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Tuesday, February 13, 2024




► From the Peninsula Daily News — Special election ballots due today

► From KNKX — Many WA voters will decide fate of old schools today

EDITOR’S NOTE — School districts across the state have replacement levies and bond authorizations on the ballot today. Support our schools and vote “yes!” Can’t find your ballot? Contact your county election office to find out how you can still vote in today’s election.

► From KUOW — Could Renton be the next Washington city to hike its minimum wage? — If voters say yes this week, Renton’s minimum wage could rise to be the highest in the nation, matching its higher-paying neighbor Tukwila. Renton’s current minimum wage is set at the state’s rate of $16.28. Under the proposal, the rate for large Renton employers would increase by nearly 25% to $20.29 per hour. Small and medium businesses would pay $18.29, but this rate would be phased up to the higher pay within two years. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt.

EDITOR’S NOTE — MLK Labor endorsed the Renton Minimum Wage Campaign.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Who is running for McMorris Rodgers’ open seat, and who won’t say — Three Democrats entered the race months ago, including Bernadine Bank, Carmela Conroy and Ann Marie Danimus. GOP Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel says he’s running. Among other local Republicans that are “maybes”: Michael Baumgartner, Jonathan Bingle, Michael Cathcart, and Clint Didier.




► From the WA State Standard — Washington House approves unemployment benefits for striking workers — Workers who are on strike or locked out of their workplace by their employer due to a labor dispute would gain access to unemployment insurance benefits under a bill the Washington state House approved in the early morning hours Tuesday, after working through the night. The bill passed on a 53-44 vote. Five Democrats voted with Republicans against it. Democrats voting “no” included Reps. Mike Chapman, Debra Entenman, Larry Springer, My-Linh Thai and Amy Walen.

Today at The STANDHouse approves unemployment benefits for strikers

► ICYMI from the Stranger — Big business is fighting to kill state legislation to protect striking workers (by Starbucks employee Rachel Ybarra) — Rather than negotiate a fair contract, low-wage employers like Starbucks can weaponize the economic instability of their employees. Recognizing that striking workers and our families should have some economic support, New York, New Jersey, and Maine allow strikers to access the unemployment social safety net. SB 5777/HB 1893 would grant workers in Washington the same protection.

► From the Seattle Times — Unemployment benefits: Odds stacked against workers (letter by Anne Paxton of the Unemployment Law Project) — Washington employers have far too much say — before the Legislature and in the workplace — about who receives unemployment benefits. HB 1893 allows workers thrown out of work during management-labor disputes to scrape by at roughly half normal pay.

► From House Democrats — House passes Rep. Bateman bill to raise state employee vacation cap — On Monday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 2246 sponsored by Rep. Jessica Bateman (D-22nd LD) that increases the annual vacation hour accrual cap from 240 to 280 hours. “Many of our state employees work long hours and overtime to make sure Washingtonians get the care and services they need,” said Rep. Bateman. “They shouldn’t have to lose their earned benefits because of staffing shortages.”

► From the Seattle Times — As deadline looms, WA House vote on rent bill is uncertain — By the time Tuesday rolls into Wednesday, Washingtonians should have a better idea of whether state lawmakers are going to limit rent hikes this year. HB 2114, which would set a ceiling on annual rent increases at 7% annually for existing tenants, is unlikely to get a full vote in the House until Tuesday, the same day it and many other bills face a deadline to get a vote in the chamber where they started.

► From the WA State Standard — Washington preps to merge carbon market with California amid repeal threat — A divided state Senate approved a “linkage” bill on Monday. It contains a self-destruct clause to keep it off the ballot alongside an initiative aimed at scrapping the state’s cap-and-trade program.

► From CNBC — Jeff Bezos will save over $600 million in taxes by moving to Miami — Jeff Bezos’ $2 billion stock sale last week came with an added perk: no state taxes. Last year, Bezos announced on Instagram that he was leaving Seattle after nearly 30 years to move to Miami. He said the move was to be closer to his parents and his rocket launches at Blue Origin. The timing also suggested another reason: taxes.




