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IAM 751 is going big | Casa Latina turns 30 | Int’l Women’s Day

Friday, March 8, 2024




► From the Seattle Times — As watershed contract talks with Boeing open, Machinists think big — On Friday, Boeing and the Machinists union formally open contract talks, a monthslong showdown that could shape the future of the Puget Sound region’s aerospace industry into the 2030s. The union has leverage and plans to use it. Jon Holden, president of the International Association of Machinists District 751 representing the more than 32,000 Boeing Machinists, says the union will put on the table an initial proposal for a wage increase of more than 40% over three years, a year shorter than the typical previous contract The union is also asking for the restoration of its traditional pension, given up under duress in 2014. Critically for the future of airplane manufacturing in the region, it wants Boeing to commit to building its next all-new airplane here — a promise management has never been prepared to offer in advance of launching a new program.

► From Reuters — Boeing says annual employee bonuses will focus on safety — Under the new annual incentive plans, which will cover executives, managers and nonunion employees, safety and quality metrics will now account for 60% of the payout at Boeing’s commercial unit, the company said. Previously, financial incentives comprised 75% of the annual award, while the remaining 25% was tied to operational objectives including quality and safety.

► From Reuters — United to pause pilot hiring for two months on Boeing delivery delays

► Must-see TV from HBO — Boeing: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — John Oliver discusses how Boeing went from being a company known for quality craftsmanship to one synonymous with crashes, mishaps, and “quality escape.” Whatever that means.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Make sure you stick around for the parody commercial at the end: “Boeing: We went to business school. Get on our plane!”




► From KING — Unionized REI workers to picket in front of company headquarters after lack of progress on contract negotiations — Multiple stores have voted to unionize but they have been waiting for months to negotiate contracts with the company, according to unions representing REI workers. Among their demands, they are looking for better staffing at their stores. “(We want) the right amount of staff that is also knowledgeable, skilled, experienced and comfortable to operate effectively and safely within the stores,” said Tini Alexander, an employee at the company’s Bellingham location.

Today at The STANDREI workers demand company bargain in good faith — REI workers from across the country march to company HQ in Issaquah.

► From the Seattle Times — Casa Latina has found success — and a better way for members to find work — The nonprofit Casa Latina turns 30 this year. It has grown from an all-volunteer, no-money effort to an organization with 19 staff members and more than $2 million in annual revenue, but has retained its basic bones: English classes, workshops, advocacy, community and a way of finding work that is safer and more transparent than the anonymous scrum of the street or hardware-store parking lots. Today, Casa Latina has around 600 members: roughly half day laborers and half domestic workers.

► From FOX 28 — Grocery workers picket outside multiple Spokane-area stores calling for higher wages — Many grocery store workers represented by UFCW 3000 “info-picketed” outside Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores and Albertsons/Safeway stores. The union members are calling for better wages, increased staffing and safer working conditions.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Kennewick school bus union treasurer admits to stealing dues for more than 10 years — A Kennewick school employee has promised to repay $14,000 after admitting to years of stealing cash from her bus driver union. Karen Ann Steele, 64, the union’s former treasurer, started this week by paying $2,500 as part of an agreement that will keep her out of jail even after pleading guilty to second-degree theft.

► From ProPublica — At Seattle’s Boeing Field, real-time video offers a rare glimpse of America’s troubled deportation flights — Key details about what happens inside ICE Air would still be hidden if not for a group of Washington activists and researchers, who are now using a live video feed from the tarmac to document the flights.




► From the WA State Standard — What passed and failed in the 2024 legislative session — On the final day, the Legislature reached agreement on the framework for legislative employees wishing to form unions and negotiate contracts. Under SB 6194, Democratic and Republican staff in each chamber cannot be in the same bargaining units. And, the final deal will allow employees to bargain over whether they are at-will employees or can only be terminated for just cause.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As always, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will immediately begin preparing its 2024 Legislative Report, outlining what pro-worker legislation passed, what didn’t, and how our state legislators voted on these issues. Stay tuned.

From The STAND (March 4)Progress, disappointment from State Legislature — Multiple pro-worker bills approved, but Senate kills HB 1893 to protect strikers. ‘This is not over,’ vows WSLC President April Sims.

► From Crosscut — Bill to offer unemployment pay to striking workers falls short — A bill to extend unemployment benefits to striking workers failed to pass the Legislature before a key deadline last week. The House approved HB 1893 in mid-February, but the legislation hit a roadblock in the Senate and never made it to the floor for a vote. Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) said:

“It was a big, new idea and it was a short session. I think there was a caution and a reluctance. A lot of people were just not comfortable taking on a big, new idea in a short session.”

► From the WA State Standard — Lawmakers vote to shore up ferry service on final day of session — Some islanders dependent on ferries get a life ring, but November statewide vote on cap-and-trade repeal could poke new leaks in budget.

► From Crosscut — Legislature revs up plan to electrify 10,000 school buses




► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler applauds President Biden’s State of the Union address — “The State of the Union is union strong. The most pro-union president in our lifetime laid out a clear plan tonight to keep fighting for working people against Donald Trump and MAGA extremists who are looking out only for the rich and big corporations.”

Today at The STAND‘An invigorating reminder’ of why we support President Biden (by April Sims) — I was honored to attend the State of the Union and witness a president excited about achieving more pro-worker policies in his 2nd term.

► From the Washington Post — Biden delivers the message for the moment: Wake up, America (editorial) — The  strongest part of the president’s speech was how he described his vision of American greatness, undergirded by the core values of “honesty, decency, dignity, equality” — and the alternative, the “resentment, revenge and retribution” that Donald Trump hawks at every rally. This contrast in worldviews is the most important difference between the two options Americans will likely have at the polls come November.

► From the AP — U.S. employers add a surprisingly strong 275,000 jobs in sign of continued economic strength — Last month’s job growth marked an increase from a revised gain of 229,000 jobs in January. Last month marked the 25th straight month in which joblessness has remained below 4% — the longest such streak since the 1960s.




► From the AP — International Women’s Day is a celebration and call to action. Beware the flowers and candy — Women across the world will demand equal pay, reproductive rights, education, justice, decision-making jobs and other essential needs during demonstrations marking International Women’s Day on Friday. Officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, International Women’s Day is commemorated in different ways and to varying degrees in places around the world. Protests are often political and, at times, violent, rooted in women’s efforts to improve their rights as workers.

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle’s pay gap between women and men just won’t stop growing — Men earn $25,000 more than their women counterparts, according to a Seattle Times analysis of recently released census data on the annual median pay for full-time workers. As the world marks International Women’s Day on Friday, Seattle women working full time earn on average about 78 cents for every dollar paid to men — a decline from 80 cents to the dollar a decade ago.

READY TO CLOSE THE PAY GAP? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions that apply to ALL, regardless of gender. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!




► Happy International Women’s Day! “For all the mothers fighting for better days to come / And all my women, all my women sitting here trying to come home before the sun / And all my sisters coming together / Say ‘Yes, I will!’ ‘Yes, I can!’ ”


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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!