Tuesday, June 16, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 16 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 26,158 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 299) and 1,221 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 7)
► From KING 5 — Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s employees say closure is retaliation for joining BLM march — The store was closed ‘indefinitely’ after staff took part in a Black Lives Matter march, but set a reopening timeline after employees put a petition online.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Hey, Trader Joe’s employees! Rather than counting on public pressure to get your employer to do the right thing, why not harness your own collective power to make sure that happens? 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 the News Tribune — Albertsons ends $2-an-hour coronavirus raise for in-store workers. Now it’s doing this. –The grocery chain says it will award in-store workers a separate “Appreciation Pay” bonus payment equal to $4 per hour for average weekly hours worked from March 15 through last Saturday, June 13, when the temporary pay raise ended. Albertsons says workers will receive a minimum of $90.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Health experts say this pandemic is just beginning. Multiple states, including Washington, are experiencing significant increases in COVID-19 infections. Grocery workers are still putting their lives on the line every day to serve us, and Albertson’s is still selling far more groceries — sales are up 34 percent from this time last year. The bottom line: it’s about the bottom line. Albertson’s will increase its profits and its employees — hailed as heroes when this pandemic first broke — will get a pay cut.
► From KOMO — Seattle City Council passes first bill in nation to provide premium pay for gig workers — City Councilmembers voted unanimously Monday for legislation to provide premium pay for gig workers at food delivery companies in the city during the COVID-19 crisis. Council Bill 119799 directs food delivery network companies like Postmates and Grubhub to provide gig workers with $2.50 premium pay per order performed in Seattle during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
► From the News Tribune — With COVID-19 taking a toll on Pierce Transit, it’s time to rethink how we fund it (by Matt Driscoll) — there’s a potential for COVID-19-related cuts to be deep and lasting without creative, proactive local response… Relying so heavily on a sales tax to fund public transit is precarious in the best of times, and potentially catastrophic in times of crisis.
► From McClatchy — More people need to wear face coverings in public, state says — Washington state officials on Monday urged people to wear masks or face coverings when they’re in public, expressing concern that counties might not be able to move forward – and could fall backwards – under Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase plan to reopen the rest of the state’s economy.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Washington colleges can give coronavirus aid to more students, Spokane judge rules — Washington’s colleges and universities may use their federal coronavirus financial aid to assist a larger number of students than the Trump administration’s guidance allowed, a federal judge in Spokane ruled Friday.
The Stand (June 15) — Petition: Protect community college students
► From the News Tribune — New video in Manuel Ellis case shows police officer grabbing him by the neck from behind — A new video showing Manuel Ellis’ fatal encounter with Tacoma police was released Monday, giving a more complete look at how the first two officers on scene restrained Ellis… Last week, the Ellis family’s attorney released a nearly nine-minute Ring doorbell security camera across the street from where Ellis died. Although it was too dark to see what was happening, that video captured Ellis saying, “I can’t breathe, sir, I can’t breathe.”
► From the Spokesman-Review — Black Spokane residents are 5 times more likely to be arrested, new data show
► From Crosscut — Seattle protests are barely spreading COVID-19 — so far — After Seattle urged all protesters to get tested for the coronavirus at expanded facilities, fewer than 1% are coming back positive.
► From the Washington Post — It’s not complicated: Rayshard Brooks should be alive (by Eugene Robinson) — Rayshard Brooks should be alive today, not dead at the hands of a trigger-happy Atlanta police officer after Brooks panicked and resisted a drunken driving arrest. The people who are attempting to justify Brooks’s killing aren’t convincing anyone. But they are illustrating just how much work we have to do to redefine what we want out of policing and to make clear that yes, black men’s lives matter even when they get drunk and fall asleep in a Wendy’s drive-through lane.
For everyone who says, “If Rayshard Brooks didn’t resist arrest, he’d still be alive”: pic.twitter.com/2ewCti4TOE
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) June 16, 2020
► From the Seattle Times — Keep up the fight: Help pass the Justice In Policing Act (by Rep. Pramila Jayapal) — Even as we work to swiftly pass the Justice in Policing Act through the House of Representatives, we need to heed the righteous voices of the powerful movement on the ground so local communities, led by Black voices, can move forward on transformational changes. Seattle can be a leader on this as it has been on so many other fronts. Because it is not enough to say Black Lives Matter, we must fight for Black lives and finally secure real, meaningful, transformative justice.
► From Politico — Trump to sign police reform executive order on Tuesday — Senior administration officials said the order will aim to incentivize police departments to improve by tying federal approval of discretionary grants to good policing practices.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Translation: We are going to give the police more money if they do the stuff they should have been doing all along.
► From Politico — Senate unlikely to take up police reform bill until after July 4 recess
► From the Washington Post — A tiny Ohio town’s Black Lives Matter event was overrun by armed counterprotesters — The 80 or so expected demonstrators ended up dwarfed Sunday afternoon by some 700 counterprotesters — motorcycle gangs, “back the blue” groups and proponents of the Second Amendment. Some carried rifles while others brought baseball bats and clubs. Police say they are investigating about 10 “incidents” from the clashes that followed, including a demonstrator being punched in the head (while police who witnessed the assault stood by and did nothing).
