Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Monday, January 15, 2024
— AFL-CIO ✊ (@AFLCIO) January 15, 2024
► From the AFL-CIO — Our Voice, Our Ballot, Our Future: Labor unites to tackle challenges facing working people at 2024 AFL-CIO MLK Conference — More than 800 union members, activists, organizers and leaders from across the country gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, for the 2024 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference. The conference brought together critical constituencies of the labor movement and served as a call to action to turbocharge year-round mobilization efforts ahead of the 2024 election cycle.
► From the Tri-City Herald — WSU Tri-Cities student workers feeling ‘exploited’ threaten to strike this week — More than a thousand academic student employees at Washington State University could walk off the job Wednesday if they don’t come to a tentative agreement over their first contract. The strike comes as negotiations between the WSU Coalition of Academic Student Employees-UAW and university administration enter into a 12th month. Union leaders say the university hasn’t been willing to provide a suitable counter proposal to their request for higher wages, better health care, promised tuition wavers, clearer policies around leave and an additional two weeks of paid parental leave.
Today at The STAND — WSU Academic Student Employees prepare to strike Wednesday
► From the Walla Walla U-B — Walla Walla firefighter died of a cardiac event contributed by work stress — Autopsy results show that Walla Walla Fire Engineer Ryan Pleasants died of a significant cardiac event, according to a Walla Walla Fire Department news release issued Friday. The cardiac event occurred while he was in bed at Fire Station 1, 200 S. 12th Ave., while working a 48-hour shift.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Marysville, wastewater contractor to pay $9.8M in death of immigrant worker — In 2020, Sergey Devyatkin was working his first day at a Marysville wastewater plant. He fell into a draining machine.
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle’s minimum-pay law for delivery-app drivers takes effect — Drivers for delivery apps like DoorDash and Instacart are now entitled to minimum pay in Seattle, based on a law that took effect Saturday.
► From the Seattle Times — Boeing and U.S. aerospace set back by Alaska Airlines fuselage blowout — Longtime aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia placed blame (for recent quality control lapses) firmly on Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and Boeing’s longtime focus on cost cutting and financial metrics. In particular he cited the strategy Boeing euphemistically dubbed “Partnership for Success” that former CEO Jim McNerney pushed: squeezing suppliers with ever lower pricing for their parts. That led Spirit in particular into a spiral of losing money in making parts for Boeing. Aboulafia said unless Boeing returns its focus to engineering and manufacturing, further quality problems will inevitably follow.
From The STAND (April 21, 2016) — Jim McNerney’s legacy at Boeing: $29 billion in unpaid 787 bills — McNerney believes that his proud legacy at Boeing is that his employees cowered before him, even as he screwed them over. He eliminated their pensions, cut their benefits, and tried to weaken their bargaining power by expanding production outside Washington into an anti-union “right-to-work” state.
► ICYMI from the Seattle Times archives (Jan. 20, 2019) — Boeing overhauls quality controls: more high-tech tracking but fewer inspectors — Boeing has begun a sweeping transformation of its quality system, including the use of “smart” tools and automation. It will also eliminate thousands of quality checks as no longer necessary. Boeing has told the union it will cut about 450 quality inspector positions this year and potentially a similar number next year.
► From Reuters — Boeing to add further quality inspections for 737 MAX
► From the Seattle Times — How training in the trades is helping WA women succeed after prison — A year after being released from prison, 3 out of 4 people are unemployed. But the day after Brittany Wright, 30, got out in June, she was reporting to work. Thanks to a program that trains incarcerated women in well-paying trades, she had the skills and connections she needed to start a job at Kiewit, a Seattle construction and engineering firm. Now, six months later, she’s earning $31 per hour working a cement mason apprentice on a light rail expansion project for Sound Transit. The 16-week state program, called Trades Related Apprenticeship Coaching, or TRAC, helps combat a monumental challenge incarcerated people face when they reenter society: quickly finding jobs with decent wages in fields that will actually employ people with prison records.
► From the WA State Standard — As enrollment drops, school closures loom for more Washington communities — Across the state, efforts are taking place to keep schools from closing as student enrollment drops and, as a result, district budgets shrink. In Washington, state funding is tied directly to how many students are enrolled in public schools.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Bill would allow death investigators in Washington to receive workers comp for PTSD — County coroners and medical examiners assist with some of the most devastating cases, witnessing the aftermath of violent deaths – something the public seldom has to see.
► From the AP — Supreme Court agrees to hear Starbucks appeal in Memphis union case — The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal from Starbucks in a dispute with the NLRB over efforts by workers to unionize at a store in Memphis, Tenn. Starbucks fired seven employees in Memphis in February 2022, citing safety. But the NLRB intervened, saying the company was unlawfully interfering in the workers’ right to organize and asked a federal judge for an immediate injunction requiring Starbucks to reinstate the workers. In August 2022, a federal judge agreed and ordered Starbucks to reinstate the workers. That decision was later affirmed by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Starbucks appealed to the Supreme Court.
► From the Washington Post — How much the child tax credit could increase and what it means for you — Congressional negotiators are closing in on a deal to expand the federal child tax credit that, if it becomes law, would make the program more generous, primarily for low-income parents, as soon as this year.
► From the Washington Post — The economy is improving under Biden. But many voters aren’t giving him credit. — Despite the statistics, the kitchen-table experience of Biden’s first term has meant that many voters have experienced the last few years as a time of relative economic hardship. A broad and diverse cross-section of American voters say they are experiencing the Biden economy as a challenging time of rising prices and high interest rates.
► From Reuters — Trump favored to win Iowa caucus as 2024 presidential election kicks off — Donald Trump is the overwhelming favorite to push past his rivals and stake an early claim to the Republican presidential nomination when Iowans brave bone-chilling temperatures on Monday to cast the first votes in the 2024 campaign.
► From The Hill — Congressional leaders unveil 2-step plan to fend off shutdown — Congressional leaders rolled out a two-step plan to stave off a partial government shutdown this week, kicking the funding threat into early March to buy more time for spending talks.
► From the Washington Post — Fast-food giants overwork teenagers, driving America’s child labor crisis — The fast-food industry is fueling a surge in child labor violations across the United States, especially at companies with franchised locations such as McDonald’s, Sonic and Chick-fil-A, according to a Washington Post analysis. Since the widespread labor shortages of the pandemic, fast-food companies have illegally scheduled thousands of teenagers to work late and long hours and to operate dangerous kitchen equipment, The Post found. In some cases, companies have hired children 13 or younger — violating 1930s-era laws designed to protect their safety and educational opportunities. Federal law prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds from working past 7 p.m. and more than three hours on school nights.
► From HuffPost — Judge tosses Trader Joe’s trademark complaint against union in brutal fashion — The judge wrote that the company had tried to “weaponize the legal system” against its workers, and that its attorneys almost deserved sanctions.
► From The Guardian — World’s five richest men double their money as poorest get poorer — The world’s five richest men – Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg – have more than doubled their fortunes to $869 billion since 2020, while the world’s poorest 60% – almost 5 billion people – have lost money.
► From The Guardian — AI will affect 40% of jobs and probably worsen inequality, says IMF head — Artificial intelligence will affect 40% of jobs around the world and it is “crucial” that countries build social safety nets to mitigate the impact on vulnerable workers, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.