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Strike updates | Airline workers act | Dale, Dolly

Friday, June 14, 2024


► From the Washington State Standard (June 12) – Electricians in Puget Sound region vote down contract offer as strike nears 10 weeks 

Update: Per the union, IBEW 46 Limited Energy Electricians will vote on a new offer from NECA Thursday June 13 – Saturday, June 15. 

From the Oregon Capital Chronicle (June 11) – Providence hospital nurses prepare to strike across Oregon – The Oregon Nurses Association, which represents more than 3,000 nurses at the six hospitals, has delivered a 10-day notice to the management at the nonprofit Providence Health & Services, Oregon’s largest hospital group. The group intends for the strike to start at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18.

Editor’s note: The Oregon AFL-CIO has a handy strike map to help you find a picket line to join. 


From Grist (June 10) – Heat waves make restaurant kitchens unsafe. Workers are fighting back. – Employees at a Seattle-based sandwich chain recently secured historic protections against extreme heat in their first union contract. Labor organizers say they expect more food service workers to organize and bargain around heat in the years to come. Zane Smith, a worker-organizer at Homegrown said heat was one of the main issues workers were rallying around when they first started talking about forming a union.

From the Yakima Herald (June 13) – Sunnyside mushroom plant lawsuit split between arbitration and court – A United Farm Workers’ lawsuit against a Sunnyside mushroom farm survived after a hearing in Yakima Superior Court. Superior Court Judge Jared Boswell decided to move the worker lawsuits against Windmill Mushroom Farms, also called Greenwood Mushroom Sunnyside in court documents, to private arbitration and allow for UFW’s lawsuit to remain in court.

Photo by Melissa Toledo, courtesy Oregon Tradeswomen.

From the NW Labor Press (June 7) – Girls, there’s a future for you in the trades– An estimated 1,500 girls from 86 schools attended the Oregon Tradeswomen’s annual career fair May 17, intended to show them that there are careers for them in traditional male trades. Altogether about 100 employers and apprenticeship organizations set up inside and out of the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center on NE Airport Way, Portland, and most of them offered fun demonstrations of their skills.


From The Guardian (June 14) – FAA investigates counterfeit titanium used in some Boeing and Airbus jets – The US Federal Aviation Administration is investigating falsified documents that were used to verify the authenticity of titanium used in some recently manufactured Boeing and Airbus jets, the New York Times reported on Friday. The investigation comes after a parts supplier found small holes in the material – used in manufacturing of jets – from corrosion, the report added.

From the Seattle Times (June 13) – FAA boss: New, stricter oversight of Boeing will keep air travel safe – Mike Whitaker, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, said Thursday his agency’s newly hands-on oversight of Boeing will ensure air travel is safe, even though the jet-maker’s shift toward an adequate safety culture will take considerable time. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., urged Whitaker to ensure that Boeing directly involves its unions — the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace — in developing the safety management system. Markey said Boeing’s hostility to organized labor is a “direct detriment to safety.”

Editor’s note: that sound you hear is 30K+ machinists saying “duhhh” 

From Forbes (June 13) – Boeing Investigating Undelivered 787s For Parts That Were Incorrectly Installed – Boeing is inspecting the fasteners—a metal piece connecting two or more objects, like a joint—on “some” undelivered 787 Dreamliner planes “to ensure they meet our engineering specifications,” the company said in a statement to Forbes. The investigation will cover how the fasteners were tightened at Boeing’s manufacturing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, where more than 900 fasteners are installed per plane, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.


Photo: Fairfax Education Unions

From Labor Notes (June 13) – Big Union Win in Virginia Schools where Bargaining Suddenly Legal – In Northern Virginia, workers at the Fairfax County Public Schools voted this week to unionize, creating a wall-to-wall union of 27,500 teachers, custodians, teaching assistants, bus drivers, and more. The new bargaining unit is one of the largest K-12 unions on the East Coast, according to the National Education Association.

From the Alabama Political Reporter (June 12) – NLRB General Counsel Abruzzo spreads awareness of key labor law precedent – In a webinar on “Organizing, Collective Action, and the National Labor Relations Board” hosted by the Economic Policy Institute, NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo spoke extensively about the NLRB’s recent decision in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC. The Cemex precedent allows the NLRB to order employers found guilty of breaching the National Labor Relations Act to begin bargaining with a union “if majority support in an appropriate unit is demonstrated,” a partial return to the Joy Silk doctrine which required employers presented with union cards signed by a majority of workers to begin bargaining with that union unless they had a “good faith doubt.”


Photo: MLK Labor

From the Seattle Times (June 13) – Flight attendants protest at Sea-Tac Airport as part of day of action –  About 80,000 unionized flight attendants at the nation’s largest airlines, including Alaska, are in contract negotiations. Across the industry, flight attendants are frustrated they haven’t yet won the large wage increases that pilots at Alaska, Delta and other airlines received under contracts approved since the start of last year. Alaska flight attendants and management have been meeting with federal mediators as flight attendants seek significant improvements to their working conditions and pay rate, which they say deliver poverty-level wages.

From Quartz (June 12) – American Airlines flight attendants might go on strike soon. Here’s what to know – Flight attendants last contract expired in 2019 and has not been renewed since. It was temporarily extended in March 2020 through June 2021 but did not cover raises, meaning there have been no pay increases since 2019. It is possible for the company to establish raises at any time, but it has chosen not to do so.

