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Red Alert RESTART ● Don’t be a census shirker ● Unions boost safety

Wednesday, September 2, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Sept. 2 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 74,939 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 477) and 1,931 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 9)

► From the Spokesman-Review — ‘The impact has just been massive’: Spokane venues call on Congress to rescue live events industry with stalled legislation — Spokane event venues were awash in red light Tuesday as part of a nationwide campaign to call on Congress to provide a lifeline to a live events industry that has been decimated by COVID-19. The #RedAlertRESTART campaign, organized by a coalition of entertainment-sector businesses and workers, lit venues including the Spokane Arena, the Knitting Factory and the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in support of the RESTART Act, a bipartisan bill that has languished since being introduced in the Senate in May.

ALSO at The StandSeattle live event workers rally, seek action to help workforce

► From the Seattle Times — Want to enjoy restaurants indoors in the fall and rescue the economy? Wear masks now (by Anthony Anton) — Regardless of party or politics, we can unite over a common interest to return to thriving communities as quickly as possible. I don’t know anyone who loves wearing a mask — but I also don’t know anyone who wants to miss out on social gatherings, family, sports, music and travel while we wait this out. And I do know many restaurants simply cannot afford to lose outdoor seating to the fall rain, be limited to 50% seating and expect to reopen ever again: They are literally in a race against the season, and relying on all of us to continue wearing our masks to help.

► From the Washington Post — Trump’s disastrous virus response is veering toward another terrible turn (editorial) — After first saying the virus would go away, then failing to properly boost the supply chains, then bungling the testing scale-up, then walking away and turning the burdens over to governors, then advocating a reopening in May that triggered a new virus firestorm, Trump has been asking questions about the strategy of relying on natural “herd immunity.” This is another way of taking a hands-off approach, protecting the most vulnerable while allowing the virus to spread until there is enough natural immunity in the population to block transmission. An analysis by The Post showed that in the United States, with a population of 328 million, reaching a 65 percent threshold for herd immunity could lead to 2.13 million deaths. This was the pandemic approach in Sweden, and it did not turn out well.

► From the NY Times — Trump’s new virus adviser has questioned mask use — Other government doctors and scientists see the views of Dr. Scott Atlas as misguided. President Trump, though, likes what he hears.

► From NPR — FEMA says it will stop paying for cloth face masks for schools — FEMA will no longer reimburse states for the cost of cloth face coverings at nonemergency settings, including schools, public housing and courthouses. The policy goes into effect on Sept. 15.

ALSO at The StandTake action TODAY to Demand Safe Schools




► From the (Longview) Daily News — Kelso school district cuts hours, furloughs about 200 staff due to COVID-19 — Hours for 122 classified staff members were reduced, and 84 more were placed on temporary furlough as students start the year with online learning. The cuts affect about 29% of the district’s 708-staff workforce, including bus drivers, secretaries and paraeducators.

► From the Kitsap Sun — Furloughs in North Kitsap schools to affect nearly 200 positions — Bus drivers, custodians, food service, secretaries and athletic staff are among those affected by the temporary layoffs.

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Back-to-school news updates, Sept. 2

► From the Ellensburg Daily Record — County health department does not support Kittitas School District request for in-person class exception

► From the Spokesman-Review — Schools playing long odds with the return of students (by Shawn Vestal) — For those betting on in-person learning, the odds are good that at least some of them will find themselves forced to retreat, closing campuses or pausing in-person classes to try and wait out an outbreak. The odds that such outbreaks will spread from the student population, where cases tend to be less severe, into the population at large seem quite good indeed.

► From the Yakima H-R — Evans Canyon Fire grows to 12,900 acres — The Evans Canyon Fire grew significantly on Tuesday night, pushed by high winds. The fire was listed at 12,900 acres on Wednesday morning, an increase of 8,900 acres, by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Containment was at 0%.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Mill Creek city employees’ union calls for top official’s ouster — A local union (AFSCME) representing many of Mill Creek’s employees has voted to declare no confidence in City Manager Michael Ciaravino, citing his recent decision to lay off longtime staffers instead of instituting furloughs — all they say while showing favoritism to those in his inner circle.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Tri-Cities manufacturer to lay off 50 workers as coronavirus pandemic slashes demand




► From the News Tribune — Millions of dollars at risk for Washington state in 2020 Census sweepstakes (editorial) — Census takers have yet to hear from approximately 30 percent of Washington state residents. If you haven’t completed the Census form yet, we urge you to do so, keeping in mind the Sept. 30 deadline, moved ahead one month by the Trump Administration…  According to the state’s Office of Financial Management, for every 100 households missed in the 2020 Census count, the state could lose up to $5.8 million. Undercounting will also have a disproportionate impact on communities historically undercounted, chiefly people of color, people with limited English skills, people experiencing homelessness, undocumented immigrants and people who identify as LGBTQ.

