Friday, July 31, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, July 31 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 55,803 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 821) and 1,564 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 10)
► From KUOW — Boeing layoffs hit amid progress on unemployment backlog — Friday is layoff day for 6,000 Boeing employees. They will join 1.3 million Washingtonians who have already filed for unemployment. These are COVID-19 layoffs, too, but Boeing workers have some assets other unemployed people are not getting. These were won for them by their unions, who made the case that the feds should use an assistance program for workers displaced by trade agreements. These Boeing workers are getting unemployment benefits for up to two years, which is about twice as long as other people who are unemployed — but they need to be in training for new work. They will be guided toward that training. There will also be help to pay for it.
The Stand (July 2) — Unions win federal assistance for laid-off Boeing workers
The Stand (July 30) — IAM District 751 on latest Boeing cuts: We’re still #1
► From KIRO — Fred Meyer says local store had 3 recent COVID-19 cases; workers quarantined, recovered — On Wednesday, Fred Meyer confirmed three cases were reported “weeks ago” among workers at its Tacoma store at 4505 S. 19th St. The store employs more than 320 workers.
EDITOR’S NOTE — There’s reason to believe these outbreaks are being under-reported. At yesterday’s WSLC virtual town hall, Sherelle Claiborne, a UFCW 21 member who works at Fred Meyer in Burien, said that five of her co-workers have tested positive for coronavirus in the past two weeks and management has been slow to notify other workers who may have been exposed to them.
► From Reuters — U.S. records nearly 25,000 coronavirus deaths in July
► From the Washington Post — 50,000 more people are dead, and there’s no end in sight. It didn’t have to be this way. (editorial) — On May 27, the United States reached a grim milestone. Four months after the country’s first confirmed case of covid-19, the death toll of the novel coronavirus reached 100,047 as of 6 p.m. Eastern Time. The number — far higher than any other nation’s — exceeded the number of U.S. lives lost to the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks combined. We hoped the alarming loss of so many lives in so short a period of time would galvanize a concerted national effort to contain the virus. Instead, two months later, 50,000 more people are dead, and there is no end in sight to the casualties. “It is what it is,” Trump said when asked about the death count. The rest of us must not be so indifferent. It is more important than ever to recognize, to remember and to honor the people who have died.
► From the News Tribune — All-online school sensible, but Washington educators, legislators must get it right (editorial) — Kudos to all 13 Pierce County public school districts for deciding in recent days to go to an all-online format this fall, consistent with the guidance of Dr. Anthony Chen, director of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. But the rapid transition to virtual learning means educators have a lot to figure out between now and Labor Day.
The Stand (July 24) — WEA demands safety first in any plans to return to school this fall — We call on Governor Inslee to continue leading with science and safety and declare that schools will open remotely this fall… High quality distance learning can exist, but we need the resources.
► From the Seattle Times — Invest in our state’s future by investing in higher education (by John Mosby Ron Sims) — Our state should honor the hard work of our students, families, teachers, faculty and staff who, under incredibly difficult circumstances, have persisted in advancing postsecondary attainment by providing the local, state and federal resources they need to succeed.
► From the Bellingham Herald — Inslee talks about unemployment backlog progress, vulnerable workers, contact tracing — Gov. Jay Inslee spoke Thursday about progress in clearing the state’s unemployment backlog, an extension of protections for vulnerable workers, and a new proclamation that exempts personal information collected by contact tracers from public disclosure.
► From The Hill — Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock — The additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance that Congress provided in late March will sunset on Friday at midnight, dealing a significant financial blow to millions of jobless Americans amid a weakening labor market.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This money has not only been a lifeline to millions of families, it has sustained local economies and prevented the recession from becoming far, far worse. Until now.
The Stand (July 30) — Cantwell urges action on COVID relief bill
► From the NY Times — Mitch McConnell could rescue millions. What is he waiting for? (editorial) — The abject failure to act is not the fault of Congress in a collective sense. House Democrats passed a serviceable aid bill more than two months ago. Responsibility for the current debacle rests specifically and squarely on the shoulders of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and the other 52 Senate Republicans.
► From the Washington Post — White House willing to cut a stimulus deal without ‘liability shield,’ breaking with McConnell — The Senate Majority Leader has said that he will not bring up legislation for a vote in the Senate if it does not include the legal protections for employers against pandemic claims.
EDITOR’S NOTE — While blocking workers from suing employers, McConnell’s proposal would allow employers to sue workers and their advocates — with no limits on damages — for demanding safer conditions.
► From The Hill — Coronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding — The high rate of unemployment during the pandemic means fewer payroll taxes are being collected to fund Medicare and Social Security, and less driving means the federal gas tax isn’t bringing in as much money for the Highway Trust Fund as it normally does.
► From Vox — A federal judge blocked Trump’s rule creating a wealth test for immigrants — The “public charge rule” has had a chilling effect on immigrants seeking testing and treatment for COVID-19.
► From the Washington Post — Undocumented immigrant who worked for Trump’s firm could be deported — Victorina Morales had spoken publicly because of the president’s rhetoric about undocumented workers.
► From the Washington Post — DHS compiled ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists who published leaked documents — The Department of Homeland Security has compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists and violent actors.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Among the journalists targeted was Mike Baker, Seattle bureau chief for the New York Times.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
► From the Oregonian — Portland protests draw thousands Thursday, no state, federal police in sight — Thursday night’s demonstrations remained overwhelmingly calm past midnight, with no troopers in sight.
► From the Tri-City Herald — BLM group plans protest after Tri-Cities police pull businessman from car at gunpoint — The Black Lives Matter Coalition: Tri-Cities are planning to walk across the cable bridge in silence at 6 p.m. Friday after local business owner Joe Thornton was detained by police in a Richland apartment complex parking lot.
► From the NY Times — Together, you can redeem the soul of a nation (by John Lewis) — While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity. That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on… When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.
► From The Hill — Obama calls filibuster ‘Jim Crow relic,’ backs new Voting Rights Act bill — “Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching,” Obama said. “And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster — another Jim Crow relic — in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.”
► From the Washington Post — With the words on their backs, NBA players take a stand
► From the News Tribune — Jamal Adams begins 1st Seahawks press conference saying he wants justice for death of Breonna Taylor
► From Vox — Amazon just posted record sales and profit in the middle of a pandemic — The record sales that prompted Amazon to pay workers more during the pandemic aren’t abating — so will it reinstate those bonuses?
EDITOR’S NOTE — Hey, Amazon workers: By standing together, you could DEMAND those bonuses! Get 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 Strike Wave — Inside the NewsGuild’s fight to save journalism from hedge funds and pandemics — The NewsGuild-Communications Writers of America (CWA) has emerged as arguably one of the most successful organizations to unionize newsrooms. Even more remarkable has been the NewsGuild-CWA’s success in states such as Texas, Florida, and Virginia that have had anti-union laws on the books for more than half a century.
► From KUOW — Overwhelmed, stressed, scared: School nurses brace for the fall semester — School nurses across the country face an unenviable and unprecedented task: caring for students and staff during a global pandemic. “We were at the front line of COVID-19 before the stay at home orders were put into place,” says Gloria Barrera, the president-elect of the Illinois Association of School Nurses. They’ll be at the front line again, she says, as the school year begins.
► From Vox — We train police to be warriors — and then send them out to be social workers (by Roge Karma) — This mismatch at the heart of American policing can have troubling — even fatal — consequences.
► After watching President Obama’s stirring eulogy for John Lewis yesterday (must-see!), The Entire Staff of The Stand was reminded once again how much we miss a noble, eloquent and competent leader in the White House — and cool events like this…
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.