WPEA Scholarship Winners
After review of all submissions, the WPEA Scholarship Committee is excited to celebrate and proudly share the news that Caitlin Dulin and Azaria Evans are each winners of the WPEA $1,000 scholarship. The Executive Board of the WPEA hopes that this award will be of great assistance to them in achieving their educational goals.
Legislative session – week 3 in review
Friday marks the 19th day of the 105-day legislative session. As mentioned above, committees held hearings on a suite of bills to strengthen reproductive access and rights, and legislators convened a bipartisan press conference about traffic safety proposals. More than 1,000 bills have been filed this session so the pace is picking up to hear and move bills before the committee cutoff dates in February.
Committees this week moved bills forward that would increase the penalty for hazing, create a cold case investigations unit for missing and murdered indigenous people, restrict the sale of cosmetics with certain toxic chemicals, and require six months’ notice for rent increases over five percent. Committees also moved additional gun safety bills forward including the assault weapon bill requested by the governor and attorney general and the governor’s request legislation to require training before purchasing a firearm. Next week’s possible committee votes could include a bill to end puppy mills and to limit nighttime use of lights on wind turbines.
Outside the Legislature, the Washington Supreme Court heard arguments this week about the state’s new capital gains tax. Washington has the most regressive tax structure in the country, and legislators passed the capital gains tax in 2021. The tax only applies to very wealthy individuals and is expected to be paid by about 7,000 people. At the same time the capital gains is going into effect, so is the new Working Families Tax Credit which will provide up to $1,200 back to more than 400,000 low-income Washington households. Applications open next week on Feb. 1.
National Legislative and Political News
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WPEA Podcast - Week 3 Legislative Update
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Strike averted at University of Washington Libraries, Press
The following is from SEIU Local 925:
SEATTLE (Jan. 25, 2023) — With three hours left until workers were scheduled to show up at strike lines, union staff at the University of Washington Libraries and Press reached a tentative agreement with the university administration early this morning. Librarians and UW Press staff will not go on strike, and will report to work today as usual.
After a marathon bargaining session that lasted about 21 hours straight, the union and employer bargaining teams reached a deal around 5:30 a.m.
“It took 38 bargaining sessions over 16 months, but we finally reached an agreement,” said Tricia Schroeder, President of SEIU 925, the union representing UW Libraries and Press staff. “Nobody wanted to go on strike, but they were willing to do it to prove they know what they’re worth.”
Ratification details have yet to be ironed out; the team will first work on preparing drafts of the contract for members to review.
The scheduled noon rally in Red Square will still move forward, though it will be a celebration instead of a strike rally.
Employees of the University of Washington Libraries and Press formed a union in June 2021 and had been in negotiations with the University for a first contract ever since.
SEIU 925 unites 17,000 people in Washington who work in education from early learning through university, as well as local government and nonprofits.
Teamsters at Trojan Lithograph in Renton authorize strike
Workers vow to fight concession demands after private equity firm buys Renton paper packaging company
The following is from Teamsters Local 117:
RENTON, Wash. (Jan. 24, 2023) — Things have radically changed at Trojan Lithograph and not for the better.
“We used to be like a family,” recalls Ron Limarzi Jr., an assistant press operator, who has been with the Renton-based company for 22 years. “We looked forward to coming to work, and we were willing to stay over to get the job done.”
Limarzi’s co-worker and lead press operator, Mark Krempl, agrees.
“I came to Trojan Litho because it was better than any other place,” he said. “That’s just not true anymore. We worked really hard to build this company up to where it was. Now they’re trying to tear us down.”
The turnabout came, the two men say, after a private equity firm, Mill Rock Capital, acquired Trojan Litho in 2020 and folded it into Mill Rock Packaging, a conglomerate of what their investors call “growth-oriented” printing and packaging companies.
For the 26 Teamsters who work there, the buyout has been a disaster.
“When the new management came in, they started moving people around and stuff started to fall apart,” Krempl said in frustration. “We used to have regular maintenance schedules and things used to run well. Now the machines are breaking down all the time.”
The new management team has also proven to be aggressively anti-union, demanding a slew of concessions in ongoing contract talks. They want to increase workers’ out-of-pocket medical costs, redefine how overtime is calculated, and weaken retirement and job security.
Limarzi, a Shop Steward who sits at the negotiations table, has witnessed firsthand the concessionary proposals the company is trying to shove down the Union’s throat.
