Thursday, June 18, 2020
► From the Olympian — Inslee orders furloughs for most state employees as state revenue plummets — Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday directed state agencies under his authority to cancel a scheduled 3 percent pay raise for many of the state’s highest-paid general government employees and to begin furloughs for most state employees. More than 40,000 state employees will be required to take one furlough day per week through July 25. After July, employees will be required to take one furlough day per month at least through the fall, the governor’s office said. Inslee said employees also will be allowed to take voluntary unpaid furloughs.
► From Crosscut — ‘Everything is on the table’ as state stares down a $9B shortfall — Tax increases and budget cuts for Washington could be on the horizon during a legislative special session.
► From the Walla Walla U-B — Pandemic forces budget cuts at Walla Walla Community College — Seven jobs have been eliminated and another eight will remain vacant for a total of 15 affected positions. Two of the employees laid off were faculty members.
► From the Daily World — Grays Harbor College passes budget, prepares for potential major cuts in state funding
The Stand (June 15) — Petition: Protect Washington’s community college students
EDITOR’S NOTE — All of this is why the WSLC and the entire labor movement is calling on Congress to approve 5 Economic Essentials for Racial and Economic Justice, and in particular #3 (shown above).
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 18 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 26,784 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 307) and 1,226 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 7)
From the Tri-City Herald — Connell prison COVID cases triple since June 1. Plans for more testing unclear. — The number of postive COVID cases at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell has once again increased. The number of combined inmate and staff cases reached 117 as of Wednesday, according to the state DOC. Of those cases, 82 are inmates and 35 are employees. It’s by far the biggest outbreak in all of Washington state prisons.
► From KNKX — Washington State Ferries to stay on reduced schedule as summer begins — With ridership depressed by the ongoing pandemic, the nation’s biggest ferry system is sticking to a reduced schedule through what would normally be its busiest season… Among other considerations, around 150 crewmembers are currently unavailable to sail because they are older or in another high-risk category for COVID-19.
► From McClatchy — Even before pandemic, 23% of state households were a paycheck away from poverty, report says — A new report from the United Way fills in a picture of these barely-afloat workers, which they call “ALICE” – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. Traditionally called the ‘working poor,’ ALICE refers to people who don’t qualify as poor according to federal poverty guidelines, yet cannot make ends meet. In the new “ALICE” report released Tuesday, the United Way of the Pacific Northwest found that the number of Washington households that fit that description has climbed to 23%, or just over 670,000 families — a significant increase from 15% in 2007. By contrast, about 10% of Washington households were considered poor by federal poverty guidelines in 2018, but together they amount to 1 in 3 state residents.
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle Police Officers Guild expelled from King County’s largest labor council — MLK Labor voted Wednesday evening to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild from the organization, a decision pushed for by many protesters who have been demonstrating against police brutality and racism in recent weeks. In an hours-long roll call vote, 45,435 of the delegates voted in favor of removing the SPOG from the council, while 36,760 of the delegates voted against.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — MLK Labor delegates vote to expel Seattle police union
► From the Seattle Times — New investigation launched into Tacoma police killing of Manuel Ellis — The Washington State Patrol will begin a new investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis, who was killed in March as he was detained by Tacoma police, Gov. Jay Inslee announced. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office had been investigating the death, but that review was abruptly halted last week, after it was discovered that sheriff’s deputies were on the scene when Ellis was killed. Initiative 940, passed by voters in 2018, prevents police agencies from investigating themselves. The discovery, by the sheriff’s office, came more than three months after Ellis was killed.
► From the Seattle Times — Eyes on Mayor Jenny Durkan, City Council as protesters demand Seattle defund the police
► From the Washington Post — Former Atlanta officer who shot Rayshard Brooks charged with murder, other offenses — A former Atlanta police officer was charged Wednesday with felony murder, aggravated assault and other offenses in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.
► From HuffPost — Atlanta police officers call out of work after officers charged
► From the Washington Post — As protests spread to small-town America, militia groups respond with armed intimidation and online threats — In Omak, Wash., a city of fewer than 5,000 located in the foothills of the Okanogan Highlands, plans for a peaceful demonstration began in a private chat on Facebook Messenger. But public threats poured in when Sinai Espinoza, a 19-year-old student at a local community college, joined other young women in promoting their Peaceful March for George Floyd. The violent messages on social media included a vow that “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” echoing Trump’s rhetoric. Another characterized the upcoming gathering as “free target practice.” When the march unfolded earlier this month, bringing more than 400 people to a park opposite the public library, an armed militia stood guard — at ground level but also atop nearby roofs, as if ready to act as snipers. “Honestly, it was terrifying,” Espinoza said. “They claimed they were there to protect the city from outsiders, but it felt more like preparation to kill.”
► From the NY Times — When Antifa hysteria sweeps America (by Nicolas Kristof) — These antifa panics are where racism and hysteria intersect, in a nation that has more guns than people. They arise when a lying president takes every opportunity not to heal our national divisions but to stoke them, when people live in a news ecosystem that provides no reality check but inflames prejudices and feeds fears.
► From Refinery 29 — How to unionize your workplace — and why you should do it now — Over the last few weeks, influenced by the revolutionary uprisings against police brutality and anti-Black racism proliferate around the country, many workers are coming forward with their stories about racism in their respective industries. They seek to hold racist aggressors accountable — and they are sometimes doing so through the power of their unions. Power in solidarity is not just about this moment in time, of course: For decades, labor unions across the country have often been at the forefront of the most radical demands and changes that not only affect their workers, but also their communities. When standing together, workers have much more power to enact change, and now is a great time to do just that. So, if you are looking to unionize your workforce, here are some tips to consider and how to get started.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers not only to negotiate a fair return for your hard work, but also to fight for positive change in your community. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From The Hill — Schumer faces tough choice on police reform — Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) faces a tough call on whether to let a Republican-backed police reform bill advance on the Senate floor next week even though it falls well short of what Democrats want.
