Folks, a sincere and hearty Happy Black History Month to you. I’ve got a ton this week to catch you up on, from more layoffs to strikes to some factory workers coming into serious cash. Let’s get into it.

Layoffs will continue until worker morale improves: Let’s get it over with. REI, the Washington-based outfitter, reported $3.7 billion in revenue and $97.7 million in profits in 2021 (the most recent year available), but they laid off 167 workers from their Seattle, Issaquah, and Sumner offices. According to WARN data, Compass in Redmond laid off 110 workers, Bittrex laid off 83, and NC Interactive laid off 23. Highspot laid off 100 workers as well.

Boy, these companies must be doing pretty badly: Or maybe they spent too much money on lobbying and stock buybacks. Short on money? Punt some workers to the curb!

On the market? Washington Labor and Industries is looking for some new investigators and inspectors and such to keep workers safe around here.

600 Portland, OR workers strike:

Bold Hat Productions interns get $30,000 back: Name and Shame time, baby! The Seattle Office of Labor Standards announced Wednesday that Bold Hat Productions, an event production and marketing company, is paying $29,773.10 back to two people as part of a settlement agreement. The bosses classified the two as unpaid interns but allegedly treated them as workers. Are you also unsure of the difference? The DOL basically says if the person isn’t receiving an educational benefit—like academic credit or training—then that’s not an intern, that’s a worker.

26,000 Seattle workers were allegedly stiffed $7 million in 2022: Speaking of OLS, the agency just released its 2022 Year in Review. In settlements with companies, OLS facilitated the return of $7,700,778 to 26,583 Seattle workers last year, with nearly half of that money ($3.33 million) going from Uber Eats to the 10,467 gig workers they allegedly stiffed.

Lawsuits fly over faulty payroll systems: Kroger workers across the country are suing the company in class-action lawsuits after a new time clock/payroll system, MyTime, shorted their paychecks. The company didn’t fix the problem for months. AFSCME is suing the state of Oregon over a laundry list of problems following its implementation of a similar system, Workday, on January 3. Unfortunately, as CBS reported a few days ago, it usually takes a while for workers who suffer wage theft like this to get their money back, if they do at all.

United Auto Workers at GM get $12,000 profit-sharing check: See this? Workers and bosses can get along. In GM’s agreement with the United Auto Workers union, for every $1 billion GM makes in North America, the employees all get $1,000. This month, workers will get up to $12,750. Companies: You don’t have to steal our money, bust our unions, and lay us all off every time you think you’ll miss profit margins. You can be decent like this. (Oh, who the fuck am I kidding?)

Welcome to the resistance, union buster spawn: A fantastic read here by Julia Rock at Lever News, reporting from a meeting of the Restaurant Law Center, which is part of the National Restaurant Association. TL;DR: the business reps call young people the “trophy generation” for wanting dignity at work, their kids are embarrassed to bring them to Career Day at their schools, and they know customers are paying attention to who is busting unions. 

Pressure by REI workers pays off:

YouTube workers refuse to return to office: After being ordered back into the Austin, TX, YouTube office on Monday, workers at Cognizant, which contracts with the company, went on strike today. Most of them were hired during the pandemic and have always worked remotely. The pandemic isn’t close to over, and the roughly 25% who live elsewhere say their pay—which starts at $19/hr—isn’t close to covering the cost of relocating to Austin. I’ll keep an eye on this one for ya.

Starbucks paid top union-buster $11.7 million: Let’s get into the high-priced world of union-busting. According to a legal disclosure, Starbucks paid its top legal counsel, Rachel Gonzalez, nearly $11.7 million to head its union-busting efforts instead of, you know, paying its workers a little bit more.

Starbucks threatened workers at Capitol Hill Roastery: On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board found that Starbucks violated federal law during the union drive at the Capitol Hill Roastery by promising to withhold benefits if they unionized.

Amazon paid a union-buster $371,000 to break the law, NLRB says: This week, the NLRB found that Amazon violated the law three times in trying to persuade workers to vote “no” in union elections in 2021 and 2022. One of the company’s consultants, Katie Lev, said workers would miss out on benefits while they tried to bargain a contract, which is against the law. Disclosure forms show that Amazon paid her $371,000 in 2021. 

NLRB also finds Apple violated federal law: After a yearlong investigation, the NLRB has found Apple’s culture of secrecy infringed on workers’ federal right to organize. CEO Tim Cook sent some threatening messages to employees, too, calling people who shared information about their wages and hours “leakers” who “do not belong.” The parties of the 2021 suit now have to settle, or the NLRB will issue a ruling.

Speaking of Big Tech, Google workers organized yesterday in NYC:

And after authorizing a strike, HuffPost Union has scored a last-minute deal!

What else?! As a pilot, I am shocked by this. Almost 3,500 people died from COVID this week and we might be entering a recession, but, sure, let’s end pandemic food stamps. Starbucks Workers United can meme. Work in cannabis? The Seattle OLS wants to hear from you. JetBlue ground workers rejected a union—and their bosses are rejoicing. Noncompete agreements are screwing people over. The CEO of Medieval Times sued his workers’ union and got them banned from TikTok. More words on the upcoming UPS/Teamsters negotiations. Workers at Disney World are voting on a new offer for a measly $1 per hour raise. 

And last but not least: NLRB filings this week came from workers at a Starbucks in Hillsboro, Trulife Engineered Solutions in Bellingham, Community Health Center of Snohomish County in Everett, Penske Logistics in Benton City, and PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.

A song for you: The band Who Is She? used their platform this week as the Kraken’s house band to take a jab at Jeffrey Bezos, who did in fact shut down all the bookstores and who does not in fact work. Then the thin-skinned little twerp apparently got them fired. Long live Who is She?! Here’s their song “Seattle Freeze.” There you go! Have a great weekend.