The Stand

“Make it stop!” ● Sick fruit packers ● Layoffs at Alaska ● NLRB gets religion

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

 


POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

 

► From NPR — Labor leaders call for police reform even as police unions face growing criticism — A loud and longtime complaint of civil rights activists and police reform advocates is that police unions are part of the problem of police brutality. Unions are designed to protect their members, and when it comes to officers charged with wrongdoing or excessive force, that means police unions are too often protecting bad cops and saving their jobs. Richard Trumka, who heads the nation’s largest federation of labor organizations, announced Tuesday night that the board of the AFL-CIO has adopted a set of recommendations aimed at addressing “America’s long history of racism and police violence against black people.”

The Stand (June 10) — AFL-CIO board takes action on racism, police violence — AFL-CIO backs MLK Labor on its Seattle Police Guild demands, but will not oust IUPA. National federation says this moment “requires building a better labor movement from within.”

FROM OUR CALENDAR — “All of Us: Understanding This Moment Town Hall” — The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists will host a Facebook Live event TODAY at 2 p.m. Pacific time featuring multiple national labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

► From Crosscut — Seattle health workers march to expose racism as a health crisis — Thousands of health care professionals gathered June 6 at Harborview Medical Center in solidarity with Seattle’s Black community. Many of them wore white coats and scrubs, and some were demonstrating for the first time since anti-racist protests started in late May, incited by the filmed death of a Minneapolis man, George Floyd, at the hands of police. Many brought bold protest signs, as well as their children and dogs.

 

► From Now This — “Make it stop”: George Floyd’s brother implores Congress for police reform — Floyd spoke of his experience watching the video of his brother’s death: “I can’t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that… When you watch your big brother who you looked up to for your whole entire life die, die begging for his mom. I’m here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”

► From the Seattle Times — Inslee orders new investigation into killing of Manuel Ellis by Tacoma police — Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered a new, independent investigation into the killing of Manuel Ellis by Tacoma police, after new revelations emerged that Pierce County sheriff’s deputies and a Washington State Patrol trooper were at the scene when police detained and ultimately killed Ellis on March 3. But it’s unclear who will investigate the killing and who will decide whether officers will be charged.

► From the Seattle Times — UW community calls on university to sever ties with Seattle police

► From KIRO — Tacoma teachers union wants uniformed police officers removed from schools starting in fall

► From KING 5 — Seattle Black Lives Matter group plans silent march and strike this Friday — Black Lives Matter of Seattle-King County has called for a statewide day of action across Washington on Friday, June 12.

► From the Washington Post — Beleaguered and besieged, police try to come to grips with a nation’s anger — The crowds have thinned and the smoke has cleared, with more than a week of nationwide protests leaving in their wake a nation increasingly resolved to change a broken law enforcement system. But they also have left police officers badly shaken, and in some cases physically bruised. Nationwide, police leaders say the rank and file are struggling to come to grips with the level of animus they encountered on the streets, as epithets, bricks and bottles all came hurtling their way. Police have been targets of protest many times before, of course. But never quite like this.

► From KUOW — This woman ‘died three times’ after Seattle Police hit her with a blast ball — On Sunday night, on the tenth day of protests for racial justice in Seattle, a petite young woman stood between protesters and a barricade of police. And then BANG. The police had thrown a blast ball that hit her in the sternum. A fireball flared at her feet, nearly half her size. And then another flash, as smoke filled the air. She spun around, her hand covering her face. She collapsed, and screamed. Later doctors would tell Aubreanna Inda, 26, that she died three times that night.

► From The Stranger — Our police are civil servants and guardians, not warriors (by Sens. Joe Nguyen and Jamie Pedersen) — Inappropriate and unprofessional reactions from law enforcement here and from around the nation continue to expose a deep cancer on the culture of policing in America. The unjustified use of aggressive force and chemical weapons on unarmed and unthreatening demonstrators, escalating otherwise peaceful protests, can no longer be tolerated. We should all be deeply troubled by the aggressive and militarized response to many of these protests, including the wanton use of tear gas and flash bombs and the pepper-spraying of a young child.