► From the Washington Post — Police detain armed militia members after man is shot at Albuquerque protest — The gunshots, which left one man in critical but stable condition, have set off a cascade of public outcry denouncing the unregulated militia’s presence and the shooting, although police have yet to announce an arrest or describe exactly what happened. “The heavily armed individuals who flaunted themselves at the protest, calling themselves a ‘civil guard,’ were there for one reason: To menace protesters, to present an unsanctioned show of unregulated force,” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said in a statement. “To menace the people of New Mexico with weaponry — with an implicit threat of violence — is on its face unacceptable; that violence did indeed occur is unspeakable.”
► From the NY Times — Supreme Court expansion of transgender rights undercuts Trump restrictions — The Trump administration’s socially conservative agenda has included a broad-based effort to eliminate transgender rights across the government, in education, housing, the military and, as recently as Friday, health care. The ruling focused on employment discrimination, but legal scholars say its language could force expanded civil rights protections in education, health care, housing and other areas of daily life.
► From the Seattle Times — LGBTQ advocates say Supreme Court ruling will reinforce Washington state protections — There was a gray area, in the minds of some, as to whether state anti-discrimination law applied to federal employees working in Washington. The ruling makes clear that discrimination against them, too, is off limits, said Anya Morgan, an attorney with the Lavender Rights Project.
TODAY at The Stand — A huge Supreme Court win for equality — The AFL-CIO and Pride at Work hail the decision protecting LGBTQ workers from discrimination.
► From the NY Times — Gay rights are civil rights (editorial) — The Supreme Court says you can’t be fired for being gay or transgender.
► From the Washington Post — The Supreme Court’s ruling on LGBTQ rights is a sweeping victory for fairness (editorial) — Congress should have acted years before now to remove any doubt that the law protects LGBTQ people. But Congress failed to prioritize the issue, with much of the Republican Party once again trailing society’s welcome evolution on questions of fair treatment for all.
► From the NY Times — Pence misleadingly blames coronavirus spikes on rise in testing — On a private call with governors, the vice president played down new outbreaks, stressing that some states were seeing what he called “intermittent” spikes. Experts have warned it’s not that simple.
► From the Washington Post — What has the Trump administration done with a half-trillion dollars? (by Catherine Rampell) — Last week, the administration backtracked on its commitment to publicly disclose the beneficiaries of its $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program — including, presumably, information about whether any of the “small businesses” helped happen to be Trump’s. This is unacceptable.
► From Politico — Members of Congress took small-business loans — and the full extent is unknown — Some GOP lawmakers who benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program also opposed legislation requiring lending transparency.
► From the Columbian — Public must demand accountability, oversight (editorial)
► From HuffPost — Rep. Ilhan Omar’s father dies from complications Of COVID-19
► From the NY Times — As meat plants stayed open to feed Americans, exports to China surged — While lobbying to keep operating during the pandemic, the U.S. industry sent a record amount of pork to a country vital to its growth… So far, 25,523 meatpacking workers have tested positive and 89 have died, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network.
► From Politico — Nursing homes go unchecked as COVID-19 fatalities mount — About half of all facilities have yet to be inspected for procedures to stop the spread of coronavirus.
► From Reuters — COVID-19 cases surging in Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma — New cases of COVID-19 nearly doubled in Alabama and South Carolina in the second week of June compared to the prior seven days, a Reuters analysis found, as 17 U.S. states reported weekly increases in the spread of the novel coronavirus.
► From Politico — DeSantis defies critics as coronavirus spreads in Florida — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis aims to shift the focus from the pandemic to economic recovery.
► From WBUR — Harvard University, unionized graduate students reach first-ever agreement — Harvard University has reached a tentative agreement on its first-ever contract with a union representing around 4,400 students who teach, conduct research and work on its campus. As they laid out its terms, organizers with the Harvard Graduate Student Union called the agreement “historic.” If ratified, they said, it will become just the eighth such agreement to cover students at a private American university.
► From the Columbia Journalism Review — Washington Post public editor: Jeff Bezos could solve pay equality tomorrow. He makes token gestures instead. (by Hamilton Nolan) — The Washington Post Guild conducting a full study on pay equity in 2019 (six years into Bezos’ ownership of the paper). They found that women in the newsroom were paid less than men; employees of color were paid less than white men, “even when controlling for age and job description”; and men earned a higher portion of merit raises than women “despite accounting for a smaller proportion of the newsroom.”… For less than the obligatory charity donation and accompanying press release, Jeff Bezos could have achieved complete pay equity at the Post. Doing so, of course, would have required working productively together with the union, something that Bezos has never shown any interest in doing. But it would have been a quick and easy way to achieve equity in practice, rather than gesturing vaguely at an affinity for equity, as long as it doesn’t cost too much.
► From the NY Times — Newsrooms are in revolt. The bosses are in their country houses. — Those who can afford it left the city, shining a spotlight on class divisions in the media.
AND THEN, THERE’S THIS…
► From the AP — Poll: Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years — Just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018. The survey, conducted in late May by NORC at the University of Chicago, draws on nearly a half-century of research from the General Social Survey, which has collected data on American attitudes and behaviors at least every other year since 1972. No less than 29% of Americans have ever called themselves very happy in that survey. Most of the new survey’s interviews were completed before the death of George Floyd touched off nationwide protests and a global conversation about race and police brutality, adding to the feelings of stress and loneliness Americans were already facing from the coronavirus outbreak — especially for black Americans.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.