From Game Developer (June 13) – SAG-AFTRA says strike likely if publishers disagree with AI protections – Discussions between SAG-AFTRA and game publishers are still ongoing, with the key sticking point concerning AI and its relation to voice acting. And it’s indicated that if things aren’t resolved by the middle or end of summer, a strike is happening.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer (June 10) – Penn RAs get first union contract – Residence hall assistants at the University of Pennsylvania have ratified their first union contract with increased benefits and pay. “This is the first student worker contract in the history of the University of Pennsylvania. [It] builds a strong foundation for fair pay and respect and transparency and support for student workers at Penn,” Scott Williams, a lead organizer with OPEIU Local 153, said in an interview Monday.

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 Common Dreams (June 13) – Supreme Court Starbucks Ruling Seen as Gift to Corporate Union-Busters – In an 8-1 decision—with liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissenting—the justices in Starbucks v. McKinney made it more difficult for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to temporarily halt alleged unfair labor practices. The court rejected a rule invoked by some courts to protect workers in favor of a higher standard supported by Starbucks. Labor journalist Steven Greenhouse said on social media that “companies that engage in union-busting will applaud this ruling.”

From Time Magazine (June 13) – We Are Not Safe from Bird Flu Until We Protect Farmworkers – New infections in farmworkers signal more must be done to protect them. As in many infectious disease outbreaks, the risk of infection is not equally distributed. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently says the risk to the public is low, farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk.

From Jacobin (June 9) – The Best Way to Secure LGBTQ Rights: Unions – LGBTQ advocacy and leadership appear central to a new generation of labor militants. Take for example the Starbucks workers who have voted to unionize over 350 cafes. Reflecting on these efforts, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization’s (AFL-CIO) Pride at Work executive director Jerame Davis remarked that the union drive was “one of the queerest union campaigns I’ve ever seen.”

From the Washington Post (June 12) – Why scientists fear a second Trump term, and what they are doing about it – When the union representing nearly half of Environmental Protection Agency employees approved a new contract with the federal government this month, it included an unusual provision that had nothing to do with pay, benefits or workplace flexibility: protections from political meddling into their work. The protections, which ensure workers can report any meddling without fear of “retribution, reprisal, or retaliation,” are “a way for us to get in front of a second Trump administration and protect our workers,” said Marie Owens Powell, an EPA gas station storage tank inspector and president of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 238.

From the Wall Street Journal – Elon Musk’s Boundary-Blurring Relationships With Women at SpaceX (June 11) – Former SpaceX executives, as well as fired SpaceX employees who complained to the National Labor Relations Board in 2022, say a high-level group around Musk fails to apply his company’s own rules to the CEO, contributing to a culture of sexism and harassment. They say there’s an understanding that Musk, a charismatic leader with many fans who call him a genius, can act with impunity. “Elon is SpaceX, and SpaceX is Elon,” one former engineer recalled an executive saying during a June 2022 meeting after the firings of some of the SpaceX employees, who had criticized Musk and demanded greater accountability at the company.

Editor’s note: Other examples of Musk’s “boundary-blurring” behavior include attacking worker protections, running unsafe factories, embracing white supremacist ideology, and trying to get an employee to sleep with him in exchange for a horse. Allegedly. 

Photo: Shutterstock via Rewire News Group

From Rewire News Group (June 13) – Mifepristone Is Safe for Now—but Comstock Is Waiting in the Wings – Today’s Supreme Court decision in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine didn’t give the conservative legal movement everything it wanted. However, it’s unlikely to be the end of the legal battle over mifepristone or medication abortion more broadly. The case was a test balloon, filed by the conservative legal juggernaut Alliance Defending Freedom in the Northern District of Texas.


From Bloomberg Law (June 12) – OSHA Worker Heat Stress Proposal Goes to White House for Review – A proposed federal rule to protect indoor and outdoor workers from heat stress is now under review at the White House. The agency has been working on a national heat stress standard since 2021 amid rising global temperatures that have led to some of the hottest summers on record. Text of the proposal, sent Tuesday to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, hasn’t been made public. But the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration previously said protection mandates could kick in any time the heat index reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

From the AP (June 12) – Democrats in Congress say federal mediators should let airline workers strike when it’s ‘necessary’ – 32 senators, 31 Democrats and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, say federal mediators should speed up labor negotiations between airlines and their flight attendants and other workers, even granting them permission to go on strike “as necessary.” The lawmakers said Wednesday that airlines feel no pressure to reach contract agreements quickly because federal law makes it difficult for airline workers to strike. That causes talks to drag on for years, they said. 

From NBC News (June 13) – Senate Republicans block Democratic bill to establish nationwide IVF protections – Introduced by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., the Right To IVF Act would establish a federal right for individuals to access IVF-assisted reproductive technology services, for providers to offer the procedure and for insurers to cover it. Those rights could not be hindered by states. In an interview before the vote, Murray argued that part of the goal is to convey to voters that the way to protect reproductive rights going forward is to elect more Democrats in the 2024 elections: “I think it’s pretty clear where the votes are in the current U.S. Senate. And the next election makes all the difference.”


► From RTE (June 12) – Aer Lingus pilots vote in favour of industrial action 

► From The Local (June 11) – French unions call for mass protests against far-right

► From Reuters (June 11) – Mexico to review alleged labor rights violations at Volkswagen facilities

► From The Loadstar (June 10)  – Threat of Canadian rail strike looms again after bid for conciliation fails


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