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Majority: hit pause ● Biden’s clear choice ● Grad student workers winning

Tuesday, July 21, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 21 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 47,743 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 768) and 1,453 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 6)

► From Crosscut — Poll: Most Washington voters want to pause reopening economy — The latest Crosscut/Elway poll found a majority of Washingtonians believe the recent uptick in coronavirus cases means the state should pull back or pause its reopening plans. It found 72% of Democrats and 23% of Republicans are worried about the state’s reopening. Some want to reimpose restrictions.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Washington state in an ‘explosive situation,’ as Spokane County sees exponential growth of cases

► From the Spokesman-Review — Judge rules Washington agencies acted properly in developing emergency rules for farmworker housing — A judge ruled that L&I did not act in an “arbitrary and capricious manner” when issuing emergency rules in mid-May allowing bunk beds in farmworker housing. Familias Unidas por la Justicia, a Burlington-based farmworker union, filed the lawsuit against the state agencies in early June, arguing that the state’s emergency rules were contrary to the best available science.




► From KUOW — Metro workers cry foul on racism and pay — There was an incident at Metro’s South Base several weeks ago that shook many Metro workers. A statue of a Black man was found near a flagpole rope that to many, looked like a noose… Members of the ATU Local 587 and other supporters described the lack of adequate responses from management to racist harassment as indicative of disregard for worker concerns.

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle workers strike Monday for Black lives, workplace equity — Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity held a rally in front of King County Executive Dow Constantine’s Seattle office Monday in solidarity with the national “Strike for Black Lives.” Members of some unions took breaks at noon for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck in May, killing him, and activating protests against police brutality worldwide.

► From the Oregonian — Thousands protest in downtown Portland Monday; federal officers again respond with force — Portland parent groups marched in droves to Monday night to join downtown protests in response to the repeated and nightly use of force by federal agents on demonstrators.


► From the AP — Federal agents, local streets: A ‘red flag’ in Oregon — Federal law enforcement officers’ actions at protests in Oregon’s largest city, done without local authorities’ consent, are raising the prospect of a constitutional crisis — one that could escalate as weeks of demonstrations find renewed focus in clashes with camouflaged, unidentified agents outside Portland’s U.S. courthouse. Constitutional law experts said Monday the federal officers’ actions are a “red flag” in what could become a test case of states’ rights as the Trump administration expands its federal policing into other cities.

► From the Washington Post — Trump threatens to deploy federal agents to Chicago and other U.S. cities led by Democrats

► From The Hill — Poll finds majority support for Black Lives Matter, but opposition to defunding police, reparations — Overall, 63 percent said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, including 92 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents. But 68 percent of Republicans opposed the movement.

► From Reuters — Whole Foods punishes workers wearing Black Lives Matter face masks: lawsuit — The 14 plaintiffs in the proposed nationwide class action accused Whole Foods, a unit of Inc, of sending workers home without pay or imposing disciplinary actions for wearing the masks and related apparel.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Want a voice at work? Find out how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for a say in working conditions and a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today! It’s not like your boss can’t afford to treat you better…

► From Bloomberg — Bezos adds record $13 billion in single day to his fortune — Amazon’s 56-year-old founder and the world’s richest person has seen his fortune swell to $189.3 billion.




► From the PSBJ — Analyst: China forcing its top airlines to buy home-grown jet creates challenges for Boeing, Airbus — The Chinese government’s decision to force its three largest airlines buy a home-grown regional jet is a bad sign for future commercial aircraft sales by Boeing and Airbus in that market, says aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia.

EDITOR’S NOTE — So much for all that “good will” Boeing hoped for when it shifted U.S. jobs to China.




► From the EOI — Republican payroll tax cut: little-to-nothing for most Americans, a windfall for the top 20% — Until now, cuts to Social Security payroll taxes seemed like mostly a Trump thing, with GOP leaders themselves rather… skittish… about a proposal that would cut funding for Social Security, one of America’s most beloved and beneficial government programs. Now it looks like a party-line proposal with GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy confirming the proposed GOP stimulus bill includes a payroll tax cut. As the LA Times’ Michael Hiltzik writes: “A payroll tax cut… would do nothing to help Americans who need the most help. To benefit from the cut, a worker must be paying the payroll tax. That’s not happening for the roughly 32 million Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits in the last few months because of the pandemic, because by definition they’re no longer on a payroll.”

