Thursday, July 2, 2020
NOTE: The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking Friday off, so our next update will be on Monday, July 6. Have a happy 4th!
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 2 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 33,435 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 475) and 1,339 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 8)
► From the Yakima H-R — Anytime Fitness gym in Selah fined almost $10,000 for staying open during COVID-19 outbreak — The Anytime Fitness gym in Selah became the first business to be fined by the state for operating in violation of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start order. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries issued a $9,639 fine to company owner Bradshaw Development Inc. this week after receiving numerous complaints from the public and a referral from the Yakima Health District.
TODAY at The Stand — L&I fines Selah fitness center for violating COVID closure order
TAKE A STAND — Do you know of businesses that are operating in violation of the Safe Start order? Report them here. When businesses willfully violate this order, they are placing their employees, customers and the community at risk, and gaining an unfair advantage over competitors that are obeying the law.
► From the Columbian — Protesters gather in front of Vancouver city attorneys’ homes — The protests were in support of PetBiz owner Kelly Carroll of Battle Ground who faces a criminal charge for violating the Safe Start order. The right-wing group Patriot Prayer created an event page calling on people to gather at McClure’s home. The aim of the rally was to pressure the city to drop the charge and ensure no one will be similarly charged.
► From the News Tribune — Heckle Inslee all you want, but COVID-19 regulations, not delusions, save lives (by Matt Driscoll) — It’s not tyranny, it’s sad necessity. It’s not an overreach, it’s acknowledging reality. This isn’t even complicated. It’s science, and part of the public health playbook for a reason… Even if the majority of individuals and businesses are willing to do the right thing, the few who aren’t put all of us at continued risk.
► From the Seattle Times — At least 80 UW students in fraternities test positive for coronavirus, a foreboding sign for college reopenings — More than 800 students have been tested in response to the Greek system outbreak and the university expects to have an updated case count early next week.
► From the Yakima H-R — Yakima jail officials: 73 inmates tested positive
► From the Columbian — United Grain exports resume after COVID-19 cases
► From Kaiser Health News — Workers filed more than 4,100 complaints about protective gear. Some still died. — Since March, more than 4,100 COVID-related complaints regarding health care facilities have poured into the nation’s network of federal and state OSHA offices, which are tasked with protecting workers from harm on the job. A KHN investigation found that at least 35 health care workers died after OSHA received safety complaints about their workplaces. Yet by June 21, the agency had quietly closed almost all of those complaints, and none of them led to a citation or a fine. The quick closure of complaints underscores the Trump administration’s hands-off approach to oversight, said former OSHA official Deborah Berkowitz. “This is a travesty,” she added.
► From TPM — Trump administration scales back mandate that health insurers cover COVID tests — A little-noticed guidance sheets says that insurers no longer have to cover COVID-19 testing when employers mandate a test before an employee can return to work, or when someone is tested as part of a public health surveillance program.
► LIVE from the Washington Post — Daily number of new cases in U.S. tops 50,000 for first time
► From the Washington Post — Coronavirus cases rose by nearly 50% last month — States that took an aggressive approach to reopening led the country in infection spikes.
► From the Washington Post — Heart conditions drove spike in deaths beyond those attributed to covid-19, analysis shows — Fear of seeking care in hospitals overwhelmed by the pandemic may have caused thousands of deaths, experts say.
► From Reuters — U.S. farmers scramble for help as COVID-19 scuttles workforce
► From The Hill — Experts fear July 4 weekend will exacerbate coronavirus spread
EDITOR’S NOTE — Be a real patriot. Wear a mask!
The Stand (June 29) — Celebrate a safe, ethical Independence Day
► From the Seattle Times — FAA completes re-certification test flights of Boeing’s 737 MAX — An extensive to-do list must be accomplished before the plane can receive clearance to fly passengers again, a milestone now expected no sooner than mid-September.
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle City Council votes in committee to advance new tax on big businesses — The Seattle City Council took a major step Wednesday toward adopting a new tax on big businesses, voting in a budget committee meeting to advance a proposal expected to raise more than $200 million per year for affordable housing, business assistance and community development. Dubbed “JumpStart Seattle” by lead sponsor Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, the new tax would target large companies with highly paid employees, whereas the 2018 “head tax” would have been based on total employees.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs — A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings. Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee canceled a 3% raise set to take effect July 1 for directors of his cabinet agencies and some managers. Employees, union and non-represented did get a raise but must take several days of furlough by year’s end. Leaders of the House and Senate, in separate actions, suspended pay hikes scheduled July 1 for hundreds of legislative staff. Collectively, those moves by the legislative and executive branches are expected to save roughly $58 million.
