Friday, June 5, 2020
► From the News Tribune — Tacoma mayor directs city manager to fire police involved in the death of Manuel Ellis — Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards on Thursday night directed City Manager Elizabeth Pauli to fire four police officers involved in a fatal encounter with Manuel Ellis, a black man who died in March after being restrained while being arrested. “The officers who committed this crime should be fired and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Woodards said. “I am demanding tonight that the Pierce County Sheriff review and confirm every action taken by each officer… I demand that the sheriff provide details of the actions of each officer on the scene. And I am then directing the city manager to fire each officer involved.” … Tacoma police union representatives expressed concern about a decision regarding the officers’ fate being made before the investigation is complete and said they’re confident evidence will show the four officers did no wrong… Ellis’ sister, Monet Carter-Mixon, said she considers the officers who restrained her brother to be killers and thinks firing them doesn’t go far enough. ”Murderers go to jail, they don’t get fired from their jobs,” she said.
ALSO from the News Tribune:
No police body cameras is failure for Tacoma. Manuel Ellis’ death shouldn’t go unseen (editorial) — Tacoma must end the delays and prioritize the purchase of body cameras for patrol officers this year.
► From Crosscut — Labor council to Seattle police union: Address racism or get out — MLK Labor, the largest labor coalition in King County, is giving the Seattle Police Officers Guild an ultimatum: acknowledge and address racism in law enforcement and in their union or risk being kicked out of the group.
The Stand (today) — MLK Labor demands changes from Seattle mayor, police union
The Stand (yesterday) — “We need you to fight for us to breathe” (by WSLC’s April Sims) — Organized labor is a direct threat to white supremacy. We need to put that threat into action.
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle police chief orders officers to show badge numbers; mayor rejects 50% police budget cut
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Seattle-area protests: Demonstrators plan eighth day of action after George Floyd’s killing — On Thursday, Seattle demonstrators broke into multiple groups to protest racial injustice and a lack of police accountability. For the most part, the Thursday groups remained upbeat and peaceful throughout the day, as people took time to hand out snacks, dance and share past experiences with each other — evidence that the tone of the protests has shifted significantly over the week.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Knezovich defends controversial Killology police training seminar set to be held in Spokane area — An architect of controversial police training, aimed at readying officers for the moment they kill someone and how they’ll react to it, is scheduled to hold a seminar for Spokane-area officers in October. Critics of the trainings by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman question his fear-based training, which repeatedly stresses the wide range of threats first responders face every day, including terrorism and mass shootings. Participants are also regularly reminded that they are at “war.” Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich ardently defends the trainings and has no plans to cancel them.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Footage of March Spokane arrest shows officer using knee-on-neck tactic for about 50 seconds
► From the Washington Post — Two Buffalo officers suspended after shoving 75-year-old protester to the ground, where he lay bleeding, motionless
► From Politico — ‘Get your knee off our necks’: George Floyd remembered as a fierce friend as mass protests carry on — The family and friends of George Floyd remembered him on Thursday as an inclusive, joyful and optimistic brother, cousin and uncle, as hundreds of others gathered to pay their respects following more than a week of mass unrest over his death. “That’s amazing to me that he touched so many people’s hearts, you know, because he’s been touching our hearts,” said his brother, Philonise Floyd. The Rev. Al Sharpton’s fiery eulogy was an indictment of systemic racism and Trump’s leadership.
► From the People’s World — Trumka, other labor leaders, commit unions to the fight against racism — Declaring that working people are saying, “We’ve had enough,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said unions will continue the fight to root out systemic racism in the U.S.
The Stand (June 3) — Labor decries Floyd’s murder, urges action
► From The Guardian — Hopeful that Minneapolis policing will change? Meet the police union’s chief — Bob Kroll, who described George Floyd as a ‘violent criminal’, has a history of resisting any reform of a department with a history of racial abuse.
► From KARE TV — AFL-CIO joins call for Minneapolis Police Union’s Bob Kroll to resign — Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy is asking Minneapolis Police Union President Bob Kroll to hand in his resignation immediately, saying he has failed the labor movement and Minneapolis residents.
