Connect with us


Striking for work-life balance | Cross-border solidarity | Pittance for app workers

Monday, April 29, 2024




► From KUOW — Striking Seattle electrical workers demand better pay, improved safety — Striking electrical workers from IBEW Local 46 have shut down eight work sites after negotiations broke down with the Puget Sound Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). These are the workers who maintain the invisible infrastructure Seattleites use to stay connected and safe every day. They install and maintain security systems, badge readers, fire alarms, and emergency response systems. Several striking workers picketed Thursday morning on Brooklyn Avenue in Seattle’s University District. They had all been up since 4 a.m. By 10:15 they huddled under the overhang of the U-District light rail station to stay dry. In addition to better pay and safety, the electrical workers also want paid holidays, a nod to a better work-life balance. Torrey Patterson said taking time off on days like Veteran’s Day just doesn’t feel possible for him, even though he is a veteran:

“It’s very stressful to take the federal paid holiday off. Christmas, Thanksgiving, you get the day off with your family. But in the back of your mind, you’re stressing about not having that paycheck for those hours for that day.”

From The STANDRally to support striking electricians April 30 in Seattle — As the strike by Limited Energy (LE) Electricians represented by IBEW Local 46 in the Puget Sound area enters its third week, NECA negotiators are refusing to improve an offer that was unanimously rejected by the IBEW 46 members. So it’s time to let the area’s electrical contractors know that the labor community supports striking LE electricians!

TAKE A STAND — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is urging all union members and supporters to attend a Solidarity Rally with striking electricians from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30 at Gasworks Park, 2101 N. Northlake Way in Seattle. There is plenty of free parking, so wear your union colors and bring your signs of solidarity with LE electricians.

► From Reuters — Thousands of hotel workers to rally in 18 cities ahead of contract negotiations — Unionized hotel workers demanding significant pay raises will rally on May Day in 18 U.S. and Canadian cities, as talks are beginning with operators Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, and Hyatt Hotels Corp. Talks will cover about 40,000 workers who look to secure new contracts for the first time since the pandemic. Workers want to reverse pandemic-era staffing and service cuts, as well as duplicate the big pay hikes that organized workers across the nation have been winning in the recent years.

EDITOR’S NOTE — UNITE HERE Local 8 members will rally at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 outside the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at 18740 International Blvd. in SeaTac, and the Westin Seattle at 1900 5th Ave. in Seattle.

► From KING — Sound Transit opens 2 Line, connecting Bellevue and Redmond — The project was approved by voters in 2008. On Saturday, hundreds of people celebrated the route’s opening day.




► From CUPE BC — The power to radically improve the lives of workers — Whether they spell it labour or labor, unions are working to better the lives of workers, fight for racial justice, and are united in opposing right-wing extremism on both sides of the U.S-Canada border. Delegates of the 2024 CUPE BC convention welcomed April Sims, president of the Washington State Labor Council for a rousing message of cross-border solidarity. In her first address to a CUPE BC convention, Sims said:

“We know that our fate is linked, we know that our work, the work of the labour movement has the power to transcend race and place, gender and ability, identity and sexuality. Our solidarity is international, and we are united by our deeply held belief that an injury to one is an injury to all.”




► From the (Everett) Herald — Heard of the Working Families Tax Credit? Neither have many local families — Though the state has refunded more than $8.3 million to Snohomish County taxpayers, more than $18 million is still available for taxpayers who qualify, according to December 2023 data from the state Department of Revenue. Just 37% of taxpayers eligible in Snohomish County have received the credit, averaging $689 per household. This year’s deadline to file a tax return has passed, but there’s still a lot of time to collect this year’s credit. In fact, taxpayers can even collect 2022’s tax credit.

From The STAND (April 15)Tax Day: Don’t forget about the Working Families Tax Credit — An annual cash refund of up to $1,200 for eligible Washingtonians. You must file your federal taxes, and submit an application with the state Department of Revenue for this refund. Applications are open all year long and free help applying is available.

► From KUOW — What would a ban on non-compete clauses mean for tech companies in Washington state? — At first glance, this change looks like it would benefit workers. But some argue that it will also make Seattle’s big tech companies better.