► From the Washington Post — Trump’s rage at another governor makes him look weak and pathetic (by Greg Sargent) — In recent days, Trump has floated a deranged conspiracy theory about an elderly victim of police violence, bizarrely demanded an apology over a network poll showing him losing and exploded impulsively against renaming Army bases that honor Confederate traitors, only to see NASCAR, which represents a chunk of his Southern base, ban the Confederate flag at its events moments later. And now, Trump is raging at another governor and appearing to make another threat of some kind, perhaps to send in the military:

Why does Trump imagine all of these things make him look “strong”? What got Trump so worked up? Probably the way this is being covered on Fox News. In the 90 minutes or so before Trump erupted, Fox pumped out some extraordinarily lurid imagery of the scene, complete with chyrons such as “liberals surrender America,” “Seattle surrenders police precinct” and “Seattle under siege.” Even if you grant Trump’s premise that things are getting somewhat out of control there — which is debatable — it’s still highly demented for Trump to issue threats to send in the military apparently based on what he sees on Fox News.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, on Planet Earth…

► From the Seattle Times — Welcome to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where Seattle protesters gather without police — Welcome to the CHAZ, where most everything was free Tuesday. Free snacks at the No-Cop Co-op. Free gas masks from some guy’s sedan. Free speech at the speaker’s circle, where anyone could say their piece… This new protest society — centered on a handful of blocks in Seattle’s quirky, lefty Capitol Hill — has been born from the movement to push the Seattle Police Department out of its East Precinct building.

► From the NY Times — Free food, free speech and free of police: Inside Seattle’s ‘Autonomous Zone’ — What has emerged is an experiment in life without the police — part street festival, part commune. Hundreds have gathered to hear speeches, poetry and music. On Tuesday night, dozens of people sat in the middle of an intersection to watch “13th,” the Ava DuVernay film about the criminal justice system’s impact on African-Americans. On Wednesday, children made chalk drawings in the middle of the street… Trump tried to portray the scenes in the city as something more sinister. He called for government leaders to crack down on the protesters, declaring on Twitter that “Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle.”

 


COVID-19

 

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 11 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 24,642 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 303) and 1,190 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 7)

► From Reuters — Coronavirus spreads among fruit and vegetable packers, worrying U.S. officials — From apple packing houses in Washington state to farm workers in Florida and a California county known as “the world’s salad bowl,” outbreaks of the novel coronavirus are emerging at U.S. fruit and vegetable farms and packing plants. A rising number of sick farm and packing house workers comes after thousands of meat plant employees contracted the virus and could lead to more labor shortages and a fresh wave of disruption to U.S. food production… By late May, there were more than 600 cases of COVID-19 among agricultural workers in Yakima County, Washington. Of those, 62% were workers in the apple industry and other packing operations or warehouses, according to a Reuters review of data from county health officials. With 4,834 known cases as of June 10, the county had the highest per-capita infection rate on the West Coast. “The (production) line moves super fast. And you’re working side by side and back to back,” said Edgar Franks, political director with local farmworker union Familias Unidas por la Justicia in Washington state.

► From Crosscut — For community health clinics, one medical crisis could cause another — The coronavirus is depleting the financial reserves of many rural clinics, which are often the only health care choices for low-income patients.

► From the Spokesman-Review — As businesses reopen, Inslee urges feds to increase PPE supply — Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter Wednesday to Vice President Mike Pence urging the federal government to address nationwide shortages of personal protective equipment. The letter called for a comprehensive assessment of protection needs across the country, better federal guidance for workers and employers safely reconfiguring their business, and a replenishment of the federal stockpile.

► From the Guardian — ‘An American fiasco’: U.S. hits grim milestone of 2 million COVID-19 cases — The anguish of life lost, of a severely wounded economy and wrenching political turmoil have taken a harrowing toll upon a fatigued American public. But further, perhaps far greater pain is yet to come, pandemic experts have warned, even as authorities wave people back into reopened shops and offices and the US president’s political rhetoric on an epochal crisis dwindles away to near silence. “Everyone has just looked at the first 100 yards of this marathon,” said Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

► From NJ.com — NJ Transit bus union leader, claimed by coronavirus, lauded by governor as passionate leader — Tiran Billups, 65, the leader of ATU Local 819, one of NJ Transit’s largest bus union locals, who helped his colleagues fight the coronavirus by handling out masks and protective equipment, has died of the disease himself.

► From the Washington Post — Ohio GOP lawmaker asks if ‘colored population’ is hard hit by covid-19 because they don’t ‘wash their hands as well’

 


LOCAL

 

► From the Seattle Times — Alaska Air will cut thousands of jobs and shrink to survive coronavirus-induced downturn — Alaska Airlines projects a slow recovery from the rapid decline in air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s preparing to shed as many as 3,000 jobs next year from its 23,000-strong work force… In meetings over the next couple of weeks, Alaska’s unions will hear details of the planned job cuts, and they hope to find ways to make the reductions via voluntary means rather than layoffs. Already more than 6,000 Alaska staff have taken voluntary leaves to reduce costs.

