Monday, January 29, 2024
► From NW Public Broadcasting — WSU’S Coalition of Academic Student Employees ratifies its first contract — At academic institutions nationwide, student workers continue to organize. Student staff at Washington State University are the latest to get a big win. The Coalition of Academic Student Employees has ratified its first union contract. With the agreement, student employees will get paid vacation for the first time, as well as earn six weeks of paid parental leave.
Today from The STAND — WSU student employees ratify first union contract — Contract enshrines huge wage increases, new rights and protections.
► From the WA State Standard — Green hydrogen plans take shape for former Alcoa site at Cherry Point — A rebirth of the former smelter site as a big hydrogen factory could hinge on finding an affordable, high-volume supplier of renewable electricity.
► From the Seattle Times — FAA’s safety culture hasn’t changed, either (by former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall) — Neither Boeing nor the FAA learned the proper lessons from the (2018-19 737 MAX 8) crashes. All the pronouncements we heard about changing their safety cultures appear to have been lip service to assuage Congress and all of us… Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago, then to the Washington, D.C., area to be “closer to the government.” Being “closer to the government” is not the solution. Instead, maybe Boeing ought to consider moving their executives back to Seattle to be closer to their workers and their products.
► From Reuters — Boeing one incident away from 737 production halt, lessor says — Air Lease Corp. Executive Chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy, one of the aircraft industry’s most influential leaders, believes Boeing will face a heavier regulatory backlash if there are further production snags.
► From Reuters — Ryanair tells Boeing it would buy any MAX 10 orders dropped by U.S. airlines — Executives for the Irish airline have told Boeing that if any U.S. customers refuse to take delivery of 737 MAX 10 aircraft, that it would buy them “at the right price.”
► From Reuters — United CEO kickstarts Airbus talks amid Boeing delays
► From the WA State Standard — More states offer health care coverage for certain immigrants, noncitizens — Advocates say the pandemic helped spur state efforts to provide coverage to more people. Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington state all offer health care coverage to people of all ages who have incomes below a certain level, regardless of their immigration status.
► From the Seattle Times — Children of WA farmworkers could receive greater academic support — Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), who sees a lack of state policy addressed to support the academic needs of children of seasonal farmworkers, is sponsoring HB 1866 to collect data on their educational gaps and current needs.
► From the union-busting Columbian — 55% approval for school bond measures reasonable (editorial) — Our state requires 60% approval for school bond measures. As a result, six bond measures were rejected last year despite receiving at least 55% of the vote. The situation calls for change, and state Reps. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) and Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) are leading the effort.
► From the Washington Post — Falling inflation, rising growth give U.S. the world’s best recovery — Despite lingering consumer angst over inflation, the surprisingly strong economy is outperforming all of its major trading partners. Since 2020, the United States has powered through a once-in-a-century pandemic, the highest inflation in 40 years and fallout from two foreign wars. Now, after posting faster annual growth last year than in 2022, the U.S. economy is quashing fears of a new recession while offering lessons for future crisis-fighting.
► From NPR — IRS is piloting new software that could let you file your taxes for free — Known as Direct File, the service will be open to certain filers in select states — including Washington — at the start so the IRS can test the program with a smaller group of users and make tweaks before opening it up to a larger group of taxpayers in the future. The free service has gotten pushback from Republicans and TurboTax maker Intuit.
► From The Hill — Biden administration announces steps to prohibit use of salary history for federal employees, contractors — The regulation and proposed rule are both part of an effort for federal employers to disclose expected salary ranges in job postings and reduce pay secrecy to help workers negotiate. Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said:
“Relying on a candidate salary history can exacerbate pre-existing inequality in our pay structures and disproportionately impact women and workers of color.”
► From The Hill — Trump rips UAW president: ‘Get rid of this dope’
► From HuffPost — Trader Joe’s attorney argues NLRB is ‘unconstitutional’ — Trader Joe’s is facing a litany of union-busting charges before the National Labor Relations Board. The agency’s prosecutors have accused the company of illegally retaliating against workers, firing a union supporter and spreading false information in an effort to chill an organizing campaign. But in a hearing last Tuesday, the grocer’s attorney briefly summarized a sweeping defense it intends to mount against the charges: The labor board itself, which was created during the New Deal and has refereed private-sector collective bargaining for nearly 90 years, is “unconstitutional.” The argument would appear to fit inside a broader conservative effort to dismantle the regulatory state, which has taken aim at agencies tasked with enforcing laws to protect workers, consumers and the environment.
► From The Virginian Pilot (where The Entire Staff of The STAND once worked!) — Wells Fargo employees in Virginia Beach push for a union
► From The Hill — At colleges, unions fight for equity as well as pay — Higher education unions have been on the rise in recent years, and experts say this labor movement is different from other sectors: more focused on equity issues, racial justice and academic freedom at a time when many feel schools are under attack. Financial matters, however, are still a primary concern. The most recent labor win came from the California Faculty Association on Monday after California State University reached a deal with the union less than 24 hours after it declared a strike, securing pay increases and better maternity leave for employees.
► From the Pittsburgh Union Progress — ‘A vision for a better institution’: Chatham University staff members turn out in droves for public union card signing
► From Nevada Public Radio — Culinary union makes more progress in contract talks, but strike deadline looms on Feb. 2
► From the People’s World — Care quality declines when hospital privatizes for profit — The 589 doctors at Minnesota’s Allina Health Care chain were onto something when they voted in late 2022 to unionize. When hospital chains privatize in pursuit of profits, the quality of patient care goes down—way down–compared to a control group of other hospitals, a new study shows. Outcomes after discharge are worse. Which is what the Minnesota doctors said and National Nurses United has said for years. There are 27.3% more patient falls in the for-profit hospitals. “Central line-associated bloodstream infections” rose 37.7% a summary of the study said. That’s even though the patients in the for-profit hospitals were younger than those in the larger control group. Wait, the numbers get even worse when patients are taken in for surgery at the private-equity for-profit hospitals.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.