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Metro ‘godfather’ dies of COVID-19 ● Boeing unions step up ● Change in the 26th

Monday, July 6, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 6 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 35,898 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 516) and 1,359 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 6)

► From the Seattle Times — Second Metro bus driver, ‘godfather of the North Base,’ dies of coronavirus — Mike Winkler, an early riser who drove buses for 32 years, has become the second known King County Metro Transit worker to lose his life to COVID-19. Winkler, 71, who worked most of his career out of the North Base in Shoreline, died June 17 after several weeks fighting the virus. He served as a “report” operator, responsible for knowing and driving north-end routes whenever other employees couldn’t make their shifts. He showed up at 3:45 a.m. to provide coffee and snacks for co-workers, and took the coffee grounds home for gardening. Winkler was preparing to retire this year… His death follows the loss of Metro driver Samina Hameed, 59, in April, Community Transit driver Scott Ryan, 41, in March, and Washington State Ferries dock employee Esther Bryant-Kyles, 64, in March.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Community Transit drivers: Too soon to open the front doors — Community Transit drivers don’t feel safe after fare collection and front-door boarding resumed last week, according to the union representing them. “We believe that opening the front door is happening too soon, and that our operators will be required to have far too close contact with the public to be deemed safe,” said Kathleen Custer, president of ATU Local 1576. “We have shared with (Community Transit) the serious concerns our members have about opening the front doors.”

► From KIRO — 2 more TSA officers at Sea-Tac test positive for COVID-19

► From the Washington Post — Rush to reopen led to spikes in cases that threaten to overwhelm hospitals in some states, officials say — The rolling seven-day average for daily new cases in the United States reached a high for the 27th day in a row, climbing past 48,000 on Sunday. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations rose to their highest levels to date in Arizona and Nevada.

► From the NY Times — The fullest look yet at the racial inequity of coronavirus — Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.

► FACT CHECK from the AP — Trump falsely says 99% of virus cases benign

► From the Washington Post — No wonder the Trump administration doesn’t want Anthony Fauci on TV (by James Downie) — Fauci and other key health-policy figures on the administration’s coronavirus task force have been largely pulled from the airwaves in recent weeks while cases surge nationwide. Their absence makes sense, though, when you realize that even in the midst of this deadly pandemic, the administration’s top priority is the president’s image.

► From the Seattle Times — Hundreds of experts say coronavirus is airborne; consequences for our daily lives would be significant




► From the Seattle Times — Laid-off Boeing workers to get extra federal help that doubles what most unemployed get — This week, the Boeing unions clinched a big victory in their scramble to add protections for the thousands of their members being laid off. The upshot: Boeing workers will be eligible for benefits for nearly twice as long as most other recently laid-off workers, under a program meant to protect workers hurt by foreign competition, not by virus-driven industry downturns. Because of a union push, laid-off Boeing employees were this week ruled eligible for additional federally funded assistance under a program called Trade Adjustment Assistance that offers extended unemployment benefits for up to two years while workers are enrolled in retraining courses.

The Stand (July 2) — Unions get help for laid-off Boeing workers




► From the Seattle Times — Prospects dim in Olympia for special legislative session on coronavirus budget shortfall — Gov. Jay Inslee and House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington) have thrown cold water on the idea of a special legislative session this summer to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, after elected officials in both political parties said for months that such a session would be likely. The governor cited moves he made earlier this year — including spending vetoes, and a hiring freeze as well as furloughs for state employees — as cost-saving measures that reduced the need for lawmakers to return swiftly.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Washington legislators of color lead police reform discussion ahead of session — Some of the biggest proposals include banning chokeholds, creating an independent investigatory body to look into use-of-force incidents and ending qualified immunity for officers.

► From Crosscut — Chokeholds, tear gas, police reform top agenda for WA Legislature — Recent protests against police brutality could spur new rules — and new ways to hold officers accountable.




► From the News Tribune — We endorse: Hesch, Stanford are Peninsula change agents in Washington Dist. 26, House (editorial) — Bringing new blood to the 26th’s legislative delegation is consistent with the spirit of change in that district. Carrie Hesch, 47, is a Gig Harbor Democrat and state prisons professional; she runs the recreation and wellness programs at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy. She not only has an eye for waste in bureaucracy, she also has insights into the “vicious cycle” of drug abuse, incarceration, homelessness and recidivism that plagues marginalized women… For Position 2, voters can’t go wrong with Democrat Joy Stanford, a long-time substitute teacher in Peninsula schools. Yes, the 26th Legislative District is changing. For voters to elect an up-and-coming Black female leader to the Legislature would be a sure sign of embracing that change.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The WSLC has also endorsed Hesch and Stanford.

The Stand (May 14) — Teamsters’ Carrie Hesch seeks House seat in 26th District

► From the Spokesman-Review — 2 Democrats vying for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ seat in Congress in August primary — Chris Armitage, a 28-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, has been in the race for more than a year, picking up progressive bonafides across the district while establishing a social media presence that routinely questions the political status quo. On the final day of filing in May, Dave Wilson, a 65-year-old former technology instructor, also joined the race as a Democrat after two previous attempts at the seat as an independent.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The WSLC has endorsed Armitage.




► From the Washington Post — Congress departs for two-week recess without addressing coronavirus spikes, economic strains — Ignoring Democrats’ demands for immediate action, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has focused on other issues in recent weeks. When the Senate comes back into session July 20, McConnell plans to turn his attention back to the coronavirus, giving lawmakers just three weeks to negotiate and pass a big rescue bill before they adjourn again through Labor Day.

► From the NY Times — As coronavirus cases rise, the federal workforce heads back to the office — Federal employees are being ushered back to office buildings under inconsistent and conflicting reopening plans, against the wishes of leaders in the nation’s capital.




► From the NY Times — European workers draw paychecks. American workers scrounge for food. — The pandemic has ravaged Europeans and Americans alike, but the economic pain has played out in starkly different fashion. The United States has relied on a significant expansion of unemployment insurance, cushioning the blow for tens of millions of people who have lost their jobs, with the assumption that they will be swiftly rehired once normality returns. European countries — among them Denmark, Ireland, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Austria — have prevented joblessness by effectively nationalizing payrolls, heavily subsidizing wages and enabling paychecks to continue uninterrupted. As cases increase at an alarming rate in much of the United States, the reliance on an overwhelmed unemployment system — the next infusion of money perpetually subject to the whims of Washington — leaves Americans uniquely exposed to a deepening crisis of joblessness. Europe appears poised to spring back from the catastrophe faster, whenever commerce resumes, because its companies need not rehire workers.

► From the NY Times — How much money Americans actually make (by Lora Kelley and ) — It’s generally a taboo question. Yet the answer determines so much about our everyday lives and the opportunities available to ourselves and our children.


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