Folks, I’m back. What year is it? You may remember me from such hits as three weeks ago, when I said we should all laugh at Death. Then Death knocked my dumb ass out with COVID. But I’m back now, and so are you. Here we are, alive, with a long weekend ahead of us! Let’s get into it.
More like Slaybor Day Weekend: Speaking of this long weekend coming up, what’s it for again? U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh can fill you in on that. On Monday, labor events are happening around the state (list courtesy of The Stand), and Starbucks Workers United is hosting “sip-ins” at locations across the nation, including a handful here in the Northwest. And here are some appropriately pro-labor movie suggestions for the long weekend:
-Harlan County USA— Elliot Lewis (@elliotrlewis) August 31, 2022
-Salt of the Earth
-8 Hours Don't Make a Day
-Sorry to Bother You
Now I want the deeper cuts!
Labor approval reaches 57-year high: That’s right, 71% of ‘Mericans are now pro-union, according to a new Gallup poll. That’s the highest mark since 1965. Wait, but there’s some kind of labor shortage going on, right? AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler tells GMA3, well, not exactly:
.@lizshuler joined @ABCGMA3 this morning to discuss why we aren’t facing a “labor shortage” but instead, there’s a shortage of family-sustaining jobs and high-quality jobs with fair wages and good benefits. #LaborDay #1u pic.twitter.com/BvJqui0KAw— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) September 1, 2022
Teachers organize across WA: Speaking of a lack of good jobs, teachers around our fine state are striking or threatening to strike for better working conditions. At press time, that includes teachers in Washougal, Ridgefield, Kent, Port Angeles, and Seattle. The Olympia School District shows us what these new contracts might look like: educators there won an 18% raise over the next three years, with a starting base salary of $53,583.
Nonprofit sets a great example: You have now entered “the dub zone.” Lots of big Ws to report on this week, and, as Rick Rizzs says, “here are the happy totals.” First off is nonprofit Washington Community Alliance, who on Wednesday won an "industry-leading" contract that includes 18 weeks paid parental leave, 100% employer-paid health care, pay equity protections, and unlimited personal/sick/vacation leave.
Cassidy Butler, organizer with IBEW Political and Nonprofit Workers, tells me, “Leadership was willing to make a legitimate, good faith effort to collectively come together to improve working conditions for its employees. We hope more nonprofits will follow the lead of Washington Community Alliance leadership and board members by living by the values they claim to hold and engaging in labor friendly practices.”
Teamsters win new “life-changing” Safeway.com contract: “When Safeway.com management first came to the bargaining table, their goal was to get rid of us entirely by using DoorDash and other third-party gig workers to deliver groceries, but we stopped them in their tracks,” says Rick Hicks, Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer. On Monday, Teamsters announced they’d signed a strong new three-year deal that includes “major improvements to economics and workplace protections.”
Seattle Children’s nurses win big raises: After rallying for weeks and enduring hundreds of hours of negotiations, on Thursday nurses at Seattle Children’s Hospital agreed to a new contract, and it’s a Conquest. Over the next three years, nurses will see their wages climb 31% (!!!), from $36.21 per hour to $47.60. Senior nurses’ rates will jump 16%, from $77.18 per hour to $89.80 by August 2024.
Minor leaguers organizing: $89/hour would be a dream to most minor league baseball players, many of whom make just $7 per hour. One two three four five six seven! On Monday, the MLB Players Association announced they were unionizing minor leaguers, hopefully putting an end to some of the most lopsided labor conditions in the country. More on the news from the Tipping Pitches pod and More Perfect Union here:
MLB owners are worth billions, but many minor league baseball players live in poverty, making just $7/hour. 'We are treated like cattle to be traded,' one told us.— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) August 29, 2022
Today, the @MLBPA has launched a campaign to unionize minor league players nationwide and end this injustice. pic.twitter.com/lLZhIYzljo
Office of Labor Standards (OLS) protects freelancers, returns $1,562: More good news from around these parts. As Seattle’s Independent Contractor Protections went into effect yesterday, OLS returned $1,562.34 to an UberEats delivery driver after the company failed to provide the worker paid sick and safe time.
In worse news: Hazard pay ends today. Which, as you know, is bullshit.
Petco update: Speaking of some bullshit, it appears Petco has turned full Schultz and, according to one of my sources, has launched one of the “most aggressive, mean-spirited campaigns” they’ve seen in a while. The company has gone full ticky-tack, allegedly splitting up workers from different departments, slamming doors in organizers’ faces, targeting organizers with disciplinary action, and (illegally!) tearing down union flyers in the break room. But the workers aren’t backing down. They’re filing unfair labor practice claims with the NLRB, and they tell me they’re confident they will win and will inspire other organizing Petco stores across the country. “A nationwide movement is coming to Petco,” one source says. “We’re calling it a Pet Wave.” I've asked the company for comment and will update if I hear back.
Homegrown beef growin’: A wave of action this week as workers at Homegrown demonstrated all around the area, including a march through the streets of Mercer Island. As I’ve reported, ownership has refused to recognize their workers’ union since June, installed surveillance cameras in their delivery vans, and refused to install air conditioning in their stores or offer COVID pay to their workers after repeated requests. I'll be sure to keep you updated on this one.
👀"No air conditioning - No workers." Great coverage of the strike today on @fox13seattle— OurUnionIsHomegrown (@OurUnionIsHG) September 1, 2022
🌡️Mercer Island: Striking for better AC
😷Cap Hill: Striking for Covid Pay
💰UVille: Striking for Covid Pay
📢#GoodJobsCoolPlanet #1u pic.twitter.com/l2FGD3V2po
What else? What ELSE?! Amazon called the cops on Amazon Labor Union’s (and my) president, Chris Smalls, AGAIN. The Nation dropped a video on how to win your first union contract. California appears to be considering giving fast food workers some dignity, and one of their elected representatives was literally booed by his own staff for not bringing a union bill to the floor. We’re headed for a railroad strike. Biden isn’t protecting gig workers, and they’re pissed. And, as Jas Keimig reported yesterday, Central Cinema has had a mass exodus in the past month over the way management treated a trans employee.
Tip jar: Send me your tips, anonymously or otherwise! If you’ve got labor news, rumors, “you-didn’t-hear-this-from-mes,” then I’m all ears.
And finally, the soundtrack to your long weekend: Float into your long weekend on the back of something ethereal and fuzzy, “Feel it All Around” by Washed Out. You’ve lived through almost three years of a pandemic now. You deserve a nap. Catch you on the other side.