► From the Seattle Times — Expect long ferry waits for the July 4 weekend
► From the News Tribune — We endorse: Dan Bronoske for Washington Legislative Dist. 28. He’ll give Lakewood a voice. (editorial) — Giving Lakewood a seat at the table is just one reason that The News Tribune Editorial Board endorses Dan Bronoske to replace Christine Kilduff in the 28th District’s House Position 1. Bronoske, 40, is a career first responder and former National Guardsman who works for West Pierce Fire & Rescue as an engine company captain. He has a strong command of key progressive issues, from health care to climate change, and knows his way around Olympia as an advocate for worker safety and other union concerns.
► From the Seattle Times — Lawsuit accuses GOP gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp of mishandling child sex-abuse investigation — Loren Culp, the Republican gubernatorial candidate and police chief of Republic, Ferry County, is accused in a lawsuit of botching a child sexual-abuse investigation and intimidating the victim with threats of a false-claims charge.
► From TPM — Trump, GOP go after PA’s use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots — A new lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee seeks to block the use of drop boxes for Pennsylvania voters to submit their mail-in ballots.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Republican Party seems absolutely determined to make it more difficult for Americans to vote. I wonder why that is?
► From MarketWatch — House sends $1.5 trillion-plus infrastructure bill to reluctant Senate — The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved a massive infrastructure bill Wednesday, sending it to the Senate before lawmakers headed home for the July 4 holiday. The vote in the House was 233-188. The bill includes a multi-year reauthorization of the government’s surface transportation programs to replace the current law that expires Sept. 30. But it also includes $130 billion for schools, $100 billion for rural broadband, and $100 billion for affordable housing.
EDITOR’S NOTE — All members of Washington’s Democratic delegation voted “yes” on the infrastructure bill, and Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers all voted “no.”
► From Politico — Russia bounty flap highlights intel breakdown under Trump — The dispute over the alleged payments to kill Americans is shining a harsh light on the president’s consumption of intelligence. At issue is Trump’s well-known resistance to reading the President’s Daily Brief, a classified document that outlines key national security threats and global hot spots.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The White House claims neither Trump nor Pence were orally briefed on this because the intelligence hadn’t been verified. And yet, it was solid enough that it appeared in the President’s Daily Brief in February, it was shared with the British and members of Congress. Now that Trump certainly knows about it, the White House is focused on covering for Trump’s inaction rather than taking any action against Russia. In fact, by denying its veracity, Trump is echoing the Russian government’s denials over America’s own intelligence agencies. Meanwhile, among the three U.S. Marine reservists killed in the April 2019 car bombing potentially tied to the Russian bounties was Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, a New York City firefighter and a 15-year member of the IAFF. He was survived by his wife and three children.
► From Politico — Immigration agency warns of furloughs amid cash crunch — The agency charged with administering the nation’s immigration system is facing a $1.2 billion budget shortfall that it says will force thousands of furloughs in the coming weeks absent an emergency cash infusion from Congress.
► From The Hill — Immigration judges union suing Justice Dept. over policy restricting public speaking — A union representing hundreds of immigration judges is suing the Department of Justice over a policy imposing restrictions on judges who wish to speak or write in their personal capacity on matters relevant to their work.
► MUST-READ from Bloomberg — How the American worker got fleeced — The COVID-19 pandemic has helped clarify just how much employers have chipped away at the labor rights and bargaining power that came with the New Deal. Legislation and court rulings have outlawed key organizing and protest tactics, have legalized aggressive anti-union efforts, and radically shrunk the range of occupations granted basic labor rights. The pandemic certainly could give employers more power to set the rules. Or it could give workers a chance to end a heist on a nationwide scale… In Washington state, the Machinists union contract dictates that layoffs be conducted based on seniority, and the union says its in daily contact with Boeing to hash out COVID-19 safety procedures. At Boeing’s non-union South Carolina plant, “workers are afraid to raise issues or concerns because they feel like that could affect how they’re graded for the layoff,” said IAM activist Chris Jones. “There’s really no rules other than your manager giving you a score.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of your efforts going unrewarded? 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 the Washington Post — Pay cuts are becoming a defining feature of the coronavirus recession — At least 4 million private-sector workers have had their pay cut during the pandemic, according to data from the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute, and workers are twice as likely to get a pay cut now than they were during the Great Recession.
► From the AP — U.S. unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway — The job-market recovery may already be faltering because of a new round of closings and layoffs triggered by a resurgence of the coronavirus.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking Friday off, so we conclude this week with a tribute to the man Rolling Stone just named the greatest bassist of all time. James Jamerson performed on nearly 30 No. 1 pop hits — surpassing a record commonly attributed to The Beatles. But in 1983, at age 47, he died destitute. He lacked recognition for his role as one of The Funk Brothers who played uncredited on dozens of hit records for Motown. “James Jamerson became my hero,” fellow bass player Paul McCartney once said, “although I didn’t actually know his name until quite recently.” Do yourself a favor and find/watch “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” about Jamerson and the rest of the Funk Brothers. In the meantime, watch this tribute to the Greatest Of All Time.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.