Washington - UW students are protesting on campus to demand that the UW Career and Internship Center amend their employer user policy to prohibit companies in the Fossil Fuel industry from recruiting on campus or using the center’s services in any capacity to engage with students. The requested change would deny members of the Fossil Fuel industry a space to recruit students through university networking platforms and career fair events, and also leverage the UW’s agenda-setting power by encouraging similar institutions to follow suit. After several meetings and an attempt to work with the executive director of the UW Career and Internship Center, Briana Randall, student members of the group Institution Climate Action (ICA) were met with strong refusal and told there was “absolutely no way” the career center would adopt such a policy.
Benton County, Washington - The most polluted place in the United States — perhaps the world — is one most people don’t even know. Hanford Nuclear Site sits in the flat lands of eastern Washington. The facility — one of three sites that made up the government’s covert Manhattan Project — produced plutonium for Fat Man, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II. And it continued producing plutonium for weapons for decades after the war, helping to fuel the Cold War nuclear arms race. Today Hanford — home to 56 million gallons of nuclear waste, leaking storage tanks, and contaminated soil — is an environmental disaster and a catastrophe-in-waiting. It’s “the costliest environmental remediation project the world has ever seen and, arguably, the most contaminated place on the entire planet,” writes journalist Joshua Frank in the new book, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America.
Seattle, Washington - A recently obtained letter reveals further fallout from the Snoqualmie Tribe’s exposing the Seattle-based land conservancy Forterra of misleading the tribe and the federal government in obtaining a grant worth up to $20 million. Last week, 78 Forterra staff members issued a letter expressing their support for Snoqualmie Tribe risking their careers. Now, LRI has obtained by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation that calls for the, “Replace[ment] (of) Forterra’s executive team with an experienced team that can restore trust with partners.” The letter further states, “Communications to the Hilltop community and recent letters from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Forterra’s CEO, and former Forterra employees reveal misrepresentation and plans that were never intended to be delivered on to begin with.Seattle, Washington - A recently obtained letter reveals further fallout from the Snoqualmie Tribe’s exposing the Seattle-based land conservancy Forterra of misleading the tribe and the federal government in obtaining a grant worth up to $20 million. Last week, 78 Forterra staff members issued a letter expressing their support for Snoqualmie Tribe risking their careers. Now, LRI has obtained by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation that calls for the, “Replace[ment] (of) Forterra’s executive team with an experienced team that can restore trust with partners.” The letter further states, “Communications to the Hilltop community and recent letters from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Forterra’s CEO, and former Forterra employees reveal misrepresentation and plans that were never intended to be delivered on to begin with.
Seattle, Washington - Educators voted to ratify a tentative agreement with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) on September 19, after a powerful five-day strike. The strike mobilized 90% of union members, supported by parents and students, to picket lines and rallies at their schools. The schools were shut down for five days. The Seattle Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, known as SCORE, was one of the driving forces behind the strike and has grown in membership by 60% since the strike began. Educators went on strike September 7 after the district tried to make cuts to special education and multilingual programs. These programs “desperately need more funding and resources, not less,” said Fidy Kuo, a multilingual educator at Franklin High School.
Seattle, Washington - Six thousand Seattle educators walked out on strike September 7, which would have been the first day of school. The top issue was the district’s proposal—disguised in social justice language—to end student-teacher ratios for many categories of special education. Also key were struggles over class size, cuts to services, and wages, especially for substitutes and paraprofessionals, who often work most closely with students with disabilities. Late in the day September 12 the bargaining teams announced a tentative agreement, but provided only a summary to members. On September 13, after eight hours of meeting on Zoom, members voted 57 to 43 percent to suspend the strike, even though they still hadn't seen the entire deal. They had voted before the strike to stay out until members approved a contract.
Seattle, Washington - Hundreds of workers took to the streets in front of Starbucks’s Seattle headquarters on Tuesday as the company hosted investors for its biennial investor day, in which executives and investors discuss the company’s outlook — an event that has never once included representation from a Starbucks retail worker, the workers’ union says. Joined by other union members, workers with Starbucks Workers United are demanding that the company give them a say in its strategy and financial decisions and a place at the bargaining table for contract negotiations, which the company has been delaying. They are also asking the company to stop union-busting practices like firing pro-union employees, which it has done almost 100 times over the course of the union drive, Starbucks Workers United says.
Seattle, Washington - Seattle teachers on Monday night expressed gratitude for "solidarity on the picket lines" and "enormous community support" that they received over the past week while on strike, as the city's teachers union announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the school district. The Seattle Education Association (SEA) said it had secured a new three-year contract including improved and maintained teacher-student ratios for special education classes, additional mental health staffing across all schools, and annual pay raises. "We should all be proud of what we accomplished and what we stood up for: student supports and respect for educators," said the SEA. "We made real progress not only in our contract but also in rallying with our community these past several weeks."
