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Washington State

Locked-Out Firefighters Picket Boeing

The aerospace giant Boeing locked out 125 firefighters across multiple facilities in Washington state May 4 after contract negotiations broke down. “We want to be out there working and protecting the community of Boeing employees,” said firefighter Jon Riggsby, vice-president-elect of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local I-66. “But the company won’t allow us.” Boeing firefighters are on hand for fueling, takeoffs, and landings. They also respond to any medical emergencies at company facilities in Seattle, Everett, Renton, Auburn, and Moses Lake. They’re the first line of defense to prevent the spread of flame and toxic emissions from the combination of materials used to build aircraft such as the Boeing 737, Triple Seven, and others as part of military contracts.

Climate Movement Elders Revive Monkey Wrench Tactics

Earlier this year, seven activists entered the site of a proposed timber sale in Washington State, intent on halting — or at least delaying — the destruction of trees with immense carbon storage potential. Over the course of several hours, they hiked off-trail through the dense understory, removing signs and flagging tape marking the boundaries of the controversial Carrot timber sale. The creative nonviolent direct action seemed to pay off, as a couple days later Washington’s Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, announced it was cancelling the Carrot sale for the time being.

Protest Trident Submarine Base In Honor Of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bangor, WA - Members of the Resist US-Led War Movement and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action  were present, on January 13, at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base.  Due to severe cold weather, which caused mechanical difficulties with equipment, the Main Gate at Bangor was closed. About 35 demonstrators braved the 20 degree weather and voiced their desire for a nuclear weapons-free world to drivers and passengers in backed-up traffic entering the Trigger Ave. entrance.  Signs with quotations by Dr. King stated, “We Still Have a Choice Today: Nonviolent Coexistence or Violent Annihilation” and “When scientific power outruns spiritual power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.”  

To Fix Short-Staffing, Raise Wages, PeaceHealth Strikers Say

One of the largest non-nurse health care strikes in Pacific Northwest history began at 6:30 a.m. this morning, shedding light on skilled workers who often get overlooked. We’re demanding that PeaceHealth, a Jesuit-run health system, raise wages and fix critically short staffing—two issues that are closely related. The strikers are 1,300 workers at two hospitals in southwest Washington: PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver, and PeaceHealth St. John in nearby Longview. The strike will last five days; workers will return to work October 28. PeaceHealth had announced that it would cut off health insurance if the strike continued into November.

Peoples Summit Against APEC

Seattle, WA - A delegation from Workers World Party branches in Seattle, Portland and New York City attended the People’s Summit Against APEC on July 29 and 30, put on by Pacific Northwest-People Over Profit. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a neoliberal, free-trade conference where “government and big business collude to prioritize corporate profits at the expense of the global working class and poor”. The People’s Summit had over 350 people in attendance and was sponsored by nearly two dozen groups. Organizers included Anakbayan USA, Bayan Seattle, Oregon People Organizing for Philippines Solidarity, International Women’s Alliance and more.

University Of Washington Postdocs And Research Scientists Go On Strike

Seattle, WA - On June 7, postdoctorates and research scientists and engineers (RSEs) at the University of Washington Seattle, members of the UAW 4121 went on strike. Over 700 workers, students and community members turned out to picket lines in support. While postdoctorates and RSEs have separate bargaining committees, they are united in their fight for a strong contract. In December 2021, RSEs submitted a union certification petition, and they are still fighting to achieve a strong agreement. The certification process faced a significant delay of over six months when the University of Washington administration contested the inclusion of more than 300 individuals in the bargaining unit.

Nooksack Human Rights Saga Reaches Year Ten

Deming, Washington – Despite calls from the United Nations and two United States agencies for an eviction halt at Nooksack, tribal politicians are proceeding to eject nine households from their homes this winter. Nearly thirty Nooksack family members are slated to be ejected from federally subsidized, state regulated homes in northern Washington state this month. One family has already been ordered to vacate their home of 11 years by January 3, 2023.  The eviction imbroglio unfolds as the human battle raging at Nooksack reaches its tenth year today. Three other households await tribal court rulings.  Having been denied any right to legal counsel by Nooksack authorities, the families are representing themselves pro se.  

Forterra Staff Defy Bosses, Show Support For The Snoqualmie Tribe

We, the undersigned, are former staff members and leaders of Forterra who are writing to express our solidarity and support for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, which has made public very serious allegations of misconduct by Forterra. It is clear from publicly available information that Forterra has, at minimum, behaved in an inappropriate, disrespectful, and misleading manner inconsistent with the organization’s stated value: We show respect for people, place, culture and each other. It appears that Forterra has mistreated a sovereign Tribal Nation on its own ancestral lands while claiming to act in its best interest. Beyond that, instead of approaching this embarrassing mistake with “accountability, humility and care”, it appears Forterra’s executive team has engaged in victim blaming, pointing to the Tribe’s “bad faith”.

