Tuesday, October 24, 2023
CALL TO ACTION
BREAKING — The Northwest Washington Central Labor Council is calling on all Bellingham-area union members and community supporters to oppose proposed Whatcom County Ordinance AB2023-646. It would establish new restrictions on legal industrial projects on industrial lands. The Whatcom County Council has a virtual meeting TONIGHT (Oct. 24) at 6 p.m. at 311 Grand Ave. in Bellingham. Here’s how to join the meeting virtually. “We need you to stand up for our industries, our workers, and the very essence of industrial jobs,” says NWWCLC President Karl de Jong. “Get to the County Council meeting, whether in person or virtually. Your voice must be heard!”
► From the Cascadia Daily News — ABC Recycling submits plans for metal shredder before hearing — ABC Recycling submitted application materials Monday for a metal shredder off Marine Drive just outside Bellingham — likely avoiding a proposed moratorium on new heavy industries in the area.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Five-day health care worker strike begins at PeaceHealth in Vancouver — Striking health care workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center crowded the sidewalks along Mill Plain Boulevard in front of the central Vancouver hospital Monday morning, on the picket line before dawn. Hundreds of health care workers represented by the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals AFT Local 5017, AFL-CIO, lined the sidewalk from Northeast 92nd Avenue stretching for blocks under dim streetlights. Picketers wore matching red shirts, blew whistles and held signs that read “techs are the heart of PeaceHealth.”
► From the (Longview) Daily News — PeaceHealth workers strike in Longview, Vancouver — The 18 St. John Medical Center lab professionals, and hundreds of health care works at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, went to the picket lines Monday to protest what they said has been an unfair and one-sided bargaining process with PeaceHealth executives.
The Stand (Oct. 19) — Strike begins Oct. 23 at PeaceHealth hospitals
TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters are invited to join the picket lines at PeaceHealth Southwest (400 NE Mother Joseph Pl. in Vancouver) and PeaceHealth St. John (1615 Delaware St. in Longview). Workers will be prepared to return to work on Saturday, Oct. 28.
► From the Olympian — Port of Olympia commission approves raises for new union that still has no contract — Local 47-B has been in negotiations with port since July 2022.
► From the Washington State Standard — WA aerospace and wood sectors up for major infusions of federal cash — Washington and Oregon could receive tens of millions of dollars from the federal government for aerospace materials, semiconductors and engineered wood after the Biden administration announced Monday that the two states will be home to three of 31 new technology hubs. “Not only will the hub provide good paying jobs and help maintain Washington’s global aerospace leadership, it will also lead us further towards our climate and sustainability goals,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane tech hub one step closer to gaining federal funds to build aerospace manufacturing center — Spokane took another step Monday toward an ambitious multimillion-dollar initiative to become a leading supplier of materials used in the aerospace industry – specifically, composites that could be designed and manufactured on the West Plains. The federal government picked a group of regional businesses, local governments, tribes and Gonzaga University that have banded together to create a “Tech Hub” with their eyes on up to $70 million in federal grant money.
► From the Seattle Times — Lack of civil engineers a bottleneck for WA’s large transportation projects — The desperate clamor to hire recent graduates is a symptom of a larger shortage of civil engineers facing contractors in Washington and across the U.S. Opportunities for work are abundant at every level as regional, state and federal governments pour money into new transit lines, highways and bridge rehabilitation. Yet, matching the scale with enough qualified workers is proving difficult. As more contracts hit the open market, fewer people are graduating with civil engineering degrees while thousands more retire each year, contributing to the phenomena of decreased competition and higher prices.
► From the Seattle Times — WA state senator arrested in Hong Kong — State Sen. Jeff Wilson (R-Longview) was arrested in Hong Kong Friday for possessing a firearm not licensed there, and related charges.
► From the Washington Post — Republicans can’t open the House, which could shut down the government — The repeated failures by House Republicans to elect a new speaker are making the federal government more likely to shut down next month, as the GOP’s weeks-long internal dysfunction threatens to delay vital legislation. The House has been mostly closed for business since Oct. 3, when a band of far-right rebels ousted then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Republicans since have not coalesced around a replacement, running through multiple options without electing anyone. Without a speaker, lawmakers can’t bring bills to the floor.
► From The Hill — Here’s how the internal GOP Speaker nomination will work
► From the USA Today — Billions in federal child care relief just expired. Costs are already skyrocketing. — To stay afloat, child care providers are being forced to raise prices, which last month were the highest they have been all year. But some providers are giving up, leaving parents with fewer options.
► From the LA Times — California congressman offers bill to allow striking workers to collect unemployment pay — U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is running for Senate, is planning to introduce legislation on Tuesday that would provide unemployment benefits nationwide to workers on strike.
► From The Hill — DHS proposes changes to H-1B work visas — The Department of Homeland Security published the changes “to modernize and improve the efficiency of the H-1B program, add benefits and flexibilities, and improve integrity measures” in the Federal Register. But the proposals are hit-and-miss for many advocates and researchers.
► From The Guardian — Unions winning big gains amid ‘Great Reset’ in worker power — Call it the Great Reset. Across the U.S., labor unions are winning surprisingly large contract settlements as workers have reset their expectations to demand considerably more than they did just a few years ago, and that has in turn pressured many corporations to reset – and increase – the pay packages they are giving in union contracts. The result has been a wave of impressive – sometimes eye-popping – union contracts over the past year, far more generous than in recent decades.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready to make big gains at work? 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 KVVU — Culinary Union meets with MGM, says strike deadline quickly approaching — The contract dispute drags on for hospitality workers on the Las Vegas Strip. “We’ve been negotiating with MGM, Caesars, and Wynn resorts for the last six months, and their strike deadline time is now,” said Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge.
► From UAW — 6,800 autoworkers join the UAW’s Stand Up Strike at Stellantis’s largest plant — On Monday morning, 6,800 UAW members at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant joined the Stand Up Strike, shutting down production at Stellantis’ largest plant and biggest moneymaker. Despite having the highest revenue, the highest profits (North American and global), the highest profit margins, and the most cash in reserve, Stellantis lags behind both Ford and General Motors in addressing the demands of their UAW workforce. Currently, Stellantis has the worst proposal on the table regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more.
► From Crains Detroit — GM says UAW strike has cost it $800M so far
► From CBS News — GM earned more than $3 billion in profit, even after hit from UAW strike
► From NBC News — What it will take for SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios to reach an agreement? — SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will resume negotiations after talks came to a stand-still in early October. What it will take to reach an agreement to get thousands of people back to work?
► From the AP — Women in Iceland including the prime minister go on strike for equal pay and an end to violence — Iceland’s prime minister and women across the volcanic island nation went on strike Tuesday to push for an end to unequal pay and gender-based violence. Icelanders awoke to all-male newscaster teams announcing shutdowns across the island nation: schools closed, public transport delayed, hospitals understaffed, hotel rooms uncleaned.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.