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Unionizing in Mill Creek | Change culture at Boeing | Shutdown looms

Tuesday, February 27, 2024




► From the Seattle Times — FTC moves to block Kroger-Albertsons merger that could upend Seattle grocery shopping — The Federal Trade Commission will sue to block the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons claiming the $25 billion deal, the largest grocery merger in U.S. history, would raise prices and hurt workers, the agency said Monday morning. Nine states are joining the FTC’s lawsuit, though not Washington, which filed its own suit to block the merger Jan. 15. The federal lawsuit, which had been long expected by many legal experts, contends that combining America’s two biggest grocery store chains would eliminate competition that currently keeps prices down and allows workers to bargain for higher wages.

Today from The STANDUFCW hails FTC move to block Kroger-Albertsons merger

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle shoppers cheer FTC action on Kroger-Albertsons merger — Regulators should “step in there and say, ‘no,’ ” Tim Johnson said Monday morning as he left the QFC in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. He worried the merger “makes it so these guys’ prices go sky-high.” At the Safeway a few miles west in Ballard, Geo Hasegawa called the FTC’s action necessary to prevent a situation with even fewer “companies controlling … the grocery market in Seattle.”




► From the (Everett) Herald — ‘We cannot keep up’: Mill Creek Starbucks workers file for unionization — Last week, Zach Gabelein and his 24 coworkers at a Starbucks in Mill Creek filed for unionization. Gabelein said they are hoping to get guaranteed hours, better staffing, pay and benefits. In a joint letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan, workers wrote:

“We cannot keep up with constant (sales) promotions, dilapidated equipment, and unclean stores. It’s clear to us now more than ever that this one-sided relationship is no longer working.”

Since the filing, Gabelein says there has been an uptick in targeted write-ups for dress code violations, like wearing light blue jeans. He thinks stronger anti-union tactics are around the corner.

From The STAND (Jan. 30, 2024)Amid union-busting, Starbucks workers just keep organizing — In Washington state, 29 30 stores have filed for union elections and Starbucks workers have voted “Union Yes!” in 24 of them, with one outcome pending a challenge, one two elections yet to be held (in Renton Village and Mill Creek), and just three rejecting the union.

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 the Seattle Times — SeaTac federal detainees grow desperate amid lack of medical care — Interviews and written statements from more than 20 people currently or formerly incarcerated there, accounts from lawyers and court records and other documents indicate medical care is severely lacking, leaving serious health conditions undiagnosed and untreated.




► From Bloomberg — Boeing hit by damning FAA report faulting safety culture — U.S. regulators issued a scathing assessment of Boeing Co.’s safety culture. The planemaker was faulted for ineffective procedures and a breakdown in communications between senior management and other members of staff, a panel of experts convened by the FAA said in a report released Monday.

► From SPEEA — SPEEA welcomes FAA report on Boeing safety culture; calls for change — SPEEA Director of Strategic Development Rich Plunkett, who was among the panel of experts convened by the FAA to review safety procedures and quality processes at Boeing:

“Our members have long reported a disconnect between the messaging they get from Boeing headquarters in Chicago or Virginia, and the messages they get from their direct supervisors here. Quality and safety must be the Boeing Co.’s core values, embraced by everyone, but the report reflects the reality that people who see something are afraid of saying anything for fear of jeopardizing their careers.”

► From Forbes — Let the Engineers lead: America needs Boeing to be great (by Gautam Mukunda) — If you work at Boeing — and even more, if you lead Boeing — the most important thing you need to understand is that your job isn’t making numbers. It’s making planes. And just as important, a Boeing that tries to do its job on the cheap isn’t a Boeing worth having… The only way you push the technological frontier forward is by investing. At a minimum, though, Boeing would do well to remember that great engineering companies are run by engineers, not financiers.

► From the Seattle Times — Boeing board blocks shareholder push to bring HQ back to Seattle — The SEC ruled Wednesday that the board is entitled to omit the proposal from the shareholder ballot.




► From the Washington Post — Biden convenes congressional leaders as federal shutdown deadline nears — If a portion of federal finances lapse just past midnight on Saturday, vital services at the Department of Transportation would go offline. Food stamp programs could quickly run low on funding. Housing assistance for millions of families would fall into jeopardy. And another larger government shutdown cliff awaits just a week later, when funds for the Defense and State departments will also expire, unless Congress acts.

► From The Hill — Senate GOP fears Speaker Johnson headed toward shutdown wreck — Senate Republicans are trying to wave their House GOP counterparts away from blundering into a partial government shutdown at week’s end, something that looks increasingly likely given Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) unstable grip on power over a narrow majority.

► From the LA Times — California’s Julie Su up for Labor secretary confirmation again — The Senate Labor Committee will vote again Tuesday on whether to advance Julie Su’s nomination to lead the Labor Department, though it’s unclear whether anything has changed since her bid for the job languished last year amid fierce GOP opposition and a handful of Democratic holdouts.

► From the Washington Post — Biden supercharged these Michigan unions. Will workers return the favor? — Jakeob Carson is part of the biggest-ever crop of apprentices at the local United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters, which is in the midst of a boom that its officials describe with adjectives like “unfathomable,” “historic,” and “unprecedented.” The union is expanding by 20 percent, in part to fill jobs at two huge new electric vehicle battery plants tied to a massive climate bill that President Biden and Democrats in Congress pushed into law in 2022. Union leaders credit those investments for the bonanza. Yet it’s not clear whether rank-and-file members agree — or if they’re even aware how the president’s initiatives have spurred the building trades’ fastest-ever growth spurt.

► From the Onion — Clarence Thomas announces 50% discount on all favorable rulings




► From the Washington Post — The economy is roaring. Immigration is a key reason. — Immigration has propelled the U.S. job market further than just about anyone expected, helping cement the country’s economic rebound from the pandemic as the most robust in the world. That momentum picked up aggressively over the past year. About 50 percent of the labor market’s extraordinary recent growth came from foreign-born workers between January 2023 and January 2024, according to an Economic Policy Institute analysis of federal data.

From The STANDRegister now for 2024 Labor and Immigration Summit on March 23

► From HuffPost — Majority of workers at Alabama Mercedes plant signed union cards, UAW says — More than half of the employees at Mercedes-Benz’s manufacturing plant near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, have signed union cards and intend to join the United Auto Workers, the union announced Tuesday. Hitting a majority of sign-ups marks a milestone for the UAW as it seeks to represent workers at foreign-owned auto plants in the South.

► From the AP — Macy’s to close 150 stores as sales slip as it pivots to luxury at Bloomingdale’s and Blue Mercury — Macy’s will close 150 stores over the next three years and 50 by the end of 2024, the department store said Tuesday after posting a fourth quarter loss and declining sales. At the same time the company signaled a pivot to luxury. It said it would open 15 of its higher end Bloomingdale’s stores and 30 of its luxury Blue Mercury cosmetics locations.


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!