Monday, October 16, 2023
► From the Olympian — Pacific Northwest to receive $1 billion in federal funding for new Hydrogen Hub — The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association has been chosen to receive $1 billion in federal funding to become one of seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs across the United States. Hubs across the country “will kickstart a national network of clean hydrogen producers, consumers, and connective infrastructure while supporting the production, storage, delivery, and end-use of clean hydrogen,” according to a news release from the Washington Department of Commerce.
The Stand (Oct. 13) — ‘This is a big deal.’ Pacific NW wins hydrogen hub funding — WSLC President April Sims, who serves on the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association board:
“This is a big deal for workers, families, and communities in our state and for the Pacific Northwest. Washington’s union movement is focused not only on promoting clean energy development, but also on ensuring that the jobs it creates pay livable wages. Making the Pacific Northwest a clean, low-carbon hydrogen production and distribution hub is an investment in creating and sustaining good jobs, and strengthening our communities.”
► From the Tri-City Herald — Here’s how Biden’s new $7B green hydrogen investment will benefit the Tri-Cities — Up to $1 billion over nine years could go to projects in Washington, Oregon and Montana. The Northwest hub is expected to create more than 10,000 direct jobs — 8,050 in construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs. “We intend these to be good union paying jobs,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. The application for the Northwest hydrogen hub insisted on project labor agreements, he said.
► From the Cascadia Daily News — Whatcom County expects boost from $1B hydrogen investment — Whatcom County could get a piece of a $1 billion investment in clean hydrogen production in the northwest United States — a project that could include a redevelopment of the old aluminum smelter in Ferndale.
► From the Washington State Standard — Pacific NW wins $1 billion from feds for ‘Clean Hydrogen Hub.’ Now what? — Oregon and Washington scored big Friday in a fiercely contested national competition to grab a share of $7 billion to kickstart the production and use of “green” hydrogen, viewed as an important fuel source for cutting pollution from heavy industry.
► From the Washington State Standard — Thousands of WA Kaiser Permanente workers move toward strike despite national deal — Kaiser Permanente workers in Washington voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if they do not reach a new contract with the health care provider by Oct. 31, the union representing the employees announced on Friday. If the strike happens, about 3,000 Kaiser Permanente workers at 36 locations will walk out from Nov. 1 to 8, the union said. About 99% of union members voted for the strike, according to Jane Hopkins, president of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. The workers who would go on strike include nurses, social workers and medical assistants.
TODAY at The Stand — Kaiser Washington workers authorize Nov. 1 strike — As Kaiser coalition celebrates the national tentative agreement, Kaiser Washington workers say the company “needs to catch up and keep up.”
► From the Washington Post — Kaiser Permanente reaches tentative contract with unions — Kaiser Permanente has reached a tentative contract with health-care workers, resolving a protracted labor dispute that was fueled by a dire shortage of nurses, specialists and other staffers following the coronavirus pandemic. The tentative deal follows a walkout last week by more than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers, who staged what labor organizers billed as the largest strike of health-care workers in U.S. history.
► From KATU — Kaiser union warns of potential pharmacy strike as bargaining continues — The union representing Kaiser Permanente’s pharmacy and imaging workers in Oregon and southwest Washington (UFCW 555) said there is still no deal with the hospital system. Bargaining will continue on Monday.
► From the union-busting Columbian — PeaceHealth strike will begin Oct. 23 — if there is no contract — PeaceHealth employees in Vancouver and Longview gave notice Friday that their 1,900 health care workers will strike on Oct. 23 if a contract agreement can’t be reached by then. The employees are part of the Techs and Service and Maintenance units at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center that voted last week to authorize a strike.
The Stand (Oct. 11) — 1,300 PeaceHealth Southwest workers vote to strike
► From KUOW — A tale of two Amazon warehouses: How a workplace safety lawsuit could accelerate automation — The Kent warehouse is one of several in Washington fined by the state for “knowingly putting workers at risk of injury.” Regulators say tasks like manually unloading trailers are hazardous for employees. But at an Amazon warehouse 57 miles to the north in Arlington, fancy robots are already on the job. Amazon opened the fulfillment center, called PAE2, last month, showing off brand-new robotics that automate some of the tasks state safety regulators are worried about.
