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Ill communication ● It’s not Boeing, it’s us ● Affirm Ref. 90

Monday, October 5, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Oct. 5 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 89,874 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 523) and 2,142 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 8)

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle may have lowest rate of COVID-19 cases among major U.S. cities — Seattle’s low rate of infections is a noteworthy achievement, particularly in light of the fact that we had to confront the virus before any other area of the country.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Make no mistake, after the Seattle area and Washington state became the epicenter of the nation’s initial, the proactive steps that Gov. Jay Inslee and local leaders took to “flatten the curve” and curb COVID-19 transmission — and the willingness of the vast majority to comply — has SAVED HUNDREDS OF LIVES in our state. So let’s remain vigilant and continue saving the lives of our family, friends and neighbors.

► From the Washington Post — Confusion continues over Trump’s health — The White House continued to provide limited and contradictory information about Trump’s health on Sunday, saying that he had begun a steroid treatment after twice suffering bouts of low oxygen but also contending that he was doing well and could soon be discharged from the hospital.

► From the Washington Post — Secret Service agents, doctors aghast at Trump’s drive outside hospital — Current and former Secret Service agents and medical professionals were aghast Sunday night at Trump’s trip outside the hospital where he is being treated for the coronavirus, saying the president endangered those inside his SUV for a publicity stunt.

► From the Washington Post — Prospect of Trump’s early hospital discharge mystifies doctors — The assertion by President Trump’s doctors that he could be discharged from the hospital as early as Monday astonished outside infectious-disease experts, who said he remains in a dangerous period of vulnerability when some COVID-19 patients decline precipitously and require urgent intervention.

►From the NY Times — The American people need the truth (editorial) — Too often in the past few days, the administration has appeared to be actively misleading the American people. Administration insiders are expressing frustration that no one even among Mr. Trump’s own staff seems to know what is going on. Among the broader public, anxious speculation and wild conspiracy theories are multiplying. The unnerving impression is of a White House in chaos.

► From Politico — Biden again tests negative for coronavirus — Joe Biden on Sunday tested negative for COVID-19, at least the third time since Friday, his campaign said.

► From Reuters — Biden leads by 10 points as majority of Americans say Trump could have avoided coronavirus — Joe Biden opened his widest lead in a month in the U.S. presidential race after Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, and a majority of Americans think Trump could have avoided infection if he had taken the virus more seriously, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

► From Vox — The U.S. has reported more than 97,000 new COVID-19 cases since the news of Trump’s positive test — America’s COVID-19 outbreak is a lot bigger than Trump.




► From the Tri-City Herald — Twin City Foods workers rally to join union after 2 die of COVID — Two workers at the Twin City Foods frozen vegetable plant in Pasco have died of complications of COVID-19, say workers at the plant. It is part of the reason that about 200 workers there want to vote to join the UFCW Local 1439. The union is waiting for the National Labor Relations Board to schedule the election.

► From the Seattle Times — Black Lives Matter logos in the workplace divide employers, workers and customers — Swedish and Starbucks allow it. QFC and Bartell Drugs do not. The grocery union is willing to fight about it, legal experts say it’s federally protected and some customers think it’s a reason to change where they shop. It’s the Black Lives Matters logo, whose presence on everything from buttons and shirts to masks and pins has created workplace tensions at many businesses.

The Stand (Sept. 23) — Grocery workers, UFCW 21 call on Kroger to end BLM ban

► From Crosscut — Census outreach in high gear for Native groups across WA — The pandemic has been just another hurdle for tribal leaders and organizations working hard to improve historically low counts in Native American communities.

The Stand (Sept. 16) — Our census is our power. It’s not too late to BE COUNTED!

► From the Seattle Times — 163 veteran Metro bus drivers are retiring, taking 4,400 combined years of memories — They’re the 163 older King County Metro bus drivers who this summer applied and were approved for a “voluntary separation” package, although that number might increase a bit. It meant saving the jobs of younger transit operators, as ridership had cratered because of the pandemic.




► From KING 5 — What are the chances Boeing will build a new jet in Washington state again? — “I think Washington is still the incumbent, still the best place to build a jetliner,” said Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group headquartered near Washington, D.C. “That doesn’t mean it wins.”

► From the Seattle Times — Jilted again, the problem isn’t Boeing, it’s us (by Danny Westneat) — The problem here isn’t that Boeing is a disloyal cad. It’s all just business — to them anyway. The problem is that a generation of local and state politicians, blinded by nostalgia, have been too easily manipulated… When state leaders gave Boeing huge tax breaks in 2003, they didn’t get any job guarantees in the bill, or anything that committed the company to keeping the 787 aircraft production here. So that was a mistake, obviously, because now it’s gone. Then in 2013, state leaders repeated this exact error… Even after all that, when the state Legislature revisited Boeing’s tax breaks this past March, they incredibly again whiffed on adding strong accountability or jobs language to the deal.

I bring all this up because Boeing is in a world of hurt right now, and probably more than ever is going to need some help from the good ol’ state of Washington. It will be a big debate next year, and with all the great jobs the company can provide, maybe we should give it to them. Only this time, can we please cut the codependency and finally get it in writing?




► From the Seattle Times — The Times recommends: Vote to affirm Referendum 90 on sex ed (editorial endorsement) — Voters will determine in November whether a comprehensive sex-education bill will be enacted into law. To protect the health and safety of Washington’s public schoolchildren, voters should approve Referendum 90 and allow SB 5395 to stand… This is not an effort to sexualize children or impose any kind of state-sanctioned moral framework on Washington youth. It’s about ensuring that every public schoolchild has a clear understanding of their body, of healthy, consensual relationships and has the tools they need, when they’re likely to need them, to protect against unwanted physical contact, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Likewise, delegates representing unions from across the state of Washington have voted to urge voters to Approve Ref. 90.

