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Boeing’s hot mess | Seattle school closures | Time for $20?

Thursday, May 9, 2024





► From KIRO — ‘It’s a hot mess right now,’: Is the Boeing firefighter lockout putting Everett employees at risk? — The Boeing firefighters lockout has concluded its fifth day and there’s still is no deal. Firefighters stood outside the Everett factory Wednesday picketing and alongside them were some other Boeing employees, like Billi Starzman, a hazmat technician. “It’s a hot mess right now,” Starzman said. “There’s five people to deal with it all right now.” Boeing firefighters have been on the picket lines since May 4 when the company announced the lockout. Tony Coleman, a firefighter, said it means a lot to see other Boeing employees standing with them:

“It almost gives you like chills because when you see thousands of people or even a hundred people walk out of the factory and say hey, we got your back, we’re supporting you.”

From The STAND (May 5) — Join locked-out Boeing firefighters on picket lines

► From — Rep. Smith statement on stalled labor negotiations between Boeing and IAFF Local I-66 — The Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee:

“Fire fighters in our region are demanding fair pay, better benefits, and a safer workplace. As workers picket, it is reported that negotiations between Boeing and IAFF Local I-66 have stalled. I strongly urge the parties to return to the negotiating table and participate in good faith discussions that result in a strong agreement. Large corporations have increasingly prioritized their own profits and shareholders at the expense of workers. That’s why unions remain essential for workers and their families and why I will always champion the right to organize and collectively bargain for better pay and benefits and stronger workplace protections. It is crucial that Boeing and IAFF Local I-66 continue discussions and swiftly come to an agreement that enables these front-line safety workers to get back to work.”

► From the Guardian — Boeing supplier regularly shipped parts with defects, whistleblower alleges — Santiago Paredes, who worked for Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas between 2010 and 2022, said he was used to finding “anywhere from 50 to 100, 200” defects on fuselages – the main body of the plane – that were being shipped to Boeing, and he felt threatened for raising his concerns. He alleges:

“They just wanted the product shipped out. They weren’t focused on the consequences of shipping bad fuselages. They were just focused on meeting the quotas, meeting the schedule, meeting the budget … If the numbers looked good, the state of the fuselages didn’t really matter.”

► From the AP — Boeing 737 catches fire and skids off the runway at a Senegal airport, injuring 10 people — It was the third incident involving a Boeing airplane this week.




► From the Seattle Times — Seattle Schools OKs proposal that could close 20 elementary schools — The Seattle School Board unanimously approved a proposal Wednesday that could eventually close more than a quarter of the district’s nearly 70 elementary schools.  The move, which could force thousands of students to switch schools in the 2025-26 school year, is aimed at curbing the district’s more than $100 million annual budget gap. District officials say they plan to discuss possible job cuts with union-represented employees.

► From the union-busting Columbian — Legacy Health primary care clinics’ workers call for union — Doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners from Legacy Health’s Primary Care Clinics have called for a union election. Among other things, the providers want a voice in the controversial merger between the Legacy Health and Oregon Health & Science University hospital systems. Legacy has 30 providers at its four primary care clinics in Clark County. They are hoping to join the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association, an affiliate of the AFT.

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 the union-busting Columbian — LabCorp workers in Southwest Washington, Oregon vote to unionizeAround 400 lab workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington, all employed by health care company Labcorp, voted to unionize last week.

From The STAND (May 7)More than 400 lab professionals at LabCorp win a union

► From the Wenatchee World — Wenatchee Convention Center breaks ground on $17.5M expansion — Community and city council members gathered at the Wenatchee Convention Center Monday to break ground on the facility’s newest evolution — a multimillion project that will add approximately 24,000 square feet across two stories.




► From the Olympian — New study says WA is the best states for nurses — Washington took home the gold for nursing conditions, ranking as the number one best state for nurses. To determine the ranking, WalletHub analyzed each state on 20 metrics, including mandatory overtime restrictions, nurses job growth since 2018, and quality of public hospital system.

► From the Seattle Times — WA drops in ranking of best states, but it’s still in Top 10 –Washington ranked eighth in the new U.S. News & World Report ranking of the “best states” in 2024, but it dropped from its #2 ranking last year. Washington’s poor performance in the “crime and corrections” category was due to public safety, which takes into account crime rates. Washington was the worst state in the nation for property crime, ranking 50th.

► From the WA State Standard — Is WA’s school board association seeing a conservative takeover? — Anonymous members say changes in the group’s voting rules are allowing anti-LGBTQIA+ measures and efforts to roll back diversity and equity initiatives to gain traction.