► From The Hill — Senators flummoxed, ‘horrified’ by House leadership vacuum — Senators return to Washington this week feeling completely flummoxed by the turmoil in the House and with no clear idea of whether House Republicans will elect a Speaker anytime soon. Republican senators have called on their House colleagues to unify behind a Speaker as quickly as possible, but that plea has fallen flat.
► From Roll Call — House GOP to reconvene Monday amid soft Jordan support — House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan became Republicans’ nominee for speaker Friday, winning a secret-ballot election against Georgia Rep. Austin Scott, a last-minute entrant into the race. But Jordan’s ability to win the required floor vote to secure the gavel was in some doubt after a rare second ballot showed he wouldn’t win, at least if the vote were held Friday. So GOP lawmakers decided to hold off and take the weekend to sort things out, giving Jordan time to grow his support.
► From Politico — Jordan to face a challenger in floor vote Tuesday — A faction of Republicans that strongly opposes Jim Jordan is vowing he’ll have a challenger during the House floor speakership vote on Tuesday. “There will be an alternative for the rational part of the Republican conference,” said one House Republican.
► From the Hollywood Reporter — Hollywood unions call on AMPTP to resume SAG-AFTRA talks ‘immediately’ — “Each day a fair contract addressing actors’ unique priorities is delayed is another day working professionals across our industry suffer unnecessarily,” said the Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, IATSE, Teamsters, Hollywood Basic Crafts and American Federation of Musicians.
► From the LA Times — Hollywood studios are already proving they learned nothing from the writers’ strike (by Mary McNamara) — The AMPTP seems intent on prolonging the financially devastating five-month-and-counting work stoppage with its pattern of “I’m done talking about this” hissy fits. You don’t get to say “We’re doing everything we can to get people back to work” and then just walk away when the mood strikes you. The studios created every problem they now face; it’s their responsibility to get back in that room and clean up their own mess.
► From CNN — ‘Pony up’: In strategic shift, UAW says added strikes could come ‘at any time’ — UAW President Shawn Fain said the union would not expand its strike against the Big Three automakers on Friday, but that the UAW stood ready to add more workers to the picket lines at any time as its labor action enters a new phase.
► From the Washington Post — Offer to UAW hits ‘limit’ of Ford’s financial flexibility, executive says — A top Ford executive said Thursday the company can’t raise the value of its offer to the United Auto Workers and stay viable, even as the union has begun a strike against the company’s biggest manufacturing plant.
► From NPR — Pharmacy chain Rite Aid files for bankruptcy amid declining sales and opioid lawsuits — U.S. pharmacy chain Rite Aid said Sunday that it has filed for bankruptcy and obtained $3.45 billion in fresh financing as it carries out a restructuring plan while coping with falling sales and opioid-related lawsuits.
► From The Guardian — ‘I don’t think it’s too much’: Waffle House workers push for $25 an hour — A petition circulating by the Union of Southern Service Workers, a worker organization supported by SEIU, includes a push for a $25 hourly minimum wage at the huge restaurant chain that is often seen as an icon of working-class Americana.
► From NPR — A hotel worker’s 3-hour commute tells the story of LA’s housing crisis and her strike — Brenda Mendoza was born and raised in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, just a 10-minute drive from the upscale JW Marriott hotel where she’s been working for 14 years. But priced out of the downtown area she grew up in, Mendoza now lives almost 100 miles away in Apple Valley and commutes two to three hours each way to get to work.
► From Vox — The subtle privatization of Medicare — If you’re signing up for Medicare benefits this open enrollment, odds are you aren’t actually enrolling in the traditional government program that people may envision. More than half of Medicare beneficiaries are now choosing an alternative version of the program administered by private companies. Known as Medicare Advantage, this alternative version now covers more than half of the program’s 60 million enrollees, or about 31 million Americans — nearly double its share 10 years ago. That explosive growth has invited fresh scrutiny. President Joe Biden and House Republicans bickered over the administration’s proposed changes to payments for the private insurers that sell Medicare Advantage plans earlier this year. Fears over Medicare’s solvency have renewed the debate about how much the plans cost the federal government. And recent investigations have added to concerns about how private companies oversee the public benefits they are supposed to provide.
The Stand (June 1) — The bipartisan push to privatize Medicare (by Wendell Potter) — We need to educate Democrats on how and why it happened to build a defense against complete Medicare privatization.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.