Ridgefield, Washington - Ridgefield teachers went on strike Friday after negotiators failed to reach an agreement with the Ridgefield School District on a new contract at a bargaining session Thursday night. “We're not doing this for just more money, we're not doing this because we're greedy, we're not doing this because we're lazy, we are doing this because we want to make a difference for our kids," said Joe Thayer a teacher with the Ridgefield School District. "I don't think what we're asking for is too much. I think that those issues are things that every parent and every family and every teacher could get behind. And I wish the all district leader ship was behind those also.”
After more than two years of pressure from student climate activists at the University of Washington, the University’s Board of Regents passed a resolution to divest the school's endowment, worth more than $6B, from the fossil fuel industry. The resolution, released last Friday, would move investments of around $124 million currently funding fossil fuel projects into "climate solutions." This move would add UW to a long list of public and private universities which have committed to removing investments in fossil fuel projects. “Moves like this are necessary to restore our faith in institutions during a crisis which will define the next several generations,” says Brett Anton.
Approximately 40 people were present on August 5th at a flash mob demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base. The demonstration was in the roadway, and blocked traffic entering the Main Gate of the Trident nuclear submarine base during rush hour traffic. Thirteen demonstrators were detained and cited by authorities. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor is homeport to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear warheads in the U.S. The nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines and are stored in an underground nuclear weapons storage facility on the base. Activists gathered early Monday morning on August 8th at the the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo to remember the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 77 years ago and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Seattle, Washington - Approximately 75 spirited protesters celebrated the 57th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare here on Friday, July 29, with a picket line and rally outside the Columbia Center chanting, “Whose Medicare? Our Medicare!” and “Medicare is not for profit! Keep your corporate hands off it!” The Columbia Center is where the Northwest Regional Director of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Ingrid Ulrey, has offices, along with other staff of HHS, including the Division Director of the Center for Medicare Services (CMS). The protesters demanded that President Joe Biden and Congress terminate ACO REACH, which stands for Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health. It’s an impressive sounding name, but it amounts to letting a profit-seeking third party like an insurance company or private equity-backed firm step in and get paid by Medicare to manage the care patients receive.
In Washington state, nestled in a habitat corridor linking the Cascades to the Rockies, in the heart of the Tunk Creek Valley, there’s a conservation story that is closely tied to the peoples connected to this land—and continues to breathe with the transfer of Indigenous lands back to the original stewards. It takes place on a large ranch, owned by the Figlenski family for over four generations, who have their own stories connected to the valley. As generations of the Figlenski family began to pass away, Ernie Figlenski knew he’d only let go of the property under the conditions it would still be intact as well as healthily managed—unlike some nearby properties that have been broken apart and transferred without preservation in mind.
In the Tideflats of Tacoma, Washington, beyond the masts of sailboats anchored in the Puyallup Tribe’s marina, pipelines emerge from the earth and snake their way inland. Their destination — an 8 million-gallon liquefied methane gas tank — was once considered by politicians to be the logical answer to the climate crisis. Now, it’s the center of a local controversy with international implications. The tank, owned by Puget Sound Energy, is the product of a recent era of proposed climate solutions. In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency gave the shipping company TOTE Maritime a waiver to switch its operations to methane gas, also referred to as natural gas, in order to encourage it to lower the sulfur output from its diesel emissions.
Manchester, Washington - Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, 350 West Sound Climate Action, Earth Care Not Warfare and other peace and environmental groups met at noon at Manchester State Park. From there, they walked to the Manchester fuel depot, the Department of Defense’s largest single-site fuel terminal in the United States, and demanded that the U.S. military reduce its carbon footprint while reducing its global military footprint on the planet. The U.S. military has approximately 750 military bases around the world and emits more carbon into the atmosphere than 140 nations. If the U.S. military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal.
West Bank - The U.S. police in Washington D.C. arrested on Monday seven pro-Palestine protestors from organizations and associations supporting the Palestinian right during a peaceful demonstration in front of the Israeli occupation’s embassy in Washington rejecting Israeli ethnic cleansing in occupied Jerusalem and Anaqab “Negev”. During the demonstration, a sit-in was held at the entrance to the embassy, with the participation of dozens of activists and people in solidarity with Palestine, as well as members of the U.S. Palestinian community. The protestors gathered peacefully outside the Israeli Embassy to denounce the forced expulsion of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem and Anaqab.