OLYMPIA — All union members and supporters are urged to attend a Labor Rally to Protect Striking Workers on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at noon on the State Capitol Steps in Olympia. Participants will be standing together to support HB 1893, which would allow striking workers to access limited Unemployment Insurance benefits. This bill has passed the Washington State House of Representatives, but has yet to get a vote in the State Senate. Read more.
TAKE A STAND — RSVP today to attend this important rally to send a message to state senators that we want them to vote YES on HB 1893! Participants will begin gathering on the Capitol Steps at about 11 a.m. and a brief program will start at noon. Talk to your Local Union about participating to make sure your Union is represented! Wear your Union colors and work gear, and bring Union signs and banners. Download and share this flyer to help spread the word.
Without HB 1893, intransigent employers can use the threat of evictions, repossessions, and other extreme economic hardships as a bargaining strategy. In particular, this harms low-wage workers who can never afford to exercise their right to withhold their labor. Under HB 1893 as approved by the House, workers on strike would have a 14-day waiting period before they could apply for unemployment benefits, which would be limited to four weeks. Now, even with its limitations on benefits, lobbying groups representing some of the biggest corporations in Washington are fighting hard to kill this bill. They don’t want striking workers to have any lifeline at all.
WPEA Scholarship Program is now accepting submissions for the 2024 Scholarships!
WPEA Scholarships will be open from February 20 - April 30, 2024. Awards will be announced June 1, 2024. For flyer and submission information please visit: https://www.wpea.org/wpeascholarship
These scholarships, which will be awarded for use this fall include:
1 - $5000 WPEA Future Labor Leader Scholarship
1 - $3000 WPEA Lifetime Labor Leader Scholarship
In memory of Earl Kalles, former WPEA Secretary-Treasurer
and long-time member at the Liquor Control Board
1 - $3000 WPEA Lifetime Labor Leader Scholarship
In memory of Patti Pollardo, former WPEA Vice President
and long-time member at Edmonds Community College
4 - $1000 WPEA Scholarships
Sign petition, attend Feb. 20 board meeting in Vancouver
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Librarians at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District (FVRL) serve residents across southwest Washington in rural, suburban, and urban settings in Klickitat and Skamania counties, most of Clark County, and parts of Cowlitz County. But these hard-working librarians are struggling to get a fair contract that pays livable wages. Their union, Washington Public Employees Association/UFCW 365, is calling on all union members and community supporters to join them in sending a message to FVRL administrators that raises for librarians are OVERDUE. Read more.
TAKE A STAND — If you live in southwest Washington, please attend the FVRL Board meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Columbia Room on the first floor of the downtown Vancouver Community Library, 901 C Street to support library workers in getting the dignity of a living wage. Also please sign this petition in support of FVRL librarians.
In issuing this call, U.S. unions are joining the efforts of 13 Congressmembers and others who are calling for an immediate ceasefire.
The basic rights of people must be restored. Water, fuel, food, and other humanitarian aid must be allowed into Gaza, power must be restored, and foreign nationals and Palestinians requiring medical care must be allowed out of Gaza.
The Israeli hostages taken by Hamas must be immediately released. Both Hamas and Israel must adhere to standards of international law and Geneva Convention rules of warfare concerning the welfare and security of civilians.
There must be a ceasefire in Gaza.The cycle of violence must stop so that negotiations for an enduring peace proceed.
The U.S. must act. We call on President Biden to immediately call for a ceasefire.
The road to justice cannot be paved by bombs and war. The road to peace cannot be found through warfare. We commit ourselves to work in solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli peoples to achieve peace and justice.
Many of you are aware of the issues at bargaining specifically around the states inability to use the salary survey. Seamus, WPEA Lobbyist, has asked that we act today or tomorrow!
If you have questions about this action or want to plug into future legislative actions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org!
Message from Seamus:
SB 5694 is a bill that will allow the state's salary survey to be used in bargaining and give state employees more of a voice in the salary survey itself. Right now, the bill is in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and it needs to be scheduled for a hearing as soon as possible.
5694 is the bill to tell OFM that they can, in fact, use their own salary survey when considering which job classes should get targeted pay increases. It also gives state employees - the folks actually doing the work - a voice in how the salary survey is structured.
