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Which side are you on? ● Historic LGBTQ win ● Dear CEOs…

Monday, June 15, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 15 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 25,834 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 295) and 1,217 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 7)

► From the Seattle Times — UW Medicine shuts down psychiatric unit amid financial shortfall — UW Medicine will close Seven North, a psychiatric facility at UW Medicine — Montlake, laying off staffers and reducing the number of inpatient beds available to those in need of care amid the state’s mental health crisis. The Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), which represents Seven North nurses, issued a statement calling for UW Medicine to “reverse course and re-open this facility.” Negotiations over layoffs will begin Monday, said Heather Vargas-Lyon, a nurse who will participate in bargaining.

TODAY at The StandWSNA urges UWMC to reopen ‘critical lifeline’ psychiatric unit

► From the (Everett) Herald — Child care services are in limbo as the reopening commences — Local child care centers are facing uncertain futures. Some, in dire financial straits, could be forced to close their doors. And those that remain open must navigate a host of unknowns.

► From the Tri-City Herald — COVID cases reported in Hanford, PNNL workers. But no outbreaks declared

► From the Daily World — Grays Harbor County revenue lags, reductions being considered

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle coronavirus survivor gets a $1.1 million, 181-page hospital bill (by Danny Westneat) — Michael Flor said he’s hyper-aware that somebody is paying his million-dollar bill —  taxpayers, other insurance customers and so on. “Fears of socialism” have always stopped us from guaranteeing full health care for everyone, he said. But there’s also the gold-plated costs here, twice as expensive per capita as anywhere else in the world. “It was a million bucks to save my life, and of course I’d say that’s money well-spent,” he says. “But I also know I might be the only one saying that.”

► From the Seattle Times — C’mon people, the West Seattle bridge is an emergency, act like it (by Phil Talmadge) — Before it shut down, 107,000 drivers and 25,000 transit riders a day relied on that corridor. Elected officials need to come together on a funding package now. Folks in West Seattle are having their lives disrupted, and it will get worse once we emerge from the pandemic.




► From Labor Notes — Why a local labor council is threatening to expel the Seattle Police Guild — The resolution demanded that the police guild meet with MLK Labor’s executive board, admit that racism is a problem in law enforcement, and agree to work together with the labor council to stamp out racism and ensure that “contracts do not evade legitimate accountability.” If the demands are not met by Wednesday, June 17, the resolution says, the board will recommend a disaffiliation vote to its full delegate body, which meets that night… “This is a ‘which side are you on’ moment in our history,” said April Sims, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, a separate entity which for the past five years has been pushing its affiliates to start internal conversations on race and labor. “Giving the police unions an opportunity to decide what side they want to be on is an important first step.”

The Stand (June 5) — MLK Labor demands changes from Seattle mayor, police union

► From the Seattle Times — After pouring money into police budget, Seattle faces a new reckoning — After years of pouring money into police training and accountability initiatives, city leaders face calls from protesters to dismantle SPD or cut its funding. That pressure is compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, which has created a vast hole in the city budget.

► From the Washington Post — Killing of black man in Atlanta puts spotlight anew on police, as prosecutors contemplate charges against officer — Atlanta’s top prosecutor said his office will decide this week whether to bring charges against the police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks, a black man whose killing outside a Wendy’s on Friday sparked a fresh wave of protests against police violence in the Southern city and added fuel to nationwide anger over racial injustice.

► From The Hill — Skepticism looms over police reform deal — Senators say reaching a deal won’t be easy, and some are already expressing skepticism given the deep differences underscored by competing proposals circulating around Capitol Hill.




► From the Columbian — Educators rally in Vancouver in support of Black Lives Matter — The Washington Education Association, the state’s teacher union, encouraged its members to protest white supremacy and police brutality against black people. Locally, teachers gathered at several spots along Mill Plain Boulevard, waving signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Bill Beville, president of the Evergreen Education Association, said it’s no longer good enough for educators to be opposed to racism, but to actively work against racist practices in schools.

► From Crosscut — Washington must prioritize equity as it responds to crises (by Sen. Joe Nguyen) — To make lasting change, we need to address the greatest threat to justice: inequity. The wealth gap is a glaring example, but abundant political, social and climate inequalities persist as well. We need to commit our state and local budgets to tearing down these inequities in order to rebuild our society so that everyone gets a chance at success, not just the wealthy few. During the 2008 recession, the state Legislature took austerity measures to balance the budget. These actions gutted billions of dollars from social services that supported vulnerable communities… We cannot allow inequality to worsen as we recover from the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.




