Congrats! You made it through the Big Dark. It’ll be 5 pm and later sunsets until November, although that’s not much consolation for the workers going through dark times right now. I’ve got some layoffs to catch you up on, but also plenty of bright spots, too. Let’s get into it.
More layoffs: More bad news to report this week, as Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is laying off 12,000 workers. IBM is laying off 3,900. Spotify is laying off 6% of their workforce, meaning around 400 workers. According to Oregon’s WARN data, Greenbrier Companies in Lake Oswego, OR, will be laying off 101. The Washington Post is laying off 20, leaving 30 open positions unfilled, and eliminating two of its verticals. Having trouble keeping up? This tracker is helpful to summarize the biggest layoffs, plus it offers helpful tips if you’re one of the unlucky ones.
Comrade coders? On Wednesday, an anonymous writer wondered on this here blog if this wave of layoffs will finally turn tech workers against the system that has crushed so many of us in recent years. Scoot in. There’s plenty of room at the lunch table, friend.
Screw the two-week notice: After these abrupt layoffs, workers on the app Blind are wondering why workers even bother giving their two-week notices anymore.
Self-described, anonymous Starbucks store manager says, “you all should unionize”: A Reddit user who claims to be a Starbucks store manager laid out the company’s future union-busting strategies. They say the company is cutting veteran-worker hours to push them out, replacing them with new workers, and will soon release anti-union “training” to keep them docile. The anonymous poster’s advice: “Unionize quickly so they can’t take more from you.”
Bernie is reportedly calling Starbucks to the Capitol:
BREAKING: Bernie Sanders plans to hold the first Senate hearing on Starbucks' aggressive anti-union campaign and says he may call Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to testify, per Bloomberg.— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) January 24, 2023
And the Starbucks workers on Highway 99 and 185th St in Shoreline won their election 18-1:
Partners at the Highway 99 & 185th Starbucks in Shoreline won their union election 18-1 with 100% turnout last night! They are the 1st store in Shoreline to unionize and the 10th store in the Seattle area!— SB Workers United Seattle (@SeattleSBWU) January 27, 2023
Welcome to the union besties ✊🥳 pic.twitter.com/qzCWo5kqxb
Mail carriers bringing the mail back: In a show of solidarity, USPS mail carriers in Seattle and Portland are protesting long hours and heavy workloads by simply taking the mail back.
Time to strike: The folks at UW Libraries and Press threatened to strike until a last-minute agreement was made. (Okay, it happened within the last three hours, but still.) HarperCollins strikers, after almost two months on the picket lines, have finally pressured management to come to the table. The week-long UIC strike ended with a new contract that includes a salary floor raised from $51,000 to $60,000. And the post-production workers at SNL are going on strike:
LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Saturday Night Live post-production workers have authorized a strike!— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) January 24, 2023
The newly unionized workers have been trying since October to reach an agreement with management.
Management has only met with them once.
For those about to job: One of our helpful tippers from King County Metro wants you to check out these union jobs in their rail division. From that tipper: “Here’s a link to what we’re looking for right now, with much more to come. Many of these have opportunities for on-the-job training, so if applicants have experience with something somewhat similar to what the advertised job is, they might still be who we need.” As always: salute to the tippers!
Gen Z says cut the bullshit: Adobe conducted a Future Workforce Study, and among their findings published this week: 85% of Gen Zers are less likely to apply for a job if it doesn’t list the salary range. Smart kids.
The quarterly OLS report is here! The quarterly OLS report is here! Here’s a summary of all the local businesses the Seattle Office of Labor Standards investigated from October-December 2022 for (ALLEGED) labor violations, along with how much they settled for with the City. IMO, it’s a who’s-who of companies to avoid if you’re on the market.
Fast food companies like employees broke and desperate: Speaking of companies to avoid, fast food giants McDonald’s, In-N-Out, and Chipotle are fighting against a new California law that would raise workers’ minimum wage to $22 per hour, which is NOT SHIT IN 2023. McDonald’s president Joe Erlinger, who made $7.4 million last year, says $22 per hour for workers is “costly and job-destroying.” Pair the Fed raising interest rates with mass layoffs and this kind of anti-worker collusion and you’ve got yourself a Class Warfare combo.
Sawant aims to end caste discrimination in Seattle: This week, Kshama Sawant introduced a bill to the Seattle City Council that would fight caste discrimination—a serious issue, especially in the tech industry. Says one supporter: “South Asians are a critical part of the city of Seattle, because of the tech industry, because of the universities here. When we Indians come to the US, we bring our biases with us, and we get away with the discriminatory behavior because people in the U.S. do not know how to spot this discriminatory behavior.”
Buzzfeed using AI to write articles: Unless and until we have a Universal Basic Income, robots taking human jobs is a TERRIBLE idea. And you are dead wrong if you think your job is safe from this. Capitalism will come for you, too. This sucks. Fuck you, Buzzfeed!
“The Last of Us” co-creator says unionize the gaming industry: Bruce Straley, the writer and co-creator of “The Last of Us,” sat down with the L.A. Times to talk about how the video game came to be and how he got squeezed out of any credit in the HBO adaptation. “Maybe we need unions in the video game industry to be able to protect creators.” Hmm!
Get your calendars! Seattle DSA is hosting an event tomorrow (Saturday, January 28) at 5 pm at Victrola Cafe in Seattle called How to Build a Mass Working Class Organization. After the lesson, they’ll head to drinks at Optimism Brewing. On Sunday, January 29, rally in Portland at 2 pm for Starbucks workers. Or if you’re in Seattle, check out Social Housing Saves Our Stages, a concert to support I-135, at Neumos at 7 pm.
What else: McSweeney’s ran a piece that hit home for this former adjunct. TikTok threatened its remote workers. VICE dug into the whole expensive egg situation we’ve got going on. Google is in serious antitrust trouble. The Times ran a profile on new Washington State Labor Council President April Sims. Sixty-nine workers at the Kraken Team Store have unionized with UFCW 3000, following the workers at T-Mobile Park in September. NLRB filings this week came from Quiktin Inc. in Tacoma, Mfused in Seattle, and Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency in Vancouver.
Turn it up: Let’s fire up something funky. Here’s “Biological Speculation” by Funkadelic. A smooth groove with some timely lyrics—“Oh, if and when the system / Creates hunger and hate / Then the laws of nature will come and do her thing." This banger comes from the unapologetically titled album America Eats Its Young. And if you like this one, check out “Can You Get to That” and “Maggot Brain.” That’s it for me. Have a great weekend, folks!