Tuesday, December 1, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Dec. 1 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 165,019 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 2,345) and 2,774 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 16)
► From the Wenatchee World — 11 die of COVID in Tonasket — The 11 patients were residents of North Valley Extended Care in Tonasket and part of a larger outbreak in which 32 residents were infected with the coronavirus.
► From the Tri-City Herald — 1 of every 100 Pasco-area residents test COVID positive in recent weeks
► From KOMO — Seattle nurse to serve on Biden-Harris COVID-19 advisory board — Jane Hopkins is a nurse who specializes in mental health. She currently serves as the Executive Vice President with SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW and she serves on the Washington State’s COVID task force and Safe Start Advisory Board.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Hopkins, who is also a Vice President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, said: “I am committed to using my voice on this advisory board to speak for all essential workers. The American people deserve an urgent, robust and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Healthcare workers, retail and service workers, and essential workers of all kinds have been vital to our country during the pandemic, and their perspective must be included in our work to beat this virus.”
► From the AP — Washington launches statewide COVID-19 notification app
TODAY at The Stand — WA Notify: A smartphone tool to warn of COVID-19 exposure
► From the Seattle Times — Washington state shares little data about public schools and whether coronavirus is spreading, or not — In Washington, at least 110 children or adults have contracted the virus through school outbreaks since the start of the pandemic, according to a state Department of Health document — a tiny fraction of the 160,000 confirmed cases that have been recorded statewide this year. But because reporting is so poor, there may be many more. And state officials can’t, or won’t, say where those cases occurred. State education officials cannot even say how many of Washington’s 1.1 million students are learning in-person, and how many are studying at home. In failing to collect data or to show the public what they know, state and federal agencies are missing out on rigorous experiments to find how to control the virus in school buildings. They’re falling flat at reassuring parents and teachers that schools are safe. And they are coming up short on measuring the amount of learning that’s being lost in this most unusual school year.
► From The Hill — A blueprint to safely open schools (by Randi Weingarten) — Systems from New York City to the Netherlands have shown that, with the necessary protocols to prevent transmission, students can safely return to learning in person. But schools are not islands. Americans must summon the collective will to follow science both in and out of schools. If we can do this, we can allow children across the country back to schools for the second semester and then for enriched summer programs.
► From Reuters — After 4.2 million COVID-19 cases in November, U.S. pins hope on vaccine — The new COVID-19 cases were more than double the previous monthly record set in October, as large numbers of Americans still refuse to refuse to wear masks and continue to gather in holiday crowds, against the recommendation of experts. With Trump’s coronavirus strategy relying heavily on a vaccine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule on Dec. 10 on whether to approve the emergency use of a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. A second candidate from Moderna Inc could follow a week later.
► From the Guardian — U.S. hospitals fill with 100,000 COVID-19 cases amid fear of pre-Christmas surge — Top public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the taskforce, said the U.S. was “not in a good place” after many ignored guidance not to travel for Thanksgiving, and warned that a further surge in cases was likely in two to three weeks.
► From Spokane Public Radio — Apprenticeship programs recruit women, people of color — Labor and apprenticeship organizations are increasingly reaching out to women to bring them into traditionally-male occupations… As Michelle Lytle searched for a new career through Washington’s WorkSource program, she found a class that introduced her to skilled trades. One thing in particular was attractive. “The starting pay was way over minimum wage and you’re getting paid to learn. The benefits alone is what I cared about,” she said. It was just a matter of picking one of the apprenticeship programs.
The Stand (Nov. 18) — Eastern WA unions celebrate National Apprenticeship Week
► From the Olympian — State Sen. Schoesler steps down as minority leader, as lawmakers pick 2021 leaders — Long-serving state Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) says he’ll step down from the role of Senate Minority Leader, as Washington state legislators continue to choose their leadership for the 2021 legislative session.
