COVID spike ● Allan Bros. organizing ● Labor boosted Biden

Monday, November 9, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Nov. 9 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 117,331 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,030) and 2,439 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 10)

► From the AP — Washington sets daily record in new cases of coronavirus

EDITOR’S NOTE — Seems like if there was ever a time to reinstate hazard pay for essential workers, it is now.

► From Politico — New record high for U.S. coronavirus cases Saturday — The country reported more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday. It marked the fourth day in a row that new cases topped more than 100,000 as the country has broken its own record for daily cases with nearly every passing day this week.

► From Politico — Pandemic on course to overwhelm U.S. health system before Biden takes office — The United States’ surging coronavirus outbreak is on pace to hit nearly 1 million new cases a week by the end of the year — a scenario that could overwhelm health systems across much of the country and further complicate President-elect Joe Biden’s attempts to coordinate a response.

► From Reuters — ‘Great day for humanity’: Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine over 90% effective — Pfizer Inc said on Monday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective, a major victory in the fight against a pandemic that has killed more than a million people, battered the world’s economy and upended daily life.




► From the AP — Washington Supreme Court: Farmworkers to get overtime pay — A divided Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday the state’s dairy workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, a decision expected to apply to the rest of the agriculture industry. For the past 60 years, state law — like federal law — has exempted farmworkers from classes of workers who are entitled to overtime pay, but in a 5-4 ruling the court found that unconstitutional. The majority said the Washington state Constitution grants workers in dangerous industries a fundamental right to health and safety protections, including overtime, which is intended to discourage employers from forcing employees to work excessive hours.

TODAY at The Stand — Denying state’s dairy workers OT pay ruled unconstitutional

► From the Yakima H-R — Agricultural labor efforts that started during pandemic are still going in the Yakima Valley — On a cloudy October day, a few workers gathered outside Allan Bros. to advocate again for themselves and their colleagues. Workers at the Naches-based fruit company went on strike last spring over COVID-19 safety concerns, kicking off a series of protests and walkouts at fruit packing houses throughout the Yakima Valley… The October gathering outside Allan Bros. didn’t attract as many workers as the strikes. But the message was clear: Months later, Allan Bros. workers still want to be heard. A group of Allan Bros. workers has mobilized over the last few months, this time to form a union called Trabajadores Unidos por la Justicia, or Workers United for Justice.

The Stand (Oct. 16) — Show your support for new union at Allan Brothers

► From the Yakima H-R — H-2A workers make up majority of recent agricultural industry cases in Yakima County — New cases from the agricultural and food production industry lately have come from outbreaks among foreign guest workers working the apple and hop harvests.

► From the Yakima H-R — Central Washington agriculture faces new hurdles with COVID-19




► From Crosscut — Seattle seeks state’s help to reduce power of police unions — If Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan were to get her way, arbitrators would be barred from conducting their own investigations and could overturn discipline only if the arbitrator found a chief’s decision was arbitrary and capricious. Doing so would represent a significant curtailing of those arbitrators’ power and lift a weight off the city’s — and Durkan’s — shoulders. But even some of the state’s most progressive legislators are skeptical there’s a political path toward curtailing police officer labor protections. To curb arbitration for police means threading the needle between the demands of demonstrators and the fears of the larger labor world, which is fiercely protective of the right to arbitration.

► From the Seattle Times — Empty Capitol building, public hearings by Zoom: Washington Legislature plans for virtual session — Empty marble corridors in the Washington Capitol. Many state legislators casting votes remotely. The customary public hearings that draw passionate residents conducted instead by teleconference. When state lawmakers return as scheduled in January, they’ll be conducting the 2021 legislative session for the most part remotely amid a coronavirus pandemic that continues to gain steam.

► From the Seattle Times — Are self-employed and gig workers in Washington missing out on pandemic jobless benefits? — Labor advocates say many unemployed workers in Washington and elsewhere aren’t getting their full benefits under an emergency federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).




► From the News Tribune — Tough year for Boeing but company has not ruled out designing a new airplane (by Bill Virgin) — The pandemic largely squelched any mention of a new plane, since airlines didn’t need or want the ones they had already ordered, never mind a new model. Boeing executives say it will be several years before the global airline industry recovers. But Calhoun’s most recent remarks were one of the first public signs in months that Boeing is thinking beyond the immediate crises.




