The Stand

Demand hazard pay! ● 25% reopenings ● Cicely’s ‘Blessed Assurance’

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Friday, January 29, 2021

 


COVID-19

 

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Jan. 29 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 307,809 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,743) and 4,243 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 14)

► From the Seattle Times — ‘Special invitation only’ COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Seattle-area hospitals raise concerns of equity — As a frenzy of newly eligible older adults seek COVID-19 vaccinations, hospitals in the Puget Sound region are quietly giving people of influence — including hospital foundation board members and donors — special access to vaccines. As many seniors, especially those in marginalized communities, struggle to navigate a disorganized landscape of sign-ups and hotlines for shots, these exclusive opportunities illustrate concerns about unequal access to a taxpayer-funded vaccine that offers potentially life-saving protection.

► From Brookings — Local COVID-19 hazard pay mandates are doing what Congress and most corporations aren’t for essential workers — The country’s biggest grocery and retail employers have earned record profits during the pandemic — but, with few exceptions, most are sharing little of their windfall with the frontline essential workers who are risking the most. Now, thanks to new local government efforts, this is about to change for thousands of grocery workers. Buoyed by UFCW organizing efforts, several city and county governments across California and in Seattle have just passed mandates requiring some large grocery, food retail, and pharmacy employers to provide their workers hazard pay — a trend that may (and should) expand to other communities across the country.

The Stand (Jan. 26) — UFCW 21 celebrates victory on $4/hour hazard pay in Seattle — Help the union fight for grocery workers’ hazard pay in YOUR city!

TAKE A STAND Click here to get involved and help support hazard pay in your city.

► From the Seattle Times — Health care unions find a voice in the pandemic — The unions representing the nation’s health care workers have emerged as increasingly powerful voices during the still-raging pandemic. With more than 100,000 Americans hospitalized and many among their ranks infected, nurses and other health workers remain in a precarious front line against the coronavirus and have turned again and again to unions for help.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From the Spokesman-Review — OSPI announces ‘bold plan’ to vaccinate teachers and school staff across Washington — The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Kaiser Permanente are poised to announce a “bold plan” to vaccinate the state’s teachers and staff, they announced Thursday. State Superintendent Chris Reykdal and Kaiser President Susan Mullaney will share details during a press conference Friday at 11 a.m. “The plan aims to support a safe return to schools across Washington,” OSPI said in the statement, which offered no other details. (Watch the press conference live at TVW.)

► From the (Everett) Herald — With deal, Inslee lifts pause on local highway projects — Inslee on Thursday cleared the way for highway projects around the state to proceed after reaching an understanding with legislators on the importance of adequately funding the removal of hundreds of fish passage barriers in the next two-year transportation budget.

TODAY at The StandHow we can build back a better Washington — WSLC urges major transportation, capital budget investments to put our state back to work toward a more equitable future.

► From the Seattle Times — Inslee: King, Pierce and Snohomish counties can open restaurant dining and fitness centers — Restaurants in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Lewis counties will be able to reopen indoor service at restaurants 25% capacity through 11 p.m. Indoor fitness centers and live entertainment venues — including museums, bowling alleys and concert halls — can also reopen to 25% capacity. Bars that don’t serve food, however, must remain closed.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane still can’t move to Phase 2, but Inslee offers more flexibility in reopening plan — Inslee said the decision to move the West and Puget Sound regions forward was based on the numbers. He said it will ultimately be determined by the residents of each region who should continue to mask up and social distance if they want to reopen sooner.

► From the Yakima H-R — Following Washington Supreme Court overtime ruling, dairy farmers seek legislation to limit retroactive pay — SB 5172, sponsored by Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) which a public hearing Thursday, seeks to prohibit a court from ordering retroactive pay in overtime wage claims if it creates a “substantially inequitable result.” The bill comes several months after the Washington Supreme Court ruled an exemption on overtime pay for dairy workers that dates back more than six decades was unconstitutional.

► From the Seattle Times — Enrollment in Washington’s health exchange to reopen — Washington will again open its health insurance marketplace next month to mirror a new enrollment period for Obamacare. The federal government’s Healthcare.gov, which serves 36 states that don’t run a marketplace, will begin a new enrollment period beginning Feb. 15, as will the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

► From Crosscut — Juneteenth could become a Washington state holiday — June 19 is already celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States. Lawmakers are debating making it an official government holiday.