“They want to make it harder for us to retire and to pay more on our medical. A strong contract secures my future, secures my kids’ future. The company wants to take all of that away.”
But Teamsters at Trojan Litho are not backing down without a fight. On Saturday, after an update from their Union bargaining committee, the group voted unanimously to authorize a strike. This escalation represents a major departure from past negotiations, which were settled without a dispute in a climate of mutual respect.
For workers like Limarzi and Krempl, a fair contract means a decent standard of living and security when they retire. It’s not something they’re ready to fold on.
John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, said the Union stands with the workers 100%.
“A unanimous strike authorization vote should tell the people calling the shots at Trojan Litho that our members are ready to withhold their labor if their hands are forced. These are highly-skilled trades women and men who will be out on the picket line at their Renton facility. This company better be listening,” he said.
“They’re not going to shake us.” Limarzi said defiantly. “They came at us wanting to get rid of everything in our contract. They wanted to knock us off kilter. But that’s not going to happen.”
Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=113844
Last week, the legislature held public hearings on the governor’s budget. The governor’s budget funds our contracts, including the 4% COLA on July 1, targeted pay increases for specific job classes, plus the COVID booster bonus and the retention bonus.
This week, the legislature held hearings on a handful of bills important to WPEA members. Check it out now!
Southwest Washington Labor Awards Feb. 25 in Vancouver
The following is from the Southwest Washington and the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Councils:
VANCOUVER, Wash. (Jan. 18, 2023) — We all know that 2022 was an amazing year for working people in Southwest Washington. We saw headlines about strikes, new organizing, and workers from across the region standing up and standing together to fight for fair treatment in their workplaces.
Behind each of those headlines are people in their community who took risks and volunteered their time and energy to make those stories happen. Far too often those people don’t get recognized for their efforts – but the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council and Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council won’t let that happen.
That’s why these CLCs are honored to present the 2nd Annual Southwest Washington Labor Awards on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Vancouver Hilton (our UNION hotel!) They want to honor the people in their community who dedicated themselves to fighting for working people in the past year. Please fill out this form to nominate the people you feel deserve to be recognized as:
Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=113706
UW Libraries, Press staff to strike on Jan. 25After 15 months of bargaining with the university, they’ll begin strike unless they reach a deal
The following is from SEIU 925:
SEATTLE (Jan. 13, 2023) — Union staff at the University of Washington Libraries and Press have declared their intention to strike beginning Wednesday, Jan. 25 if a full contract agreement with the UW administration is not reached. Members of the bargaining team made the announcement during the public comment period at the UW’s Board of Regents’ quarterly meeting on Thursday.
“Fifteen months without a contract is too long,” said Allee Monheim, a public service librarian who addressed the board. “We’ve been waiting on some proposals for over six months, and we’re tired of dragging this out. We will go on strike if we don’t reach a tentative agreement before the 25th.”
Employees of the University of Washington Libraries and Press formed a union in June 2021 and have been negotiating with the university for a first contract ever since. They engaged in a one-day strike in October 2022 to show frustration at how long the university has been dragging out negotiations. In November, they authorized their union bargaining team to call an open-ended strike if negotiations with the university break down.
Many librarians haven’t seen a wage increase since before the pandemic and feel they have reached a breaking point.
“When librarians are willing to walk off the job, you know something’s really wrong,” said Tricia Schroeder, President of SEIU 925, the union UW Libraries and Press staff have joined. “But they’re willing to do it for a living wage, to be able to retain colleagues and prevent staff shortages, and to have the resources to better serve the UW educational community.”
The last scheduled day of bargaining is Tuesday, Jan. 24.
SEIU 925 unites 17,000 people in Washington who work in education from early learning through university, as well as local government and nonprofits.
Register for WSLC’s 2023 legislative events
At the State Labor Council’s reception and conference Feb. 2-3 in Olympia, union members will learn about working families’ issues and meet with their legislators
OLYMPIA (Dec. 15, 2022) — After another successful effort in 2022 by Washington’s union movement to support the election of pro-worker candidates, it’s time to make sure working families carry that momentum into the 2023 legislative session that begins on Jan. 9. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is gearing up for its 2023 Legislative Reception and Conference on Feb. 2-3 at the Olympia Hotel on Capitol Lake. After conducting virtual conferences throughout the pandemic, the WSLC is very excited to be able to meet in-person in 2023 while adhering to CDC-recommended COVID-19 testing and safety protocols.
