Friday, January 26, 2024
WSU ASEs have overwhelmingly voted to ratify the Tentative Agreement as our first-ever union contract! With 99% voting YES (1,169 YES votes, 15 NO votes, equaling 68% voter turnout), this vote will usher in life-changing improvements to ASE pay, working conditions, & benefits pic.twitter.com/4ZQDZ5pYBu
— wsucase (@wsucase) January 26, 2024
From The STAND (Jan. 17) — WSU ASEs strike, quickly win tentative agreement — This morning, Academic Student Employees at Washington State University hit the picket lines at all campuses and extension centers after they failed to reach agreement with WSU Admin by their strike deadline. Soon after the strike began, the WSU Coalition of Academic Student Employees-UAW (WSU-CASE/UAW) bargaining team announced they reached a Tentative Agreement with Washington State University, after WSU administration made key, last-minute concessions that secured a fair agreement.
► From KIMA — Macy’s Washington workers strike for wage, safety and health issues, agree on new deal — UFCW 3000 and Macy’s employees across Washington state started a boycott against the corporation, due to safety and health issues along with demands for fair pay wages. Macy’s and the union both announced Wednesday that they agreed to a new contract, which includes the largest ratification bonus in the nation, which is twenty percent higher than before.
► From KIRO — Microsoft lays off 1,900 employees in its gaming division — Microsoft is laying off about 1,900 employees in its gaming division, according to an internal company memo, just over three months since the tech giant completed its $69 billion purchase of video game maker Activision Blizzard.
► From the Seattle Times — REI lays off hundreds, says it expects tough year ahead — REI is laying off 357 employees as the company braces for a challenging year, CEO Eric Artz told employees on Thursday. The cuts represent 2.2% of REI’s total workforce. According to the memo, layoffs will affect 200 headquarters employees, six from sales and customer support, 30 from teams that support classes and multiday trips, and 121 in distribution centers.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Whistleblower: Department of Energy contractor fraudulently billed millions for fire protection at Hanford — A company contracted to provide fire protection at the Hanford Nuclear Site submitted millions of dollars in fraudulent and inflated invoices to the federal government since 2021, according to a False Claims Act complaint filed Wednesday.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Treat skilled trades as a legitimate career path (editorial) — Careers in skilled trades offer dependable jobs and good wages, but American education policy for decades has pushed prospective employees off such career paths. The misguided idea has been that a four-year college degree is the only way to secure a successful career.
► From McClatchy — WA schools nearing paraeducator ‘labor crisis.’ What lawmakers, Inslee are proposing — While they’re not certificated like teachers, paraeducators are often seen as the backbone of classrooms. But paras are also among the lowest-paid employees in a school building, with some districts paying them only a few bucks above the state’s minimum wage. Many say they are forced to work other jobs to get by financially. Lawmakers in Olympia are considering several proposals in the 2024 legislative session to raise paraeducators pay.
► From the Cascadia Daily News — New WA law blocks employers from rejecting job applicants based on cannabis use — Put into effect Jan. 1, 2024, this law prohibits employers from discriminating during the hiring process against a candidate based on their use of cannabis.
► From the House Democrats — House passes bill increasing access to Public Service Loan Forgiveness — In plain terms, HB 1950 cuts through the red tape. This bill, introduced by Rep. Vandana Slatter (D-Bellevue), ensures clear, consistent information reaches public servants about their eligibility and path to forgiveness. It also modifies full-time employment certification calculation adjustments for part-time academic employees for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
► From the House Democrats — Timmons’ bill to provide a cost-of-living increase to retirees passes out of committee — “The rising costs of living impact everyone, but I’m especially concerned about how these costs impact our seniors dependent on fixed incomes,” said Rep. Joe Timmons (D-Bellingham). “House Bill 1985, will provide a 3 percent benefit increase for retired state workers on the PERS1 or TRS1 plans, and help our retired public servants keep up with growing costs and be better equipped to age with the dignity they deserve.”
