We last talked about the overall process of how a bill becomes a law. Today, we’re going take you inside a committee hearing, then we’ll talk about what happens during floor debates. To view the transcript of the podcast click here.
KUOW journalists picket (again) over low-wage proposal
Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=113178
SEATTLE (Dec. 15, 2022) – The continued refusal of managers to pay anything close to a living wage has forced KUOW’s unionized staff, including the familiar voices that bring you the news, to picket the public radio station for a second time this fall. KUOW’s SAG-AFTRA members held an informational picket Tuesday outside the KUOW studios in Seattle. They picketed to let management know it has to get serious about ongoing negotiations for livable wages for at KUOW.
The journalists who work at KUOW Public Radio believe in the mission of public media and have dedicated their lives to it, but that can’t come at the cost of not being able to live in the communities they cover.
KUOW is a well-funded institution with roughly $21 million in annual revenue, yet most KUOW journalists last year earned so little they could qualify for low-income housing in Seattle. Under management’s latest offer, presented Monday to the KUOW SAG-AFTRA union team, half of KUOW journalists would still qualify for low-income housing as a one-person household, and two-thirds would qualify as a two-person household.
Union members and their SAG-AFTRA representatives walked out on contract talks Monday after receiving another insulting offer from management.
“We need our bosses to take our demands for a living wage seriously and bargain in good faith to keep this station from bleeding any more talent,” said KUOW announcer/producer Natalie Newcomb.
Since the KUOW newsroom signed its first union contract in June 2019, the cost of living has shot up 18.5 percent in the Seattle area (as of October 2022). Union wages at KUOW have gone up just 6.1 percent in that time.
Union negotiators have tried to make sure nobody working at KUOW needs to depend on government assistance to live in Seattle. Still, the union has lowered its salary proposals repeatedly despite minimal effort by KUOW management or the University of Washington (KUOW’s FCC license holder) to compromise in return.
Fair pay is also the missing link in KUOW’s push to have a diverse and equitable workplace.
“KUOW managers tell listeners that equity and inclusion are critical to our journalism. But management is not backing up the talk with equitable wages,” said KUOW host Patricia Murphy. “Paying fair wages should be standard for an organization as resource-rich as KUOW.”
The two sides have been in contract negotiations since April and, at management’s insistence, in mediation through the Washington Public Employment Relations Commission since September. The KUOW SAG-AFTRA contract expired on June 30.
Follow KUOW’s SAG-AFTRA members on Twitter @WeMakeKUOW and post messages of support using #SoundStoriesSoundWages.
Next Washington Wednesday will be January 4th
In a previous episode, we were talking about the work of the legislature, and I briefly mentioned the process by which a bill turns into a law. I invited you to recall schoolhouse rock, because, frankly, that’s a pretty good basic outlining of the legislative process – it was written for US congress, but the process in the WA state legislature is much the same: A successful bill has to go to committee, then to the floor, then to the committee in the other chamber, then the floor of the other chamber, then to the governor’s desk. Along the way, it can be debated and amended. That’s the simple version of the story. As you may have guessed, the real story – the legislative process as it is actually practiced - is a bit more complicated.
Union to Kroger: Fix your payroll problems
Original Article: https://www.thestand.org/?p=113139
UFCW 367 calls on Fred Meyer, QFC parent company to pay employees what they’ve earned amid payroll software glitches
TACOMA (Dec. 14, 2022) — A number of the 2,700 Kroger employees represented by UFCW 367 who work in Fred Meyer and QFC stores in Pierce, Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties are facing paycheck shortages due to a faulty new payroll system implemented this fall, according to the union.
UFCW 367 announced that it has filed a class-action grievance on behalf of the affected workers and is collecting wage-and-hour claim forms to be submitted to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. As it continues these efforts to ensure Kroger employees are paid what they have earned, the union is demanding that the company fix its payroll system immediately and stop the harm being caused to employees and their families.
“Essential grocery store workers shouldn’t have to worry about making ends meet during the holiday season,” said UFCW 367 President Michael Hines. “Kroger needs to step up and take care of their associates.”
The union says that members at Fred Meyer and QFC have reported various payroll problems, including:
● Receiving no paycheck, some for as long as three weeks.
● Being denied contractual wage increases that should have gone into effect on Oct. 16, 2022.
● Confusing paycheck stubs that fail to explain earnings or new deductions.
● Other pay errors that continue to occur on a weekly basis.
Fred Meyer and QFC workers in the south Puget Sound area are not the only ones experiencing payroll issues. After Fred Meyer workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington experienced missing or shortchanged paychecks, company officials acknowledged to The Oregonian in November that payroll software problems had occurred. But the company claimed only a small percentage of its employees were affected.
