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Norm Dicks on Horse Heaven | Asbestos banned (finally) | VW for UAW

Tuesday, March 19, 2024




► From the Seattle Times — Reevaluate decisions that hamper WA’s clean energy future (by Norm Dicks) — Beyond the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council’s flawed process for the vital Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center, I am alarmed by the council’s seeming inaction toward the imminent impact of climate change to our world and state. The council’s decisions show little consideration that we must quickly build a remarkable amount of renewable projects to meet our energy needs and reduce our dependence on carbon-based sources. I respectfully call upon the EFSEC to provide strong leadership, reconsider many of its preliminary decisions and use the environmental impact statement and science to develop a viable Horse Heaven project. Time is not our friend in our fight with climate change.

► A related story from Reuters — UN sounds ‘Red Alert’ as world smashes heat records in 2023 — Every major global climate record was broken last year, the World Meteorological Organization said on Tuesday, with its chief voicing particular concern about ocean heat and shrinking sea ice. The U.N. weather agency said that average temperatures hit the highest level in 174 years of record-keeping by a clear margin.

► From the DOH — Department of Health announces updated guidance for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses — One of the most significant guidance changes is how long someone should stay home and away from others after contracting COVID-19, flu, RSV, or other respiratory viruses. Previous COVID-19 guidance recommended people isolate for at least 5 full days after symptoms appeared. The new guidance recommends people return to normal activities when their symptoms are getting better overall and they have not had a fever (without having to use fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours.

► From the Olympian — Inslee signs bill requiring schools to include LGBTQ history, perspective in teachings –Public schools in Washington will be required to update curriculum to include LGBTQ histories and perspectives under a new law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday.

► From the Seattle Times — 10 years in, here’s what to know about WA charter schools — Today, 18 of these publicly funded, privately run schools operate statewide. They enroll 4,400 students across the state — 0.5% of the total public school population.

► From the Cascadia Daily News — Whatcom educators: State money still short of what’s needed to fund public schools — Legislative operating and capital budgets each include more than $300 million in additional spending.




► From the IFPTE — SPEEA members have elected a new president, John Dimas — Dimas is a product life cycle engineer working at the Boeing Co. in Everett, where he does technical integration work for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He has been an active member of SPEEA as a Council Representative and committee member, and he had been serving as one of SPEEA’s Northwest regional vice presidents before running for president. Dimas replaces Ryan Rule, who had served two terms as SPEEA president and under the union’s governing documents was unable to seek a third consecutive term.

► From Reuters — Airbus CEO says Boeing’s problems are bad for whole industry — “I am not happy with the problems of my competitor,” Guillaume Faury said.




► From NPR — The U.S. bans most common form of asbestos, after decades of pushback from industry — The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it is banning the most common form of asbestos, a cancer-causing substance that’s linked to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans every year. The U.S. is prohibiting the use of chrysotile asbestos, joining more than 50 other countries that have already outlawed the substance. The ban comes after decades of pushback from companies that have used it in everything from consumer goods to manufacturing processes.

► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO applauds Biden Administration’s rule to protect workers by banning use of chrysotile asbestos — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler:

“Unions have been sounding the alarm about this dangerous substance for decades. Today’s action will undoubtedly save lives and prevent countless exposures that endanger working families.”

► From The Hill — Congressional leaders strike deal on Homeland Security funding ahead of shutdown deadline — Congressional leaders have struck a deal to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the remainder of fiscal year 2024, a source says, closing out the six bills due by Friday’s shutdown deadline.

► From Roll Call — Spending deal done, though final action could slip past deadline — Federal agencies still face a potential brief appropriations lapse this weekend with time running tight.




► From The Hill — Tennessee Volkswagen workers ask for UAW representation vote — Workers at a Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, the UAW announced Tuesday. The move could make the Tennessee plant the first to join the UAW since the union earned pay raises and benefit increases for its members in a strike against the “Big Three” automakers last year. Plant employee Yolanda Peoples:

“I come from a UAW family, so I’ve seen how having our union enables us to make life better on the job and off. We are a positive force in the plant. When we win our union, we’ll be able to bargain for a safer workplace, so people can stay on the job and the company can benefit from our experience.”

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 HuffPost — Starbucks to bargain with delegates from its 400 unionized stores — The bargaining sessions scheduled for late April are meant to set a framework for union contracts around the country.

From The STAND (Feb. 28)A ‘path forward’ to union contracts at Starbucks

► From KQED — Workers lost millions to California’s worst known wage thief. And he’s still in businessCalifornia has some of the nation’s strongest employee protections on the books, including against wage theft. Yet, Rafael Rivas’ case signals that the state is not prioritizing restitution for workers when their earnings are withheld, according to workers’ rights advocates.

► From NPR — Standard pregnancy care is now dangerously disrupted in Louisiana, report reveals — In the wake of Louisiana’s abortion ban, pregnant women have been given risky, unnecessary surgeries, denied swift treatment for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, and forced to wait until their life is at risk before getting an abortion, a new report finds.

► From the USA Today — Americans love pensions. Where did they go? Will they ever return? — Many consider pensions the gold standard of retirement benefits. Over the years, private companies gradually shifted from pensions to 401(k)s, which are generally cheaper and entail far fewer risks for the company. Indeed, the 401(k) transfers most of the risk from the company to the worker.




► From Reuters — Amazon workers at UK warehouse strike again over pay, union recognition — Around 1,400 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry, central England, went on strike on Tuesday and plan to do so again on Wednesday as part of a long-running dispute over pay and union recognition, the GMB trade union said.


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!