Monday, January 8, 2024
► From America’s Work Force Union — Washington State AFL-CIO prepares for a green energy future (podcast) —
► From The STAND — Year in review: Worker power in 2023 (by April Sims) — In 2023, workers fought and won. We’re learned important lessons from pandemic years, sky-rocketing inflation, and corporate greed. Working folks’ backs are up against the wall and at the same time, our eyes have been opened to some fundamental truths. So rather than accept the rough hand we’ve been dealt, workers are fighting back, demanding better jobs that support strong communities. Organized labor has met the moment, leveraging our experience to build power for working people.
► From Working to Live in SW Washington — An amazing year for working people (podcast) — Big strikes, big contract wins and new organizing campaigns grabbed the headlines this year, and public support for organized Labor soared to new heights. Harold sits down with Northwest Labor Press Editor-in-Chief Don McIntosh and The STAND’s Editor David Groves to talk about what made 2023 so special and what this year’s wins for working people might tell us about the year to come.
► From the WA State Standard — Washington Legislature will kick off 2024 session today — When lawmakers convene in Olympia on Monday, they will be met with a growing list of concerns, and little time to address them all.
Today at The STAND — WSLC sets legislative agenda to ‘improve jobs and lives’ — Washington’s largest union organization announces its priorities for 2024 session.
MORE legislative session previews from the Associated Press, (Aberdeen) Daily World, (Centralia) Chronicle, Crosscut, (Everett) Herald, Kitsap Sun, Olympian, Peninsula Daily News, Seattle Times, (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, (Tacoma) News Tribune, and from the union-busting (Vancouver) Columbian.
► From the WA State Standard — Ballot initiatives cast shadow over Washington legislative session — Housing. Transportation. Behavioral health. Public safety. Climate change. Education. Legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday those areas will be their focus when the 2024 session gets underway Monday. But they acknowledged six citizen initiatives on course for the November ballot cannot be ignored. Each measure will be a factor in conversations and decisions concerning those priority issues, they said.
► From Crosscut — Poll: Washington voters want to spend more — while cutting taxes — But Republicans and Democrats differ on where the money should go during the 2024 legislative session, according to a recent Crosscut/Elway poll.
► From the Spokesman-Review — As Washington’s pandemic protections ended, evictions soared (by Shawn Vestal) — As pandemic protections expired, rental assistance evaporated and rents kept rising, the pace of evictions surged dramatically, in Spokane County and statewide, and especially over the last three months. Landlords filed 1,663 eviction actions in Spokane County in 2023, which is the highest in eight years and a 44% increase over the number of evictions filed in 2019.
► From KUOW — Washington State Ferries confirms passenger fears: Service disruptions will continue for years — A perfect storm of increasing demand for ferry services, crew shortages, and an aging fleet means Washington ferry passengers will continue to see limited sailings and frequent cancellations over the next four to five years.
► From Crosscut — Over a third of WA’s job safety fines are reduced after appeals — One company negotiated a $1.3M reduction with the state’s safety agency after a worker’s hand was crushed, following multiple other violations.
► From the AP — What to know about the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 jet that suffered a blowout — An Alaska Airlines jet blew out a portion of its fuselage 7 minutes after takeoff 3 miles above Oregon Friday night, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing. None of the 171 passengers or six crew were seriously injured but the rapid loss of cabin pressure caused oxygen masks to drop from the ceiling. The FAA ordered the grounding of some Boeing MAX 9 operated by U.S. airlines or flown into the country by foreign carriers until they are inspected. The emergency order affects about 171 planes.
► From Reuters — Spirit Aero made blowout part but Boeing has key role — Aerospace supplier Spirit AeroSystems manufactured and initially installed the fuselage part on a brand-new Boeing 737 Max 9 jet that suffered a blowout on Friday, but Boeing also has a key role in the usual completion process, sources told Reuters.
► From the Washington Post — Fuselage breach on Alaska Airlines flight puts Boeing under new scrutiny — The harrowing midair breach of the fuselage on an Alaska Airlines flight near Portland, Ore., on Friday caps a turbulent year for Boeing, with its flagship 737 MAX jets beset by manufacturing problems.
► From Reuters — What aerospace analysts are saying about Boeing’s mid-air blowout
► From Reuters — Unions poised to capitalize on U.S. labor board rulings that bolstered organizing — President Joe Biden’s appointees to the NLRB paved the way in 2023 for workplaces to unionize outside of the decades-old secret ballot election process, made it easier for unions to organize franchise and contract workers, and expanded the type of worker conduct protected by U.S. labor law, among other significant moves.
► From Reuters — As pandemic ‘jobs hole’ closes, Fed finds labor market easing elusive — The addition of 216,000 jobs to U.S. payrolls in December and wage growth of 4.1% both beat expectations, leaving the Fed still looking for clear signs of a slowing labor market.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Fed’s obsession with blaming inflation on job and wage growth continues to ignore the unique pandemic-era supply chain issues and record corporate profiteering. It feeds into the narrative that Biden’s policies — which should be considered a dramatic success for helping America’s working families avoid layoffs, wage cuts, and recession — are somehow responsible for inflation.
► From Politico — Biden’s top priority for a second term: Abortion rights — “It is unfathomable that women today wake up in a country with less rights than their ancestors had years ago,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager said.
Previously at The STAND:
New report links abortion access to economic security (Jan. 24, 2023)
Amid attacks on abortion rights, unions must fight back (June 27, 2022, by Shaunie Wheeler James and Cherika Carter) — Organized labor has the tools to transform protests into concrete actions defending bodily autonomy.
WSLC: ‘Reproductive rights are workers’ rights’ (May 3, 2022) — The Washington State Labor Council will fight to defend healthcare choices, abortion rights.
► From the AP — Congressional leaders announce an agreement on spending levels, a key step to averting shutdown — Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on overall spending levels for the current fiscal year that could help avoid a partial government shutdown later this month.
► From KNKX — Older Americans say they feel trapped in Medicare Advantage plans — Richard Timmins discovered that his enrollment in a Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage plan would mean a limited network of doctors and the potential need for preapproval, or prior authorization, from the insurer before getting care. The experience, he says, made getting care more difficult, and now he wants to switch back to traditional, government-administered Medicare. But he can’t. And he’s not alone.
From The STAND — The rise of Medicare Advantage: The creation of a myth (April 13, 2023)
► From the AP — American workers are owed $163M in unpaid wages. Do you qualify? — The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division set up a website where anyone can check to see if they are owed back pay from a previous company. The worker will need to see if their company is listed first before gaining access to see if they are among those who are owed money.
► From Capital & Main — Union negotiating strategy pays off in SoCal hotel deals — What is becoming apparent is that UNITE HERE’s negotiating strategy, willingness to call out hotels and their parent companies by name, and tactic of selective strikes have begun to click.
► From WXYZ — Detroit bus drivers to get immediate raise, bigger bonus under new agreement — The City of Detroit announced on Thursday that city bus drivers will see an immediate $3 per hour raise after a memorandum of understanding was reached with ATU Local 26.
► From KSTP — Twin Cities postal workers rally over reported spike in targeted robberies, assaults — NALC leadership rallied on the steps of Minneapolis’ central post office on Sunday said U.S. Postal Inspection Service data shows there have been 2,000 attacks against letter carriers across the country since 2020.
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle turns purple: Huskies fandom lights up city ahead of national championship — The city has been adorned in purple and gold as diehard fans and new admirers alike get ready to cheer on the Huskies in the season’s biggest game.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.