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‘This historic contract’ | Patty prioritizes child care | Call 988 for support

Friday, April 5, 2024




► From the Spokesman-Review — New Multicare Deaconess and Valley hospital contract ratified; up to 25% wage increase coming for some workers — Newly ratified by more than 1,400 health care workers at Deaconess and Valley hospitals, the new MultiCare contract includes up to a 25% wage increase for some workers. The new contract was negotiated while under the threat of a strike, which at one point was set to come as early as next week. Instead, the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union struck a deal with the hospital system late last week. The contract will be in place through December 2026. SEIU Healthcare President Jane Hopkins said the new contract brings the two MultiCare facilities “at or above” the market rate for other health care workers in the area:

“This historic contract will go a long way toward making sure we can attract dedicated and passionate staff, and it will incentivize MultiCare’s long-time experienced employees to continue working in their Spokane community. We are proud to say that with our union’s persistence and solidarity, workers placed enough pressure on MultiCare to bring serious proposals to the table and avert an unfair labor practice strike with a strong agreement.”

TODAY from The STAND — Spokane hospital workers vote to ratify new contract — Amid countdown to ULP strike, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW reaches agreement with MultiCare Deaconess and Valley hospitals that addresses short-staffing issues, recruitment and retention.

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 Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles School district, PAPEA continue to bargain — Bargaining teams for the school district and the Port Angeles Paraeducators Association remained at odds in contract talks after their fifth mediated session this week. Following Tuesday’s meeting, the two sides will resume bargaining today and again Sunday as they face the possibility of a PAPEA strike on Monday — the first day back to classes after spring break.

► From the Northwest Labor Press — Vancouver school districts cut staff amid $54M deficit — Facing multi-million dollar budget deficits, Vancouver’s two school districts are on track to eliminate 402 positions. Union leaders from both districts acknowledge the financial bind the districts are in but disagree with some of the choices administrators made, and wish there had been more union involvement in deciding where to make the cuts.

► From the News Tribune — Pierce County Thai restaurant chain broke OT laws, owes thousands in back wages — Chili Thai, a Puyallup-based Thai restaurant with five South Sound locations has been ordered to pay more than $64,000 in back wages after failing to follow federal overtime laws for at least three years, the Department of Labor said.




► From Reuters — Boeing, Airbus exploring framework to divvy up Spirit Aero’s operations — Boeing and Airbus are edging towards a potentially coordinated deal to split operations of troubled supplier Spirit AeroSystems, taking on plants needed to support their top jet programs. If successful, any agreement would end Boeing’s 20-year effort to farm out key elements of its production process as it grapples with a sprawling crisis. But in order for Boeing to regain control of its supply chain, it has to deal with its arch-rival Airbus, which accounts for roughly one-fifth of Spirit’s revenues.

► From Bloomberg — Fixing Boeing’s broken culture starts with a new plane (by Peter Robison) — A narrow focus on cost-cutting led to compromises that plunged the company into crisis. “Culturally, Boeing cuts and cuts and cuts until something breaks,” says Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which represents 16,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers. “And then they say, ‘Oh, now we know we’ve gone too far.’ ”




► From the Northwest Labor Press — Vancouver firm fined in grisly accident is repeat child labor offender — After a 16-year-old boy lost both legs last June in a preventable workplace accident in La Center, a follow-up investigation by the state Department of Labor and Industries found that his employer Rotschy LLC, a non-union construction excavation company based in Southwest Washington, has committed dozens of child labor law violations.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Should wind turbines be limited on Tri-Cities Horse Heaven Hills? WA taking comments — The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) is expected to vote April 17 on a recommendation to significantly reduce the number of wind turbines that could be built at the proposed Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center. Public comments will be accepted online through midnight Wednesday, April 10.

