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Washington

Seattle Teachers Vote To Ratify New Contract

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 Teachers End Week-Long Strike

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.

Hundreds Protest As Starbucks Holds Investor Day Without Retail Workers

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 Teachers Secure Tentative Deal to End Strike

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."

Teachers In The Ridgefield School District Go On Strike

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.”

University Of Washington Moves To Divest From Fossil Fuels

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.

Activists Mark 77th Anniversary Of Atomic Bombings At Nuclear Sub Base

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.

Protest Demands Biden Administration Terminate Medicare Privatization

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.

Significant Washington Land Returned To The Colville Tribe

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.

How A Gas Facility Started A Fight Over Climate Change And Sovereignty

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.

Peace And Environmental Activists Protested Major DOD Fuel Depot

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.

Police Arrest Seven Pro-Palestine Protestors In Washington D.C.

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.

Proposal Would Create Alert System For Missing Indigenous People

A bill proposed in Olympia would create an alert system for missing and murdered Indigenous women and people, the first of its kind in Washington and the United States. House Bill 1725 would create an alert to help identify and locate missing Indigenous women and people. Similar to “silver alerts” for missing vulnerable adults, it would broadcast information about missing Indigenous people on message signs and in highway advisory radio messages when activated, as well as through news releases to local and regional media, according to a news release from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. It would be the first alert system specifically for missing and murdered Indigenous women and people in the country, the news release said.

Politics And Prose Becomes First Unionized Bookstore In DC

We are pleased to announce that Politics and Prose and UFCW Local 400 have reached agreement on the scope of a bargaining unit at P&P, and the union has now been formally recognized as the collective bargaining agent for the bookstore unit. Both parties are committed to working together collegially and constructively to negotiate a contract for unionized employees and ensuring that Politics and Prose continues to play a vital role in our community. In a statement, P&P owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine said: “As stewards of a local, independent business with a 37-year legacy of progressive management and mission, we’ve valued collaborating with employees to solve problems and address needs, and we look forward to working with the union in the same spirit.”

Puyallup Tribe And Community Organizations Challenge Decision Allowing Tacoma LNG Facility

Today, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and several community organizations filed an appeal with Pierce County Superior Court challenging a November decision by the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB). Despite misleading and inaccurate information used to evaluate the project, PCHB determined the Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) air permits, issued by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) and given to the Tacoma Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility, were adequate.
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