Tuesday, August 18, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Aug. 18 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 67,721 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 643) and 1,785 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 13)
► From the Wenatchee World — Activists protest for farmworker rights — Arianna Montiel could barely finish her speech Saturday when speaking about her father Francisco Montiel, who died from COVID-19 complications. Arianna Montiel was participating in a protest at Memorial Park calling for greater protections for farmworkers. Francisco Montiel, a Brewster resident, worked for Gebbers Farms for close to 30 years. He died Aug. 1 from COVID-19 at Central Washington Hospital, according to Erandy Montiel, Arianna’s sister. “I didn’t get to see my dad in the morning, I didn’t get to enjoy my dad in the evening, because he worked so much, because he wanted to provide for our family,” Arianna Montiel said through tears… Francisco Montiel is the third Gebbers Farms employee to die from COVID-19 or COVID-19 complications within a month. The other two who died were H2A guest workers from other countries.
► From the Seattle Times — Coronavirus positive-test rate dips in most of King County, spikes in parts of the Eastside
► From the Seattle Times — Mask up and stay distant to hasten the end of COVID-19 (editorial) — Rigorous, responsible and self-enforced protective efforts by everyone could bring a semblance of normal life back within weeks. That’s science talking, not just wishful thinking
► From KING 5 — School bus drivers across Washington laid off as districts adopt remote learning in pandemic — School buses sit parked and empty at the Edmonds School District transportation headquarters, and they’ll stay that way for the foreseeable future. Because of the shift to remote learning due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 175 of the district’s school bus drivers are now out of work, and no one has any idea when they might return.
► From the (Longview) Daily News — Longview school district to temporarily lay off 236 employees due to COVID-19 — The positions include paraeducators, custodians, nurses, secretaries and bus drivers. Over 280 people attended the Zoom meeting, many expressing concern about how the district could provide the improved distance learning it promised with fewer staff supports. “I think these cuts are drastic,” SEIU president Shawn Nyman told the board. “I think we’re going to find out that more support is needed and I hope the board will listen to the teachers’ input.”
► From NBC News — Coronavirus is spreading in schools, but the federal government isn’t keeping count — Researchers say the absence of a comprehensive accounting is hampering efforts to identify which safety practices can best protect students and teachers.
► From Politico — Colleges’ best-laid coronavirus plans quickly come undone — Schools are scrambling after experiencing an uptick in infections within days of students returning to campus.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Nurse at Coyote Ridge prison describes ‘petri dish’ of ‘inhumane conditions’ — As chaotic conditions at an Eastern Washington prison have deteriorated, COVID-19-positive inmates with severely restricted access to bathrooms are refusing to drink water, according to one prison nurse’s account. With clothing changes only once per week and little privacy in the COVID-19 tents outside, sick inmates fear the “humiliation” of soiling their clothes and sitting in filth for days, the nurse wrote. These are just two of the many concerns Katrina Pinkerton laid out in a July 28 email to 30 Department of Corrections staff about what she described as the department’s “serious neglect” in managing the coronavirus’s spread at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell.
► From the (Everett) Herald — GOP lawmakers want special session; Dems say what’s the rush — Republicans want to
tackle a deficit cut state services and jobs. Gov. Jay Inslee and other Dems are waiting to see what Congress does.
► From the Spokesman-Review — USPS ending mail processing in Wenatchee and Yakima, redirecting to Spokane — The U.S. Postal Service is ending mail processing in its facilities in Wenatchee and Yakima, rerouting nearly all mail originating east of the Cascades to Spokane in a move union officials say will exacerbate delays and could actually increase costs as the agency faces intense scrutiny over changes implemented in the run-up to November’s election.
► From the Seattle Times — ‘We will win this battle’: Washington Democrats rally at Seattle post office in support for U.S. Postal Service — Outside a Seattle post office Monday afternoon, state and local elected officials addressed growing nationwide concerns about mail delays and promised voters they would do “everything in [their] power” to ensure each Washington state ballot gets counted.
► From the Peninsula Daily News — Rally for Postal Service today in Port Townsend
The Stand (Aug. 17) — USPS sabotage is ‘a crisis for democracy’ — Deliberate efforts to hinder and slow mail delivery and starve the agency of resources could affect not only the outcome of the election, but Americans’ ability to get prescription medicines and necessary deliveries during the pandemic.
TAKE A STAND — Contact your U.S. Senators TODAY and tell them to approve the $25 billion the U.S. Postal Service needs to get through this pandemic. (This action is organized by U.S. Mail Not for Sale, a worker-led campaign sponsored by the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers.)
