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Tacoma doesn’t shine ● Chamber’s all talk ● Oh, the Humanity

Wednesday, July 1, 2020




► From the News Tribune — Slashing paraeducator staff not a shining moment for Tacoma School Board (editorial) — The decision to lay these workers off, many of whom work closely with special-needs students, was ostensibly not about money; it had nothing to do with a deficit or any upcoming budget gaps. The decision was about contract work, ruthless, them’s-the-rules contract work… It’s true the collective bargaining agreement impacted timing, but rather than ask for a deadline extension or come up with new models for how paraeducators could be used, the board chose to let them set sail on a sea of uncertainty… These are unprecedented times, but flexibility and innovation should be a built-in skill set for educators. Tacoma is the only district in the state to have announced cuts of this kind… Tacoma’s paraeducators were some of the unsung heroes in the state’s COVID-19 response, and now, sadly, most are out of work.

The Stand (June 26) — Tacoma schools to slash jobs, give superintendent a raise

► From the Seattle Times — Nordstrom makes sharp staff cuts as it grapples with pandemic — Nordstrom is laying off thousands of workers, including a large number from its corporate operations in Seattle, as it copes with pandemic-related losses.




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 1 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 32,824 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 450) and 1,332 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 7)

► From the Yakima H-R — ‘It’s hard. We’re all tired:’ Yakima nurse talks about caring for COVID-19 patients — An intensive care nurse on the front lines of treating COVID-19 patients at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital said the work is exhausting. But when patients recover and can go home safely to their loved ones, the 16- to 20-hour shifts, the physical and emotional exhaustion, and the risk of exposure are worth it. Jennylyn Pace, a nurse at Virginia Mason, has watched her fellow nurses isolate from their spouses and children to minimize their families’ risk of exposure. She’s held an iPad while a dying patient said goodbye to family members, who weren’t allowed into the hospital in the early days of the pandemic. She’s had to stand by, socially distanced, when a family member wanted to give her a hug of gratitude for doing everything she could for the patient who didn’t make it. “I’ve been a critical care nurse for eight years now, and I still cry whenever a patient dies,” she said. “Since COVID, I have been crying a lot more.”

► From KIRO — Ferry wait times spike following staff shortages — The number of passengers is going back up, but more than 150 employees are off the job due to the pandemic. It has led to a reduction in ferry runs.

► From the (Everett) Herald — COVID hits ferry workers; Everett firefighters quarantined

► From the (Everett) Herald — Snohomish County could revert to Phase 1 amid spike in cases

► From the Tri-City Herald — Inslee considers ‘No mask, No service’ rule for Tri-Cities businesses to slow coronavirus — On Monday all but one Tri-Cities intensive care bed was filled.

► From the AP — Inslee heckled off stage during Tri-Cities appearance — Speaking outdoors at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Inslee was repeatedly interrupted by hecklers as he urged residents to wear masks.

► From the (Longview) Daily News — City continues to discourage July 4 event; organizers undeterred — Longview developer and event organizer Larry Wood says he believes so strongly in his cause that he said he’s “ready to die for this.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — People of Longview, who don’t support this cause and don’t attend this event but face exposure from those who do, are you “ready to die for this,” too?

► From the Washington Post — Americans sacrificed to flatten the curve. Their leaders have let them down. (editorial) — Trump’s negligent approach, leaving it to the states while declaring that everything is fine, has put the nation adrift in a viral sea. We must move beyond Trump’s devastating leadership vacuum. A few states have done better than most, but as the virus map demonstrates, the power of the pandemic is greater than the states can bear. The nation still needs a federal response. The virus is relentless and opportunistic — but the response has been patchwork and uneven. Unless that is fixed, we will be doomed to more suffering and terrible losses still to come.

► From HuffPost — Republicans pushed to reopen the economy. Now coronavirus cases are spiking again. — GOP lawmakers say the U.S. shouldn’t reimpose broad restrictions despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

► From the Washington Post — Republican leaders now say everyone should wear a mask — even as Trump refuses and has mocked some who do

► From HuffPost — Most Americans favor mask requirements, poll finds




► From the Spokesman-Review — As city leaders eye police reform, state legislators could also take action — Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs is leaning on Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) and his colleagues to enact a state law that would prohibit matters of civilian oversight from being collectively bargained in police union contracts. That’s one of myriad of proposals under consideration by Democrats in the Senate, which could include a ban on chokeholds, forcing officers to warn a suspect before shooting a firearm, and prohibiting shooting at moving cars.

► From the Olympian — Attorney general calls for database of police deadly force incidents in Washington state — Law enforcement should be required to report deadly force and the incidents should be gathered in a statewide database accessible by the public, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Tuesday.

► From the Bellingham Herald — State Supreme court hears oral arguments in car tabs initiative lawsuit — The state Supreme Court heard virtual oral arguments Tuesday about the constitutionality of the initiative to lower the cost of car tabs that voters passed last year. The plaintiffs argued that the initiative, sponsored by tax activist Tim Eyman, violates the state’s constitution in various ways and should be overturned.

► From Crosscut — Washington considers online signatures for 2020 initiatives — Other states are allowing electronic signatures to count on election petitions during the pandemic. Should Washington do the same?




► From the Seattle Times — Inspector General report details how Boeing played down MCAS in original 737 MAX certification – and FAA missed it — The report notes that as the regulatory approval process progressed, the FAA handed over to Boeing itself more and more of the certification tasks until at the end, it had given all of them to Boeing for final approval — enabling virtual self-certification.