► From the Washington Post — Mattis’s rebuke of Trump forces Republicans to choose between revered Marine and Trump
EDITOR’S NOTE — Spoiler alert: They are choosing Trump.
► From the San Antonio Express News — County GOP chair says George Floyd killing may have been ‘staged event’
► From the NY Times — How to beat the bully in his bunker (by Timothy Egan) — “Washington transformed into a war zone for this coward.” So went the latest salvo from the Never-Trump Republican group, the Lincoln Project. “This is a time for choosing: America or Trump.” The ad is blunt. Brutally effective. And the best way to beat a bully who cowers in a bunker. Nice ain’t going to cut it against a gangster presidency. There is no bottom in the basement of this White House. And nobody knows this better than the Republicans who refuse to follow a tyrant.
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 5 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 22,729 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 281) and 1,138 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 5)
► From the Seattle Times — Alcoa begins laying off workers at its Ferndale aluminum plant ahead of schedule — Alcoa on Thursday began laying off dozens of workers at its aluminum smelter in Ferndale, just one day after Gov. Jay Inslee wrote the company offering assistance should it choose to ramp back up or sell to an outside buyer. The move appears to signal the end of jobs for most of the 700 workers employed by the Intalco plant in the town of 14,500, barring a last-ditch sale of the smelter. A machinists’ union representing plant employees had rallied state and federal politicians to save Intalco, but a top official said Thursday that pleas for Alcoa to reconsider had fallen on deaf ears. “Alcoa is not the least bit interested in keeping this place going,’’ said Glenn Farmer, local business representative for the IAM. “I think we rattled them pretty good, but they held their ground and essentially, they just don’t see a future in aluminum in the United States.’’
The Stand (May 21) — IAM, WSLC seek federal help for Alcoa’s Intalco workers
► From Bloomberg — Tyson reinstates policy that penalizes absentee workers — Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. meat processor, will return to its pre-coronavirus absentee policy, which includes punishing employees for missing work due to illness. In mid-March, Tyson said that it was “relaxing attendance policies in our plants by eliminating any punitive effect for missing work due to illness.” That will no longer be the case, as the company shifts back to its usual policy that discourages absenteeism through a point system… Physical distancing is nearly impossible in plants that operate processing lines at very fast speeds. There have been at least 44 meatpacking worker deaths and over 3,000 workers testing positive for Covid-19, according to estimates from the UFCW.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, it appears that local health officials in Walla Walla have stopped releasing information about the number of COVID-19 cases have occurred at the Tyson plant in Wallula. A month ago, under pressure from the local community and elected leaders about the alarming number of infections and deaths at the plant, Tyson agreed to test all employees there. Local officials then announced that 277 of 1,482 workers there — more than one of every six employees — tested positive for COVID-19. Despite those results, the plant was cleared to open and has been open ever since. But did they control the outbreak in the month since then? We don’t know and Walla Walla County Department of Community Health Director Meghan DeBolt isn’t releasing any more information about COVID-19 infections at the Tyson plant.
The Stand (April 23) — The Union Difference: A tale of two plants — Teamsters at the Lamb Weston potato plant in Pasco have workplace safety and respect on the job. Nonunion workers at the Tyson beef plant down the road have Washington’s biggest COVID-19 hotspot.
► In the Yakima H-R — “Moving in the wrong direction.” COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Yakima — Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to increase at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital in Yakima, including younger Latinos who are getting sick in greater numbers… “We think this is … reflective of activity we’re seeing in agricultural areas, farms and warehouses. It’s just really affecting this population,” said one local health official.
The Stand (May 20) — How you can support strikers at Yakima Valley fruit warehouses — Since May 7, workers have been on strike at fruit warehouses across the Yakima Valley over inadequate safety precautions on the job, lack of hazard pay and paid sick leave, and lack of transparency over COVID-19 cases at the facility. Though some of those strikes have been settled, at least two continue.