► From The Hill — Poll: 78 percent of voters support funding for U.S. Postal Service in next relief package — Seventy-eight percent of registered voters in the August 8-11 survey support including more funding to the USPS in the next stimulus package amid rising concerns that recent cost-cutting measures could hinder the agency’s ability to handle an expected surge in mail-in voting ahead of November’s elections.
EDITOR’S NOTE — #1. They aren’t cost-cutting measures. Removing high-speed processing machines doesn’t save a penny, it only delays mail. It is outright sabotage to undermine the USPS, our faith in its reliability, and our confidence in mail-in ballots. #2. When was the last time 78% of Americans agreed on anything?!
► From the Washington Post — Democrats plan emergency hearing on Postal Service ‘sabotage’ as Republicans allege ‘conspiracy theory’ — The USPS remained gripped in a partisan battle Monday as Democrats pushed for an emergency hearing and funding while Republicans accused them of stoking a conspiracy theory ahead of a November election in which millions of votes will be cast by mail.
► From the Cleveland Post — Dismantled equipment behind Cleveland Post Office raises delivery questions — Equipment that appears to be dismantled mail sorting machines sits in a lot behind Cleveland’s main post office. As the U.S. Postal Service has warned Ohio and other states that it may not be able to meet mail-voting deadlines this November, the visibly idle equipment along with mail delays and post office budget shortfalls have fueled fears that the upcoming election will be undermined.
► From WKYC — USPS delivery delays leave 82-year-old Texas man without heart medication for a week — Don White is 82 and says he hasn’t had his heart medication for a week even though he said the package has been sitting at a north Houston post office for 10 days.
► From the NY Times — Trump, the mail and the unbinding of America (by Paul Krugman) — The Postal Service facilitates citizen inclusion. That’s why Trump hates it.
► From the Seattle Times — Boeing plans new buyout offer to increase job cuts in commercial airplanes — Boeing is preparing to offer buyouts to employees for a second time this year as the virus-stricken planemaker extends its workforce cuts beyond the original 10% target unveiled in April. The “voluntary layoff” will be offered largely to staffers in the company’s commercial airplanes unit, services division and corporate operation.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Saving Everett’s 787 line ‘worth a try,’ but it’s a heavy lift — If Boeing decides to consolidate production of the model, South Carolina has a very strong case.
► From the Columbian — Veterinary services workers ratify contract — Workers at Columbia River Veterinary Services in Vancouver announced Thursday that they have ratified their first union contract (ILWU Local 5) with the clinic’s parent company, PetVet Care Centers. The vote was 53-1 in favor of ratification, according to a press release from the union.
► From the NY Times — Michelle Obama showed us why these Democrats are our last best hope (by Frank Bruni) — Never in my 55 years has the Democrats’ success mattered more for the welfare, the sanity — the future — of these United States than now, because never has the other fork in the road been a Republican president as profoundly amoral, fundamentally corrupt and flatly incompetent as the one seeking four more years.
The Stand (May 27) — AFL-CIO endorses Joe Biden for President
The Stand (May 27) — Labor celebrates selection of Kamala Harris
► From the Washington Post — Bernie Sanders has the right medicine for a country too sick to hold a convention (by Dana Milbank) — Sanders, once Biden’s most formidable primary opponent, became his most powerful advocate Monday night, demanding “a movement like never before” to fight for his former rival. “During this president’s term the unthinkable has become normal,” Sanders said, with a passion and urgency that eluded him in his 2016 support for the Democratic ticket.
► From HuffPost — Kristin Urquiza rebukes Trump over her dad’s COVID-19 death in somber DNC speech — “His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life,” Urquiza said of her father in a video played at the DNC.
► From HuffPost — Republicans cross party lines to back Joe Biden at DNC — Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other longtime GOP voters appeared virtually to endorse the Democratic ticket in 2020.
► From The Hill — Members of George Floyd’s family lead moment of silence at DNC
► From the NY Times — Suffrage at 100: A visual history — Those who fought for it were heroes, but not always moral paragons. The suffrage movement, like other social movements before and after, often reflected the racism, nativism and other prejudices that pervaded America as a whole. At the heart of the suffrage battle was a conundrum: Women gaining the vote required persuading men to share it with them. And there were many who dismissed the cause as ridiculous, if not downright dangerous.
The Stand — Celebrate 100 years of women voting TODAY with AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler — In honor of the anniversary, the Office of Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler is hosting a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time to celebrate women’s right to vote and uplifting the issues affecting working women. The event — moderated by Dr. C. Nicole Mason, President & CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research — will feature panelists Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Cindy Estrada, Vice President of UAW; Cassandra Hammond, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus of Laborers; and Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA). Click here to register for this Facebook Live roundtable.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.