Monday, July 13, 2020
► From the Seattle Times — Will Washington invest in billionaires or the rest of us? (by WFSE President Mike Yestramski) — Not long ago, when the pandemic first hit, society had an “aha!” moment. Public servants, especially those on the lower end of the income ladder, were seriously undervalued. It was folks in health and food services, garbage collection, maintenance, security — not CEOs — who kept our communities from falling apart. Now, with Washington state expecting an $8.8 billion budget deficit, a chorus of voices including the editorial board of this paper have called on the governor to reopen these same workers’ contracts, cancel their raises and make “bold” cuts to the services they provide the residents of this state. Doing so would make things worse… Washington can’t overcome the pandemic, recover from the recession or prevent further racial injustice if we balance the budget on public servants’ backs. We must fix the upside-down taxation system that starves this state of revenue and gives billionaires a free ride… It’s decision time. We can prepare for a long, painful economic recovery and fire the very people we need to get us through this recession, or we can ask that the billionaires start investing in Washington’s future.
► From the Spokesman-Review — At Coyote Ridge, amid 229 COVID-19 cases, inmates say conditions are “disgusting” — Last week, Beverly Richmond’s son spent up to 36 hours at a time locked in a 6-by-9-foot cell at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell with another prisoner and no toilet. She said he peed in water bottles and defecated in a coffee can.
► From the Yakima H-R — ‘Gross and unhuman’: Yakima County inmates report poor conditions amid surge of COVID cases
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 13 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 40,656 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 617) and 1,438 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 9)
► From KING-TV — COVID-19 cases growing fastest among people under 40 in Washington — People younger than 40 accounts for almost three-quarters of King County cases during the past two weeks.
► From the Spokesman-Review — We’re doing our worst – literally – to make this an unnecessarily awful summer (by Shawn Vestal) — Let’s mask up and hope for better days. If we continue down this road, the two holidays that traditionally bracket vacation season will be the bookends for something worse: the season when we collectively and unnecessarily made too many of our neighbors sick, put too many of our fellow citizens in the hospital, let too many in our community die of a disease that can be largely controlled with a few simple precautions that too many of us couldn’t be bothered to take.
This chart is amazing. You have to watch it until the end. Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/zIOoWANMXK
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) July 12, 2020
► LIVE from the Washington Post — Coronavirus deaths on the rise in almost every region of the U.S. — New U.S. coronavirus cases reached record levels over the weekend, with deaths trending up sharply in a majority of states, including many beyond the hard-hit Sun Belt. Five states — Arizona, California, Florida, Mississippi and Texas — broke records for average daily fatalities over the past week. At least 3,290,000 cases and more than 132,000 deaths have been reported in the United States.
► From Politico — ‘Everyone is lying’: Trump questions public health experts
► From The Hill — White House targets Fauci as virus cases surge — The White House is aiming to discredit Anthony Fauci with a leaked memo citing nearly a dozen comments made by the nation’s top infectious disease expert about the COVID-19 pandemic, according to multiple reports. The effort to undermine Fauci, who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is a member of the White House coronavirus task force, comes as Trump is downplaying the coronavirus pandemic as it continues to surge across the country.
► From Vox — America still doesn’t have enough N95 masks — Five months into the pandemic, the Trump administration hasn’t taken charge of a supply chain that’s been stretched thin.
► From The Guardian — LA’s mask factories shut down as hundreds of workers get sick — A city program, combined with increasing demand from consumers and businesses, has spurred many LA garment companies to pivot to mask-making, hiring new workers and refocusing existing production facilities. But garment workers and advocates say it has come at the expense of the health of the people who make them.
► From Crosscut — If police are defunded, Seattle firefighters could face a new reality — City council members and community groups are pushing for a third way to help people in crisis, which may involve some firefighters.
► From the (Everett) Herald — New grants aim to retrain aerospace workers — County program offers up to $250,000 per business to help workers acquire new skills.
The Stand (July 2) — Unions win federal assistance for laid-off Boeing workers
► From the (Everett) Herald — Stanwood mayor resigns, vacancy to be filled by city council member — Leonard Kelley (Also of IBT 38 and the Snohomish & Island CLC) resigned as Stanwood’s mayor on Monday with 18 months remaining in his term: “Due to health concerns and at the advice of my physician I find it necessary to resign from my position as mayor.”
► From The Hill — Teachers face off against Trump on school reopenings — Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and many of the administration’s top health officials spent the past week holding public events urging schools to open their doors this fall. “(Trump) hasn’t mentioned one thing — not one thing — about the risks he’s putting on the good people that walk into that school building,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
The Stand (July 8) — Safety, not politics, must guide reopening of schools
► From The Hill — Teachers union president casts doubt on schools reopening full-time — AFT President Randi Weingarten said there’s “no way” schools will reopen full-time in the fall, citing lack of funding. She said that schools would need massive funding in order to safely continue operating under public health standards.
► From The Hill — Democrats see immigration reform as topping Biden agenda — Democrats are vowing to move forward with immigration reform if presumptive nominee Joe Biden is elected president and the party also takes back the Senate in this fall’s elections. Biden last month promised “on day one” of his presidency to “send a bill to Congress that creates a clear roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers and 11 million undocumented people who are already strengthening our nation.”
► From Reuters — Dozens of U.S. universities support challenge to Trump’s order on foreign students — About 60 U.S. universities on Sunday filed a brief supporting a lawsuit seeking to block a Trump administration rule barring foreign students from remaining in the country if educational institutions don’t hold in-person classes this fall.
► From the Washington Post — Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so (by Robert Mueller) — The work of the special counsel’s office — its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions — should speak for itself. But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office. The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.
► From the Washington Post — Workers are pushed to the brink as they continue to wait for delayed unemployment payments — Four months into the worst recession since the Great Depression, tens of thousands of workers across the country have filed for jobless claims but have yet to receive payments. Many are now in dire financial straits.
► From Bloomberg — 200,000 seafarers fear there’s no plan to get them off ships — From cargo vessels and oil tankers to luxury cruise liners, restrictions on ships docking to halt the spread of COVID-19, border shutdowns and a lack of flights are the biggest barriers to relieving exhausted crew. But shipping lines and cruise companies are also coming under increasing pressure to do more.
► From Buzzfeed — Costco didn’t enforce its dress code — until employees started wearing Black Lives Matter masks — The retail giant’s policies require workers to look “professional,” but employees say managers ignored it until some employees started wearing masks that Costco calls “political.”
► From Vice — Target’s gig workers will strike to protest switch to algorithmic pay model — Gig workers on Target’s delivery app Shipt will strike on July 15 to protest the rollout of an algorithmic pay model that they claim has reduced wages by 30 percent in cities where it has been tested.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Offensive dress-code and algorithmic pay policies got you down? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for a voice on the job and a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From the Seattle Times — The fight for racial justice is a lifelong commitment, not a summer job (by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) — Throughout my life, I’ve seen these cycles of outrage, public protests and political promises. And then comes a silent slip-sliding back to the status quo until another horrific event grabs our attention again… There are things we can do, benchmarks we can insist on, to keep the freedom train moving ahead. The moral universe doesn’t bend toward justice unless pressure is applied. In my seventh decade of hope, I am once again optimistic that we may be able to collectively apply that pressure, not just to fulfill the revolutionary promises of the U.S. Constitution, but because we want to live and thrive.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.