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Nurse staffing shortages | SAG-AFTRA ratifies | States strengthen worker power

Wednesday, December 6, 2023




► From KIMA — Nursing staffing shortages across Washington — MultiCare Yakima Memorial hospital is not alone in their fight for a fair work environment. Through the fall, Health care workers at hospitals across the state have organized unfair labor practice strikes, pickets and other actions as a result of prolonged contract negotiations. Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett have expressed similar issues as MultiCare Yakima Memorial. Officials say staffing levels and safe staffing continues to be a crisis in Washington hospitals, putting workers and patients at risk.

The STAND (Nov. 14) — MultiCare Yakima picket, rally on Nov. 15 — More than 1,200 healthcare workers come together to highlight their need for a strong union contract that recruits and retains.

The STAND (Oct. 12) — Candlelight vigil at MultiCare Yakima for fair contract

► From KING — Providence Swedish, MultiCare locations now requiring masks — After a rise in influenza and RSV cases, masks are now required in Swedish clinics and emergency departments as well as Puget Sound-area MultiCare locations.

► From KNKX — Health inspectors turned away at Tacoma ICE detention center as hunger strike continues — Activists with the group La Resistencia say there’s been a hunger strike at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Tacoma for nearly a month.

► From KIRO — Homes, roads remain flooded after relentless rainfall drenches Western Washington — Heavy rainfall caused rivers to crest and flood neighborhoods and many are dealing with the aftermath as rivers start to recede.

Today at the STANDDisaster relief from flooding available for union members — Union members: If you and your family are experiencing hardship as a result of flooding or other natural disasters in Washington state, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO urges you to apply for disaster relief from the Foundation for Working Families. (Información también ofrecida en español.)

The WSLC thanks all of the first responders, disaster relief workers, and state and local agency staffs who are working so hard to protect our communities during the recent flooding.




► From the Seattle Times — Amazon planned to take away RTO’d employees’ free coffee. Then 10,000 spoke up — Amazon quietly began to end a program that allowed employees one free drink from the coffee shops located inside Amazon’s office buildings in Seattle and elsewhere. Less than a week after announcing the end date, though, Amazon reversed course and extended the program after roughly 10,000 employees urged Amazon to reconsider.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Organizing and collective action works. And Amazon no likey…

► From the LA Times — Leaked document offers glimpse into how Amazon amasses influence in the Inland Empire — The leaked document reveals an extensive public relations strategy by Amazon to donate to community groups, school districts, institutions and charities in the Inland Empire and support sympathetic politicians. The strategy comes as Amazon faces growing opposition to more warehouse-building in the region and unionization efforts at current warehouses.




► From the Seattle Times — Ferguson hits Reichert on abortion rights — and Trump — at big Seattle fundraiser — The gubernatorial primary may be eight months away, but Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson is already looking ahead to a presumed 2024 matchup against former Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert — and Donald Trump. Speaking to a packed fundraising lunch Tuesday at the Seattle Convention Center, Ferguson and his supporters brought up Trump early and often, while attacking Reichert as unwilling to stand up to the former president.

► From the Washington State Standard — A third Democrat joins contest for western Washington congressional seat — Kate Dean, a Jefferson County commissioner, will compete with a state senator and the public lands commissioner to succeed Rep. Derek Kilmer, who won’t seek re-election.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Everett council president pitches ban on serving in 2 elected offices — Departing City Council member Brenda Stonecipher’s ordinance would only apply to one current member, Washington State Rep. Mary Fosse (D-Everett), who feels “targeted.”

► From the Washington State Standard — Washington pays $100M fine for neglecting mental health services months earlier than expected — With the deposit, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman on Monday ordered a workgroup that will guide how the money is directed to programs to assist people covered by the Trueblood settlement.




► From the USA Today — Child labor violations at California poultry processor leads to $3.8M fine — A Southern California poultry processor will pay $3.8 million in back wages and fines after the federal government uncovered numerous labor violations, including that the company illegally employed children as young as 14 to work with sharp knives.

► From The Hill — Lawmakers say Congress could strike deal on overall government funding this week — Lawmakers say Congress could be closing in on a top-line deal on overall government funding for most of next year, as the House and Senate race to reach a compromise in time to avert a shutdown next month.




► From NPR — Hollywood performers ratify new SAG-AFTRA contract with studios — Hollywood performers in the union SAG-AFTRA have voted to ratify a new three year TV/theatrical contract with major studios and streaming companies. The deal with Netflix, Amazon, Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney and other studios was made last month after a 118-day strike. The union’s 160,000 members were then given a month to vote on the agreement. In the end the vote was approved by 78.33 percent, with a turnout of 38.15 percent. SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said:

“This is a golden age for SAG-AFTRA, and our union has never been more powerful.”

► From the LA Times — CSU faculty walk out for higher pay in tough times — Hundreds of Cal Poly Pomona faculty members Monday crowded on sidewalks near main entrances, carrying signs that read “On strike!” as they called for higher wages — and shared stories about why they walked out, launching the first of four one-day strikes throughout the California State University system.

► From Editor and Publisher — MSNBC union ratifies first contract after 2 years of negotiations — Nearly 300 Writers Guild of America East members at MSNBC have overwhelmingly ratified their first collective bargaining agreement after over two years of negotiations. The contract includes minimum salaries for all titles, with significant pay increases for all production assistants and most associate producers, a guaranteed minimum 3% pay increase on March 1 every year for the next three years, and a ratification bonus that amounts to 2% of members’ current annual salaries.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready for a raise? 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 LA Times — Workers want Go Get Em Tiger to be the largest unionized coffee chain in California — More than 70% of the company’s over 100 workers have signed union authorization cards. This includes eight retail locations.

► From the Wall St. Journal — New York could be the latest state to ban noncompete agreements — Business groups have launched a last-minute fight to stop or modify the bill.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In 2019, labor-backed legislation was approved in Washington state that  limits the application of noncompete contracts to workers who earn more than $100,000 per year, $250,000 for independent contractors, and limits the length of time they can be in effect. If employers lay off workers and enforce the non-compete, they must continue paying those workers. Musicians and other performers are also protected from long blackout dates before and after shows, which prohibit them from earning a living.




► From American Progress — Workers want unions: How states have strengthened worker power in 2023 — Unions and collective bargaining increase workers’ democratic voice; raise wages and build wealth; and improve conditions for all workers. It should be no surprise that nearly 70 percent of Americans support unions, and support is especially high among younger generations. Despite the fact that workers want and need unions, decades of weakened labor law has eroded workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Yet, states have significant authority to build power for working people. This column provides an overview of successful state action during the 2023 legislative session to strengthen workers’ ability to join unions and collectively bargain… Washington state established collective bargaining rights for academic student employees at regional four-year universities and for management service employees.

The STAND (Nov. 30) — Student workers at Central WA University forming a union

The STAND (June 13) — Western Wash. University student employees vote ‘Union YES!’


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!