The Stand

An emotional moment ● Postal sabotage ● UFCW steps up ● Wake up, Cathy!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

 


ELECTION

 

► From the Washington Post — Harris pick creates an emotional moment for Black women — Kamala D. Harris’s leap onto the Democratic ticket Tuesday sparked a surge of emotion across the nation as Americans for the first time witnessed a woman of color ascend to the country’s highest political levels. Harris’s selection as the potential next vice president was met with excitement and relief that Black women, in many ways the heart of the Democratic Party, finally have one of their own on the national ticket. Harris, 55, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, makes history on two fronts — as the first Black woman and first Asian American to reach this level.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Labor celebrates selection of Kamala Harris

► From the NY Times — In Kamala Harris, a choice at once safe and energizing — Her selection as Joe Biden’s running mate was conventional by some political standards. But it was historic most of all, and especially sweet for many Black women.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Local Black leaders: Harris is blazing new trail in politics — They say the Democratic vice-presidential candidate will crack open a door long shut to women of color.

► From the Seattle Times — State Democrats pumped about Kamala Harris as VP

► From HuffPost — Every ‘Squad’ member won her primary — After facing “centrist” challengers, Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez all won and are virtually certain to head back to Congress. And new allies are joining them.

► From the AP — Trump congratulates QAnon supporter Greene on Georgia win

EDITOR’S NOTE — QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory of a “deep state” secret plot against Trump. It supporters believe Hollywood actors, Democratic politicians, and high-ranking officials are part of an international child sex trafficking ring. The FBI has determined QAnon to be a potential source of domestic terrorism: “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”

 


COVID-19

 

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Aug. 12 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 64,151 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 722) and 1,716 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 13)

► LIVE from the Washington Post — Florida and Georgia set new single-day records for coronavirus deaths –More than 1,300 coronavirus-related fatalities were reported nationwide on Tuesday. COVID-19 has killed at least 161,000 people in the United States since February.

► From the Washington Post — A Georgia district returned to school last week. More than 900 students and staff are now quarantined. — In all, more than 900 students and staff in the Cherokee County School District have been ordered to quarantine as of Tuesday morning after 59 students and staff tested positive for COVID-19, according to school officials. A third of those quarantined are from Etowah High School, which has had 14 confirmed cases.

► From Politico — Growing number of voters oppose Trump demand to fully reopen schools — A new pol finds 59 percent said they oppose fully reopening K-12 schools for the beginning of the academic year. Those numbers are up from polling last month that showed 53 percent opposed.

 


LOCAL

 

► From the Seattle Times — Boeing deliveries slow to a trickle, while 737 MAX cancellations grow — In July, Boeing won no new airplanes orders, delivered just four commercial jets and wiped 52 more orders from the backlog for its grounded 737 MAX. When the manufacturer on Tuesday updated its orders and deliveries website, it revealed a continuation of the collapse of business since the coronavirus pandemic hit the airlines in March.

► From the East Oregonian — Unions address trade-related job losses in Oregon — A new analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows Oregon has lost the most jobs per capita to trade and offshoring, according to the nonprofit Trade Justice Education Fund.

The Stand (Aug. 10) — Washington’s trade-related job losses on the rise

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From the Seattle Times — Governor creates $40 million relief fund for undocumented immigrants — After months of talks with immigrant advocates, Gov. Jay Inslee is setting up a $40 million relief fund for people who can’t access federal stimulus programs because of their immigration status. This governor’s announcement of the funds comes as COVID-19 surges through Washington’s Latino population, including documented and undocumented immigrant farmworkers who have continued working throughout the pandemic.

The Stand (Aug. 10) — Undocumented communities will get relief — “We are proud to be part of the very broad coalition that made the case for this critical funding and we thank Governor Inslee for making this a priority,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “This is an important step toward recognizing both the critical role undocumented immigrants play in our economy and the fact that they have been excluded from all previous pandemic relief programs.”

► From the Tri-City Herald — Judge tosses Didier and Eyman lawsuit against Inslee’s ‘unconstitutional’ stay-home order — A federal court judge threw out another lawsuit claiming Gov. Jay Inslee’s statewide stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional. The suit was filed in May by anti-tax activist Tim Eyman, Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier and some other Tri-Citians who claimed Inslee’s proclamations violated a long list of their Constitutional rights.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From the AP — No federal relief leaves states, cities facing big deficits — It raises the prospect of more layoffs and furloughs of government workers and cuts to health care, social services, infrastructure and other core programs. Lack of money to boost school safety measures also will make it harder for districts to send kids back to the classroom. On Monday, governors, lawmakers, mayors, teachers and others said they were going to keep pushing members of Congress to revive the talks and agree to another rescue package.

► From CNN — Laid-off workers set up soup kitchens in front of senators who oppose extending $600 checks — This week, hospitality workers are staging food giveaways for fellow workers in need — right in front of the offices of key U.S. senators who have opposed extending unemployment benefits. The events were planned and paid for by several labor unions in support of members of UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union that represents about 300,000 airport, restaurant, hotel and casino employees in the United States and Canada.

