Amazon spends on ‘persuaders’ | What’s driving grocery prices | Shuler on AI

Monday, April 1, 2024




► From HuffPost — Amazon spent $3.1 million on anti-union consultants in 2023 — Amazon spent more than $3 million on anti-union consultants last year in its continuing effort to keep organized labor out of its delivery network, according to disclosures filed Saturday with the Labor Department. The Seattle-based retail giant has been ringing up a large tab hiring “persuaders” who try to convince workers not to form unions. It doled out more than $14 million on such consultants last year as well.

► From the Walla Walla U-B — WWCC, professional staff union reach collective bargaining agreement — Walla Walla Community College and its union of about 65 professional staff members (AFT-WWPS) have reached a collective bargaining agreement, establishing a salary schedule, opportunities for professional development and codified job protections.

► From KIMA — Yakima students protest teacher layoffs in mass — Students throughout the Yakima School District staged protests against recent budget cuts which include several staff cuts as well. One of the schools we went to was Eisenhower High School, where hundreds of students protested on Tieton Drive in Yakima in response to the budget cuts, while most wore the color red.

► From the (Everett) Herald — ‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood — Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.




► From the WA State Standard — New Washington budget boosts state spending by $2B — Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday signed the final operating budget of his tenure, approving an extra $2 billion during the second half of the state’s two-year budget cycle for education, mental health services, housing and more.  Before acting, Inslee reflected on his three terms as governor citing passage of key progressive priorities like the capital gains tax and the Climate Commitment Act, along with policies and funding to build more housing and increase access to financial aid for college-bound students.

Today from The STANDLabor hails state’s investment in nuclear future — Building Trades, Climate Jobs Washington applaud Washington’s historic investment in an advanced modular reactor.

► From the WA State Standard — Inslee reflects on ‘lives changed’ with a pen in a conference room — Washington’s retiring three-term governor signed or vetoed nearly 4,300 bills in his tenure. Barring a special session, he inked the last one Friday in Seattle.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Bipartisanship rises in Washington Legislature — Washington state lawmakers are keen on working together, new data finds, as the majority of bills passed during this year’s legislative session received bipartisan support. During the short 60-day session, lawmakers sent 381 bills to the governor’s desk with nearly 96%, or 365 bills, receiving at least one “yes” vote from both parties, according to recent legislative data.

► From the Olympian — Road workers face daily danger, but this group dies most often in WA construction zones — Adam Gonzales has one of the most dangerous offices in Washington state. The 49-year-old sits just a few feet from cars and semi-trucks speeding by him at 60, 70, 80 miles an hour. The maintenance worker for the state Department of Transportation has been hit three times on the job and still suffers from lingering effects. Compared with some of his co-workers, he’s been lucky.




► From Reuters — Productivity at Airbus plant in Canada slips as workers mull new contract offer — Productivity has slipped at a Montreal-area Airbus factory trying to ramp up assembly of the planemaker’s smallest commercial jet, as workers consider a new contract offer, according to sources and a union memo sent on Friday. Airbus and IAM negotiators failed to reach a negotiated deal this week following intensive talks, but a second company offer will be considered by the estimated 1,300 workers on April 7.

From The STAND (Mar. 11)‘Washington’s union movement has IAM 751 members’ backs’ — As Machinists at Boeing begin contract talks, labor solidarity is evident.




► From The Hill — FTC calls out profits as a driver of grocery prices — A new Biden administration report is raising questions about the cause of rising food prices, which have squeezed U.S. households for years after COVID-19 recession. The report released last week by the Federal Trade Commission calls out profit margin expansion – now at a record high – as a primary driver of recent price increases, citing dynamics in the increasingly concentrated grocery sector.

From The STAND (Feb. 27)UFCW hails FTC move to block Kroger-Albertsons merger

► From the AFL-CIO — OSHA’s rule on worker representation will make workplaces safer — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler: “Every worker deserves the right to have a union representative, a workplace safety expert or another qualified advocate present during Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections.”

► From Reuters — U.S. manufacturing sector grows for the first time in 1-1/2 years — U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in 1-1/2 years in March as production rebounded sharply and new orders increased, but employment at factories remained subdued.




► From Politico — Liz Shuler wants AI to reinvigorate the labor movement — Thanks in part to rising trepidation about AI, Shuler believes workers — including professionals who’ve traditionally stood outside the labor movement — need unions more than ever. And she’s determined not only to return organized labor to a place in American life that it hasn’t occupied for decades, but for labor to help shape our technological future.

► From the Guardian — Barnes & Noble workers plan union drive at largest U.S. bookstore chain — Workers at America’s largest chain of bookstores are gearing up for a nationwide union drive after six Barnes & Noble outlets voted to organize over the past year. “Many more” stores will unionize, according to booksellers demanding better pay and conditions.

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 NPR — Half a million California workers will get $20 minimum wage, starting today — The state’s minimum wage for fast-food employees jumps to $20 an hour on Monday, giving many a raise of 25% from just last week. The law affects some of the biggest restaurant chains — McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway, Starbucks — and local franchisees have raised alarms about the increase in labor costs.

► From the Hollywood Reporter — More IATSE locals reach tentative agreements with studios on craft-specific issues — Locals representing hair stylists and make-up artists as well as grips and craft services struck provisional deals last week.

► From the Maine Beacon — Push for safe staffing levels in Maine hospitals gets bipartisan support


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

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