Thursday, October 19, 2023
► From Vice — Starbucks is threatening to sue the Starbucks union for using ‘Starbucks’ — A letter sent to the president of Workers United last week demanded that the union “immediately cease and desist” from using the company’s name and logo or it would “seek all appropriate legal relief, including without limitation monetary damages.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Seattle-based Starbucks’ Trumpian scorched-earth legal tactics against their own employees are destroying the company’s brand.
► From Reuters — Alaska Air cuts profit view as rising labor costs cast shadow — Alaska Air Group cut its full-year profit outlook on Thursday on rising labor expenses, as airlines draw up costly contracts to retain employees.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is a good sign that this Seattle-based company intends to settle contracts with the employees who make the airline profitable. Now, Alaska needs to agree to a fair contract for its flight attendants!
The Stand (Aug. 16) — Alaska’s flight attendants: Pay Us or Chaos! — Union solidarity brings hundreds to rally and picket outside company HQ.
► From the union-busting Columbian — New Seasons brings groceries back to downtown Vancouver — Members of the New Seasons Labor Union were outside the store’s opening, handing out pamphlets. As of last November, 10 New Seasons stores have voted to unionize. Neither of the Vancouver locations are a part of the union.
► From the Seattle Times — Former medical director sues Seattle Children’s hospital alleging racial discrimination — The former medical director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic at Seattle Children’s hospital filed a lawsuit against the hospital system Friday, alleging he faced racial discrimination and retaliation. Dr. Benjamin Danielson resigned in November 2020, citing institutional racism and a number of other issues at the hospital that he said jeopardized the safety of patients and staff. The clinic primarily serves families of color and low-income families.
The Stand (Jan. 26, 2021) — WSNA, others call on Seattle Children’s to address racism
► From the News Tribune — Owner of Lacey Mexican restaurants apologizes for $100k in overtime and labor violations — Jose Sanchez, owner of Mayan Mexican Restaurants, failed to provide overtime pay to 20 workers and allowed a minor to work more hours than legally permitted.
► From the Seattle Times — Bezos-backed Convoy trucking company reportedly cancels all shipments — Convoy was one of several firms aiming for “the Uber-ization of U.S. trucking” by using tech to disrupt a brokerage model based on deals “done with phone calls and paper,” as Bloomberg put it last year.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Good riddance. Too often, these “disrupters” are just looking for ways to use tech to pay people less to do the work.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Layoffs move forward at Larch Corrections Center — The Washington Court of Appeals denied a labor union’s request for an emergency injunction Wednesday that would have postponed layoffs at Larch Corrections Center. Layoffs moved forward by day’s end, according to a spokesperson with the state Department of Corrections. The minimum-security prison was “warm-closed” last week, following a brief legal battle. All of the incarcerated people have been transferred to other facilities, including trained crews used in fighting wildfires across the state.
The Stand (Sept. 18) — Citing DOC mistakes, Teamsters sue to halt Larch closure
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
► From the Oregonian — Acrimony, little movement and a ticking strike clock for Portland Public Schools and its teachers’ union — Teachers in Portland Public Schools are on track to vote to authorize a strike by the end of the week, even as negotiators for both the district and the union accuse the other side of throwing up roadblocks left and right.
► BREAKING from the Washington Post — Jordan won’t seek third speaker vote, backs plan to empower interim speaker — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) will not seek an additional speaker vote Thursday, and he will back a plan to give Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.), the temporary speaker, additional powers, according to sources. After two rounds of votes, a group of Republicans had made clear that Jordan did not have enough support to win the speaker’s gavel.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Profiles in courage: Washington Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse both voted twice in favor of Jordan to be speaker.
► From Reuters — House lawmaker receives death threats after voting against Jordan for speaker — U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) says she has received “credible death threats.”
► From the Spokesman-Review — As Jordan’s speaker bid stalls, Northwest Republicans weigh temporary fix while Democrats offer bipartisan solution
► From the Washington Post — Americans see the House speaker mess as hurting the country — Most Americans — including most Democrats and Republicans — think the lack of a speaker is hurting the ability of the government to function.
