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NLRB smudges union ● Farm workers seek OT pay ● P-P-Praise, Jesus!

Thursday, July 9, 2020




► From the Bellingham Herald — With curtailment looming, Intalco workers to get help from the federal government –The U.S. Department of Labor announced its decision to grant Intalco workers help through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Workers may be eligible for training, job search, relocation allowances, income support and other reemployment services, according to the agency’s website.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand IAM, WSLC secure federal aid for laid-off Intalco workers

► From the NW Labor Press — Over 800 Providence hospital workers lose their union over one smudged ballot — Back in February 2019, we reported on a razor-thin union election in which over 800 hospital support workers at Providence Portland Medical Center won a union by just one vote. Now we have to update it: This May, SEIU Local 49’s election victory was overturned by the NLRB in Washington D.C. In this case, it came down to whether a single ballot should be counted as yes or no… For decades, NLRB rules said to declare “dual-marked” ballots void and not count them — UNLESS the voter’s intent can “be ascertained from other markings on the ballot (such as an attempt to erase or obliterate one mark).” When a federal administrative law judge and the NLRB’s regional director looked at this ballot, both saw the smudged line and felt it was pretty clear what the voter intended. But in its May 13, ruling, the three Trump NLRB appointees in Washington, DC, decided it was time to change the rules. Going forward, they ruled, all dual-marked ballots will be declared void.




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 9 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 37,941 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 577) and 1,394 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 7)

► From the Seattle Times — Health department shuts down Duke’s Seafood on Alki Beach after outbreak — Seven employees at the popular West Seattle hangout tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks… Two Duke’s employees spoke to The Seattle Times expressing concern that management has put the bottom line before the safety of their employees. Both servers requested anonymity because they fear losing their jobs.

► From the Tri-City Herald — 3 Dutch Bros. shops close for cleaning after 6 ‘broistas’ test positive

► LIVE from the Washington Post — U.S. sets another daily record for coronavirus infections — With coronavirus infections soaring across the United States, hospitals in hotspot states are on the verge of becoming overwhelmed. Personal protective equipment is once again in short supply, and intensive care units in many hard-hit areas are approaching capacity. In Texas, where hospitalizations are setting records and the death rate has been rising steadily, one doctor working the front lines warned of a looming disaster. “Texas is on a collision course with a viral iceberg,” John Abikhaled, president of the Travis County Medical Society, said in a dire video address.

► From The Hill — Florida emerges as world’s new epicenter for COVID-19

► From HuffPost — ‘We’re back to Square Zero’, warns infectious disease expert

► From the NY Times — Coronavirus surge in Tulsa ‘more than likely’ linked to Trump rally — Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, said Tulsa County had reported nearly 500 new cases of Covid-19 in the past two days.

► From the Washington Post — States that raced to reopen let businesses write their own rules

► From the Washington Post — Retail workers are being pulled into the latest culture war: Getting customers to wear masks — Millions of retail and service workers have been pulled into the front lines of a growing culture war between those who are willing to wear masks and those who aren’t. Mixed messaging and politicization have turned a public health safeguard into a lightning-rod issue. As a result, workers have been berated, even assaulted, by aggressive anti-maskers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Add this growing challenge to continuing to work as COVID-19 cases skyrocket, and then ask yourself: Now of all time, why are grocery and retail stores taking away “hazard pay”?




► From KUOW — The cost of a strawberry: Overtime battle for Washington’s farm workers — The surge of coronavirus cases in the Yakima Valley has focused new attention on working conditions on farms in Washington state. One demand farm workers have been making for awhile: overtime pay. No matter how many hours they work per week, people who work picking fruit, caring for livestock, or milking cows get paid at the same rate. A case before the Washington State Supreme Court could change that. The U.S. first created a minimum wage and overtime protections for workers in 1938. At the time, most farm workers were Black, and federal lawmakers excluded them from the protections. That exclusion has remained in place federally and in most states. Now, Washington’s farm workers are challenging that exclusion in the state’s Supreme Court. “If we establish here in Washington state that these exclusions are informed by their racist origins, advocates and farm workers in other states would be able to bring similar challenges where they are,” said Lori Isley, the lawyer who argued the case on behalf of the farm workers.




