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A bold plan for child care | ‘Historic’ TA at Macy’s | UAW backs Biden

Thursday, January 25, 2024




► From the Spokesman-Review — U.S. union membership has dipped to a record low despite recent high-profile wins — WSLC President April Sims noted that labor statistics show national union membership actually grew in 2023 by about 139,000 positions. Job growth, however, outpaced the number of union jobs, which led to the decline from 10.1% in 2022 to 10% last year. She said:

“Today in Washington state and across the country, union organizing, worker activism, and public support of unions are all higher than they’ve been in our lifetimes. The fact that these latest numbers don’t reflect that enthusiasm should be a concern for all Americans.”

From The STAND (Jan. 23)Latest data on the Union Difference: 15.9% higher wages — Membership slips in Washington, but state remains 3rd most unionized.

► From the News Tribune — WA families can’t find affordable child care. Our biggest polluters should pay for it (by Hilary Franz and Kristine Reeves) — Too many families must choose between their careers and childcare costs that often outpace their salaries. Meanwhile, despite the rising costs of childcare, nearly 20 percent of childcare workers live in poverty. We are leaving too many of our children, families and childcare providers behind, particularly those in communities with the greatest health and economic disparities. Not having access to affordable, reliable childcare contributes to cycles of economic hardship and worsens gender pay gaps. That’s why we’re proposing a bold, new solution: a land trust that will strengthen Washington’s childcare network, one paid for by our largest polluters.

► From the WA State Standard — State inspectors denied entry to privately-run immigration detention center in Tacoma — The Department of Health has received over 300 complaints from detainees about the facility’s conditions. A state law meant to give state agencies more oversight is tied up in court.

► From the Seattle Times — As book battles rage, WA Senate votes to make it harder to shut down a library — SB 5824, passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday, comes in response to an effort last year to close the only library in rural Columbia County. It would make such attempts more difficult, requiring more signatures to get proposed shutdowns on the ballot and then allowing a larger population of voters to decide a library’s fate.

► From the WA State Standard — Idaho librarians contemplate leaving work — and the state — as a result of proposed legislation — In an informal survey conducted by the Idaho Library Association, 60% of respondents said they are considering leaving the profession in response to legislation and increasingly antagonistic rhetoric against librarians.




► From UFCW 3000 — Macy’s update: Strike ends, fully recommended tentative agreement reached! — Your Macy’s bargaining team has reached a Tentative Agreement with Macy’s management for a BEST IN THE NATION union contract, addressing members’ top issues and protecting our rights. The Bargaining Team unanimously recommends a yes vote to ratify this historic contract.

► From the Wenatchee World — Parents and teachers speak out against plan to close Columbia Elementary — With “Save Columbia Elementary” and “Don’t Close Columbia” signs, more than 100 people packed the Wenatchee School Board meeting to hear explanations from the school district after it announced plans to close the school as part of larger budget reductions.

► From the Seattle Times — Puget Sound Energy cancels liquid natural gas plant expansion in Tacoma — The Puyallup Tribe of Indians and a coalition of community groups appealed permits for the project to the state Shoreline Hearings Board. The case had been scheduled for an April hearing, but rather than defend the project, PSE backed down.




► From the Seattle Times — FAA blocks Boeing production push but clears way for MAX 9s to fly again — The FAA announced Wednesday that it is imposing unprecedented restrictions on Boeing’s jet manufacturing facilities. It will cap any 737 MAX production rate increases until it’s clear Boeing can ensure its quality control is fully compliant with regulations. At the same time, the FAA said it has approved the detailed inspection measures it will require of air carriers that fly Boeing 737 MAX 9s before the grounded jets can return to passenger service.

► From Reuters — Southwest Airlines removes MAX 7 from 2024 plans, cuts delivery forecast from Boeing — Southwest Airlines said on Thursday it was expecting to take fewer deliveries of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft and it had left out the MAX 7 model, which is mired in certification delays, from its 2024 fleet plans.

► From Reuters — Alaska Air sees $150 mln profit hit from MAX 9 groundings

► From the Seattle Times — Cantwell plans hearings to investigate 737 MAX 9 blowout

► From VOX — No, DEI isn’t making airplanes fall apart — Republicans have launched an ill-informed campaign to blame diversity policies for aircraft safety issues.




► From Huffington Post — United Auto Workers union endorses Joe Biden for President — The United Auto Workers endorsed President Joe Biden for reelection on Wednesday, putting a high-profile union behind the Democrat’s 2024 campaign. UAW President Shawn Fain announced the UAW’s backing during the union’s convention in Washington, D.C. He said in a speech to members that Biden would give workers “the best shot” at organizing, winning strong union contracts and fighting “the billionaire class.”

From The STAND (June 16, 2023)AFL-CIO endorses President Biden for re-election

► From the AP — U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly strong 3.3% pace last quarter, pointing to continued resilience — The nation’s economy grew at an unexpectedly brisk 3.3% annual pace from October through December as Americans showed a continued willingness to spend freely. The latest figures reflected the surprising durability of the world’s largest economy, marking the sixth straight quarter in which GDP has grown at an annual pace of 2% or more.

► From the Washington Post — Obamacare enrollment hits record level as Trump vows repeal — More than 21 million people have signed up for health plans through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. The record level of enrollment comes as former president Donald Trump, seeking the GOP nomination, is again vowing to repeal the program if elected.

► From the Wall Street Journal — Insurers rake in profits as customers pay soaring premiums — The pain for home- and auto-insurance customers is quickly becoming investors’ gain. Insurance giants’ shares and profits are hitting records, thanks in part to steep rate hikes.

► From NPR — Housing is now unaffordable for a record half of all U.S. renters, study finds — The study finds that in 2022, as rents spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, a record half of U.S. renters paid more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities. Nearly half of those people were severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income.




► From Jacobin — The unionization wave is hitting Costco — Costco workers in Norfolk, Virginia, recently unionized with the Teamsters, defying the company’s reputation as one that cares about workers. In an interview, a Costco worker says he and his coworkers are tired of being treated with disrespect on the job.

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 — Texas Tribune unionizes following layoffs — Media union membership has exploded as workers seek a measure of stability in a disintegrating industry.


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!