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Justice for drivers | Supreme chaos | Union members’ sky-high raises

Wednesday, March 20, 2024





► From KING — Inslee signs bill expanding death benefits for families of slain rideshare drivers — Since 2020, there have been five rideshare drivers killed while on the job. On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 2382, sponsored by Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle), that will expand death benefits for families of rideshare drivers who are killed while on the job. Peter Kuel, Drivers Union President, said he hopes other states follow Washington’s lead.

► From the WA State Standard — More Washington students will soon get clean rides to school (by Jamie Hearn and Eric Gonzalez Alfaro) — Thanks to clean air champions in the Legislature, including Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Is.) who was the primary sponsor of HB 1368, and Gov. Jay Inslee who is expected to sign the zero-emissions school bus bill into law, more Washington students will soon be riding safely to school in zero-emission school buses.

► From the union-busting Columbian — Rotschy fined again in teen’s injury that resulted in double amputation — L&I issued an additional $51,800 in fines against a Vancouver construction company after a 16-year-old boy’s legs were amputated following an injury last summer while working on a site in La Center. The teen worked for Rotschy LLC as part of a work-based learning program.

► From the Bellingham Herald — Child care grants adding nearly 30 spaces in Bellingham preschools — Two Bellingham preschool programs are among the recipients of $30.4 million in grants to early learning centers across the Washington, with funding from the state Department of Commerce and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.




► From the union-busting Columbian — Fort Vancouver students walk out of class to protest district staff reductions — Hundreds of Fort Vancouver High School students walked out of class late Tuesday morning, protesting district staffing cuts they say will disproportionately impact their school next year. The district’s lowest-income high school is expected to see most positions cut.




► From Bloomberg — Boeing sees massive cash drain as 737 MAX episode takes toll — Cash outflow will reach $4 billion to $4.5 billion in the first quarter, Boeing CFO Brian West said Wednesday. The outlook reflects a shift in priorities at Boeing as it grapples with the aftermath of a near-catastrophic fuselage failure on a 737 MAX 9 aircraft early this year. The company has slowed jet deliveries as it pours resources into eradicating so-called traveled work from across its commercial product lines, West said. The out-of-sequence installation of parts is at the heart of a quality breakdown that has spurred a painstaking review of its manufacturing by U.S. regulators. Despite the setbacks, Boeing has sufficient reserves to pay for a possible acquisition of Spirit Aero in cash and debt rather than issuing equity, West said.

► From Reuters — Boeing CFO: 737 production to be kept below 38/month — Boeing has made the decision to keep B737 jet production below 38 per month, and will only accept a fully conforming fuselage from supplier Spirit AeroSystems at its Washington state factory, CFO Brian West said.

► From Reuters — Boeing mulls shedding Airbus work in potential Spirit Aero deal — Boeing is looking at how Spirit AeroSystems could shed or sharply reduce its ties to Airbus, as the supply-chain giant’s work for the European planemaker poses complications in rival Boeing’s attempt to acquire its former subsidiary.

► From NPR — How bad is Boeing’s 2024 so far? Here’s a timeline




► From The Hill — Appeals court halts enforcement of Texas immigration law hours after Supreme Court order — Just hours after the Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to take effect that gave state law enforcement the authority to arrest people they suspect are entering the country illegally, a federal appeals court issued an order that puts it on hold. The three liberal Supreme Court justices publicly dissented from the court’s order that allowed the statute, S.B. 4, to take effect. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson argued the statute will invite “further chaos and crisis” in immigration enforcement.

► From Vox — The Supreme Court’s confusing new border decision, explained — It is hard to believe that Justice Amy Coney Barrett actually agrees with her own opinion.

► From the AP — U.S. farms are increasingly reliant on contract workers who are acutely exposed to climate extremes — Because of the terms of their employment, those laborers have specific challenges voicing concerns about their working conditions, and are more likely to be on the front lines of climate change, facing increasing heat and extreme weather. Climate change affects all farm workers, but advocates and researchers say this is a reason to focus particularly on these workers.




► From — Jayapal, Warren, Boyle reintroduce Ultra-Millionaire Tax on fortunes over $50 million — The Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, popular, comprehensive legislation that would bring in at least $3 trillion in revenue over 10 years by requiring that the top 0.05 percent of American households chip in 2 cents for every dollar of wealth over $50 million. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th):

“The Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act is a major step toward making sure the wealthy finally pay their fair share. With this legislation, we can narrow the racial wealth gap and invest trillions of dollars in schools, clean energy, housing, health care, and more to improve lives in communities across America.”

EDITOR’S NOTE –The AFL-CIO has “proudly” endorsed the legislation: “It’s time to even the playing field and raise revenue to invest in working families.”

► From Government Executive — OPM’s labor-management forum guidance charts new ground for union policies — Federal agencies will be expected to embrace the return of collaborative councils, where federal employee unions may weigh in on future workplace policies, and measure the forums’ impact on employee engagement, agency performance and cost savings.

► From the AP — Biden to tout government investing $8.5 billion in Intel’s computer chip plants in four states — The Biden administration has reached an agreement to provide Intel with up to $8.5 billion in direct funding and $11 billion in loans for computer chip plants in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon.

► From Reuters — Intel prepares for $100 billion spending spree across 4 states

► From the AP — GOP state attorneys push back on Biden’s proposed diversity rules for apprenticeship programs — A Biden administration plan to promote diversity and equity in workplace apprenticeship programs is facing pushback from Republican attorneys general in two dozen states who assert it amounts to race-based discrimination.

► From Roll Call — House leaders mull Friday vote on final spending package — Brief weekend shutdown appears likely, though little impact on government operations is expected.




► From Bloomberg Law — ANALYSIS: Unions won sky-high pay hikes in 2023 negotiations — Union contracts negotiated in 2023 gave workers an average first-year wage increase of 6.6%, the highest average pay raise for any year since Bloomberg Law began tracking union wage settlements in 1988. With signing bonuses and other lump-sum payments added to the calculations, 2023’s average first-year wage increase was 7.3%, also a record high. Union-secured wages have surged since 2020, as labor negotiators have called their management counterparts to account for cost-cutting moves made during the pandemic and economic shutdown.

READY FOR A RAISE? 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 Guardian — Minneapolis drivers protested wages – and won. Lyft and Uber are choosing to leave the city rather than pay up — Groups of drivers backed a bill setting minimum pay, but the two tech companies say it’d make riders’ fees unsustainable.


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

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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!