► From the Yakima H-R — Revenue loss amid pandemic forces 30 layoffs in Yakima County corrections — Plummeting revenue at the Yakima County Department of Corrections is forcing the layoff of 30 employees. Another 15 vacant positions will be left unfilled. There will be rank demotions and pay cuts as well.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Everett Community College cuts 85 part-time positions — About 85 part-time hourly positions have been eliminated at Everett Community College because of campus closures and potential cuts to state funding amid the coronavirus pandemic. Workers who lost their jobs include custodians, as well as office and fitness center assistants.

► From the Skagit Valley Herald — Skagit Valley College braces for budget cuts

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From KUOW — Dread intensifies as thousands still wait for unemployment checks — Many people who filed for unemployment months ago still have not received any money. The state’s self-imposed deadline to resolve those cases is up next week. As the June 15 deadline approaches, 35,400 people are still waiting for the Employment Security Department to resolve their unemployment claim. That’s roughly the population of Lynnwood.

► From the (Everett) Herald — State auditor to probe causes of massive jobless claims fraud — Washington’s embattled Employment Security Department will be the subject of two new investigations into how criminals using stolen identities managed to file claims and collect hundreds of millions of dollars in jobless benefits from the state.

► From the News Tribune — Pandemic unemployment benefit is set to expire. Will a back-to-work bonus replace it? — In a few weeks, that extra $600 a week that Washington’s unemployed workers now get will be gone — and it’s unlikely Washington will revive it. To encourage people to return to work, Republican lawmakers and the White House are considering a plan to pay newly employed workers a bonus of $450 to $600 weekly for a few weeks.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Foes file signatures for measure to repeal new sex-ed law — Opponents of a state law concerning sex-education instruction in public schools submitted signatures Wednesday for a ballot measure to repeal the controversial legislation. They turned in roughly 266,000 signatures for Referendum 90, which would let voters decide the fate of the law requiring districts to provide age-appropriate instruction at all grade levels.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From Law360 — NLRB eschews authority over religious schools — The NLRB said Wednesday its reach does not extend to faculty at religious universities, replacing Obama-era precedent that made schools prove their religious bona fides in order to beat union drives and labor disputes. The three-member all-Republican board panel said the agency does not have jurisdiction over nonprofit schools that hold themselves out “as providing a religious educational environment” and are affiliated with or otherwise controlled by “a recognized religious organization,” wiping out an administrative judge’s ruling that Bethany College violated workers’ labor rights. Wednesday’s ruling revises the agency’s test for declining jurisdiction over college faculty under the U.S. Supreme Court’s NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago decision, which blocked the board from ordering elections and hearing labor disputes involving teachers at church-operated schools.

► From Politico — ‘The last thing we need right now’: States, cities hemorrhage jobs — Governors and local officials are struggling to meet payrolls amid a pandemic that has dramatically hiked government costs and sapped tax revenues. The U.S. shed 585,000 government jobs in May almost entirely at the state and local level, even as the rest of the economy began to show signs of recovery. Now state and local governments are looking to Congress for help as lawmakers begin to consider another round of economic aid.

 


ELECTIONS

 

► From The Hill — West Virginia Senate president ousted in primary — West Virginia state Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R) on Tuesday lost his bid for another term, suffering a stunning upset to a teacher who had been inspired to run for office by strikes over education funding and low salaries. The teacher, Amy Nichole Grady (R), beat Carmichael by about 700 votes out of about 16,000 cast. Her win is something of a measure of revenge after Carmichael feuded with West Virginia teachers over the last few years.

► From Politico — Biden: ‘This president is going to try to steal this election’ — Former Vice President Joe Biden predicted on Wednesday that President Donald Trump will try to “steal” the general election in November by limiting Americans’ access to voting. “This is the guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent — voting by mail — while he sits behind a desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in a primary,” Biden added.

► From the Washington Post — Republicans are engineering an electoral disaster this fall (editorial) — Georgia’s experience confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic, combined with the sort of Election Day incompetence that has for years been a sad fixture of American democracy, threatens the integrity of the November presidential election. There is hardly anything more important than getting voting procedures and technology right over the next five months. Unfortunately, many Republican politicians continue to manipulate voting rules for partisan advantage, exploiting the pandemic as an opportunity to suppress voting… If Republicans fear that more people voting hurts them — and Trump has explicitly said this is the case — the honorable response is to change their candidates or their policies. Instead, the party seeks to impose more electoral disasters on people who should feel nothing but fed up.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From the SF Chronicle — California regulators say Uber, Lyft drivers are employees — The California agency that regulates Uber and Lyft said in an order Tuesday that ride-hail drivers are employees under AB5, the state’s new gig-work law, marking a significant development in the battle over drivers’ status.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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