Friday, January 19, 2024
► From the Inlander — WSU and the working student union tentatively agree on a contract the same day strike starts — After nearly a year of negotiating and a less-than-daylong strike, Washington State University and the WSU Coalition of Academic Student Employees have finally come to a tentative agreement. The university and the UAW-supported union had already agreed on about 80% of the union’s asks, but things like health care, wages, parental leave and tuition fee waivers were at a standstill. However, after union members began to strike on Wednesday, WSU made a few last-minute concessions that finally secured an agreement. UAW Region 9 Director Mike Miller:
“Their contract paves the way for a stronger, more equitable workplace for current and future ASEs at WSU, and for academic workers everywhere.”
From The STAND (Jan. 17) — WSU ASEs strike, quickly win tentative agreement — The agreement includes major pay increases, more affordable healthcare, and longer parental leave. WSU-CASE members’ ratification vote will take place Jan. 19-25.
► From the Bellingham Herald — Bellis Fair Macy’s calling for boycott as strike looms over wages and worker safety — Macy’s department store workers in Bellingham are asking customers to boycott the store as a possible strike looms over the retail chain’s work environment. The Macy’s Workers United UFCW 3000 union first had a strike on Black Friday, Nov. 24, calling for the company to pay workers more and have more safety protocols in place. The union includes members from multiple Macy’s locations across the state.
► From the Senate Democrats — Nobles bill would establish collective bargaining rights for student employees — A bill to establish collective bargaining rights for student employees was heard in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee Thursday. SB 5895, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), would create a framework for collective bargaining for a new bargaining unit of employees enrolled in an academic or certificate program at Washington’s regional universities — Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University and Evergreen State College — that are not currently covered in state law. Nobles said:
“It’s time for more student workers to have a voice in their workplace.”
► From KUOW — Trump will stay on Washington state’s ballot in 2024 — A Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday morning that former President Donald Trump will remain on the Washington state primary and general ballot in 2024.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
► From the NW Labor Press — Another 600 employees unionize at OHSU — Oregon Nurses Association announced Jan. 5 that another unit of employees at Oregon Health and Science University is ready to join. The unit of “advanced practice providers” includes more than 600 nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician associates (conventionally known as physician assistants).
► From the Wall St. Journal — Americans are suddenly feeling way better about the economy — Americans are rapidly becoming much more upbeat about the economy. Consumer sentiment leapt 13% in the first half of January from December, the University of Michigan said Friday. That came on the heels of a sharp rise in December, causing the index to surge a combined 29% from November, the biggest two-month increase since 1991.
TODAY at The STAND — I knew Biden was old when I voted for him… and I will again (by Mark Riker)
► From the USA Today — Latest student debt relief: $5 billion for longtime borrowers, public servants — President Joe Biden approved more student loan relief for another 74,000 borrowers on Friday, waiving $4.9 billion in debt. The relief targets longtime borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. It comes largely as a result of changes the Education Department made to the programs.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Are you a public service worker who may qualify for PSLF? Check out the PSLF website for details and to apply.
► From the AP — Congress votes to avert a shutdown and keep the government funded into early March — Congress sent President Joe Biden a short-term spending bill on Thursday that would avert a looming partial government shutdown and fund federal agencies into March. The House approved the measure by a vote of 314-108, with opposition coming mostly from the more conservative members of the Republican conference.
EDITOR’S NOTE — All Washington representatives voted yes on what — due to arcane congressional procedures — was called The Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act. In addition funding the government for several more weeks, the measure authorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to permanently allow any state to provide hunting and conservation stamps for migratory birds electronically.
► From Vox — Congress averted a shutdown, but the funding fight isn’t over — Government employees won’t be furloughed and programs won’t be delayed — but only for now. The deal does nothing to resolve the spending disagreements that put the government in danger of a shutdown in the first place, and could threaten the House’s ability to function if far-right Republicans unhappy with the deal manage to oust Speaker Mike Johnson over what they see as intolerable compromises with Democrats.
► From CNBC — What’s ahead for the labor movement in 2024? —
► From HuffPost — Trader Joe’s illegally closed New York store to stop union organizing, feds say — The NLRB’s general counsel argues that the grocer’s decision to close the store amounts to unlawful retaliation, and that Trader Joe’s should have to reopen the store and make the affected employees “whole” for any wages they lost.
► From The Guardian — Half of recent inflation due to high corporate profits, report finds — The report, compiled by the Groundwork Collaborative thinktank, found corporate profits accounted for about 53% of inflation during last year’s second and third quarters. Profits drove just 11% of price growth in the 40 years prior to the pandemic.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The L.A. Times Guild is holding a one-day strike TODAY to protest staff cuts…
📢DON’T CROSS THE LAT GUILD DIGITAL PICKET LINE
To support us in our walkout, we ask you not to
1) Click on LAT stories
2) Engage with LAT brand accounts on social media
3) Open LAT news alerts
Or otherwise engage with LAT content from midnight to 11:59 p.m. Jan. 19
— L.A. Times Guild 🦅 (@latguild) January 19, 2024
► From NPR — In this Oklahoma town, almost everyone knows someone who’s been sued by the hospital — U.S. hospitals face growing scrutiny over aggressive debt collection tactics. At one community hospital, few patients get financial aid when they can’t afford to pay. Many more are taken to court.
► Happy 78th birthday to country music legend, prolific songwriter, philanthropist, and all-around national treasure Dolly Parton. After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022 (a nomination she initially resisted), Dolly decided she better release an actual rock album. On Rockstar, she records some classic songs and a few originals with the likes of Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Elton John, Sting, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Peter Frampton, Miley Cyrus, Lizzo, and others. But it was back in 1977 when the country star first crossed over to pop stardom with this hit song. Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.