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Burien’s tip penalty | GOP targets Social Security | After Starbucks, who’s next?

Friday, March 22, 2024




► From Crosscut — Puget Sound transit and riders navigate post-pandemic commutes — With more people working in-office, local agencies try to make light-rail and bus services more consistent. But they face staff shortages and delays. Last August, Metro and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 agreed to a new three-year labor contract covering about 4,000 transit employees, raising wages a total of 17 percent, offering current drivers a retention bonus of $2,000 and giving new drivers and mechanics a $3,000 signing bonus. That contract, in tandem with more vigorous recruiting efforts, has made a dent in Metro’s deficit of drivers, said Katie Chalmers, managing director of service development for Metro.

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 Seattle Times — Burien raises minimum wage, but many won’t see bump, organizers say — Under the city’s new minimum wage ordinance, starting January 2025, large businesses and franchises will be required to pay $3 more than the state’s minimum wage, currently set at $16.28 an hour. But organizers with Raise the Wage Burien argue that a majority of minimum wage workers will see no difference in their pay because of exemptions in the ordinance, such as allowing businesses to use tips and benefits to count toward a worker’s required $2-$3 pay bump. Local and state chamber of commerce representatives praised the ordinance.

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle council pushes toward rollback of delivery driver minimum wage — The Seattle City Council could begin discussing a partial rollback of the city’s wage guarantees for app-based delivery drivers as early as next week, just two months after the new law took effect, with the goal of passing the amended law this spring. The whiplash second guessing of the law — which is separate from the city’s broader minimum wage — comes as both drivers and businesses complained about the added cost of delivery, largely in the form of service charges added by the companies in the wake of the new law.

► From the union-busting Columbian — VSAA, Hudson’s Bay High School students walk out to protest Vancouver Public Schools budget cuts — The reductions, which the district’s board of directors approved last week, will cut 262 staff positions for the 2024-2025 school year.




► From Reuters — Boeing chair to meet key airline customers without planemaker’s CEO, sources say —  Major airline chiefs plan to hold discussions with Boeing board chair Larry Kellner in meetings that will not include CEO David Calhoun after raising concerns over an Alaska Airlines mid-air emergency and ongoing production issues, sources said.

► From the Seattle Times — FBI to Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 passengers: You may be a crime victim — The Seattle FBI office has alerted Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 passengers that each may be a “possible victim of a crime” after a midair blowout aboard a Boeing 737 MAX airliner earlier this year.

► From NPR — As the DOJ investigates Boeing, crash victims’ families wonder why it’s taken so long — Boeing made big promises to the Justice Department in order to avoid prosecution after the 2019 Max 8 crashes. But that deal is now facing heightened scrutiny after a door plug blew off a jet in midair.




► From the WA State Standard — Inflation has turned Washington state’s property tax cap into a county budget-killer — No matter how fast property values increase, state law only lets most local governments increase their property tax revenue from existing properties by 1% without voter-approved ballot measures. Washington’s cap on property taxes is among the strictest in the country. That restriction has dogged county budgets for decades, but in this moment — as inflation has soared — it’s hammering them harder than ever. Washington state’s property tax cap began, as so many headaches for government budget wonks have, with a voter initiative championed by anti-tax activist Tim Eyman.

► From the Seattle Times — The cost of repealing state laws on climate, health and capital gains (by Jon Talton) — The Legislature has never forwarded three initiatives to the voters in a single year since the state adopted the initiative and referendum process in 1912. The initiatives have economic ramifications for the state and the planet.




► From NBC News — House Republican budget calls for raising the retirement age for Social Security — A budget by the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 170 GOP lawmakers (including both Washington Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse) highlights how many in the party would seek to govern if Republicans win in November. It calls for raising the Social Security retirement age for future retirees and restructuring Medicare… Apart from fiscal policy, the budget endorses a series of bills “designed to advance the cause of life,” including the Life at Conception Act, which would aggressively restrict abortion and potentially threaten in vitro fertilization, or IVF, by establishing legal protections for human beings at “the moment of fertilization.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Republicans would rather cut our earned Social Security and Medicare benefits than consider raising or scrapping the cap. Currently, people who earn more than $168,600/year don’t pay a penny in taxes beyond that amount. 

► From The Hill — Social Security head warns against raising retirement age after GOP proposal — Social Security Administration Commissioner Martin O’Malley warned that raising the retirement age for the program would disproportionately hurt blue-collar workers.

► From The Hill — House sends Senate bill to avert shutdown — The House on Friday approved a $1.2 trillion government funding bill, sending the sprawling package to the Senate hours before the deadline and officially capping off the fiscal year 2024 appropriations process in the lower chamber.

► From the LA Times — The 8-hour workday was the paramount goal of unions in the 1800s. Is the 4-day workweek next? (by Michael Hiltzik) — The workweek is now back on the front burner, in part because unions are feeling their oats lately, and also because Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the HELP Committee chairman, has introduced a bill to mandate a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay for those transitioning from the traditional 40 hours.

► From Government Executive — Lawmakers propose a new federal office to regulate workplace surveillance tech — The new bill from Reps. Chris Deluzio (D-Pa.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) would also establish new employee rights and employer transparency rules around surveillance.




► From The Guardian — ‘Huge breakthrough’ in Starbucks union talks – which other U.S. firms will follow? — For more than two years Starbucks has fought fiercely against unionization. Now the company appears willing to come to the bargaining table. On Tuesday, the Starbucks union said it would resume in-person bargaining with the company in late April, with the aim of achieving a “foundational framework agreement.” The news – while cautiously received – is not just much-needed cheer for workers at the coffee chain, but for others at Amazon, Trader Joe’s and the outdoor sports retailer REI, whose own efforts to reach a first contract have barely inched forward in the last 18 months.

From The STAND (Mar. 8)REI workers demand company bargain in good faith

► From HuffPost — Georgia Republicans pass bill punishing union-friendly employers — SB 362 would bar companies from receiving state economic incentives if they voluntarily recognize a union instead of requiring employees to vote in a secret-ballot election. It is aimed at discouraging a process known as “card check,” whereby workers can unionize simply by showing that there’s majority support in the form of signed union cards. It is likely to face legal challenges on the grounds that it conflicts with federal labor law.

► From the LA Times — Landmark heat rules for California workers are opposed by state finance officials — In a highly unusual move, the board of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health voted unanimously to adopt new heat illness prevention standards for indoor workers — even after the Department of Finance intervened in the 11th hour over concerns about considerable costs to correctional facilities and other state entities.




► If you’ve never seen Electric Light Orchestra (or its post-2014 incarnation Jeff Lynne’s ELO) in concert, this may be your last chance. Tickets went on sale today for “The Over and Out Tour,” said to be their final tour of North America, and it includes an Aug. 27 show at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena. The Entire Staff of The STAND bought tickets for our entire family and we can’t wait. Here they are performing one of our favorites. Enjoy!


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!