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Strike imminent in Port Angeles | H-2A abuse | MEBA sounds alarm

Thursday, March 28, 2024




PAPEA members and supporters pack a Port Angeles School Board meeting on March 14.

► From the Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles teachers’ union votes to honor paraeducators’ picket line on April 8 — Members of the Port Angeles Education Association voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to honor the picket lines of the Port Angeles Paraeducators Association if the paraeducators go on strike April 8. PAPEA members have been in negotiations for a new contract with the Port Angeles School District since last summer and have been working without a contract since Aug. 31. In February, members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if no agreement is reached by April 8. A key issue is a legislatively funded 3.7 percent cost-of-living increase that paraeducators have asked for and that the district has repeatedly refused to offer.

► From the union-busting Columbian — Evergreen school district approves $18.7 million in budget reductions — The Evergreen Public Schools board of directors voted 4-1 Tuesday night to cut $18.7 million from the 2024-2025 school year budget, including 151 staff positions, as it addresses a deficit. The resolution will eliminate 45 teacher positions, 22 teacher librarians, dozens of classified support positions, middle school deans and more. Evergreen Education Association president Kristie Peak announced that her union’s governing body has asked members to approve a no-confidence vote in district leadership.

► From Crosscut — In rural Washington, patients travel hours for basic healthcare — Local physicians and researchers say long-term solutions like new training programs could help bridge the access gap.

► From the Seattle Times — Instacart settles over alleged labor violations for nearly $750K — Grocery delivery company Instacart will pay nearly $750,000 to settle allegations it failed to comply with Seattle’s law mandating gig workers receive paid sick and safe time. Last year, DoorDash settled allegations from the Office of Labor Standards that it was violating the paid sick and safe time ordinance for $1.6 million.

From The STAND (March 26)Seattle unions fight to save gig workers’ wage ordinance — This ordinance, which went into effect less than three months ago, covers delivery drivers for Doordash, Uber Eats, Instacart and others.




► From Reuters — How Boeing’s leadership was ‘fired’ by its own customers — A revolt by U.S. airline bosses helped topple Boeing’s top leadership including CEO Dave Calhoun this week, capping weeks of pressure. Now, after the shakeup that took out the CEO, chairman and head of Boeing’s commercial airplanes business, airlines face prolonged uncertainty over jet supplies and are calling for deeper changes – starting with picking a manufacturing heavyweight as CEO. Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci, who is said to have played a particularly active role in pressuring Boeing, told NBC:

“It makes me angry. Boeing is better than this.”




► From the Seattle Times — Why Washington’s farmworkers are disappearing — Migrant farm labor in Washington saw a 37% decrease from 2017 to 2022, falling to about 35,000 workers in 2022. Nationally, their numbers dropped 14%. In the same period, though, the number of farmworkers employed through the H-2A guest worker program, which allows employers to bring in foreign workers to fill temporary agricultural jobs, has nearly doubled in Washington. State labor economists and H-2A employment agencies attribute the shift to domestic farmworkers aging out of the workforce and finding less strenuous jobs elsewhere, and a dwindling interest in farm work. Farmworker unions and advocates, however, contend that the profits growers earn on the H-2A program are suppressing wages for domestic workers and pushing them out of work on Washington farms.

► From the WA State Standard — WA governor urged to veto $25M for nuclear power project — The money, in the capital budget, would go to Energy Northwest which hopes to have a new modular reactor operating in central Washington by 2030. Inslee will act on the budget Friday.

► From the Seattle Times — WA passes bill to protect libraries, as other states target them — Washington has passed legislation intended to safeguard its public libraries, after a small city in the southeastern corner of the state nearly became the first community in the nation to shutter its library over the book battles that have engulfed schools, libraries, cities and states across the country.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Under new federal program, Washingtonians can file taxes for free — At a press conference Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene called the Direct File program safe, easy and secure.

From The STAND (March 13)Washingtonians: File taxes for free with IRS Direct File




► From the AP — Applications for unemployment benefits dip to 210,000 in strong job market —  The number of Americans signing up for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, another sign that the labor market remains strong and most workers enjoy extraordinary job security.

► From Politico — Biden expands window to try and keep millions more low-income Americans insured — President Joe Biden is widening a critical window for low-income Americans to join Obamacare. Tens of millions of people eliminated from Medicaid would now have until Nov. 30 to sign up for new coverage under a plan to be announced Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services — an extension from the July 31 deadline initially set for the special enrollment period.

► From Roll Call — Race to House majority runs through the 10 Toss-ups — The only Toss-up race in a district that President Donald Trump carried is Washington’s 3rd District, represented by Democratic Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. She won by less than 1 point in 2022 while Republicans largely stayed away from the general election after Republican Joe Kent kept GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler from winning one of the top two spots in the primary. Republicans will go after Gluesenkamp Perez this time around.

► From The Hill — Fears grow over Comstock Act, Justices Thomas, Alito — Abortion rights supporters are sounding the alarm that conservative Supreme Court justices want to use a long-dormant 151-year-old law to enforce a nationwide abortion ban.




► From — Teamsters’ boycott pressure forces Molson Coors back to the bargaining table — Facing a nationwide boycott and the 40th day of an ongoing strike at its Fort Worth brewery, Molson Coors returned to the bargaining table on Wednesday morning. Brewery workers continue to hold the strike line while the Teamsters negotiating committee meets with Molson Coors and a federal mediator to demand a strong agreement.

► From the Guardian — Maritime union sounds alarm over global shipping standards — The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association has sounded the alarm against corporate profiteering in the wake of Tuesday’s cargo ship crash into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, claiming the industry is “probably the worst offender”. MEBA warned of the dangers of growing vessels and shrinking crews — claiming that those from overseas are “not up to the standards” required in the U.S.

► From the USA Today — Tugboats left before ship reached Baltimore bridge. They might have saved it. — The accident is igniting debate over the proliferation of “megaships” that fuel today’s commercial transportation industry and whether port protocols have ramped up to safely accommodate them.

► From the AP — Cargo ship had engine maintenance in port before it collided with Baltimore bridge, officials say

► From the USA Today — ‘I’m too young to retire’: What forced these workers to retire before they were ready — If you’re one of many Americans who think you’ll work till 75, or 70, or even 65, think again. Here are the stories of seven Americans who retired years earlier than they had planned, for reasons largely beyond their control.


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

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