CALL TO ACTION: It would be a big help if, today and tomorrow, Senator June Robinson got some friendly reminders to schedule the bill for a hearing and a vote.
Please send her an email at June.Robinson@leg.wa.gov asking her to schedule SB 5694 for a hearing and a vote. There are talking points at the bottom of the email. You can also email the member of the Ways & Means committee who represents your district, or the district nearest you. I've included some of the most important and/or likely to be sympathetic here:
Dear Senator Robinson [or whoever],
I am a member of the Washington Public Employees Association and I work at _________________. As a state employee / union member / steward / bargaining team member, I am asking you to pass SB 5694 out of committee.
SB 5694 allows the Office of Financial Management more flexibility at the negotiating table and gives state employees - the folks doing the work - some shared responsibility in crafting the survey itself.
Every two years, the state conducts a salary survey that demonstrates just how far behind market rate many state employee salaries are. But at the bargaining table, OFM says they can't use the salary survey as a reason to raise salaries.
A labor/management workgroup the legislature created last year to address the problem found that changing the way the salary survey is used at the bargaining table would require a change in law. 5694 will make these important changes.
After years of neglect, the state is facing a massive staffing crisis [include an anecdote from your own worksite]
Please pass SB 5694 out of Ways and Means by this Monday, to help reduce the turnover and vacancy rates in state service and improve the state’s collective bargaining process.
This January, qualifying union-represented PEBB Program employee subscribers whose annual rate of pay was $60,000 or less as of November 1, 2023 received a $250 Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) contribution from their employer.
Navia Benefit Solutions (the Medical FSA administrator) recently mailed a welcome letter and a $250 debit card to those who met the requirements (members with existing accounts will get new cards in the mail once every 3 years). For employees who were actively enrolled in a Medical FSA and/or had carry over funds from 2023, the $250 was added to their existing account and debit card.
Employees who likely qualified were sent a letter in September 2023 informing them:
Contact Navia Benefit Services, for benefit administrators only, by calling 425-452-3488 or emailing ESTeam4@naviabenefits.com.
Help FVRL Members by signing their petition.
We the undersigned demand Fort Vancouver Regional Library honor their own vision that everyone in our communities is valued and empowered to succeed by paying their own workers a living wage. While the Administrative Team enjoy healthy six figure salaries, wages for frontline library workers do not allow workers to put food on their table without the support of government assistance.
Restore trust. Honor your stated values. Pay your staff a living wage.
Your Union contract will expire, soon – and that means we will be renegotiating your Union contract this year! We are looking for volunteers to be part of the bargaining team. We need your voice!
Bargaining will be done virtually, on Zoom. The Employer will approve paid release time for bargaining team members.
If you are interested in participating, please reach out to email@example.com. There are opportunities for members to be involved in bargaining without being at the table, too! If you have an interest in working with your Union to advocate for you and your colleagues during contract negotiations, even if you don’t want to be on the bargaining team, please reach out!
We prioritize making sure that participating in contract bargaining is accessible for all members. We will work with members to make sure that if they want to participate, they can.
Not sure what bargaining is? Check out our FAQ page
January 24, 2024 – In the state renowned for its lush greenery and frequent rainfall, the irony of outdoor workers lacking proper rain gear is a tale that spans over two years. The journey began with a visit to the Cedar Creek Correctional Facility, where forest crew supervisors provided a tour. While exploring the grounds, a coatrack filled with well-worn and near-expiration rain gear caught the attention of Department of Natural Resources representative Julia Thurman-Lascurain. Shockingly, the forest crew supervisors disclosed that they purchased their own rain gear because the agency failed to supply it. Recognizing the absurdity of the situation, efforts were initiated to address this overlooked need.
Assurances were made that the issue would be resolved in a matter of weeks. However, the anticipated solution did not occur, leading to a persistent advocacy campaign. Between the initial conversation in January 2022 and May 2023, the rain gear issue became a recurring topic in every meeting with DNR management. Despite the constant reminders, progress remained elusive until June 14th when a breakthrough occurred during a union meeting where agency finally approved the provision of rain gear for outdoor workers. Despite the approval, the implementation before the rainy season, promised on June 14th, did not materialize by October 2nd. Members were still without rain gear during the actual rainy season. The agency's response was the formation of a committee to discuss rain gear options and create a menu for members to choose from. The specifics, including vendor selection and delivery logistics, were yet to be worked out.