Under the theme “Better Jobs, Stronger Communities,” the conference will explore and explain priority legislative issues facing organized labor. After learning about these issues and meeting some key legislative leaders, delegates will meet with their state senators and representatives to urge their support for pro-worker legislation.
TAKE A STAND — The WSLC urges members, staffers and leaders of all affiliated unions to register for the conference by Friday, Jan. 20. Early registration helps the WSLC secure appointments with legislative offices so everyone has an opportunity to connect face-to-face with their legislators.
WSLC’s 2023 LEGISLATIVE RECEPTION & CONFERENCE
Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake, 2300 Evergreen Park Dr. SW, Olympia, WA 98502
THURSDAY, FEB. 2 — Early check-in at 5 p.m.; Lobbying 101 at 5:30 p.m.;
WSLC Legislative Reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, FEB. 3 — Breakfast at 7:30 a.m.; WSLC Lobbying Conference begins at 8:30 a.m.
COST: $135 Reception & Conference; $60 Reception only
HOTEL INFORMATION: Conference participants can book their rooms online here or by calling the hotel directly at 800-206-9339 and letting them know you are with the “WSLC 2023” group. To get the group rate, please book by Jan. 20, 2023.
QUESTIONS about registration? Please contact Willa Kamakahi at email@example.com.
The WSLC is currently meeting with its affiliated unions and finalizing its 2023 Legislative Agenda, which will be announced the first week of January before the session begins.
By joining together and speaking with one voice, union members can support each other’s priority legislative issues and build more worker power in Washington state. Please make sure your union is part of this effort in 2023 by registering now for the WSLC Legislative Reception and Conference.
Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=113191
Join UAW 4121 rally on Jan. 11 against privatized UW housing
UPDATED (Jan. 11, 2023) This rally is also in support of members of Washington State Federation of State Employees Local 1495, whose custodial and maintenance work at existing UW housing could be contracted out.
The following is from UAW 4121:
SEATTLE — UAW 4121, the union of Academic Student Employees, Postdocs, and Research Scientists/Engineers A-4 at the University of Washington, and the tenants of UW’s “Housing 4” properties will rally on Wednesday against privatized student and family housing. The rally will take place outside the UW Regents meeting and will end with public comments at the meeting.
The purpose of this rally is for residents of Radford Court, Blakeley Village, Laurel Village and Nordheim Court to stand together with UW community members to tell UW that unilaterally privatizing student and family housing is a bad call. This stance comes in response to the Regents’ September 2022 decision to offload graduate student and family housing to a private real estate company via a long-term land lease, which would leave current residents displaced and/or severely rent burdened by the new “market rate” rent. This deal is intended to line the Housing and Food Services budget, at the expense of UW’s own graduate students and families.
TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters are invited to join the rally at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Red Square on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus.
This rally is just one element of a larger campaign by UAW 4121 for more safe and affordable housing for the entire UW community, just as the fate of these housing properties is part of a larger picture of Seattle’s expensive and inaccessible housing market. As a public university — not to mention a prominent employer and landlord — UW should make decisions for the good of their own community and the wider public, rather than displacing its own staff and students.
► Oct. 21, 2022 in The Stranger — Hey, UW: Don’t privatize our student housing (by Erin Angelini, Anne Duncan, Levin Kim, Avi Matarasso and Jake Wilson) — The housing crisis in the Seattle area is about to get even worse because of bad decisions made by the people who are entrusted with leading our public university. Recently, the UW administration announced that they plan to accept bids to privatize four major student housing developments. Through our union, UAW Local 4121, Academic Student Employees and Postdocs are calling UW to account: we are coming together to demand housing justice predicated on the notion that everyone deserves housing that is stable, affordable, and accessible.
UAW Local 4121 is the Union at UW of Academic Student Employees and Postdocs. We are RAs, TAs, Tutors, Graders, Trainees, Fellows, and Postdoctoral Scholars. We are more than 6,000 strong at all three UW campuses: Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell. UW works because we do.
New president, secretary treasurer sworn in at Washington State Labor Council; first team of Black women to lead an AFL-CIO state federation
TACOMA, Wash. — April Sims and Cherika Carter made organized labor history on Friday.