► From HuffPost — Organized labor helped boost Biden in critical battlegrounds — With a Democratic presidency close at hand, unions say they played a critical role in turning members and other voters out at the polls, especially in dense urban areas of swing states, like Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Las Vegas… The AFL-CIO conducted a poll of 1,000 members on Nov. 2 and 3 and found that they preferred Biden to Trump 58% to 37%. Trumka said that was about four points better than Hillary Clinton did in a similar poll of federation members around the 2016 election. “In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Joe Biden’s firewall was union-made,” Trumka said.

The Stand (Nov. 7) — Biden-Harris election is a win for unions

► From The Hill — Fight for Senate majority boils down to Georgia — Control of the Senate is boiling down to Georgia, likely dragging the fight for the majority out until early January.  Democrats are pinning their hopes on being able to force a 50-50 Senate on a narrow, uphill path that requires them to win both seats in the typically red state. If Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the White House, a 50-50 margin would hand them the majority because Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie.

► From the Seattle Times — How Black women lifted Kamala Harris to achieve a ‘collective, profound win’ (by Naomi Ishisaka) — While understanding that identity alone is not paramount in politics or anything else, the symbolism of seeing a woman — and especially a woman of color — in one of the highest offices in the land is tremendously powerful and opens up possibilities for future generations that did not exist before.

► From the Washington Post — ‘We will not allow anyone to stop us’: Day and night, under historic scrutiny, the nation’s vote counters carried on — This year aimed a bright light on the way elections are run in this country — and put unfathomable demands on the people who run them… In the end, teams in large cities and tiny counties alike delivered a historic result: a record number of ballots counted with vanishingly few glitches and — despite the president’s claims — no evidence of widespread fraud.

► From the Washington Post — Working people delivered Biden his victory. Now he needs to deliver for them. (by Nina Turner) — In the midst of overlapping national crises, his administration has a critical window to deliver for the working people and young people who got him elected. If he fails to meet the moment — if he seeks instead to return us to a “normalcy” marked by corporate handouts and extreme inequality — then the next Trump might be far more dangerous than the one we just defeated.

► From the Washington Post — Democratic leaders play a ridiculous blame game with progressives (by James Downie) — it is simply false to claim that standing up proudly for policies such as Medicare-for-all and a Green New Deal hasn’t worked, when the truth is it hasn’t been tried. For decades, congressional Democrats have run every cycle with a moderate message engineered by moderate, high-priced consultants. When this plan succeeds, the party establishment trumpets their wisdom. Yet when it more frequently fails, the leadership and moderates blame the progressives they rejected the entire campaign. It’s a “heads we win, tails you lose” approach, and it’s a farce.




► From the Washington Post — Biden plans to move fast on the pandemic and the economy — President-elect Joe Biden and his advisers plan this week to demonstrate a far more assertive strategy against the coronavirus than Trump’s, and Biden may take a more proactive role in coming weeks in congressional negotiations over an economic stimulus package.

► From the Washington Post — Biden plans immediate flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump policies — President-elect Joe Biden is planning to quickly sign a series of executive orders after being sworn into office on Jan. 20, immediately forecasting that the country’s politics have shifted and that his presidency will be guided by radically different priorities.

► From the Washington Post — A little-known Trump appointee is in charge of handing transition resources to Biden — and she isn’t budging — A Trump administration appointee is refusing to sign a letter allowing President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to formally begin its work this week, in another sign the incumbent president has not acknowledged Biden’s victory and could disrupt the transfer of power.

► From the Washington Post — The Affordable Care Act returns to the Supreme Court in the shadow of a pandemic — When the Supreme Court hears a case Tuesday that could abolish the Affordable Care Act, the stakes will be higher than ever, coming amid a historic health and economic crisis that has deprived millions of Americans of insurance and cast a neon light on health care’s importance.

► From Politico — Obamacare faces Supreme Court remade by Trump — The court will hear a lawsuit Tuesday that likely represents Republicans’ last chance to knock out a health care law they’ve opposed for over a decade, and that President-elect Joe Biden is vowing to expand. One of the most-watched participants at the oral arguments will be Trump’s latest appointee to the high court, Amy Coney Barrett. Democrats during last month’s confirmation hearings portrayed her as the pivotal vote who could bring about the law’s demise amid an intensifying pandemic that’s sickened millions.





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

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