 


LOCAL

 

► From the Seattle Times — City, state look to join King County in multimillion dollar Washington State Convention Center bailout — The city of Seattle and the state of Washington are looking at joining King County in a possible $300 million bailout of the troubled multibillion dollar Washington State Convention Center expansion. The $1.9 billion convention center project, begun in 2018, has been in financial disarray for most of the last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the hotel tax revenue that funds the project.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Double overtime: Spokane Fire Department soars past budget during pandemic — The Spokane Fire Department’s overtime budget was already drawing scrutiny from elected officials. Then, a pandemic happened. The fire department is expected to close out 2020 about $3.5 million over its budget for overtime pay. It remains to be seen how much of the excess will be covered by state and federal pandemic assistance.

► From the Yakima H-R — Evans Fruit Co. says it will appeal $150,000 COVID-19 fine — L&I announced Wednesday that it was issuing a $150,000 fine against the Cowiche-based fruit grower and processor for two “willful and serious violations.”

 


INSURRECTION

 

► From the NY Times — Republican ties to extremist groups are under scrutiny — Nearly 150 House Republicans supported Trump’s baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him. But Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and a handful of other Republican members of the House had deeper ties to extremist groups who pushed violent ideas and conspiracy theories and whose members were prominent among those who stormed the halls of Congress in an effort to stop certification of Biden’s victory.

► From the Washington Post — Hostility between congressional Republicans and Democrats reaches new lows amid growing fears of violence — Open hostility broke out among Republicans and Democrats in Congress on Thursday amid growing fears of physical violence and looming domestic terrorism threats from supporters of former president Donald Trump, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leveling an extraordinary allegation that dangers lurk among the membership itself. But even as she and others sounded the alarm, Republicans continued to deepen their ties to the former president.

► From The Hill — How McConnell derailed Trump’s impeachment trial before it started — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Jan. 13 announced to colleagues that he was open to voting to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection, but since then he has taken steps behind the scenes to throttle the Democratic impeachment effort.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From the NY Times — Democrats prepare to move on economic aid, with or without the GOP — Democrats are preparing to bypass Republican objections to speed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic aid package through Congress, even as administration officials and congressional moderates hold out hopes of passing a bill with bipartisan support. Party leaders remain hopeful that Biden can sign his American Rescue Plan into law by mid-March at the latest.

► From the Tri-City Herald — What Biden’s energy secretary nominee said about the world’s largest cleanup project — Hanford, WA — Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, said cleaning up the Hanford nuclear reservation is “urgent” at her Senate confirmation hearing this week. She committed to requesting larger cleanup budgets than those of the Trump administration.

► From Roll Call — Despite travel ban repeal, Trump orders still keep immigrants out — Biden is expected to issue more executive orders next week to chip away at the prior administration’s immigration agenda, this time with an eye toward undoing his predecessor’s asylum restrictions and wealth test for immigrants.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From the NY Times — 6 die after liquid nitrogen leak at Georgia poultry plant — A line carrying liquid nitrogen ruptured at a poultry processing plant in Georgia on Thursday morning, killing six people and injuring 11 others in an accident that union officials said raised serious questions about safety protocols at the plant.

► From Bloomberg — GameStop staff making $11 an hour find day traders tone-deaf — GameStop staffers who keep their jobs typically make around $11 an hour, according to Salary.com. That’s lower than at Walmart. Against that backdrop, the stock runup — goosed by the Reddit subgroup r/WallStreetBets — has left a bad taste in the mouth of some. “Honestly it just sucks that people care more about the stock going up than the fact GameStop squeezes everything it can out of its employees,” according to a Redditor who goes by Angel who worked at a GameStop in Texas for 10 years.

 


T.G.I.F.

 

► Cicely Tyson, the stage, screen and television actress whose vivid portrayals of strong Black women shattered racial stereotypes in the dramatic arts of the 1970s, propelling her to stardom and fame as an exemplar for civil rights, died on Thursday. She was 96. (Read her NY Times obituary to learn more about her extraordinary life and accomplishments.) She broke ground for Black actors by refusing to take parts that demeaned Black people, and was critical of films and television programs that cast Black characters as criminal, servile or immoral. One of Tyson’s other passions was encouraging Black youth to pursue the arts. After the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, her response was to help create the Dance Theater of Harlem. In 1995, a magnet school she supported in East Orange, N.J., was renamed the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts.

In 2015, Tyson received the Kennedy Center Honors lifetime achievement award. At the ceremony, legendary gospel singer CeCe Winans and jazz trumpeter Terrence Blanchard performed “Blessed Assurance” with surprise guests: the choir from the school that bears her name. Watch how excited Tyson was when they were introduced and how moved she, and everyone else, was by their performance. R.I.P., Ms. Tyson.

 


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

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