In front of more than 200 family members, friends, labor leaders and elected officials at Tacoma’s Hotel Murano, Sims and Carter took their oaths of office to serve as President and Secretary Treasurer, respectively, of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Widely considered to be the “voice of labor” in Washington, the WSLC is the largest union organization in the state, representing more than 600 unions and 550,000 rank-and-file union members.
Sims, who has served as WSLC Secretary Treasurer since 2019, is the first woman to be elected President of the WSLC and the first Black woman ever elected to the presidency of an AFL-CIO state federation. She was sworn into the office Friday by outgoing WSLC President Larry Brown, who announced last year that he would not seek reelection. Then as her first official act as President, Sims administered the oath of office to Carter as the WSLC’s new Secretary Treasurer, creating the first leadership team of Black women ever to lead an AFL-CIO state federation.
“Thank you to the affiliates of the WSLC, for your trust and confidence in me to lead our labor movement during this time of incredible challenge and opportunity,” Sims said. “Collectively, with our commitment to solidarity and with your continued support, I know there is nothing we cannot do. We can fulfill the charge of our constitution to ‘fight the forces that seek to enslave the human soul.’ Our work can change the world.”
Sims was elected WSLC Secretary Treasurer in December 2018. She previously served as the WSLC’s Field Mobilization Director and then Political and Strategic Campaign Director. Sims joined the WSLC staff in September 2015 after serving as the Legislative and Political Action Field Coordinator for the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28. She was a WFSE member, shop steward, elected union officer, and union staffer from 2002-15.
As WSLC President, Sims is the chief executive officer of the council supervising all of its activities and staff, promoting affiliation with the WSLC, representing the council at the national AFL-CIO, and performing any other duties as assigned by the WSLC Executive Board.
Carter joined the WSLC staff in March 2018 and, like Sims, served as both Field Mobilization Director and Political and Strategic Campaigns Director before being elected Secretary Treasurer. Prior to joining the council in March 2018, she was Member Political Organizer of UFCW 1059 in Columbus, Ohio, and a Field Representative of the Ohio AFL-CIO.
“I’m from the Midwest and I come from a long line of hard workers, state employees, postal workers, educators, healthcare workers, and even some Teamsters in there, too,” Carter said. “For families and Black families like my own, the labor movement has been a glide path toward economic stability and the middle class. As a proud UFCW member and a Pharmacy Technician by trade, and the daughter of an AFSCME retiree, I have seen and known the ‘union difference’ that coming together in a union makes. And because of that, I will always speak truth to power in proclaiming that there can be no economic justice without racial justice.”
As WSLC Secretary Treasurer, Carter is the chief financial officer of the council, taking charge of all financial documents and records, overseeing all receipts and expenditures, reporting on those activities to the WSLC Executive Board and convention, and performing any other duties as assigned by the Board.
At Friday’s swearing-in ceremony AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Secretary Treasurer Fred Redmond welcomed the new WSLC leadership team via video.
“April and Cherika, together you are making history — or should I say, herstory,” Shuler said. “There is nothing that makes me more joy than seeing supremely confident women step up and lead our movement into the future. You’re bringing groundbreaking ideas and new energy to strengthen the voices of workers and build power for our communities.”
The WSLC was formed in 1957 with the merger of the Washington Federation of Labor and the Washington Congress of Industrial Organizations Council. The executive officers since that time have been:
E.M Weston (1957-61)
Joe Davis (1962-79)
Marvin Williams (1980-85)
Larry Kenney (1986-92)
Rick Bender (1993-2010)
Jeff Johnson (2011-2018)
Larry Brown (2019-2022)
April Sims (2023-)
Harold Slater (1957-59)
Marvin Williams (1959-79)
Larry Kenney (1980-85)
Al Brisbois (1986-92)
Al Link (1993-2010)
Lynne Dodson (2011-2018)
April Sims (2019-2022)
Cherika Carter (2023-)
Per the WSLC Constitution, Sims and Carter began their four-year terms as WSLC officers effective Jan. 5, 2023. The council’s Vice Presidents who were elected in December will be sworn in at the next WSLC Executive Board meeting on Feb. 2 in Olympia.
Friday’s swearing-in ceremony was broadcast via Zoom and Facebook Live for those who couldn’t attend in person. A recording of the event is available at the WSLC Facebook page.
As WPEA ramps up for the 2023 Legislative Session - Today's podcast will be postponed until next Thursday. Stay tuned as we have a special surprise next week to accompany the podcast!