Tuesday, January 23, 2024
► From Reuters — Boeing and Seattle-area union delay start of contract negotiations — Boeing and District 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have delayed the opening of contract negotiations until early March as the company deals with the grounding of the 737 MAX 9. Formal negotiations were set to begin in early February and were pushed back at Boeing’s request, said the union on its website.
► From the AP — United Airlines CEO says the airline will consider alternatives to Boeing’s next airplane — The United Airlines CEO says he is “disappointed” in ongoing manufacturing problems at Boeing that have led to the grounding of dozens of United jetliners, and the airline will consider alternatives to buying a future, larger version of the Boeing 737 MAX. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said Tuesday that Boeing needs “real action” to restore its previous reputation for quality. He added:
“I think this is the straw — the Max 9 grounding — is probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for us.”
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell issues hiring freeze — Mayor Bruce Harrell has issued a hiring freeze for most city departments as his office looks toward a budget deficit in 2025 of at least $229 million, possibly higher. The freeze applies to all departments except those that touch on public safety: police officers, firefighters and members of the city’s new alternative response team will still be greenlit.
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle City Council, public weigh in on finalists for open seat — The Seattle City Council will vote Tuesday to fill the open seat left by Teresa Mosqueda’s move to the Metropolitan King County Council, a weighty political decision for a council with five brand-new members who’ve warmed their seats for less than a month.
► From the Wenatchee World — Columbia Elementary school to close next year, staff ‘heartbroken’ — Blaming declining enrollment, the Wenatchee School District will close Columbia Elementary School and disperse students and staff to nearby schools starting in the 2024-2025 school year. The news was “heartbreaking” for staff, according to Wenatchee Education Association President Monika Christensen.
► From KOZE — New Unemployment Insurance Navigator program aims to remove barriers to benefits in local communities — The Washington State Employment Security Department will distribute $2 million in U.S. Department of Labor funds to community organizations — including the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO — to help potential unemployment claimants in underserved communities better understand available benefits. Nine community-based organizations will receive grant money from ESD’s new Unemployment Insurance Navigator program.
From The STAND (Jan. 17) — WSLC seeks Temporary Unemployment Insurance Navigator
► From Crosscut — For most Washington voters, the governor’s race is just beginning (by H. Stuart Elway) — Just 24% of poll respondents said they’ve decided on a candidate. Last time the seat was open, half of voters knew who they were supporting by January.
► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO: Reproductive rights are worker rights — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler on the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision: “Unions will continue to fight to level the playing field for low-income workers and workers of color who bear the brunt of policies that make it harder to access health care, family and medical leave, universal high-quality child care, food assistance, housing and other critical programs.”
► From The Hill — Harris blasts Trump for saying he was ‘proud’ to end Roe: ‘How dare he’ — Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday torched Republicans over their abortion views and directly tied former President Trump to the end of Roe v. Wade. Harris kicked off a “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour that coincided with the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade:
“Proud that women across our nation are suffering? Proud that women have been robbed of a fundamental freedom? Proud that doctors could be thrown in prison for caring for their patients? That young women today have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers? How dare he,”“Proud that women across our nation are suffering? Proud that women have been robbed of a fundamental freedom? Proud that doctors could be thrown in prison for caring for their patients? That young women today have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers? How dare he.”
► From the Washington Post — Medicare Advantage is popular, but some beneficiaries feel buyer’s remorse — Medicare Advantage plans are booming — 30.8 million of the 60 million Americans with Medicare are now enrolled in the private plans rather than the traditional government-run program. But a little-known fact: Once you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may not be able to get out.
From The STAND (June 1, 2023) — The bipartisan push to privatize Medicare (by Wendell Potter) — We need to educate Democrats on how, why it happened to build a defense against complete Medicare privatization.
► From Politico — What labor advocates want from AI policy — Ask AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler what she wants from the federal government on artificial intelligence, and her first answer isn’t a surprise: Strengthen collective bargaining rights, like, generally.
► From the Washington Post — Consumers are finally figuring out the economy isn’t all that bad (by Catherine Rampell) — On many metrics, the economy has been doing remarkably well: Unemployment hasn’t topped 4 percent for two years, and layoffs have been few and far between. Inflation has generally been gliding downward. Economic growth has held up. None of this had been enough to cheer consumers, who until recently were about as negative about the economy.But lately, those vibes have shifted. Optimism is busting out all over the country.
► BREAKING from the AFL-CIO — Union membership grew by 139,000 in 2023, thanks to worker wins — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union density today and it shows that union membership grew by 139,000 in 2023, although union density remained flat. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said:
“The labor movement is more focused and committed than ever on ensuring that every worker who wants a union has a fair shot at joining one. Organizing is happening at a rate not seen in generations, and new federal investments by the Biden administration in emerging sectors of the economy creates more opportunity for workers to attain good union jobs. The AFL-CIO’s Center for Transformational Organizing has become a hub for multiunion organizing strategy and investment in the clean energy and technology sectors as new jobs emerge over the next several years catalyzed by these federal funds. Working people are on the rise, and the progress we’re seeing now is just the beginning.”
Today from The STAND — Latest data on the Union Difference: 15.9% higher wages — Union membership in Washington state slipped in 2023, but the state remains the third most unionized in the country, according to the annual estimates released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Meanwhile, union members earn 15.9% more than their nonunion counterparts, on average.
► From the LA Times — CSU and faculty reach surprise tentative agreement, ending massive strike after one day — The union representing California State University faculty reached a tentative agreement with the university system late Monday, putting an end to a planned five-day strike after one day. “In case anyone forgot, STRIKES WORK! After months of negotiations and two strike actions, our movement for a #betterCSU has paid off!” the union announced. The agreement, which must be ratified by union members, includes higher salary floors for the lowest-paid workers, safer workplaces and an expansion of parental leave.
► From the AP — Pilots at Southwest ratify a contract that will boost their pay raises by nearly 50% by 2028 — Pilots at Southwest Airlines have overwhelmingly approved a new contract that will raise their pay rates by nearly 50% by 2028, becoming the last group of pilots at the nation’s four biggest airlines to score huge raises.
► From the Hollywood Reporter — As Musicians start talks with studios, Hollywood labor leaders lend support in picket — On a rainy Monday morning, workers from multiple guilds turned up at the offices of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in a show of unity: “We’re all together in this industry.”
► From the Hollywood Reporter — Condé Nast union members launch 24-hour walkout amid layoff talks — More than 400 workers are walking out on Tuesday to protest bargaining practices the union alleges are unlawful.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t cross their “click-it line” today by reading Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ, Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Epicurious, Glamour, Self, Teen Vogue and Condé Nast Entertainment.
► From Nevada Public Radio — Feb. 2 strike deadline: Las Vegas hospitality union works on new contracts — Ahead of their Feb. 2 strike deadline, the Culinary Union has reached tentative deals with two properties: Trump Hotel Las Vegas for 350 workers and Westgate for 1,000 employees.
► From The Guardian — ‘We want everybody walking out’: UAW chief outlines mass strike for May 2028 — Shawn Fain, the United Auto Workers president, reaffirmed ambitious plans to organize a general strike for May 1, 2028, coinciding with International Solidarity Day or May Day.
► From The Guardian — ‘It smells bad’: Farmworkers grappling with unsafe water at home — Among a population of 2.6 million people that’s already 20 times more likely than other workers to die from heat-related illnesses, many farm workers experience chronic dehydration.
► From the Washington Post — Amazon workers’ unionizing crusade gets Sundance spotlight — The new documentary ‘Union’ examines the labor fight inside the behemoth’s Staten Island warehouse: “We are the N.W.A. of the organizing world.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.