► From the Olympian — Is Port of Olympia near deal with new union? Monday meeting comments sound hopeful — A Port of Olympia commission discussion on Monday suggested that there just might be light at the end of the tunnel for the port and a new union known as ILWU Local 47 B, which have been negotiating a first contract for nearly two years.

► From the (Longview) Daily News — UK largest renewable energy supplier building Longview plant along Columbia River — The self-described largest power station in the United Kingdom is building a plant along the Columbia River in Longview to harvest wood pellets for Asia to generate power. The facility is still in early phases of development, but the company Drax projects to be up and running by the first quarter of 2025 and bring up to 60 local jobs.




► From the LA Times — Voters are finally noticing that Bidenomics is working (by Michael Hiltzik) — The truth is that the Biden economy (“Bidenomics,” if you prefer) has been chugging along for some time. The fundamental question that has circulated about his record is not about the economy’s strength, but about why he hasn’t gotten credit for it. Sentiment may now finally be shifting.

► From the Washington Post — Inflation eased further in January as Fed weighs when to cut rates — The Federal Reserve is pressing on in its fight to tame high prices — with plenty of success already in the rearview mirror.

► From the Washington Post — The surge in immigration is a $7 trillion gift to the economy (by Catherine Rampell) — Last week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released updated 10-year economic and budget forecasts. The numbers look significantly better than they did a year earlier, and immigration is a key reason. The infusion of working-age immigrants will more than offset the expected retirement of the aging, native-born population. This will in turn lead to better economic growth. Got that? The surprise increase in immigration has led a multitrillion-dollar windfall for both the overall economy and federal tax coffers.

► From the AP — Labor board gives Dartmouth’s trustees more time to appeal as athletes prepare for union vote — The NLRB has granted Dartmouth’s trustees extra time to request a review of a regional official’s ruling that the school’s men’s basketball players are employees.

► From NPR — Hospitals are fighting a Medicare payment fix that would save tax dollars — In the battle to control health care costs, hospitals are deploying their political power to protect their bottom lines.




► From Reuters — Flight attendants join hands to picket outside 30 airports for better pay — Thousands of flight attendants across three labor unions will picket outside airports in the U.S., the UK and Guam on Tuesday, to push airlines for new contracts with significant pay increases, the Association of Flight Attendants said.

► From KIRO — Seattle flight attendants to join global picket as unions fight for better pay

From The Calendar at The STAND — Today, Alaska Airlines flight attendants who are fighting for a fair contract are holding a Solidarity Picket from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sea-Tac Airport. Meet at Flag Pavilion (SW corner of Int’l Blvd and Airport Expressway). Get details.

► From NPR — Flight attendants don’t earn their hourly pay until aircraft doors close — Even frequent travelers may not realize that at most airlines, flight attendants are not clocking paid time until you hear the words “the aircraft doors are now closed.” It’s a longstanding practice that flight attendants want changed. On Tuesday, with contract negotiations ongoing at a number of airlines, flight attendants will be picketing at dozens of airports across the U.S. to bring attention to that demand and others.

► From Reuters — Uber, Lyft, DoorDash drivers to strike on Valentine’s Day for fair pay — Thousands of drivers for ride-sharing platforms Uber, Lyft and food delivery app DoorDash are expected to go on strike across the United States on Valentine’s Day for fair pay, drivers’ groups said on Monday.

► From the Indianapolis Star — REI workers win union election at Castleton store — REI employees at a Castleton store voted Friday to join the UFCW, making it the ninth unionized location for the national chain, according to UFCW.

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 ABC News — In possible test of federal labor law, Georgia could make it harder for some workers to join unions — The state Senate voted 31-23 on Thursday for a bill backed by Gov. Brian Kemp that would bar companies that accept state incentives from recognizing unions without a formal secret-ballot election. That would block unions from winning recognition from a company voluntarily after signing up a majority of workers, in what is usually known as a card check.


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!