Tuesday, February 6, 2024
► From Bloomberg — Boeing’s next crisis: Aerospace workers demanding 40% pay raise — Boeing Co. executives have spent the past month grappling with the aftermath of a near-catastrophe on an airborne 737 MAX jet. As the U.S. planemaker works through its latest crisis tied to manufacturing lapses, a new risk looms: a labor rift 10 years in the making. Boeing’s largest union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, is still smarting over a 2014 deal that sacrificed pensions, locked in minimal raises and tied the hands of activists for a decade. Union leaders will demand a 40 percent pay raise over three or four years, emboldened by a resurgent U.S. labor movement, a scarcity of qualified aerospace workers and pressure on Boeing to stabilize work in its factories. Jon Holden, president of IAM District 751, which represents 32,000 Seattle-area Boeing Machinists:
“Our goal is to negotiate a contract that we as a union leadership and our members can accept. We don’t take going on strike lightly. But we’re willing to do it.”
► From Reuters — FAA says 94% of Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes inspected, back in service — The FAA on Monday said Alaska and United Airlines have inspected and returned to service nearly 94% of Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes following a mid-air emergency last month. The FAA required inspections include close review of specific bolts, guide tracks and fittings and detailed visual inspections of door plugs and dozens of associated components.
► From the AP — Head of FAA pledges to hold Boeing accountable for any violations of safety rules — Mike Whitaker, the new chief of the Federal Aviation Administration, says the agency will use more people to monitor aircraft manufacturing and hold Boeing accountable for any violations of safety regulations.
► From Reuters — FAA warns Congress against hiking airline pilot retirement age — FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker told Congress in a letter on Monday that lawmakers should not raise the mandatory retirement age of airline pilots to 67 from 65, saying it should first be allowed to conduct additional research. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee:
“When it comes to raising the pilot retirement age, the FAA has made clear that a scientific and safety analysis must come first. That has not happened. Aviation safety is paramount, and now is not the time to take a shortcut.”
The Air Line Pilots Association opposes raising the retirement age and said such a move could cause airline scheduling and pilot training issues and require the reopening of pilot contract talks. The group praised Whitaker’s letter.
► From the Bellingham Herald — Bellingham Community Food Co-op employees unionize, calling for better pay and respect — Employees of Bellingham’s Community Food Co-Op have voted to unionize, seeking better pay and treatment from management. Employees of the 315 Westerly Rd. co-op and the 1220 N. Forest St. co-op voted to join Teamsters Local Union 231 in a representation election conducted by the NLRB.
Today from The STAND — Community Food Co-Op Employees vote to join Teamsters 231 — Rich Ewing, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 231:
“These brave workers will now have a seat at the negotiating table to fight for improvements in their workplace and will be able to go to work with their head held high, confidently working to better serve the Co-Op community.”
► From the Capitol Hill Seattle blog — The latest union shop on Broadway? Phoenix Comics workers organize for retail representation — Broadway still might be a union street. After last spring’s celebration of ten successful years at 113 Broadway E, Phoenix Comics staff are kicking off the next ten having successfully formed a union represented by UFCW 3000. Elise Oziel, one of Phoenix’s six staff members:
“We already like working here and we wanted it to stay affordable for us to work here. I think that even when you have a really small staff, the desire to join the union shows that your staff are invested in the business, because if we weren’t invested and we wanted to make more money, we would go somewhere else.”
► From the (Everett) Herald — Over protest, Marysville superintendent’s contract unanimously renewed — Zac Robbins inherited a district now facing a $5.9 million deficit. Dozens of parents and staff alleged a lack of transparency to fix the problem.
► From the Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles School District, union to meet with mediator for deal — The district and the union representing paraeducators will meet Wednesday with a third-party mediator in an effort to reach an agreement on a new contract.
► From Crosscut — Despite industry pushback, WA farmworkers will keep overtime pay — In a repeat of the previous legislative session, a bill to allow growers an exemption of up to 12 weeks in labor-intensive periods failed to get out of committee. It’s an indicator that lawmakers, namely Democrats, aren’t interested in modifying a new policy deemed a significant victory for farmworkers. Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee:
“I’m not open to going backward on overtime pay. I’m not open to repealing or stepping away from farmworkers having a legal right to overtime pay.”
► From the Seattle Times — Storm sign former MVP Nneka Ogwumike, adding more star power in Seattle — The Seattle Storm jumped into championship contention and landed former WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike, who joins star point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith who signed with Seattle last Thursday. The blockbuster deals dramatically change the trajectory of the Storm, who finished next to last in the 12-team league at 11-29 last year.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Nneka Ogwumike is also President of the WNBPA, the first labor union for professional women athletes. It was created in 1998 to protect the rights of WNBA players and assist them in achieving their full potential on and off the court. She is also prominently featured in “Shattered Glass,” a new documentary about the WNBPA streaming free on Tubi, that highlights Ogwumike’s story — along with New York Liberty stars Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones — as the union prepares for its next contract negotiations in November following the groundbreaking agreement it secured in 2020.
► From the AP — NLRB says Dartmouth basketball players are school employees, sets stage for union vote — A National Labor Relations Board regional official ruled on Monday that Dartmouth basketball players are employees of the school, clearing the way for an election that would create the first-ever labor union for NCAA athletes. All 15 members of the Dartmouth men’s basketball team signed a petition in September asking to join SEIU Local 560.
► From ABC News — Strike averted as culinary union settles with Las Vegas hotel-casinos before Super Bowl week — A union representing hospitality workers says it has reached a tentative agreement with six more hotel-casinos in downtown Las Vegas and called off a strike deadline for another.
► From the Tri-City Herald — U.S. senators want to make getting medical help easier for sick Hanford, PNNL workers — Ill Hanford workers could get health care more easily under a new bill introduced by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. Many current and past workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation site and other sites where nuclear weapons work was done receive health care at no cost for illnesses that may have been caused by exposures at the site, including to radioactive and other hazardous chemical materials. Now only doctors, and not physician assistants or nurse practitioners, are allowed to order home health care services for workers who qualify for the federal Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation program. Murray’s Health Care for Energy Workers Act would change that to provide better access to care.
► From the AP — Trump is not immune from prosecution in his 2020 election interference case, US appeals court says — A federal appeals panel ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump can face trial on charges that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, rejecting the former president’s claims that he is immune from prosecution and breathing life back into a landmark prosecution that had been effectively frozen while the court considered the arguments. In the unanimous ruling, the three appeals judges sharply rejected Trump’s claim that “a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results.”
► From HuffPost — In huge reversal, GOP poised to kill the border-Ukraine package it demanded — Amid opposition by Donald Trump, Senate Republicans on Monday signaled their own plan to filibuster bipartisan legislation that paired tougher border policy with more U.S. aid to Ukraine, a stunning reversal less than 24 hours after the legislation had been unveiled.
► From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — In scuttling bipartisan border deal, GOP shows it wants chaos, not solutions (editorial)
► From Billboard — Musicians union ‘has not resolved our core issues’ with studios, sets date to resume negotiations — The American Federation of Musicians is grappling with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over pay, streaming residuals, AI and more.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.