► From the Seattle Times — American Seafoods has 25 new cases of COVID-19 among crew aboard 2 factory trawlers — These cases aboard the American Triumph and the Northern Jaeger were confirmed Thursday evening as the vessels moored in Bellingham to offload frozen fish.
► From the Seattle Times — As the economy reopens, who will watch the kids? (editorial) — As parents of small children head back to workplaces during Washington’s phased reopening, they will need access to safe, affordable, quality child care. As longtime child-care advocate state Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Is.), puts it, there will be no economic recovery without child care. The two go hand in hand… The pandemic has left no doubt: Child care is an essential part of the economy, our communities and access to opportunity. As the crisis wanes, policymakers, employers and voters should focus attention on long-term solutions ensuring access to this vital resources. In the near-term, stabilizing this fragile industry is not a bailout. It is a necessary step.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — EWU notifying 400 employees of potential layoffs, furloughs — Some 400 faculty and staff members at Eastern Washington University are facing the prospect of layoffs and furloughs as the school grapples with a huge budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
► From the Kitsap Sun — Washington state gets back millions in stolen jobless aid — Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said officials are still working to determine the final amount paid out fraudulently, but they believe it was between $550 million and $650 million. To date, the state has recovered $333 million, she said.
► From the Tri-City Herald — Franklin GOP defies COVID rules to meet Eyman, GOP governor candidates in ‘farm hall’ — A few hundred people filled an empty potato cellar in Eltopia earlier this week to hear from four Republican gubernatorial candidates, including Tim Eyman, Sen. Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn) and Joshua Freed. The “farm hall” was organized by Clint Didier, chairman of Franklin County Republican Party’s executive committee and a Franklin County commissioner.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Tim Eyman, a tone-deaf and offensive idiot, told supporters this week that Jay Inslee has his “knee on the neck” of businesses by imposing restrictions intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19
► A related story from the Tri-City Herald — Tri-Cities health officials blame sports and social gatherings for new coronavirus spike
► From Reuters — AFL-CIO says NLRB must reconsider entire union election rule after judge’s decision — The AFL-CIO on Thursday asked a federal judge in Washington D.C. to clarify that her decision last week striking down key provisions of a recent NLRB rule designed to slow down the union election process bars the agency from applying any part of it.
► From the Washington Post — People are sawing through and climbing over Trump’s border wall. Now contractors are being asked for ideas to make it less vulnerable. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has asked contractors for help making Trump’s border wall more difficult to climb over and cut through, an acknowledgment that the design currently being installed across hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico boundary remains vulnerable. Trump has ceased promoting the $15 billion barrier as “impenetrable” in the months since The Washington Post reported smuggling crews have been sawing through new sections of the structure using inexpensive power tools… In recent weeks, Trump has insisted the barrier should be painted black, telling aides it will absorb more heat from the sun and deter climbing by scalding the hands of would-be fence jumpers. The black paint will drive up construction costs by at least $500 million. Skeptics have pointed out that climbers could simply wear gloves to protect their hands.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This whole story reads like something out of The Onion. Only it’s no joke that Trump is diverting billions of your taxes from U.S. military construction projects to this ridiculous, pointless monument to his failed presidency.
► From the USA Today — Coronavirus: As America reopens, Veterans Affairs must not make the same mistakes twice (by AFGE’s Alma Lee and Yvonne Renee Evans) — Don’t downplay the risks front-line nurses and workers face. Our patients, America’s veterans, deserve better care than that.
► From The Hill — In surprise, unemployment rate falls, economy adds jobs — The U.S added 2.5 million jobs in May and the unemployment dropped to 13.3 percent as businesses begin to reopen after coronavirus-related closures.
► From Bloomberg — Black unemployment rate rises while white joblessness falls
► BREAKING from ABC News — Trump calls improved jobs numbers ‘great day’ for George Floyd
All we wanted was a chance to talk
‘Stead we only got outlined in chalk
Feet have bled a million miles we’ve walked
Revealing at the end of the day, the charade.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.