ALSO from the WEA — Approve R-90 for safe and healthy youth

► From the Seattle Times — Inslee seeks a rare third term amid pandemic, jobs and Boeing crisis — News of the nation and world has turned several shades gloomier since 2016, when voters awarded the former congressman his second term as governor. But Inslee said he’s confident he can help Washington bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and steep economic downturn.

► From the Columbian — 17th Legislative District candidates diverge — Rep. Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver), who’s seeking a third term, made headlines over the past several months for her attendance at rallies in Vancouver and Olympia protesting COVID-19 closures. Democratic challenger Tanisha Harris countered that it was irresponsible for Kraft to attend the events as an elected official and associate with dangerous groups. “There are people at these rallies who are members of known white supremacy groups, and hate groups, and people who are holding Nazi flags and have signs that are referencing the Holocaust,” Harris said. Kraft responded by comparing Gov. Jay Inslee with Adolf Hitler.




► From the (Everett) Herald — State still sifting through thousands of unemployment claims — Between March and September, the Employment Security Department paid out more than $11.3 billion to a million out-of-work Washingtonians — a third of the state’s workforce. But some claims were left pending for months, and some of those are still under review. To date, 21,000 people are waiting for the state agency to resolve an issue with their claim. A week ago, it was 31,000.




► From the LA Times — Supreme Court starts new term, with health care, religion and gay rights on the docket — The Supreme Court opens a new term on Monday and within weeks is set to hear cases on healthcare and religion that may give a preview of how the conservative majority will wield its power.

► From the American Prospect — Chief Justice Roberts: America’s chief guardian of corporate power (by Richard Trumka) — Roberts remains reliably hard-line on the most fundamental issue facing our democracy: the growing imbalance of economic and political power. If he gains yet another conservative colleague, the Roberts Court may become the most dangerous branch of government. While Roberts has taken great pains to maintain public confidence in an era of intense partisan polarization by not allowing the justices to continuously split 5-4 along party lines, he is actually one of the foremost guardians of the corporate class in the history of the Court. As such, he is actively working against the very social balance he sometimes appears to be championing by consistently voting in a way that compounds inequality of income, opportunity, and power, putting our democracy on a trajectory to implosion.

► From the Washington Post — Positive tests for senators raise doubts about fast-track confirmation of Trump’s Supreme Court choice — Republicans’ tightly crafted schedule has now been thrown into uncertainty with the coronavirus diagnoses of at least two Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the fear that other senators could test positive in the coming days. A handful of other GOP senators, on and off the committee, are also isolating as a precaution after being exposed to infected colleagues.




► From Politico — ‘Danger sign’: State, local government job losses grow as Congress stalls on relief — State and local governments throughout the U.S. shed more jobs in September, ending a brief recovery during the summer, a sign that their economic pain is deepening as Congress fails to reach a deal on an economic-relief package.

► From HuffPost — Trump administration plan would cut pay for essential farm workers — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving to phase out a quarterly survey that helps determine wage rates on farms that use the H-2A guestworker program. If the administration suspends collecting data for the AEWR without another plan in place, many farms would be allowed to pay lower wages to field workers as early as next year.




► From the Washington Post — U.S. faces shortage of up to 8 billion meals in next 12 months, leading food bank says — Tens of millions of Americans have turned to a local food bank for help after becoming newly food insecure because of the pandemic and its fallout. About 10 percent of American adults, 22.3 million, reported they sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat within the past week. That is up from 18 million before March 13. Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, projects a 6 billion to 8 billion meal shortfall in the next 12 months, a deficit that may be magnified with federal food assistance programs set to expire in the coming weeks and months.

The Stand (Aug. 3) — WSLC foundation is delivering ‘gift of hope’ to families in need

► From The Lily — Some U.S. employers are finally offering paid parental leave. Working moms with kids at home say they’re afraid to use it. — The U.S. government mandated 12 weeks of paid leave in March for parents with children at home as part of an emergency coronavirus relief package, but that benefit excluded at least half of all private-sector workers, and has been underutilized. For parents who are offered leave, the fear of taking it can be potent, especially women. In interviews with eight women who have been offered some form of parental leave during the pandemic, most said they chose to take far less than they were given or none at all.

► From the Washington Post — Virginia Democrats face choice between idealism and revenge in vote on gerrymandering — Democrats have the majority in Richmond this year, and their voters have to decide: Do we strike a blow for nonpartisan maps or stick it to the GOP as they have stuck it to us?

► From NBC News — Regal cinemas to close down temporarily, impacting 45,000 jobs




► From ProPublica — Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb who have to pay to talk to you — Arise Virtual Solutions, part of the secretive world of work-at-home customer service, helps large corporations shed costs at the expense of workers. Now the pandemic is creating a boom in the industry. … Arise’s workers not only don’t work for its clients, they also don’t officially work for Arise. Like Uber drivers or TaskRabbit gofers, they are independent contractors. To get gigs, they first absorb substantial expense, paying for their own equipment and training, and then have fees deducted from every paycheck for the “use” of Arise’s “platform.” Arise has faced, and lost, legal challenges alleging that its arrangements with agents violate federal labor law and cheat workers of what they are rightfully owed. One judge called the arrangement an “elaborate construct” created by Arise to get around labor law. Nevertheless Arise has been able to avoid altering its model in any significant way, aided in part by a 5-4 ruling from the Supreme Court, written by Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch.


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