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Keep Our Care Act | C&S BS | Scab refs | Scary Sinclair

Monday, February 19, 2024




► From Crosscut — Washington patients fear losing access to care as hospitals merge — A bill calls for state review of hospital consolidation, as abortions and gender-affirming procedures could be cut by religiously affiliated health systems. The Keep Our Care Act, sponsored by Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), doesn’t seek to explicitly require hospitals to provide reproductive, gender-affirming and end-of-life care. The bill’s focus would create a sort of test and process to ensure that as large health systems buy up smaller hospitals, those systems aren’t limiting or discontinuing access to such care at the institutions they acquire.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The WSLC supports the Keep Our Care Act, SB 5241.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Bill that would regulate hospital mergers in Washington passes House Senate, may join other legislation protecting abortion access — Justin Gill, an urgent care nurse practitioner at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett who is president of the Washington State Nurses Association, said WSNA supports the proposal:

“I’ve seen the direct impacts on care access and decreased options for my patients. Unchecked health care consolidations are problematic. When hospitals consolidate, we as nurses have seen decisions go from the hands of health care experts to oftentimes far-removed executives that might prioritize profits over patient care.”

► From the Seattle Times — Decay of ethical leadership is clear as Providence gouges the vulnerable (editorial) — Providence has fallen far since the Sisters of Providence incorporated in 1859 with the Washington territorial government for “the relief of needy and suffering humanity, in the care of orphans, invalids, the sick and poor.” The decay of ethical leadership is endemic in the corporate world. It is all the more troublesome in health care systems, particularly those that are faith-based. Government regulators must continue to be vigilant, but what’s really needed is a more enlightened generation of business leaders who understand that cutting corners, cheating customers and flouting rules only lead to organizational rot and an eventual comeuppance.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Democrats see best chance to flip Eastern Washington’s Congressional seat in decades — It’s been nearly 30 years since Democrats last represented Eastern Washington in Congress. Now with incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers not running for re-election, some in the party see a once-in-a-generation opportunity.




► From Reuters — Boeing to start contract negotiations with Seattle-area union on March 8 — Formal negotiations between the U.S. planemaker and its largest union — District 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers — were set to begin in early February, but the start date was pushed back to March 8 at Boeing’s request after the Jan. 5 in-flight cabin blowout on a 737 MAX 9. IAM District 751’s contract agreement with Boeing ends at midnight on Sept. 12.

► From Reuters — Airlines group chief backs Boeing CEO to fix safety crisis — Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun is the right person to lead the company out of its latest safety crisis, said International Air Transport Association Director General Willie Walsh, the head of the world’s biggest airline trade body.

► From Reuters — China’s first homegrown airliner makes international debut in Singapore — China’s challenger to Airbus and Boeing’s passenger jets, the narrow-body C919 manufactured by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), has made its first trip outside Chinese territory, staging a fly-by at the Singapore Airshow on Sunday.




► From the American Prospect — Why the Kroger-Albertsons merger will harm labor (by Allen Grunes and Rosa Baum) — Through its divestiture agreement with C&S, Kroger and Albertsons are setting the stage for the FTC to “litigate the fix” if the FTC decides to challenge the merger, which at this point appears likely… The failure of multiple grocery store divestitures during the past decade provides an object lesson in what can go wrong. In addition, C&S has a long history, going back more than 20 years, of acquiring unionized distribution centers, closing them down, and moving the work to non-union facilities. A conservative estimate is that C&S has eliminated more than 5,000 Teamster jobs over the last 20 years. The choice of an anti-union buyer was a slap in the face to labor. Involving the affected unions in recognition and successorship discussions would have given some substance to the promises both companies made to their employees. But it’s too late now.

► From HuffPost — Kroger, Albertsons allegedly colluded against grocery workers’ union — The grocery giants Albertsons and Kroger illegally colluded to weaken workers’ leverage amid strikes and contract negotiations in 2022, according to a lawsuit Colorado’s attorney general filed this week. As workers at 78 Kroger-owned King Soopers stores in Colorado were preparing to walk off the job that January, an Albertsons labor relations executive informed a counterpart at Kroger that his company would not poach strikers during the UFCW work stoppage, the lawsuit states.

► From the Seattle Times — Japanese Americans call for closure of Tacoma’s immigration prison — One day before the Day of Remembrance, commemorating when President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the incarceration of Japanese Americans and people of Japanese descent during World War II, a group of protesters gathered outside Tacoma’s Northwest ICE Processing Center, pointing to the facility as evidence history is repeating itself.

► From the Yakima H-R — Postal Service plans meeting Feb. 28 about Yakima mail processing changes — Plans call for transferring some Yakima mail processing to the Spokane Processing and Distribution Center. Marantha Vasaya, president of APWU’s Yakima Local, said some processing operations had already moved to Seattle. That had slowed delivery times for local mail, she said, because letters and packages were sent to Seattle, processed and then returned if their destination was in the area.




► From Politico — Federal agencies scramble to finish Biden’s rules — and protect his legacy from Trump — Biden’s agencies are facing a deadline this spring to finish some of their most important regulations to ensure that a Republican Congress and White House can’t erase them next year, including a bid to protect federal employees from politically motivated firings.

► From Roll Call — Trump’s interest in national abortion ban fires up both sides — Reports that Donald Trump plans to endorse a 16-week national abortion ban quickly exacerbated the pending political battle on abortion policy to come during the 2024 presidential campaign, with advocates on both sides seeing the report as advantageous to their side.




► From NPR — MLS will open its season this week with replacement referees after labor talks falter — Major League Soccer will kick off its season this week with replacement referees, after unionized match officials rejected a contract offer they said fell “short of expectations.” On Saturday, nearly 96% of Professional Soccer Referees Association members voted against a bargaining agreement put forward by the Professional Referee Organization, which employs referees for MLS and other professional soccer leagues. After the vote, the PRO announced it would lock out unionized match officials and instead begin the regular season with non-unionized replacement referees.

► From the Guardian — ‘Staff started breaking down’: Top U.S. care non-profit accused of reducing workers to tears — Former employees of Caring Across Generations, a high-profile caregivers association run by Ai-jen Poo, one of the U.S.’s leading labor activists, and backed by celebrities including Megan Thee Stallion and Bradley Cooper, have accused the non-profit of reducing staff to tears due to poor management, and of retaliation against union organizers.

► From the AP — Auto workers threaten to strike again at Ford’s huge Kentucky truck plant in local contract dispute — The United Auto Workers union is threatening to go on strike next week at Ford Motor Co.’s largest and most profitable factory in a dispute over local contract language. The union said Friday that nearly 9,000 workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville will strike on Feb. 23 if the local contract dispute is not resolved.




► From the Washington Post — Sinclair’s recipe for TV news: Crime, homelessness, illegal drugsEvery year, local television news stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting conduct short surveys among viewers to help guide the year’s coverage. A key question in each poll, according to David Smith, the company’s executive chairman and an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump: “What are you most afraid of?” The answers are evident in Sinclair’s programming. Crime, homelessness, illegal drug use, failing schools and other societal ills have long been core elements of local TV news coverage. But on Sinclair’s growing nationwide roster of stations, the editorial focus reflects Smith’s conservative views and plays on its audience’s fears that America’s cities are falling apart.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In Washington state, Sinclair owns KOMO in Seattle, KLEW in Spokane, KEPR in Pasco, and KIMA in Yakima, plus multiple KUNW Univision stations.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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