► From the Seattle Times — Boeing rival Airbus will cut 15,000 jobs as aviation’s pandemic crisis worsens




► From Roll Call — House to vote Wednesday on massive infrastructure bill — The House will vote Wednesday on a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that Democrats hail as transformative and Republicans dismiss as doomed. The bill that includes, among other things, authorizations of $494 billion on surface transportation projects, more than $100 billion to upgrade schools in impoverished districts, $10 billion for child care facilities, $100 billion for housing infrastructure and $100 billion for expanding broadband access.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Statement: “The AFL-CIO urges support of the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a $1.5 trillion plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure. The American people cannot afford to wait any longer. The future prosperity of working families and our communities is at stake, as is our nation’s commitment to the simple but powerful idea that when we invest in our infrastructure, our economy expands and working people thrive. Further, as the September 2020 expiration of the current surface transportation law approaches, Congress must move quickly to avoid major disruptions in ongoing construction projects. The AFL-CIO strongly urges support of this important legislation.” However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — which every year stands beside the AFL-CIO to demand “action, not more talk” on infrastructure investment — is lobbying against H.R. 2 because Republicans were insufficiently involved in its drafting.

► From TPM — Trump vows to veto $740B defense bill if it includes provision to remove confederate names from military bases — The president mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who sponsored the amendment, calling her “Pocahontas” in a late night tweet.

► From the NY Times — Trump’s new Russia problem: Unread intelligence and missing strategy — The intelligence finding that Russia was most likely paying a bounty for the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan has evoked a strange silence from Trump and his top national security officials. He insists he never saw the intelligence, though it was part of the President’s Daily Brief just days before a peace deal was signed with the Taliban in February. The White House says it was not even appropriate for him to be briefed because the president only sees “verified” intelligence — prompting derision from officials who have spent years working on the daily brief and say it is most valuable when filled with dissenting interpretations and alternative explanations. But it doesn’t require a high-level clearance for the government’s most classified information to see that the list of Russian aggressions in recent weeks rivals some of the worst days of the Cold War.

► From The Hill — Trump dismisses Russian bounty allegations as a ‘hoax’ — Trump has been the lone figure in his administration to dismiss the credibility of the intelligence.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Trump administration thought it was credible enough to brief the British and members of Congress though. Here are just a few examples of things that Donald Trump has dismissed as a hoax: the coronavirus which has killed 125,000 Americans and counting; global warming which scientists agree is an imminent threat to the future of the planet; his impeachment over his withholding of funds for Ukraine to try to get dirt on Joe Biden; and most importantly in the context of today’s news, the Mueller Report which confirmed that Russia interfered in America’s 2016 elections to secure a Trump presidency and produced dozens of indictments and guilty pleas/convictions. The report’s evidence was so compelling that more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors concluded that if any other American engaged in the same efforts to impede federal proceedings the way Trump did, they would likely be indicted for multiple charges of obstruction of justice. Trump + “Hoax” = An Undeniable Truth.

► From The Hill — US, Mexico set for new post-NAFTA trade era — The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement came into effect on Wednesday in a political and diplomatic environment radically different from the one that brought the three countries together under the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

The Stand (Dec. 10, 2019) — AFL-CIO endorses USMCA after negotiating labor improvements

► From NPR — Jailing of labor activist raises concerns about Mexico’s readiness for USMCA — As part of the new deal, Mexico must change its labor laws and add strict protections for workers. But the recent jailing of a Mexican labor activist Susana Prieto is raising concerns that Mexico may not be ready to live up to its obligations.

► From HuffPost — Oklahoma voters approve Medicaid expansion for 200,000

► From Roll Call — Hickenlooper to take on Gardner in Colorado Senate race

► From Roll Call — Colorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton ousted in primary by gun rights activist




► From Strike Wave — Cards Against Humanity workers announce union after weeks of turmoil — Workers at Cards Against Humanity, the multimillion-dollar Chicago-based board game company, are unionizing. Employees presented management with a demand letter Tuesday, asking them to voluntarily recognize the union (an SEIU affiliate) on the heels of a weeks-long public reckoning over instances of racism and harassment at the company. Workers say their goal is to create a more equitable culture within Cards Against Humanity that lives up to the values the company projects to the world.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Want a more equitable culture at your workplace? Get a union! 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 LGBTQ Nation — The AFL-CIO must fight for trans lives inside and outside the labor union movement (by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka) — George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police officers. Twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down on a run by two white men. We need to say their names, know their stories, and recognize why they were deprived of a full life. But we also need to shine a spotlight on the victims who rarely make it into mainstream media. All across America, the lives of Black transgender people and their bodies are being devalued and harmed.




► From the NY Times — Why do the rich have so much power? (by Paul Krugman) — The answer is that huge disparities in income and wealth translate into comparable disparities in political influence. Why do the wealthy have so much influence over politics? Campaign contributions, historically dominated by the wealthy, are part of the story. Also there are major personal financial rewards for political figures who support the interests of the wealthy. Pro-plutocrat politicians who stumble, like Eric Cantor, the former House whip — who famously celebrated Labor Day by honoring business owners — quickly find lucrative positions in the private sector, jobs in right-wing media or well-paid sinecures at conservative think tanks. Do you think there’s a comparable safety net in place for the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Ilhan Omar? And even the issues that the news media discuss often reflect a rich person’s agenda. Advertising dollars explain some of this bias, but a lot of it probably reflects subtler factors, like the (often false) belief that people who’ve made a lot of money have special insight into how the nation as a whole can achieve prosperity.


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!