Tuesday, November 28, 2023
► From the Seattle Times — WA juvenile detention escape reflects longstanding issues, union official says — Three teenage boys who fled Sunday evening from a youth detention center near Snoqualmie never made it off the property and were quickly captured. But staff at Echo Glen Children’s Center consider their escape from a maximum-security ward indicative of long-running issues with staffing and security at the state-run facility, according to one union official. Mike Yestramski, president of the Washington Federation of State Employees, which includes about 300 Echo Glen employees, said:
“I’m extremely frustrated. I have friends who work there, I know a lot of those folks, and they’re getting hurt and they’re in danger.”
► From the Washington State Standard — Into a caregiving void: Family members fill crucial role providing long-term care — Washington has about 25,000 to 30,000 union-represented, paid family caregivers, according to SEIU Local 775. They care for relatives who are older and those with disabilities. Most other states have programs to compensate family caregivers, but Washington’s high wages, benefits and union representation make it particularly supportive. SEIU 775 Secretary-Treasurer Adam Glickman said:
“Family members make up a critical part of that workforce, often leaving other, better paid, better benefit jobs.”
► From the Washington State Standard — Crime, taxes and artificial intelligence on tap as WA lawmakers prep for session — Rising costs of transportation projects. Using artificial intelligence in Washington classrooms. Preserving affordable housing. Spending proceeds from the state’s new capital gains tax and recent cap-and-trade auctions. Those are a few topics state lawmakers will delve into when they return to Olympia for committee days, an annual fete in which they get schooled on issues that may arise in an upcoming session.
► From Crosscut — Why have Washington eviction cases doubled in the past six months? — Billions in federal pandemic aid masked dysfunction in the rental market. But that money is gone — along with some legal protections.
► From the Starbucks Workers United — Renton Starbucks workers file for union election
Not ANOTHER store filing to join our union – our thumbs are gonna fall off typing out all these announcements 😩
No but seriously we’re SO excited to welcome the first partners from Renton, WA to our union 🥳🎉🎊 pic.twitter.com/rAwawoRsys
— Starbucks Workers United (@SBWorkersUnited) November 27, 2023
EDITOR’S NOTE — If you’re keeping count (and we are), 28 Starbucks stores in Washington have now filed for union elections and Starbucks employees have voted “Union Yes!” in 24 of them, with this Renton vote pending, another outcome still pending a challenge, and just two rejecting the union. It’s past time for Starbucks executives to start obeying the law and respecting their employees’ rights instead of spending millions on union-avoidance firms and tarnishing their brand name. It’s not working. Starbucks workers continue to organize!
► From the union-busting Columbian — Vancouver teachers union files complaint about special education policy change, says it violates collective agreement — The Vancouver Education Association filed a complaint Monday with Vancouver Public Schools that alleges a change in the district’s special education policy violates student rights and the union’s collective bargaining agreement.
► From Working to Live in SW Washington — “We’re fighting for your kids” – Reflections on this year’s educators strikes (podcast) — Evergreen Education Association Vice President Marj Hogan and Camas Education Association Vice President Michael Sanchez sit down with Harold to discuss why their two unions went on strike, what the experience was like, and what they gained for their members… and their students!
► From The Hill — GOP faces ominous signs in effort to avoid January shutdown — No government funding bills are scheduled to hit the House floor this week, an ominous sign for Republicans returning to Washington for the first time since their Thanksgiving recess. Lawmakers face a mid-January deadline to fund the government or enter a partial government shutdown, and the window for completing its work is fast closing.
► From Roll Call — Bipartisan consensus elusive on government retirees’ benefits — There are signs of life for congressional efforts to overhaul a pair of much-maligned Social Security policies that cut some public workers’ retirement benefits. But in a year of tumult in the House, there’s still a long way to go.
► From the AP — Biden warns companies against price gouging as he hosts first supply chain council meeting — President Biden used the council meeting to announce 30 actions to improve access to medicine and needed economic data as well as other programs tied to the production and shipment of goods.
► From HuffPost — It looks like Donald Trump still wants to repeal Obamacare — Insurance for tens of millions of people, and pre-existing condition guarantees, could be in jeopardy if the former president wins the 2024 election.
► From Reuters — Airline staff seek new contracts amid booming travel demand — North American pilots and flight attendants are pushing for better pay and working conditions during their talks over new job contracts with company managements. Members at some unions have voted to authorize a strike if a new contract is not reached. The aggressive stance comes as the U.S. airline industry struggles to boost staff levels to meet a surge in travel demand. Here’s the status of contract negotiations at various companies.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Omitted from this report is a status report on contracts for flight attendants and pilots at Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. Thanks to a “no-one-left-behind clause” in their contract negotiated last year, Alaska’s pilots got a 11.2% pay increase in 2023. However, Alaska’s flight attendants have been left behind.
Alaska Airlines flight attendants are working under a 9-year-old contract that has been extended twice, first due to the merger with Virgin America and second due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, Alaska Airlines has reported record revenue of $9.6 billion in 2022 and has continued to post big profits in 2023. But the company’s flight attendants have not received a significant pay increase in nine years. Visit the AFA Alaska community support page for the latest updates and to learn how you can support their struggle for a fair contract.
The STAND (Aug. 16) — Alaska’s flight attendants: Pay Us or Chaos! — Union solidarity brings hundreds to rally and picket outside company HQ in SeaTac.
► From the LA Times — USC and graduate students union reach tentative pact with big pay boosts, bias protections — USC and about 3,000 newly unionized graduate student workers who teach, grade and do research reached a tentative labor agreement Sunday evening with big pay boosts and antiharassment protections, averting a threatened Tuesday strike weeks before final exams.
► From the Washington Post — Antagonisms flare as red states try to dictate how blue cities are run — Despite long advocating small government and local control, Republican governors and legislators across a significant swath of the country are increasingly overriding the actions of Democratic cities — removing elected district attorneys or threatening to strip them of power, taking over election offices and otherwise limiting local independence.
► From Futurism — Sports Illustrated published articles by fake, AI-generated writers — We asked Sports Illustrated about the content they published from nonexistent writers with AI-generated headshots — and they deleted everything. The AI content marks a staggering fall from grace for Sports Illustrated, which in past decades won numerous National Magazine Awards for its sports journalism and published work by literary giants ranging from William Faulkner to John Updike.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Sports Illustrated Union responds: “If true, these practices violate everything we believe in about journalism. We deplore being associated with something so disrespectful to our readers.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.