Home In Tacoma For All Coalition Seeks Greater Equity In Zoning Reforms

Home in Tacoma aims to overhaul Tacoma’s housing rules to allow greater flexibility in building practices. It will allow denser housing to be built to house our city’s ever growing population. The initial framework passed in December 2021 bringing Tacoma are one step closer to that goal. Though forward thinking, the plan also falls short of its potential. As I’ve pointed out in previous articles, the reach of the plan is not exactly equitable or far reaching. In short, poorer communities of color are being disproportionately rezoned in comparison to their wealthier, whiter counterparts. Communities of color will be transformed while privileged communities get to maintain the status quo. Segregation with some window dressing, if you will.

Mother’s Day Demonstration At Trident Nuclear Submarine Base

Washington State - Over 50 people were present on May 7, at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base.  Nine demonstrators blocked the main highway entrance into the base for about 10 minutes and were cited by the Washington State Patrol. At around 2:15 pm on Saturday, the nine demonstrators entered the highway carrying a large banner stating, “THE EARTH IS OUR MOTHER—TREAT HER WITH RESPECT” and blocked all incoming traffic at the Main Gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.  They were removed from the highway by the Washington State Patrol. All nine demonstrators were cited for violating RCW 46.61.250, Pedestrians on roadways, and released at the scene.

Washington Takes Strongest Clean Commercial Buildings Action In Nation

Olympia, WA - The Washington State Building Code Council voted 11-3 today to adopt a new statewide commercial and multifamily building energy code that will be the strongest, most climate-friendly in the country by driving the transition to clean electricity for space and water heating. This major win for clean energy coincides with President Joe Biden’s Earth Day Seattle visit where he discussed the infrastructure bill and clean energy. The Department of Energy has made heat pumps and energy efficiency measures a key part of its efforts to reduce emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Under Washington’s updated energy code that will take effect in July 2023, new commercial buildings – including multifamily residential buildings four stories and taller – will be built with high-efficiency electric heat pumps for water and space heating.

Snoqualmie Tribe Acquires 12,000 Acres Of Ancestral Forestland

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, a federally recognized Tribe headquartered in King County, has acquired roughly 12,000 acres of its ancestral forestlands in the Tolt River Watershed. The forest has significant cultural, historic, environmental, and economic value to the Tribe and is near the lands originally promised to the Tribe as its reservation by the federal government in the 1930s – a promise the United States did not keep. The lands acquired by the Tribe were managed for industrial timber purposes for over a century. By acquiring these lands, the Tribe is concluding a decades-long effort to reclaim ownership in an area that is enormously important to the Tribe.

ACLU Statement On Bill To Expand Police Violence

Olympia, Washington - Today, the Washington State Senate passed Senate Bill 5919, a bill that expands law enforcement’s ability to use physical force. Enoka Herat, police practices and immigration counsel at the ACLU of Washington, had the following statement: “It’s disappointing to see the Senate rush through a bill that will harm communities, particularly the communities of color and people with disabilities this Legislature made a commitment to protect when it passed more than a dozen bills last year aimed at reform and accountability in policing. The effectiveness of those bills is indicated by data showing a 62% decrease in police killings since their enactment last year.

In The Latest Rights Of Nature Case, A Tribe Is Suing On Behalf Of Salmon

Salmon—the fish—are suing the City of Seattle in Sauk-Suiattle tribal court, seeking recognition of their legal rights to exist, flourish and regenerate. The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe filed the complaint earlier this month on behalf of the fish following the city’s construction and operation of off-reservation hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River. The tribe, also asserting claims based on rights the tribe holds, alleges that the city constructed the dams, beginning in the first half of the 20th century, without the tribe’s consultation or consent. The case is the latest in a series of rights of nature lawsuits emerging in U.S. communities and throughout the world. Rights of Nature laws have also been passed in some places.

After Strike, Carpenters Approve New Contract By Slim Margin

Going into the vote on a controversial fifth tentative agreement, the mood among Washington carpenters who had organized for a “no” vote was uncertain. “It was so close last time, it’s hard to say what will happen,” said Tom Nolan hours before the vote tally was announced. “A toss-up,” said Nina Wurz. “It’s going to be a ‘no.’ But, unfortunately, I could be surprised. Being out of work has hurt a lot of people,” said Alejandro Lucero. If one thing is clear about the first Northwest Carpenters strike since 2007, it’s that nothing was clear from the moment it started. That includes the number of people on strike, since many job sites were excluded under Project Labor Agreements and other similar agreements. Estimates by the union ranged from thousands to hundreds back to thousands again.
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