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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Clock ticking for WA bill allowing unemployment for striking workers

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Friday, March 1, 2024   

A bill in Olympia would open access to unemployment while workers are on strike, but time is running out for lawmakers to pass the legislation.

House Bill 1893 has made its way through the House but has to get approval from the Senate by the end of today. David Groves, communications director for the Washington State Labor Council, said the bill would help level the playing field at the bargaining table.

"Currently, employers can adopt a starve-them-out strategy where they refuse to negotiate in good faith," he said, "because they know that their workers, especially when they earn low wages, aren't in a position to go without a paycheck."

The legislation would allow workers to access unemployment after two weeks on strike for a maximum of four weeks. Opponents have said it would cost the state too much and could incentivize workers to strike. Last year was the most active year for labor activity and strikes in more than two decades.

Groves said employers have too much control in bargaining.

"This bill will promote good-faith bargaining because it will be a real possibility that workers could withhold their labor and go on strike," he said, "and that will give them the bargaining power they need to get a decent agreement and to get better wages and working conditions."

Maine, New Jersey and New York allow access to unemployment for striking workers.

Washington's legislative session is scheduled to adjourn next Thursday.


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