► From L&I — No increase in average price of Washington workers’ compensation insurance in 2021 — For the first time in two decades, Washington workers’ compensation rates have dropped or stayed steady for four years in a row. The state Department of Labor & Industries on Monday announced that there will be no increase for the average premium rate in 2021.
The Stand (June 23) — History lesson: Hands off workers’ compensation — It took a decade to recover from the system’s last “recession raid.” Never again.
► From the Wall St. Journal — Labor Department published flawed estimates of weekly jobless claims, watchdog says — The nation’s system for providing unemployment benefits to jobless workers has consistently produced inaccurate data and lower-than-appropriate payouts to millions of workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a government watchdog said Monday.
► From the Washington Post — Supreme Court weighs child-slavery case against Nestlé USA, Cargill — An effort to hold U.S. chocolate companies responsible for child labor on farms supplying their cocoa goes before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as justices consider a lawsuit against Nestlé USA and Cargill brought by six Africans who say that as children they were trafficked out of Mali, forced to work long hours on Ivory Coast cocoa farms and kept at night in locked shacks.
► From Bloomberg Law — Four names emerge for Democratic NLRB seat — Four lawyers have emerged as the leading candidates to fill an open Democratic seat on the National Labor Relations Board once President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
► From the AFL-CIO — Yellen is the right choice for all working families — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “The AFL-CIO will never rest in our pursuit of a Workers First Agenda, and we look forward to partnering with the president-elect and Treasury Secretary-designate Yellen to bring a new and better day for all Americans.”
► From The Hill — Tens of thousands of Americans are not getting the Social Security benefits they should (by David Weaver) — In its 2016 Agency Financial Report, the agency reported there were 80 categories of individuals missing out on Social Security benefits. These groups included certain widows, retirees, spouses, and children, as well as groups affected by special Social Security provisions such as some military veterans. SSA has made very little progress in helping these groups receive their benefits. There are several systemic problems that need to be addressed.
► From the Washington Post — Trump’s latest Fox News rant was one of his most dangerous. Republicans can’t ignore it. (editorial) — Trump issued claim after incoherent claim about vote rigging — machines switched thousands of votes, dead people voted, mail-in ballots were “phony,” poll watchers “weren’t allowed.” Either the president is delusional, or he is willing to knowingly tear down the democracy to deny that he is a loser. Either way, everyone else in a position of trust has a responsibility to defend the nation’s democratic system against Trump’s sustained assault.
► From the Washington Post — Last two of six states Trump contested certify his defeat — Wisconsin and Arizona on Monday became the last two of six states where President Trump has contested his defeat to finalize their vote counts, dealing a fresh blow to his quest to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as a chorus of Republicans and Democrats offered support for the election’s integrity.
► From the Detroit Free Press — Election lawsuit cites fraud in Michigan county that does not exist
► From the NY Times — Giuliani is said to have discussed a possible pardon with Trump
► From the Washington Post — Larry Willis, head of federation of transportation workers, dies in bike accident — Willis spent decades immersed in the arcane details of transportation law, pressing for workers’ rights during moments of national crisis, from the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to the coronavirus pandemic, and the quiet times in between.
► From the AFL-CIO — America’s unions mourn the passing of TTD President Larry Willis — “The collective hearts of America’s labor movement, particularly transportation unions, are broken by the tragic death of our brother, TTD President Larry Willis,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Larry brought a love of workers and a deep understanding of transportation issues to his leadership of TTD. He paid an incredible attention to detail, always looking for opportunities to win more power and prosperity for the working people who move America.”
► From the NY Times — Reinventing workers for the post-COVID economy — The nation’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic will hinge to some extent on how quickly show managers can become electricians, whether taxi drivers can become plumbers, and how many cooks can manage software for a bank. The labor market has recovered 12 million of the 22 million jobs lost from February to April. But many positions may not return any time soon, even when a vaccine is deployed. This is likely to prove especially problematic for millions of low-paid workers in service industries like retailing, hospitality, building maintenance and transportation, which may be permanently impaired or fundamentally transformed.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.