members who cast ballots voted to ratify the deal. The agreement was widely touted as a win by leaders, and widely praised by members, with major gains in payment, size of show staffs and control of artificial intelligence in scripts. The result of the vote taken over the past week was never really in doubt. Meanwhile, nearly three months after their strike began, leaders of the SAG-AFTRA were back in contract negotiations with studios on Monday, a week after talks restarted.

► From the Washington Post — Walgreens pharmacy staff walk out, citing unsafe working conditions — Thousands of Walgreens pharmacy staff across the country are walking off work this week, alleging that poor working conditions are putting employees and patients at risk. Walgreens employees are not unionized, so the efforts came together on a subreddit for pharmacy staff.

► From the NY Times — Amid strikes, one question: Are employers miscalculating? The writers’ deal was the latest high-profile labor standoff that seemed to produce substantial gains for workers, and to suggest that they have more leverage than in the past. United Parcel Service employees won large pay increases for part-timers by pushing the company to the brink of a strike, while the lowest-paid academic student employees at the University of California won salary increases of more than 50 percent after a monthlong strike affected thousands of students. Given the unions’ apparent bargaining power and the economic costs to a prolonged work stoppage, the question arises: Why wouldn’t management make its eventual concessions more quickly?

EDITOR’S NOTE — Is your employer… miscalculating? 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 AP — Supreme Court rejects an appeal from former coal company CEO Don Blankenship — The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Tuesday from former coal executive Don Blankenship, who argued that major news outlets defamed him by calling him a “felon.” The justices left in place an appellate ruling against Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy. He served a year in prison on a misdemeanor charge after he was found guilty of conspiring to violate safety standards at a West Virginia mine before an explosion in 2010 that killed 29 men.

► From the Guardian — Revealed: Amazon linked to trafficking of workers in Saudi Arabia — Dozens of contract workers at Amazon warehouses say they were tricked into toiling and living in grueling, squalid conditions.


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

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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!