► From The Hill — Trump grabs ‘third rail’ of politics with payroll tax pause — Trump on Saturday, and again on Monday, said his goal is to get rid of the payroll tax altogether, raising the prospect that Social Security would be funded out of general fund revenues instead of having dedicated funding like it has for decades. The daring promise to scrap a tax that funds Social Security could have dire effects for Trump among older voters, who already prefer former Vice President Joe Biden by a substantial margin. “Biden was already doing better with seniors than any Democrat since before 2008 and this is game-changing,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

► From Reuters — U.S. postal service reorganization sparks delays, election questions — A shakeup of the U.S. Postal Service is leading to mail delays, union officials said on Tuesday, heightening concerns that a Trump ally is destabilizing the service as millions of Americans consider whether to cast their ballots by mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election. New Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who has donated $2.7 million to Trump and his fellow Republicans since 2017, has ordered operational changes and a clampdown on overtime. Delivery delays have now been reported in at least 19 states.

► From NPR — Postal workers decry changes, cost-cutting measures — “Mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed,” said Kimberly Karol, president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union and a postal clerk in Waterloo, Iowa. Another postal worker told NPR: “I am sick to my stomach,” knowing that medication could be delayed in getting to recipients.

► From the Washington Post — Many workers don’t get new paid sick leave, because of ‘broad’ exemption for providers, report finds — A government watchdog said in a report out Tuesday that the Labor Department “significantly broadened” an exemption allowing millions of health-care workers to be denied paid sick leave as part of the law Congress passed in March to help workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The report also suggested the Labor Department is not doing enough to enforce the paid-sick-leave provisions, as well as its existing laws on pay and overtime issues.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From CNN — Why grocery store workers deserve hazard pay (by Kamala Harris and UFCW President Marc Perrone) — Grocery workers are essential workers — without them, families across the country would not have access to the food they need during this pandemic. Given the increasing dangers as Covid-19 continues to spread, the time is now to reinstate hazard pay for all of America’s grocery workers.

► From Bloomberg — Do-it-yourself contact tracing for 1.3 million: A union jumps in — The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is stepping in where the government has failed, running its own coronavirus contact-tracing program for 1.3 million members. Since the COVID-19 outbreak hit, the union has sent agents into grocery stores, meatpacking plants and food-processing facilities. They talk to workers and comb work schedules to figure out who might have been exposed. Then, they notify the employer’s human resources department and direct workers to free testing sites, some provided by the union. The program fills a void left by the Trump administration, which has failed to create a national test-and-trace regimen — and is an active advertisement for the labor movement.

► From the Washington Post — Grocery workers say morale is at an all-time low: ‘They don’t even treat us like humans anymore’ — This spring, for the first time, Angel Manners found purpose and pride at the supermarket where she has worked the past decade. Customers praised her as a hero for putting herself at risk during the pandemic. Bosses boosted her hourly pay by $2. Suddenly, her job was essential. Nearly five months in, and it is all gone. “We’ve lost our hazard pay, and people are quitting every day,” said Manners, 43, who processes vendor deliveries at a Meijer store in northern Kentucky. “Those of us who are left are really stretched thin — working so much harder for $11.50 an hour.” Grocery workers across the country say morale is crushingly low as the pandemic wears on with no end in sight. Overwhelmed employees are quitting mid-shift. Those who remain say they are overworked, taking on extra hours, enforcing mask requirements and dealing with hostile customers. Most retailers have done away with hazard pay even as workers remain vulnerable to infection, or worse. Employees who took sick leave at the beginning of the pandemic say they cannot afford to take unpaid time off now, even if they feel unwell.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected? Get a union! Find out 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 NPR — Immigrant meatpackers say they’re being blamed for COVID spread

 


INTERNATIONAL

 

► From Politico — Amazon’s ruthless business model meets Sweden’s labor unions — Establishing a local operation will be a major challenge for the company. American Amazon’s anti-union stance and working culture is the antithesis of pro-union Sweden. The Swedish labor market is regulated by collective agreements between companies and unions, giving workers plenty of power over corporate decisions. Approximately 70 percent of Swedish workers belong to a union. Amazon has not yet contacted Handels, the union representing warehouse workers, its political coordinator Emelie Wärn told Politico. “Amazon is welcome to Sweden, but they have to sign a collective agreement. We will work very hard to get them to do that,” Wärn said.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► From the Spokesman-Review — Wake up and help put an end to the nightmare, congresswoman (by Shawn Vestal) — At this point, given the echo-chamber reality of the Trump era, the onus falls most heavily on conservatives to speak the truth about the pandemic and the post office. It would be more valuable, even lifesaving, for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5th) to become an outspoken mask proponent than it is for Dr. Fauci to be one; most Americans who are within the reach of the factual world are already persuaded, and most Americans who are mask deniers and virus scofflaws are not within the reach of that world. They might, however, listen to someone simply because they have an R by their name.

It would similarly be more valuable for McMorris Rodgers to defend the post office and ramp up efforts to deal with the election than it is for bureaucrats and Democrats to do so. It would be more valuable for her to inject facts into the presidential echo chamber regarding all-but-nonexistent voter fraud, about the security and efficacy of her state’s system. She might point out most of the very real problems faced by the post office and the coming wave of mail ballots do not remotely support the fraud conspiracy, either. Fraud in those systems is vanishingly small; uncounted ballots that arrive too late to qualify, though – that’s a real concern, and one that will be exacerbated by current changes in the agency. What’s happening now is inexplicable by any reasoning other than the most nefarious: It’s a purposeful attempt to sabotage mail voting. Facing a monumental challenge in dealing with a record number of mail ballots, the Trump donor appointed to run the Postal Service has ordered changes that guarantee delivery slowdowns… These are the disasters the congresswoman sleeps through. Actual, fatal disasters. Constitutional disasters that, it is no hyperbole to say, threaten the foundation of the country – the vote of the people.

 


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

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