► From the union-busting Columbian — 3rd District Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez leads effort to fully fund Bridge Investment Program — U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash., 3rd) is calling for federal spending on a program that would include funds for the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program. Seventeen members of Congress — led by Perez and Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.) — sent a letter April 29 to the House Committee on Appropriations asking for full funding of the Federal Highway Administration’s Bridge Investment Program, which was established by the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Perez said:

“Southwest Washington knows the impact of relying on a structurally deficient bridge all too well,” Perez said in a news release. “Commuters are stuck in endless traffic, and the narrow lanes are a safety hazard. Fully funding this program will help ensure we can continue supporting projects like the I-5 Bridge replacement and strengthening our country’s transportation infrastructure as a whole.”

► From WPR — Biden announces $3.3B investment from Microsoft for AI data center in Wisconsin — During a visit to Wisconsin Wednesday, President Joe Biden praised a planned $3.3 billion investment from Microsoft to build an artificial intelligence data center. The project is expected to bring 2,000 union construction jobs to the area by the end of the year.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Social Security’s good news? Bad news delayed a bit (editorial) — Congress has a little additional time to make sure Social Security is solvent. It shouldn’t waste it. Among the most commonsense solutions would be adjusting or eliminating Social Security’s income cap on Social Security taxes. Currently, workers and their employers each pay a 6.2 percent payroll tax for Social Security and 1.45 percent tax for Medicare, but the Social Security tax is capped at $168,000 in annual income. Make more than that and you don’t pay tax on income above that maximum. (There’s no income cap on Medicare’s payroll deduction.)

► From Reuters — FAA delaying start of new U.S. air traffic control rest requirements — The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday it was delaying requirements for air traffic controllers to get at least 10 hours off between shifts and 12 hours off before a midnight shift as it grapples with a staffing shortage.

► From Politico — With House-passed short-term patch in hand, Senate slogs toward FAA bill agreement

► From the Washington Post — Top Republicans, led by Trump, refuse to commit to accept 2024 election resultsOne possible vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), repeatedly declined to say whether he will accept the outcome.




► From WHYY — Penn grad workers say ‘we’re part of a national movement’ after union win — Thousands of graduate student workers at the University of Pennsylvania — about 97% — voted to unionize in early May. One of those voters was history and sociology of science six-year PhD candidate Sam Schirvar. The union organizer who works as a teaching assistant and lecturer said he began organizing his colleagues in mid-2020. Schirvar said it was largely in response to “a lot of frustration to the way Penn handled responding to the COVID-19 pandemic during the early months.”

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 the Orange Co. Register — Disneyland character performers schedule union voteMickey Mouse, Snow White, Spider-Man and other Disneyland character and parade performers will vote May 15-18 on whether to unionize.

► From the AP — Union push pits the United Farm Workers against a major California agricultural business — In a meeting room at a hotel in California’s crop-rich Central Valley, a fight is taking place that could help shape the future of farm labor in fields that grow a chunk of the country’s food. The battle between a unit of the Wonderful Co. — one of the state’s most well-known farm companies that grows pistachios, pomegranates and citrus — and United Farm Workers — the country’s biggest farm worker union — comes after California passed a law in 2022 aimed at making it easier for agricultural laborers to organize.

► From the Washington Post — Company fined $650K for hiring children to clean meatpacking plants — As an investigator watched cleaners walk into a pork processing plant, she noticed something unusual: A few carried “pink and purple sparkly backpacks” as they entered the Sioux City, Iowa, facility around 11 p.m. A judge approved a consent order finding that Tennessee-based Fayette Janitorial Service LLC sent teens to clean razor-edged machinery with dangerous chemicals.

► From the LA Times — Fast-food workers make $20 an hour. California’s other low-wage earners ask: What about us? — Stephon Harris makes $16.35 an hour at the Rancho San Miguel Market, ringing customers up for pints of fresh salsas and masa. A few hundred feet away, at a Jack in the Box drive-through, workers are making about $4 more an hour thanks to California’s mandatory $20 minimum wage for fast-food employees that kicked in last month. “I would like to make that,” Harris, 21, said as he assisted customers.

► From the Wall St. Journal — Buybacks are back: Corporate America is on a spending spreeShare repurchases in the first quarter are up sharply, led by Meta and Apple.

EDITOR’S NOTE — How about investing in your employees and future growth rather than artificial short-term boosts to the stock price?




► From Reuters — Argentine workers launch general strike against Milei reforms, austerity — Argentine unions launched a huge general strike on Thursday against painful austerity measures and planned reforms by new libertarian President Javier Milei, whose cost-driving has stabilized local markets but hammered the real economy.


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!