► From the WA State Standard — The latest push to fund some of Washington’s toughest-to-build housing — Housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be especially complicated and expensive to develop. Advocates are asking lawmakers to direct $25 million and a slice of a proposed new tax to help pay for it.
► From the Seattle Times — Boeing MAX 9 set to return to Seattle sky with Alaska Airlines flight — The FAA announced Wednesday it approved detailed inspection measures for air carriers that fly Boeing MAX 9s, clearing the way for Alaska and United airlines to get their MAX 9 fleets back in the air.
► From the Seattle Times — Alaska holds Boeing accountable, wants to be made whole for $150M in losses
► From Politico — ‘I think they’re rushing these planes into the sky’: Fears cloud return of Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 — Some in Congress are questioning whether the planes are ready to take to the skies.
► From the Seattle Times — Opposition grows to 737 MAX 7 safety exemption
► From Reuters — Small Boeing suppliers lament new turmoil around 737 planes
► From KUOW — Can Boeing correct course and fly right? Despite recent debacles, industry expert says skies will clear — Richard Aboulafia, a consultant with Aerodynamics Advisory:
“Boeing still has some pretty darn great people. They still have great people, great products, and great technology. All they need is a different approach to leadership. They can recover from this, but it’ll take a long time.”
► From the LA Times — New, expanded child tax credits are back — and they may actually pass Congress (by David Lauter) — Congress, which has been setting records for a lack of accomplishments, may be on the verge of actually doing something big: passing a bill that could lift half a million kids out of poverty by next year. The proposal, which the House could vote on as soon as next week, involves an expanded tax credit for parents of children 16 and younger. The proposed credit is a scaled-down version of a plan that passed during President Biden‘s first year in office, but only lasted one year.
► From Reuters — Walmart engaged in illegal union busting at California store, U.S. agency says — The NLRB it a complaint late Wednesday alleging Walmart interrogated workers at the Eureka, Calif., store about their union activities, removed pro-union flyers from a break room and threatened employees who distributed union literature in violation of U.S. labor law.
► From The Guardian — ‘Dark forces’: How U.S. corporations turned to courts in fight against unions — A multi-pronged legal attack under way by Elon Musk, large corporations, business groups and anti-union litigators threatens to “raise havoc” with US labor law and hobble a resurgent labor movement, according to experts. So far efforts to scale back or undermine workers’ rights through the US courts have centered on the NLRB, the US top workplace watchdog and overseer of union elections. But other laws – including trademark and property rights statutes – are also being used. Both Musk and Starbucks are pursuing cases that would undermine the NLRB. Stanford law professor and former NLRB chairman William Gould IV said:
“This is one of the most audacious and bold attempts to reverse the decisions of the 1930s and the way in which American labor law has operated for nearly 90 years.”
► From the AP — Media workers strike to protest layoffs at New York Daily News, Forbes and Condé Nast — Journalists at The New York Daily News and Forbes walked off the job Thursday amid contentious contract talks with management and a difficult few weeks in the news industry. Both strike are historic: It’s the first-ever at the business-focused magazine in more than a century, and the first at the storied newspaper in more than three decades, according to the NewsGuild of New York.
► From the WA State Standard — The U.S. needs homes. But first, it needs the workers to build them. — More than two-thirds of construction firms say their job applicants lack the skills they need.
► From CBS Phoenix — MLB asks Arizona lawmakers to exempt minor league players from state’s minimum wage — For years, MLB has avoided paying minor league players a specific hourly wage and it doesn’t want to start now.
► Point of personal privilege: We know it dates us, but Madness was one of our favorite bands growing up. This British pop/ska band known for its “nutty” sound never quite took off in the U.S., other than their 1983 hit “Our House.” But in the UK, they are revered and continue to put our critically acclaimed albums more than 45 years after their formation. Alas, The Entire Staff of The STAND has never had the pleasure of seeing Madness perform live because they rarely tour the States… until now. Madness is coming to WaMu Theater in Seattle on May 22! Get your tickets now (we have). Here’s a taste of what’s in store.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.