► BREAKING from the Washington Post — Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Trump’s assertion that he enjoys absolute immunity while in office, allowing a New York prosecutor to pursue a subpoena of the president’s private and business financial records. In a separate case, the court sent a fight over congressional subpoenas for the material back to lower courts because of “significant separation of powers concerns.” Trump reacted angrily, and inaccurately, on Twitter: “Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!” … The information is part of a grand jury investigation, so the joint decisions probably dash the hopes of Trump opponents that the information will be available to the public before November’s election.

► From the NY Times — The Roberts Court curtails birth control access. Again. (editorial) — Justices rule that employers can stand between female workers and their health care.

► From the Washington Post — Federal workers are returning to the office. Some members of Congress say they shouldn’t be. — With the number of coronavirus cases increasing across much of the country, leading members of Congress on civil service issues are challenging orders by federal agencies for teleworking federal employees to return to their regular worksites.

► From Newsweek — Religious organizations receive $7.3 billion in PPP loans, megachurches amass millions — Religious organizations across the U.S. have received at least $7.3 billion in federal rescue package loans, with evangelical leaders tied to Trump and megachurches tied to scandals pulling in some of the largest payouts.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand Anti-government groups take federal bailout (by Peter Starzynski) — The Freedom Foundation and Washington Policy Center took millions in government money intended for small businesses. Sign a petition demanding they give it back.

► From the Washington Post — GOP eyes narrowing second round of $1,200 stimulus payments — Republican leaders have discussed lowering income threshold for people who would qualify for checks, but economic turmoil has complicated talks.

► From Roll Call — Democrats rebuke White House over possibly directing virus aid away from public schools — Trump’s apparent proposal that future coronavirus aid for schools be tied to students, rather than school districts, has drawn rebukes.

The Stand (July 8) — Safety, not politics, on reopening schools — Trump’s political push could put children, teachers and their families in danger.




► From the AP — United Airlines sending layoff notices to nearly half of U.S. employees — United Airlines will send layoff warnings to 36,000 employees – nearly half its U.S. staff – in the clearest signal yet of how deeply the virus outbreak is hurting the airline industry. The outlook for a recovery in air travel has dimmed in just the past two weeks, as infection rates rise in much of the U.S. and some states imposed new quarantine requirements. “The United Airlines projected furlough numbers are a gut punch, but they are also the most honest assessment we’ve seen on the state of the industry,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “This crisis dwarfs all others in aviation history, and there’s no end in sight.”

► From the AP — Layoffs stuck at high level as 1.3 million seek jobless aid

► From the Chicago Tribune — Workplace tensions flare over whether employees can wear Black Lives Matter masks — As companies declare support for the Black Lives Matter movement, some are not allowing employees to wear masks or other attire that express solidarity with the cause. Employees have pushed back against what they say is an attempt to silence them — staging protests at Whole Foods, denouncing Trader Joe’s on Twitter, calling for boycotts of Taco Bell and Starbucks — while their employers defend the restrictions as a matter of dress code.

The Stand (June 28) — Whole Foods censors Black Lives Matter; sign employees’ petition

► From the NY Times — Hedge funds duel in bankruptcy court over McClatchy newspapers




► From Jacobin — Trump’s Labor Secretary is reaching cartoonish levels of supervillainry (by David Sirota) — Eugene Scalia’s nefarious agenda is right out in the open, almost as if he’s deliberately doing a Dr. Evil impression. Here is the Secretary of Labor actively weakening conflict-of-interest rules for money managers and helping them shift workers’ savings into high-risk private equity schemes — all while trying to prevent those same financial managers from moving workers’ savings into lower-risk, environmentally sustainable investments. And he’s doing this while insisting with a straight face that the moves are about protecting workers and their retirement savings. Left unsaid is that the trio of directives are a potentially big financial boost to the fossil fuel and private equity industries — and surprise, surprise, they’ve pumped huge amounts of money into the Republican Party.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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