Fast forward to January 24, 2024, thanks to ongoing collaboration with Shop Stewards from Washington Public Employees Association (WPEA), and input from staff throughout the agency, DNR has committed to providing rain gear to employees as part of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) program. Eligible employees can select one top (jacket) and one set of bottoms (pants or bibs) from the DNR Supply Catalog, with supervisor approval required.
Through the commitment to safety and teamwork by WPEA DNR Shop Stewards, outdoor workers in the rainiest state can now look forward to being equipped with proper rain gear. WPEA celebrates a significant step toward ensuring the well-being of those who tirelessly contribute to the state's natural resources.
Union membership in Washington state slipped in 2023, but the state remains the third most unionized in the country, according to the annual estimates released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Meanwhile, union members earned 15.9% more than their nonunion counterparts on average last year.
According to the latest BLS report, Washington had 576,000 union members in 2023, representing 16.5 percent of the state’s workforce. Only New York and Hawaii had a higher percentage of union members in their workforces than Washington. For 2022, the BLS estimated Washington had 615,000 union members and 18 percent union density.
Nationally, union membership increased by 139,000 to more than 14.4 million workers, but union density edged lower from 10.1 to 10.0 percent, as job gains slightly outpaced union organizing gains.
April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, said the latest BLS numbers demonstrate the need for labor law reform that restores the freedom to form unions:
“Today in Washington state and across the country, union organizing, worker activism, and public support of unions are all higher than they’ve been in our lifetimes. The fact that these latest numbers don’t reflect that enthusiasm should be a concern for all Americans. More than two-thirds of us support unions, including nearly 90% of young Americans. Why is it that two-thirds of us say we would join a union right now if we could — but we can’t?
“The answer is that there are too many obstacles to joining together in unions. Corporate union-busters spend billions to deny workers their rights. Anti-worker politicians and Supreme Court justices continue to create roadblocks. They do this because the rich and powerful know that unions work. They raise workers’ wages, improve benefits and working conditions, and they give us a strong collective voice so we can stand up to powerful interests.
“Life is truly better in a union. That’s why we need to demand — in the streets with our voices and at the ballot box with our votes – that our freedom to join together in unions is restored.”
According to a 2023 Gallup poll, labor unions continue to enjoy high support in the U.S., with 67% of Americans approving of them, similar to the elevated level seen in recent years after more than a decade of rising support. Meanwhile, studies show that 70 percent of hourly workers say they would join a union if given the opportunity.
A report released in October 2023 by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that, after an astounding 53 percent increase in union election petitions in FY 2022, the number of petitions for union elections continued to increase in FY 2023.
Union membership once again meant higher wages in 2023. Median weekly earnings for union members was $1,263 last year, according to the BLS report, compared to $1,090 per week for non-union workers. In other words, union members earned 15.9 percent higher wages. That’s the Union Difference.
► Today from the AFL-CIO — Union membership grew by 139,000 in 2023, thanks to worker wins — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union density today and it shows that union membership grew by 139,000 in 2023, although union density remained flat. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said:
“The labor movement is more focused and committed than ever on ensuring that every worker who wants a union has a fair shot at joining one. Organizing is happening at a rate not seen in generations, and new federal investments by the Biden administration in emerging sectors of the economy creates more opportunity for workers to attain good union jobs. The AFL-CIO’s Center for Transformational Organizing has become a hub for multiunion organizing strategy and investment in the clean energy and technology sectors as new jobs emerge over the next several years catalyzed by these federal funds. Working people are on the rise, and the progress we’re seeing now is just the beginning.”
Original Article: https://www.thestand.org/2024/01/union-membership-slips-in-wa-but-state-remains-3/?link_id=1&can_id=c0d2771788ffc20e5ab8804c795f013b&source=email-union-difference-159-iam-boeing-talks-delayed-seattle-freeze&email_referrer=email_2180193&email_subject=union-difference-159-iam-boeing-talks-delayed-seattle-freeze