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IBEW 46 strike update | Not enough beds | Medicare, school privatization

Monday, June 3, 2024




► From IBEW 46 — Limited Energy electricians’ negotiations update — IBEW Local 46 reports that Limited Energy (LE) electricians, who have been on strike since April 11, will vote June 6 on a contract offered by NECA that is NOT recommended by the bargaining committee. It includes $12.75/hour over three years and an MOU to discuss paid holidays, but takes away the bargaining unit’s right to strike. In the meantime, picketing continues…

From The STAND (May 8)Support IBEW 46 picket lines in electricians’ strike — All union members and community supporters are encouraged to support striking electricians by joining picket lines at these three locations from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. (especially early in the morning):

▪ Evergreen – 3623 East Marginal Way S., Seattle
▪ Cochran Headquarters – 12500 Aurora Ave N., Seattle
▪ Cochran Field Office – 8345 154th Ave NE, Redmond

► ICYMI from the Seattle Times — Seattle-area electrician strike stretches beyond five seven weeks — Nonunion electricians get paid holidays, which makes it difficult for the union to retain members. The electricians are seeking at least eight paid holidays a year — but the day before the strike, they tried lowering their ask to just one day.  “We said, ‘How about one paid holiday? And you get to pick the holiday? They were not willing to entertain the conversation on any level.” Pay is also an issue. Contractors have offered a $11 an hour raise over three years, but the union wants $16.




► From the Tri-City Herald — ‘Not enough beds’ A look at the farmworker housing crisis in eastern Washington — Washington’s robust agriculture industry is centered in and around Yakima and the Tri-Cities. That industry depends on H-2A guest workers and domestic workers to tend to orchards and fields, and harvest the fresh fruit and vegetables that fill American grocery stores and local markets. In Franklin County, the average number of people employed in agriculture in 2022 was 5,692 farmworkers. For those farmworkers, it can be a challenge to find quality, affordable housing in the Tri-Cities area.

Today from The STANDDOL must fix farm workers’ prevailing wage surveys — Familias Unidas por la Justicia and Columbia Legal Services win a court decision to force the Department of Labor to fix faulty formula that lowers H-2A wage rates.

► From the (Everett) Herald — 3 schools face closure in Marysville School District in fall 2025 — A district email Friday confirmed Cascade Elementary, Liberty Elementary and Totem Middle are on the chopping block.

► From the union-busting Columbian — C-Tran driver shortage that’s causing missed trips and delays expected to continue for months — The agency says it’s working to expand classes for newly hired drivers to help alleviate the shortage.




► From the Seattle Times — Boeing whistleblower has waited a decade for change, now expects to leave — For senior Boeing engineer and whistleblower Martin Bickeböller, a 37-year career at the jet maker is coming to a frustrating end. For a decade, in complaints filed internally at Boeing as well as with the FAA and Congress, Bickeböller documented significant shortfalls in Boeing’s quality control management at suppliers that build major sections of the 787 Dreamliner.

► From Reuters — Boeing executives unlikely to be charged over 737 MAX crashes, source says — Boeing executives are unlikely to be criminally charged over fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people as the statute of limitations has likely passed, U.S. Justice Department officials told victims’ family members in a meeting.

► From KNKX — Launch of Boeing’s crewed Starliner space capsule is called off yet again




► From the Seattle Times — Plot twist: WA has a law against felons running for office (by Danny Westneat) — Any registered voter can “challenge the right of a candidate to appear on the general election ballot” for any of five causes, state law says. One of those causes is flashing in bold neon lights today: “Because the person whose right is being contested was, previous to the election, convicted of a felony by a court of competent jurisdiction, the conviction not having been reversed nor the person’s civil rights restored after the conviction.”




► From CNN — Biden campaign HQ staffers finalize union agreement, making it the first presidential reelection campaign to organize — Staffers at President Joe Biden’s campaign headquarters in Delaware finalized a union contract last week after collective bargaining negotiations, making Biden the first incumbent to run for reelection with a unionized workforce and underscoring his pro-labor outlook.

► From The Hill — Biden appoints UAW, IAM presidents to White House advisory council — President Biden announced Friday he planned to appoint UAW President Shawn Fain and IAM President Brian Bryant to an advisory committee on international trade.

► From the WA State Standard — Five water projects in Western states to receive $242M from feds — The money, part of the president’s domestic infrastructure and manufacturing agenda and funded through the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, is expected to develop 1.6 million acre-feet of water storage, supporting 6.4 million people per year. Projects in Colorado, Arizona, Washington state and California will receive funding.

► From the Guardian — Delays, denials, debt and the growing privatization of Medicare — Private insurers now cover roughly half of the nation’s 68 million Medicare beneficiaries. Their dominance of this space has grown rapidly over the past two decades – at the expense of patient care, according to healthcare activists and patients, as corporations often deny medical care directed by doctors. With monthly premiums of $18.50 per month on average, Medicare Advantage often looks like a frugal alternative. However, private insurers keep premiums low by limiting providers and using byzantine cost containment tools such as prior authorization.

► From the Guardian — Top Democrats launch inquiry into Trump’s brazen $1 billion pitch to oil execs — Donald Trump’s brazen pitch to 20 fossil-fuel heads for $1 billion to aid his presidential campaign in return for promises of lucrative tax and regulatory favors is the “definition of corruption,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI):

“The quid pro quo – so called – is so very evident … I can’t think of anything that matches this either in terms of the size of the bribe requested, or the brazenness of the linkages.”




► From the Washington Post — Billions in taxpayer dollars now go to religious schools via vouchersBillions in taxpayer dollars are being used to pay tuition at religious schools throughout the country, as state voucher programs expand dramatically and the line separating public education and religion fades. School vouchers can be used at almost any private school, but the vast majority of the money is being directed to religious schools, according to a Washington Post examination of the nation’s largest voucher programs.

► From the LA Times — Big expansion of UC strike over pro-Palestinian protests: Irvine, San Diego, Santa Barbara next — UAW Local 4811, which represents 48,000 graduate teaching assistants, researchers and other academic workers, said Friday that it would expand its ongoing strike next week by calling on thousands of workers at UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine to walk off the job.

► From Reuters — American Airlines faces strike threat as union negotiations stall — A union representing flight attendants for American Airlines Group Inc. on Friday asked workers to prepare for strike action after contract negotiations with the carrier failed to produce an agreement. in a statement, the APFA said:

“We remain apart on the key economics of the deal plus the company’s completely unacceptable demand for scheduling concessions.”

► From WVUA — ‘We’re not done:’ Pro-union Mercedes workers hope for revote — The United Auto Workers is challenging the results of the recent unionization vote at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Vance, Alabama.

► From KVPR — California cracked down after a crash killed 13 farmworkers. Why are workers still dying on the road? — CalMatters reviewed vehicle crash and labor enforcement data and interviewed workers and industry experts about transportation for California farmworkers. The unique workforce, half of whom are undocumented immigrants, routinely die in traffic at higher rates than other workers who die on the job.


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!