► From the Seattle Times — Inslee rebuffs calls by gubernatorial candidates to buy diesel ferries — Inslee called diesel a “dirty, nasty old technology” and slammed proposals to reconsider diesel boats as “a brain dead thing” that would only cause more delays. But top candidates for governor — Republicans and Democrats — also have joined the chorus of discontent about the ferries, which had over 3,500 canceled sailings in 2023.




► From the Seattle Times — Congress has a lot to say about Boeing’s troubles. But what will it do? — Boeing has until late May to come up with a plan to fix its quality-control problems, as required by a deadline set by the FAA in February. Meanwhile, Congress is nearing its May 10 deadline for the long-term reauthorization of the FAA, which has faced criticism for its often-cozy relationship with Boeing. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who chairs the Commerce Committee, said last week she wants to go beyond the FAA reauthorization bill in drafting legislation related to aviation safety.

► From Reuters — U.S. lawmakers strike deal to boost aviation safety, will not raise pilot retirement age — U.S. House and Senate negotiators said early Monday they had reached a deal to boost air traffic controller staffing and boost funding to avert runway close-call incidents, but will not increase the airline pilot retirement age to 67 from 65.




► From the Baltimore Sun — Labor leaders honor Key Bridge victims on Workers Memorial Day: ‘We have more work to do’ — Sunday was Workers Memorial Day, an annual day of remembrance for laborers killed or hurt on the job, started in 1989 by the AFL-CIO. Thousands of workers nationwide are estimated by the organization of labor unions to be injured or killed on the job each day, and the issue became front and center in Baltimore on March 26 after the six men, all employees of Brawner Builders, died while working an overnight shift filling potholes on the bridge that was struck by a cargo ship early that morning.

From The STAND (April 25)Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect — AFL-CIO report finds that workers of color are dying on the job at increasingly higher rates. Black workers’ job fatality rate is the highest it’s been in nearly 15 years. Latino workers continue to face the greatest risk of dying on the job than all other workers.

► From NPR — UAW strike at Daimler Truck averted at 11th hour — The United Auto Workers union announced late Friday it had struck a favorable new contract deal for 7,300 Daimler Truck North America workers. The union had threatened a strike starting at midnight when their last contract expired.

► From The Hill — Biden commends UAW, Daimler for reaching agreement on contractPresident Biden celebrated a new labor agreement between UAW and Daimler on Sunday, as the union continues a streak of victories in hopes of expanding in the South.

► From HuffPost — We might be 4 years away from a historic May Day — When the United Auto Workers successfully concluded their strike against the “Big Three” auto manufacturers last fall, the union’s president, Shawn Fain, invited other unions to lay the groundwork for an even more powerful strike on May 1, 2028. Now local labor activists are answering Fain’s call. They’re doing so by encouraging unionized workers to move the expiration dates for their contracts to April 30, 2028, just before International Workers’ Day, or May Day, as it’s commonly known. By aligning their contracts to end at the same time, unions could threaten to strike simultaneously, perhaps across industries, giving them greater economic and political leverage as they bargain with employers.

► From the Guardian — Florida ‘callously’ strips health care from thousands of children despite new law — Gov. Ron DeSantis’s challenging of a ‘continuous eligibility’ rule has booted over 22,000 children off insurance since January.

► From the AP — Tractor-trailers with no one aboard? The future is near for self-driving trucks on U.S. roadsLate this year, Aurora Innovation Inc. plans to start hauling freight on Interstate 45 between the Dallas and Houston areas with 20 driverless trucks.




► From Vox — Food delivery fees have soared. How much of it goes to workers? — No one is happy about the delivery apps. Not the customers, who feel gouged by an avalanche of fees. Not restaurants, who feel gut-punched by the commission apps take from them. Certainly not delivery workers, who have long been rewarded with a pittance for doing a job that, in a city like New York, has a higher injury rate than that of construction workers… In New York City and Seattle, new minimum pay laws for delivery workers recently went into effect. Immediately, additional “regulatory” fees were charged to customers, and restaurants and delivery workers complained that orders dropped, with Uber claiming in a blog post that they had dipped by 30 percent. Neither city’s minimum wage laws have forced delivery apps to tack on new fees, but both DoorDash and Uber Eats have introduced them nonetheless. The message is clear: If you try to mediate how the apps operate, things will just get worse.

From The STAND (Mar. 26)Seattle unions fight to save gig workers’ wage ordinance


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

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!