► BREAKING from NBC News — Supreme Court rules existing civil rights law protects gay and lesbian workers — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a major victory for advocates of gay rights — and a surprising one from an increasingly conservative court. The decision said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation. It upheld rulings from lower courts that said sexual orientation discrimination was a form of sex discrimination. Across the nation, 21 states have their own laws prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Seven more provide that protection only to public employees. Those laws remain in force, but Monday’s ruling means federal law now provides similar protection for LGBT employees in the rest of the country.

► From Politico — Supreme Court could force Congress into battle over Dreamers — Yet lawmakers, facing a growing list of crises, may not have the bandwidth to help DACA recipients — especially in an election year.

► From the Washington Post — Trump ally takes over crisis-ridden Postal Service as top Senate Democrat demands inquiry on hiring — Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote to Postal Service board of governors chairman Robert Duncan questioning whether new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a businessman and top fundraiser for Trump who took office Monday, was “selected for reasons of politics or patronage” and how he’ll distance himself from the GOP and his vast financial portfolio… As the Trump administration has sought to leverage the agency’s deteriorating finances to exert more control over its operations, congressional Democrats have pushed back to keep the USPS independent… DeJoy and his wife Aldona Wos, the ambassador-nominee to Canada, have between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors.

► From Politico — Unions warn small business rescue changes will weaken paycheck protection — Damon Silvers of the AFL-CIO said he’s concerned that the changes “are going to lead to employers pocketing the money and not hiring, and not protecting anybody’s paycheck.”

► From Roll Call — Trump administration puts ‘hold’ on green card requests from U.S.

► From the Washington Post — GOP senator defends Trump’s Tulsa rally as health official warns it’s ‘a huge risk factor’ amid coronavirus spike




► From Politico — Unions tap into burst of worker angst over coronavirus — “Maybe these workers will start to understand the value they have for society, because for decades they’ve been told they have no value and that they’re replaceable,” one union official said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Your work has value and you deserve decent pay and safe working conditions. Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From Reuters — Meatpacking workers often absent after Trump order to reopen — Nationwide, 30% to 50% of meatpacking employees were absent last week, said UFCW Vice President Mark Lauritsen. More than a dozen meatpacking workers, union leaders and advocates told Reuters that many employees still fear getting sick after losing confidence in management during coronavirus outbreaks in April and May. Absenteeism varies by plant, and exact data is not available, but some workers’ unwillingness to return poses a challenge to an industry still struggling to restore normal meat output.

► From Mother Jones — How did Europe avoid the COVID-19 catastrophe ravaging U.S. meatpacking plants?

► From Newsweek — AFL-CIO head calls out Facebook over suggestion employers block the word ‘unionize’ on workplace platform — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has demanded an investigation from Facebook and a public apology from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after an online presentation touted the ability of employers to block the word “unionize” on the company’s Workplace platform. “Blacklisting is illegal. Employers censoring their employees’ speech about unionizing is illegal,” Trumka tweeted. “Facebook relentlessly presents itself as a champion of free speech, yet here it is marketing itself as a way for corporations to suppress the speech of their employees.”

► From the AP — Auto workers chief, prosecutor to discuss reforming the union — The head of the United Auto Workers will meet this month with the U.S. attorney in Detroit to discuss potential changes for the union following a wide-ranging corruption probe.

► From the Seattle Times — The stark racial inequity of personal finances in America (by Tara Siegel Bernard Ron Lieber) — Dollars are like air — crucial to vitality. And when it comes to wealth, Black Americans have less at nearly every juncture of life, from birth to death…An imbalance of societal power cannot be separated from cradle-to-grave economic inequality.




► From the Seattle Times — CEOs, do the right thing (by Leo Hindery Jr., former CEO of AT&T Broadband) — In the post-COVID-19 era, CEOs must lead with integrity, which means vigorously embracing the five “Principles of Corporate Governance” reflected in the Business Roundtable’s “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation,” which was adopted in August 2019… Corporate leaders can start by raising lower-level and middle-class wages, by keeping jobs in America instead of outsourcing them, and by ensuring that America’s 1.6 million gig workers have fairer wages and better senses of job security — all while being open to unionization when petitioned by their employees. As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt importuned in his efforts to advance business integrity shortly after the Great Depression, we need to make union membership a civil right. Specifically, this means enacting comprehensive labor-law reform, ruling in favor of workers when management is not negotiating in good faith, and, especially, joining organized labor through the provisions of a new “Employee Free Choice Act.”


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!