From The STAND (June 9, 2022)Tri-Cities trades unions reach deal to build Horse Heaven — The project will also help Washington state meet its clean energy transition goals, bring needed power generation, make the local power infrastructure more resilient — and is estimated to create nearly 1,000 jobs for skilled trades workers during construction.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Rep. Leonard Christian announces his run for state Senate seat being vacated by Padden




► ICYMI from the NY Times — How Patty Murray used her gavel to win $1 billion for child care — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) got inspired to enter politics when a male state legislator derided her efforts to fight budget cuts to early education programs, calling her “just a mom in tennis shoes” — a remark she would proudly adopt as her campaign slogan. So it came as little surprise that more than 40 years later, Murray, now the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, managed to emerge from excruciating negotiations over funding the federal government with a big victory aimed at children and families. Tucked into the $1.2 trillion spending law cleared by Congress was an additional $1 billion for a single year for child care and early education programs. She accomplished that feat against substantial political headwinds. Murray said:

“To me, this comes from my gut. I just fundamentally believe this is an issue we have to deal with. I’m hoping that globally, with this appropriations bill, our country accepts that child care is something we have to focus on if we all want to be a better nation.”

► From the WA State Standard — More federal money for child care is coming to Washington — The state will see added money to help families and providers. But the extra cash will only go so far.

► From The Hill — U.S. adds 303K jobs in March, again beating expectations — The U.S. economy added 303,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 3.8 percent, according to new Labor Department data.

► From the People’s World — Rail unions hail Biden’s two-person crew mandate — The nation’s rail unions and the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department are hailing the Biden administration’s final rule mandating two-person crews on all but a few of the nation’s freight trains. About the only union-side objections to the Federal Railroad Administration’s rule, published April 2, were that it shouldn’t override even tougher state laws (like Washington’s), which apply the two-person crew mandate to all freight trains, even on small short lines.

► From the Olympian — There’s an easy fix to fund Social Security. Does Congress have the courage to do it? (by Don Bendetti) — The Social Security tax should be paid on all income by all workers, as it is currently done with the Medicare tax. An easy solution, yes. Congress having the courage to do it, not so much. Now I know this suggestion will cause some angst among some high earners. And since I was once one of them, I understand the feeling. So, if someone has a more equitable solution for saving this critical benefit for current and future generations, please speak up.




► From the Harvard Crimson — Harvard Law School academic workers vote 62-3 to unionize — Harvard Law School clinical workers voted 62-3 on Wednesday in favor of unionizing under Harvard Academic Workers-UAW. Out of 96 eligible voters in the unit, 81 percent showed up to the polls at Roscoe Pound Hall, despite the rainy weather.

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 Reuters — Alabama Mercedes Benz plant workers file for union election, UAW says — Workers at a Mercedes Benz factory in Vance, Alabama, filed a petition with U.S. regulators to hold an election to join the United Auto Workers, the union said on Friday. The SUV plant is the second to file an election petition with the NLRB in recent weeks.

► From KUOW — Seeking to defy history, the UAW is coming closer to unionizing in the South — The surge in union interest follows the UAW’s strike against the Big 3 automakers last fall, which led to record contracts. “We started signing [union] authorization cards Thanksgiving weekend, and it just stacked up quick,” says Jeremy Kimbrell, who’s worked for Mercedes for 24 years, starting out in the paint shop in 1999. “It was like workers were starving for it, and it took off.”

► From the NY Times — Kate Shindle on why she’s stepping down as Actors’ Equity president — After nine years in the role, she has decided not to seek re-election in May. Her departure comes amid significant turnover in the theater industry.




► Thirty years ago today Aberdeen native Kurt Cobain, the frontman/primary songwriter for the hugely influential band Nirvana, took his own life at his Seattle home. Six months before he died, Cobain, his Nirvana bandmates and some members of the Meat Puppets had a 14-song, one-take performance on the “MTV Unplugged” show. Cobain had asked for the stage be decorated like a funeral ceremony. Such a loss.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or experiencing suicidal ideation, there are options available to help. Call 988 for confidential support, available 24/7 for everyone in the United States. Healing, hope and help can happen.


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

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