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School budget woes | Boeing bean counter | Why WA health costs are up

Tuesday, December 12, 2023




► From Crosscut — Enrollment woes leave Washington school closures on the table — Despite a slight increase in public school enrollment statewide, school closures and consolidations within the next few years are still being discussed in several Western Washington school districts, including Bellevue, Seattle and Olympia. Parents aren’t happy, but administrators say closing schools may be the best way to handle declining local enrollment and answer budget shortfalls.

APWU’s Ryan Harris speaks out about the proposed changes.

► From the Wenatchee World — Wenatchee USPS workers picket to raise awareness on proposed changes — U.S. Postal Service workers at the Wenatchee Processing and Distribution Center (PD&C) held a picket on Thursday to draw attention to the USPS’s consideration of moving some mail processing operations to the Spokane PD&C. The picket followed a week after USPS held a public meeting to present its tentative plan to relocate outgoing mail operations from the Wenatchee facility to Spokane to help save money. APWU Local 751 Wenatchee president and Washington State APWU president Ryan Harris said the change would mean a delay in delivery for outgoing mail.

“We’re just trying to get more information out and have people fill out the survey before the 14th.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Fill out the USPS comment form regarding the proposed change by Thursday, Dec. 14.

► From the Lynnwood Times — Annual Stuff-a-Bus event returns to Everett Fred Meyer — The Silver Lake area Fred Meyer store successfully wrapped up its annual Stuff-A-Bus Food and Toy drive on Sunday in partnership with Everett Transit, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 883, and Volunteers of America Western Washington. For three weekends after Thanksgiving Day shoppers had the opportunity to load an Everett Transit bus with gifts and donations to be distributed to local families.




► From the Seattle Times — Boeing appoints Stephanie Pope COO, positioning her as likely next CEO — Boeing on Monday announced the appointment of Stephanie Pope as chief operating officer. With Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, 66, likely to retire in a year or two, she’s now in line to become Boeing’s first woman CEO. Pope, 51, who currently heads the aftermarket services division of the company, will take over as COO in January, overseeing the company’s three main business units. Though many have expected the next CEO to be an executive with an engineering background, Pope has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA. Her 29-year career at McDonnell Douglas and then Boeing has been focused on the company financial performance.

► From the Seattle Times — In November, Boeing won big jet orders and ramped up 737 MAX deliveries

► From Reuters — Boeing deepens strategy cuts as operations take center-stage — Boeing has embarked on deeper-than-expected cuts in its strategy ranks, halving the number of planners working within key divisions as it refocuses energies on tackling industrial pressures, people familiar with the matter said. Some critics worry the increased operational focus is diverting attention from Boeing’s long-term future at a crucial stage for the industry.




► From the Seattle Times — Health costs are soaring in WA. Here’s what may be behind that climb — Over the past decade, health insurance premiums for Washington workers covered through their employers rose 49% while the costs of individual plans more than doubled. Those were among the key findings in a preliminary report prepared by the state Insurance Commissioner’s Office delivered to the Legislature this month. The report details how mergers and acquisitions in the health care industry are likely contributing to accelerated health care costs, with more of the same expected in the years ahead unless significant changes are made in the state’s health care systems.

► From Crosscut — WA Healthplanfinder insurance adds call hours as deadline loomsWashington Healthplanfinder, the state’s health insurance exchange, will offer a few days of extended phone hours through Jan. 15, including some weekends, as deadlines approach to get health coverage through open enrollment for 2024. People who sign up by Dec. 15 will get coverage starting on Jan. 1. Those who sign up by Jan. 15 will get coverage starting on Feb. 1. About 232,000 people were enrolled for 2023 health insurance through the program.

► From the WA State Standard — Inslee vows to assist families with energy costs, prevent gouging by oil firms — Washington governor pledges a $200 credit on electricity bills for 750,000 households. A $900 million windfall from sale of pollution credits will pay for it.




► From the NLRB — Forming a union under the NLRB’s new Cemex framework

READY FOR A VOICE 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 the Washington Post — Equal Rights Amendment was introduced 100 years ago — and still waitsAmerica’s feminists were feeling confident. Three years earlier, they’d won passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. And now, 100 years ago this week, they watched as the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in Congress for the first time. They had plenty of reason for optimism. They couldn’t have anticipated that a century later, the ERA would still be languishing.





► From the AFL-CIO — INVITATION: Jan. 12–14, MLK Civil and Human Rights Conference — There’s simply nothing better than coming together with union members to strengthen the bond between the labor and civil rights movements. That’s why we’re thrilled to invite you to our Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference on Jan. 12-14 in Montgomery, Alabama. We’ll be honoring Dr. King’s vision on the importance of collective action—at the voting booth, in the community and in the workplace.

► From KUOW — Microsoft embraces unions with partnership on AI — Microsoft broke with its tech industry peers Monday by announcing a new partnership with the AFL-CIO. The goal is to incorporate input from workers in the development of artificial intelligence and to train them in the skills needed to adapt to the technology. Microsoft and the AFL-CIO will host training sessions and labor summits, and the two will advocate together for legislation related to AI and the workforce.

► ICYMI from the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO and Microsoft announce new tech-labor partnership on AI and the future of the workforce

► From the USA Today — TikTok users were shocked to see UPS driver’s paycheck. Here’s how much drivers will soon be making. — A UPS driver has gone viral on TikTok after posting a video breaking down his weekly paycheck in the name of pay transparency. Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver with over 244,000 TikTok followers, posted a video in October in which he showed a recent pay stub with his pre-tax earnings of $2,004 for one week of work. After taxes and deductions, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, Stutzman’s take home pay was about $1,300 for 42 hours of work.

@skylerleestutzman UPS Driver Paystub Breakdown… #upspay #upswages #teamsters #ups ♬ original sound – Skyler Stutzman

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!


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!