Thursday, October 26, 2023
► From the OFNHP/AFT — As the PeaceHealth Southwest and St. John strike by Tech, Service, Maintenance and Lab Professionals continues, AFT President Randi Weingarten will be on the strike line for a rally at noon today. Join them at PeaceHealth Southwest (400 NE Mother Joseph Pl. in Vancouver, Wash.) or watch live via Facebook.
TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters are invited to join the picket lines at both PeaceHealth Southwest and PeaceHealth St. John (1615 Delaware St. in Longview). The strike began Monday and continues through Friday, with OFNHP members returning to work on Saturday, Oct. 28.
► From Labor Notes — To fix short-staffing, raise wages, PeaceHealth strikers say — Ultrasound technologist Shawna Ross has worked at PeaceHealth for 40 years—yet her take-home pay now is lower than it was decades ago. “It makes me feel less appreciated, and that my expertise is not respected,” she said. Her department has an excess of “travelers,” contract workers hired temporarily to fill empty positions, who make far more than regular union-represented staff.
► From KXLY — Local firefighter with cancer doesn’t qualify for workers’ compensation — Ron Cato gave for dedicating 30 years of his life to firefighting. He worked for several different agencies during his time as a firefighter — including Spokane County Fire District 8 and 10, and Pend Oreille County District 2. Just last month, Cato was diagnosed with stage four Glioblastoma. But because Cato only served for one full year as a paid firefighter, he doesn’t qualify for workers’ compensation.
► From the Washington State Standard — WA lands chief: State just had one of its ‘most challenging’ fire seasons ever — Lands commissioner Hilary Franz says while responders kept most fires contained, the overall number of blazes was at a historic high, and more burned in western Washington.
► From the Washington Post — U.S. economy grows at blockbuster pace in third quarter — The U.S. economy grew by an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter, the strongest pace since 2021, as spending — by families, businesses and the government — accelerated, even in the face of fast-rising borrowing costs. The new data caps five straight quarters of growth and eluding a long-feared recession.
► From HuffPost — ‘Irrationally negative’: Why inflation is still drowning out a Biden boom — Poll after poll has shown Americans with a terribly pessimistic view of the economy in spite of record low unemployment, cooling inflation and recent growth in real wages. The recession almost all economists said was a near-certainty 10 months ago never came close to materializing, and growth remains so strong that the Federal Reserve is more worried about potential overheating than a slowdown.
► From the AP — New House speaker tried to help overturn the 2020 election, raising concerns about the next one — Rep. Mike Johnson, the Louisiana congressman who was elected speaker on Wednesday after a three-week standoff among Republicans, took the lead in filing a brief in a lawsuit that sought to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win. That claim, widely panned by legal scholars of all ideologies, was quickly thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court. After the 2020 election, Johnson also echoed some of the wilder conspiracy theories pushed by former President Donald Trump to explain away his loss. Then Johnson voted against certifying Biden’s win even after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO: Speaker Mike Johnson does not stand with workers — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler:
“If Speaker Johnson’s atrocious record is any indication, his election will mean more legislating for wealthy corporations and attacking the health, safety and well-being of America’s working people. On the issues that matter most to working people, Johnson has voted consistently with the most extreme elements of the Republican Party—and been a driving force behind resolutions that would cut trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.”
► From the Spokesman-Review — Mike Johnson elected speaker of the House after being nominated by McMorris Rodgers — On Tuesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane officially nominated Johnson in a speech she delivered in a closed-door GOP meeting.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Lovely.
► From the USA Today — Child labor violations are up 69%. Here’s what Congress is doing to address it. — A new Senate bill focuses on setting harsher penalties for child labor law violations and increasing accountability for violators, including contractors and subcontractors that employ children. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is co-leading the legislation with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
► From the AP — Most of Justice Thomas’ $267,000 loan for an RV seems to have been forgiven, Senate Democrats say — All or most of a $267,000 loan obtained by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to buy a high-end motorcoach appears to have been forgiven, raising tax and ethics questions, according to a new report. Thomas, 75, has been at the center of a heightened focus on ethics at the Supreme Court over his undisclosed travel and other ties with wealthy conservative supporters. The court is debating whether to adopt an ethics code.
► From NPR — UAW and Ford reach a tentative deal in a major breakthrough in the auto strike — The United Auto Workers union and Ford have reached a tentative deal on a new contract on Wednesday, nearly six weeks after the union embarked on an unprecedented strike against all of the Big Three automakers. The agreement with Ford still needs to be reviewed by the UAW leadership at Ford, and then it would need to be ratified by a majority of union members at the automaker. But UAW President Shawn Fain called it a “historic agreement.”
TODAY at The Stand — UAW reaches tentative agreement on record contract with Ford — The deal includes 25% in raises through 2028, raises top wage by more than 30% to over $40/hour, and raises the starting wage by 68%, to over $28 an hour.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for raises, raises, and raises? 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 Harvard Crimson — Students vote to form Harvard Undergraduate Workers Union/UAW in landslide election — Harvard’s non-academic student workers voted overwhelmingly to unionize with all but one ballot in favor after the initial vote tally. The win comes after nine months of organizing by the Harvard Undergraduate Workers Union-UAW, joining a small handful of undergraduate unions across the county. Out of 154 accepted votes, 153 votes were in favor of the union.
► From Variety — SAG-AFTRA reschedules bargaining session, saying union needs more time for response to latest offer — The planned Wednesday bargaining session between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP was pushed back a day after the union told management it needed more time to respond to the latest offer put on the table. The sides are now expected to meet on Thursday.
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 the AP — Dozens of union workers arrested on Las Vegas Strip for blocking traffic as thousands rally — Thousands of hotel workers fighting for new union contracts rallied on the Las Vegas Strip on Wednesday evening, halting rush-hour traffic before dozens were arrested for sitting in the street. The stepped-up labor unrest aimed to draw attention to negotiations with three major casino companies.
► From Politico — California union rifts burst into open over leader’s consultant hire — Lorena Gonzalez, head of the powerful California Labor Federation AFL-CIO, has run afoul of some union leaders for hiring her personal consultant who recently ran statewide campaigns opposing unions.
► From The Onion — ‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.