The Stand (May 5) — Be counted: Participate in the 2020 Census by mail, phone or online

► From the News Tribune — State Employment Security announces when it will pay out Lost Wages Assistance –ESD will start processing payments from the Lost Wages Assistance program Sept. 21, and recipients of the additional help should see the funds in their accounts a few days later. For a limited time, an additional $300 per week will be added to those who are receiving unemployment benefits due to job losses due to COVID-19.

► From the Seattle Times — Washington one of the few states without a ‘cooling off’ period for public servants turned lobbyists




► From The Hill — McConnell seeks to protect vulnerable Republicans with COVID-19 vote — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is hoping to give vulnerable GOP colleagues political cover by voting as soon as next week on a pared-down Republican bill that would provide coronavirus relief to schools, businesses and unemployed Americans. Senate Democrats are expected to block a GOP-drafted relief bill if it comes to floor because, among other reasons, it would not include aid for state and local governments beyond the $105 billion to help colleges and schools resume classes this fall.

► From CNBC — Just 13% of Black people out of work are getting unemployment benefits during the pandemic — Just like the virus’s outsize impact on the health of communities of color, the unemployment crisis is in a number of ways worse among Black Americans, who are disproportionately more likely to be unemployed but are also least likely to receive jobless benefits.

► From The Hill — Business groups increasingly worried about death of filibuster — Financial services and oil and gas groups are among those who are worried that progressive policies might be inevitable and bipartisanship on pro-business legislation will be a thing of the past. Meanwhile, unions and left-leaning groups are growing enthusiastic about the potential for passing bills without the 60-vote procedural hurdle in the Senate. Business lobbyists are nervous about… labor policies like card check, which would make it easier for unions to organize.

► From Yahoo Money — Workers will see smaller paychecks next year under Trump’s payroll tax deferral — The goal of Trump’s executive memorandum on payroll tax deferral is to get more money into the pockets of Americans this year. But the move also means those same workers will get smaller paychecks for the first four months in 2021, according to new guidance on how to implement the deferral.

► From the Washington Post — Federal workers will have taxes deferred under Trump’s order, sparking outcry they’re being treated as a ‘guinea pig’ — The U.S. government will implement an across-the-board payroll tax deferral for about 1.3 million federal employees starting in mid-September, forcing some workers to take a temporary financial boost now that they likely will have to repay next year.




► From the AFL-CIO — CBTU launches ReadySetVote website with resources for voters — The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists has launched ReadySetVote, its voter resource website Wednesday. This online digital tool is designed to help visitors check their voting status, register to vote and volunteer for the upcoming election.

► From the Guardian — Most Democrats fear Trump could reject election defeat, poll shows — As many as 75% of Biden voters worry that if Trump loses election he will refuse to concede defeat, triggering a constitutional crisis.

► From ABC News — DHS withheld July intelligence bulletin calling out Russian attack on Biden’s mental health — In early July the Department of Homeland Security withheld publication of an intelligence bulletin warning law enforcement agencies of a Russian scheme to promote “allegations about the poor mental health” of former Vice President Joe Biden. Just one hour after its submission, however, a senior DHS official intervened: “Please hold on sending this one out.”

► From The Hill — Markey defeats Kennedy in Massachusetts




► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO launches new web tool to help workers win safety protections at workAs the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the country, working people are looking for ways to join together to form a union in our workplaces and negotiate for strong health and safety protections. The AFL-CIO is launching a new “Am I Safe at Work?” web tool to raise awareness of what a safe workplace should be, and how a union can help achieve those goals.

► From CBS News — During a pandemic, unions offer workers some protection, research shows — Nearly all, or 94%, of workers covered by a union contract have access to employee-sponsored health benefits, compared to 68% of nonunion workers, according to recent research published by the Economic Policy Institute. Nine of 10 union workers are able to take paid time off when sick, compared to 73% of nonunion workers.

► From Vice — Amazon is spying on its workers in closed Facebook groups, internal reports show — The company is surveilling dozens of private Facebook groups in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain, according to an internal web tool and reports left on the open internet.

► From Vice — Amazon is hiring an intelligence analyst to track ‘labor organizing threats’The job ads list several kinds of threats, such as “protests, geopolitical crises, conflicts impacting operations,” but focuses on “organized labor” in particular, mentioning it three times in one of the listings.




► From Politico — With a hand from Trump, the right makes Rittenhouse a cause célèbre — Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with homicide after shooting three protesters last week, two of them fatally. But on Tuesday, Trump supporters had their own way to describe the 17-year-old from Illinois. They called him a patriot. They called him a hero. They thanked him for defending the city.

► From TPM — With itchy trigger fingers, some right wingers predict the next civil war has finally arrived — “The first shot has been fired brother,” said Stewart Rhodes, founder of the armed anti-government group Oath Keepers, in a tweet Sunday. “Civil war is here, right now. We’ll give Trump one last chance to declare this a Marxist insurrection & suppress it as his duty demands. If he fails to do HIS duty, we will do OURS.”


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

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