► From Roll Call — Key differences exist among House, Senate and White House policing plans — Parties offer different approaches to chokeholds, no-knock warrants, use-of-force data and accountability.
► From Reuters — Months before election, Trump finds himself at odds with most Americans’ views — Recent opinion surveys continue to show Trump trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden significantly with just over four months until the Nov. 3 election. But more revealingly, they show a president increasingly disconnected from the American electorate whose views have changed rapidly following the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while in Minneapolis police custody.
► From KNKX — Educators’ union says Seattle district’s process for choosing a reopening plan has been rushed — The Seattle school district is planning to let families know by the end of this week what the model will likely be. But the Seattle Education Association, the union representing educators, has criticized the district’s process of gathering input on possible options.
► From the Bellingham Herald — Board asks voters to approve lower levy amid job cuts planned for Ferndale schools — The Ferndale School District is cutting 102 positions for the next school year as its school board asks voters to reconsider an operations levy that they turned down in February.
► From the Columbian — Protesters at Clark College target systemic racism in education
► From the Columbian — Mask-wearing safeguards health, community (editorial)
► BREAKING from CNN — Supreme Court blocks Trump from ending DACA — The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation. The 5-4 ruling was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. The ruling emphasizes that the administration failed to provide an adequate reason to justify ending the DACA program… It means that for now, participants in the program can continue to renew membership in the program that offers them work authorization and temporary protection from deportation.
► From the AP — Lawmakers rip FAA for not disclosing documents on Boeing MAX — The chairman of a Senate committee accused the FAA of stonewalling lawmakers’ attempts to understand how the agency approved a Boeing jet that later suffered two deadly crashes and whether the FAA retaliates against whistle blowers in its ranks. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said he holds Stephen Dickson, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the FAA, personally responsible for creating an adversarial relationship with Congress.
► From the Washington Post — Trump asked China’s Xi to help him win reelection, according to Bolton book — President Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 U.S. election, telling Xi during a summit dinner last year that increased agricultural purchases by Beijing from American farmers would aid his electoral prospects, according to a damning new account of life inside the Trump administration by former national security adviser John Bolton. The episode bears striking similarities to the actions that resulted in Trump’s impeachment after he sought to pressure the Ukrainian president to help dig up dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden in exchange for military assistance. The China allegation also comes amid ongoing warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies about foreign interference in the November presidential election, as Russia did to favor Trump in 2016.
► From the NY Times — Justice Dept. escalates legal fight with Bolton over book — The Trump administration asked a judge to order the former national security adviser to stop publication of his memoir even as explosive details emerged.
► LIVE from the NY Times — Cases rise as Trump says virus is ‘fading away’ — Oklahoma, where Trump plans a rally this weekend, is among the states reporting a record number of new cases. Meanwhile, the federal government’s leadership in the coronavirus pandemic has so waned that state and local health officials have been left to figure out on their own how to handle rising infections and navigate conflicting signals from the White House.
► From the Washington Post — Mike Pence is a case study in irresponsibility (editorial) — The pandemic is still raging. Try as they might to spin a recovery story, Pence and Trump destroy their own credibility by ignoring reality. The American people know this is not “cause for celebration.”
► From the Washington Post — A GOP sheriff vowed not to enforce Arizona’s coronavirus restrictions. Now he’s tested positive. — He had been invited on meet with Trump at the White House, but as part of a mandatory coronavirus screening for all White House visitors, he learned he had the virus.
► From the Washington Post — GOP leaders silent on QAnon-believing candidate now distancing themselves — Republican leaders who said nothing after Marjorie Taylor Greene, a believer of the QAnon conspiracy theory, won a GOP primary in Georgia last week are now distancing themselves from her candidacy after the discovery of videos of her making racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic comments.
► From the Washington Post — Hundreds of health-care workers lost their lives battling the coronavirus — Celia Yap-Banago died alone in her bedroom weeks after caring for a patient suspected of having COVID-19 at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. Celia is gone, one of hundreds of U.S. health-care workers — not just nurses and physicians but also EMTs, paramedics and medical technologists — who’ve died fighting a virus against which humans have no known immunity. There is no official tally of their deaths. More than 77,800 have tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 400 have died, according to the CDC, which acknowledges that’s a significant undercount. The nation’s largest nurses union, National Nurses United, puts the total much higher: 939 fatalities among health-care workers, based on reports from its chapters around the country, social media and obituaries.
► From the AP — 1.5 million more laid-off workers seek unemployment benefits
► From Labor Notes — Seattle’s General Strike 100 years ago shows us hope for today (by Jeff Johnson, former WSLC President) — For five days in 1919, union members took control of the city of Seattle. They arguably ran it better, and certainly more justly, than it had ever been run before. Thousands of workers volunteered to keep Seattle’s essential services operating. Max Eastman, editor of the socialist magazine The Liberator, wrote that the strike in Seattle “filled with hope and happiness the hearts of millions of people in all places of the earth… You demonstrated the possibility of that loyal solidarity of the working class which is the sole remaining hope of liberty for mankind.”
Contrast Seattle 1919 with today’s unfolding horror. We’re all witnessing what it looks like when a shutdown and the provision of essential services are administered by capital and a pro-corporate government. The Seattle General Strike was not just an event in labor history. It was a testament to what workers can achieve when they organize, and it has sharp lessons for today… In his new book Radical Seattle: The General Strike of 1919, Cal Winslow vividly brings to life the workers’ movement of that time in the Pacific Northwest.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.