Meanwhile, attorney Richard Myers of Bennett Hartman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Fred Meyer on behalf of two workers who weren’t properly paid. The Northwest Labor Press reports:
Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, the lawsuit explains that Fred Meyer began using a new payroll software system in September. Since then, workers have had missing or late paychecks, been paid incorrect wages, had their hours incorrectly recorded, had incorrect deductions from their paychecks, seen direct deposits get canceled, and more.
Kroger’s payroll problems come as the company is focused on a proposed $24.6 billion merger with Albertsons Companies, Inc., and trying to convince federal regulators that the merger would not create a monopoly that harms consumers or results in widespread store closures. Unions representing grocery store workers — UFCW 7 in Colorado, UFCW 324 and UFCW 770 in California, UFCW 367 in Pierce and surrounding counties, UFCW 3000 across Washington state, and Teamsters 38 in Everett — strongly oppose the Kroger-Albertsons merger.
Homegrown cafe workers vote Union Yes!
The following is from UNITE HERE Local 8:SEATTLE (Dec. 13, 2022) — Workers at Homegrown’s cafes are excited to have won their NLRB union election just weeks after Homegrown’s wholesale distribution workers at Catapult NW won theirs. The cafe workers are eager to join their distribution colleagues in negotiating a fair contract that will provide the wages, benefits, and health and safety protections that would make their jobs at Homegrown sustainable.
Workers in Homegrown’s cafes and wholesale distribution filed for union elections with the NLRB in October after company-wide delegations, picketing, job actions, and leafleting of customers and clients. They have organized as Homegrown Workers Uniting for Sustainable Jobs with UNITE HERE Local 8. (Follow them at @OurUnionIsHG.)
TAKE A STAND — Sign the solidarity petition with Homegrown workers to support them as they bargain for a fair contract.
Today we’re talking about the budget process, and the process our state employee member contracts go through, from negotiation to ratification to funding. Call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and ask your legislators to fully fund state employee contracts this year, including 100% of the funding for higher education employees.
AFT Washington plans human rights event Dec. 10 via Zoom
From The Stand: https://www.thestand.org/2022/12/aft-washington-plans-human-rights-event-via-zoom-on-dec-10/
SEATTLE — Join AFT Washington’s Human Rights Committee on Human Rights Day, Saturday, Dec. 10 for “The Struggle to Protect Reproductive Rights and Organizing in The Current Environment!” This conversation about how to protect reproductive rights, workers’ rights, and the right to education will be held via Zoom from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Register here.
As members of AFT Washington’s Human and Civil Rights Committee watched decisions of the Supreme Court come down, the importance of creating space to both acknowledge and strategize how we fight back to defend and expand our human rights became clear.
International Human Rights Day is Dec. 10 and provides the opportunity to come together in solidarity. Reproductive rights, workers’ rights, and the right to education, enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights, are not guaranteed and some interests are actively seeking to take them away from us.
Join AFT Washington for a discussion and inspiration to action around ways to reaffirm and protect our rights, and the importance of continuing the fight even in an unwelcoming legal and political climate. Speakers will include:
Mary Le Nguyen, who is the first Executive Director of color in Washington Community Action Network’s (Washington CAN) 40-year history. Her lineage includes her grandfather who fought under Ho Chi Minh during the French occupation where his resistance resulted in the family home being burned down and his imprisonment. Mary has organized within the labor and reproductive justice movements for over 10 years and waited tables for nearly 20. Mary has a MA of Arts in Policy Studies from the University of Washington.
Rigoberto Valdez, Jr. is currently on loan to MLK Labor, to coordinate the Presidents’ Organizing Initiative (a partnership of National Unions, the AFL-CIO and local labor movements to pilot new external organizing strategies). He is a member of UFCW 3000. For more than 27 years, Rigo has dedicated his life and career to organizing workers. Currently, Rigo is the President of the United Latinos of the UFCW, is a founding member and is on the Executive Board of OUTreach (UFCW LGBTQ+ Caucus), a member of the Executive Board of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles (CHIRLA), serves on the National Executive Board of LCLAA (Labor Council for Latin American Advancement), and is a Commissioner on the Los Angeles County, Immigrant Protection and Advancement Taskforce.
Xochilt Lopez, who emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico in 2009, looking for a better life. Xochilt has three children. While working at a packing house in Yakima, Xochilt decided to improve her English and get a degree so that she could have a career helping the community. She received her Associate degree from Yakima Valley Community College, and is currently working on her bachelor’s degree. While at YVCC, Xochilt started a student club, Connection Bridge, to support students navigating the college. She also began working as an organizer with the Alliance for a Just Society and the Communities For Our Colleges coalition. She does outreach to potential students, current students, and parents to enlist them in the fight for free community college and the support it takes for everyone seeking degrees to complete them.
All are invited to visit the AFT Washington site to register for this Dec. 10 event: https://leadernet.aft.org/webform/human-rights-day-2022-registration