► From Roll Call — Payroll tax cut on menu in coronavirus aid talks, McCarthy says

ALSO TODAY at The StandGOP now backs payroll tax cut to raid, undermine Social Security — Nancy Altman of Social Security Works: “McCarthy’s statement today means that every Republican member of Congress supports defunding Social Security — unless they quickly and explicitly denounce their party’s plan to raid our earned benefits.”

► From The Hill — GOP, White House struggle to unite behind COVID-19 reliefRepublicans are expected to propose a five-year corporate shield from lawsuits related to coronavirus exposure. The two parties are also set to clash over additional help for state and local governments. The Democratic bill in May provided roughly $1 trillion in additional assistance; the Republican bill is not expected to include any more money but instead provide more flexibility with previously allocated money.

► From The Hill — Economists warn scaled-back unemployment benefits would knee-cap recoveryEconomists are warning Congress that scrapping or substantially reducing unemployment benefits will pull the rug out from the economic recovery.

► From The Guardian — Republicans are forcing Americans to return to dangerous workplaces (by David Sirota) — America has rigged its economy and its laws to deliberately punish workers who try to refuse to return to virus-plagued workplaces.




► From the Seattle Times — Biden economic agenda presents voters with a clear choice (by Jon Talton) — Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has unveiled two potent economic plans in as many weeks. The Made in America blueprint aims at using $400 billion in federal procurement to buy U.S.-made products, as well as revitalizing manufacturing, investing in innovation, supporting easier unionization and increasing the minimum wage. The second plan addresses climate change, proposing $2 trillion invested over four years to increase the use of clean energy across the economy.

► From Axios — Biden’s climate plan tries to bring unions into clean energy — Biden’s latest climate change and clean energy plan mentions the word union more than it does the climate itself.

► From the Washington Post — It was a rough primary season. The general election could be worse. (editorial) — Elections in the United States were already an international embarrassment, with underfunding and incompetence in too many jurisdictions. Now, in the absence of thoughtful preparation, voters may have to risk their lives to exercise their right to vote. That’s unacceptable. The fear of catching COVID-19 will deter voters, unless the government assures people they can vote safely.




► From the Washington Post — Amid pandemic, graduate student workers are winning long-sought contracts — Quietly, and overshadowed by everything else that has been happening, graduate students in the last few months have won surprising victories that are the culmination of decades of effort. They and others chalk this up, at least in part, to universities’ need for their labor in what promises to be a tumultuous fall.

► From ABC News — Florida Education Association files lawsuit against state to stop reopening of in-person classes — The lawsuit contends that ordering a return to on-site instruction at public schools is a violation of Florida’s Constitution and requests a declaration that the state defendants’ actions and inactions are unconstitutional.

► From Politico — America’s hidden economic crisis: Widespread wage cuts — Millions of Americans who managed to hold onto their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic have seen their incomes drop as employers slashed wages and hours to weather what they expected to be a short-term shutdown. Now, with the virus raging and the recession deepening, those cuts that were meant to be temporary could turn permanent — or even pave the way for further layoffs. That could portend deep damage to the labor market and the economy because so many workers who have kept their jobs have less money to spend than a few months ago. Employers are using pay cuts to stay afloat during the recession, an unusual move that could signal deep damage to the labor market.

► From The Nation — Baseball’s stadium workers are getting peanuts from the billionaire owners — When baseball shut down, 39,000 stadium workers lost their jobs, and the MLB has done little to help them out.




► From the Washington Post — ‘A very dark feeling’: Hundreds camp out in Oklahoma unemployment lines — In the four months since the pandemic began, nearly 50 million workers have filed unemployment claims nationwide, a flood that’s overwhelmed some states, freezing antiquated computer systems and jamming websites and phone lines for days. State benefit agencies in some parts of the country have evoked memories of Great Depression bread lines. In Oklahoma, where the jobless rate reached a record 14.7 percent in April, unemployment has pushed many to the point of desperation, with savings depleted, cars repossessed and homes being sold for cash… As John Jolley, the owner of a once-successful advertising agency in Tulsa, gathered up the paperwork he’d need for his claim, he felt a sense of sadness as profound as anything he’d felt since the pandemic began. “It’s a very dark feeling,” he said. “You just kind of feel like you’re in a boat without a rudder and you’re riding the waves. After all these years you worked hard at your company, tried to be a good guy and be fair to your clients, you just feel like you’re losing control of your future.”


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!