► From HuffPost — Pfizer will charge $1,390 for 1 course of COVID drug Paxlovid on commercial market — Pfizer told pharmacies and clinics this week it will soon price a five-day course of COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid at almost $1,400, more than two-and-a-half times what the federal government has paid for the antiviral pills.
► From WESA — One year after walking out, workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette remain on strike — It’s been one year since journalists and editors at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette walked off the job over wages and health care, joining members of their sister unions who had gone on strike two weeks prior. In the 365 days since, the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh — which represents the paper’s newsroom employees — has remained on strike, and bargaining sessions with Post-Gazette management have brought little progress. An NLRB administrative law judge ruled in January that the paper had violated federal labor law by failing to bargain a new one in good faith, but the newspaper continues to appeal that ruling.
► From Vox — The ups and downs of life on strike — The UAW strike against the Big Three automakers just hit the one-month mark, and nobody has any idea how long it’s going to last. UAW member Joe Travers feels like people are more ready to weather the storm this time than the last strike against GM in 2019, or at least he is. “You just kind of prepare for the long haul and save money. I myself have opened a couple extra credit cards, just in case I need them for future use,” Travers, 30, says. Luckily, his wife is working, which helps them be able to support their two kids.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The historic UAW Stand Up Strike began on Sept. 14. You can help support these striking workers and their families to stay out “one day longer” by contributing to the UAW Strike Support & Hardship Fund.
► From NPR — UAW strike ramps up as Kentucky facility walks off job — The United Auto Workers strike now includes one of the largest and most profitable Ford plants. At the Kentucky facility, 8,700 workers walked off the job. Ford says it will have a huge impact.
► From Reuters — Ford reshuffles top management as UAW strike drags on
► From the AP — Hollywood’s actors strike is nearing its 100th day. Why hasn’t a deal been reached and what’s next? — While screenwriters are busy back at work, film and TV actors remain on picket lines, with the longest strike in their history set to hit 100 days on Saturday after talks broke off with studios. Here’s a look at where things stand, how their stretched-out standoff compares to past strikes, and what happens next.
EDITOR’S NOTE — You can support striking SAG-AFTRA members by donating to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, an emergency assistance program available to SAG-AFTRA members in urgent financial need due to the strike. Also, consider making a contribution to the Entertainment Community Fund, which supports all workers in the entertainment industries and gives living expense grants to those in need.
► From Reuters — Netflix raises prices and adds subscribers, despite strikes
► From the Guardian — Pharmacy workers strike over ‘dangerous’ workloads as CVS and Walgreens rake in profits — Pharmacists and support staff at some of the US’s biggest drugstore chains say they are at a breaking point: as the companies take on more healthcare services, both staffing levels and hours have declined, and the pressure is too much, some say.
► From the Washington Post — Now is the time to stop AI from stealing our words (by William D. Cohan) — Our books are copyrighted material, not free fodder for wealthy companies to use as they see fit, without permission or compensation. Many, many hours of serious research, creative angst and plain old hard work go into writing and publishing a book, and few writers are compensated like professional athletes, Hollywood actors or Wall Street investment bankers. Stealing our intellectual property hurts.
► From the LA Times — ‘You just take it and take it.’ Immigrant workers describe discrimination they face on the job — The widespread nature of employment discrimination was a key finding of an unprecedented, nationwide poll of more than 3,000 immigrants conducted earlier this year by The Times. Of the working immigrants surveyed, nearly half — 47% — reported being paid less than U.S.-born workers to do the same job, not being paid for all their hours worked, being given fewer opportunities for promotions or raises, getting worse shifts or having less control over their hours, or being harassed or threatened in the workplace because they were immigrants.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t just take it. Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions, and find out about new protections that exist for immigrant workers who are organizing for a better life. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► The Entire Staff of The Stand is away until Monday, so today we wish a very happy birthday to Dan Woodgate! Who he? Why, he’s the drummer for Madness, of course! And he’s also TESOTS’s excuse to post a music video by another favorite band from our youth. We love this band’s entire “nutty” catalogue, but most of you know them for this international hit. Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.