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No more VIPs | Bathroom Bezos | Americans want COVID relief now

Tuesday, February 2, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Feb. 2 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 313,335 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,621) and 4,318 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 12)

► From the Seattle Times — Washington state tells vaccine providers: We may cut your supply if you allow VIP scheduling — In stories last week, The Seattle Times revealed that three medical systems in the region — Providence Regional Medical Center, Overlake Medical Center & Clinics and EvergreenHealth — gave special access to major donors or foundation board members, raising concerns about whether the state could equitably administer vaccine doses.

► From Politico — Just 5% of vaccinations have gone to Black Americans, despite equity efforts — A Politico analysis suggests disadvantaged communities are being bypassed — even in blue states fighting disparities.

► From the Wall Street Journal — COVID wears on, essential workers carry on: ‘Everybody forgets that you’re still on the front line’ — Grocery workers, delivery drivers and others have continued reporting to work during the year of COVID. Now, months in, many are feeling a mix of frustration, exhaustion and determination. “My guys are tapped out.”

► From Reuters — New U.S. transit mask rules ordered by Biden take effect




► From the Seattle Times — Boeing will pay out 2020 employee bonuses next month, despite a lousy year — SPEEA engineers and technical staff in the Commercial Airplanes unit will get an estimated annual bonus equal to 2.9% of their gross salary, and those in the Defense and Space unit will get a bonus of 4.3% of gross salary. Boeing said the Machinists union bonus payout for 2020, which is based on productivity, safety and quality metrics, has not yet been announced to employees.

► From the PSBJ — After $6.5B hit, Boeing warns 62% of 777X orders have slipped into ‘at risk’ category — Boeing believes 62% of its prior orders for the 777X could be at risk of being terminated, potentially forcing it to further reduce production of the massive new passenger jet.




► Working to Live in SW Washington podcast — Financial stability in the COVID era with special guests Patrick Town and Ross Wolf — It’s always difficult for working people to get their finances in order, but it’s especially difficult in this COVID-19 era we’ve all been living through. Shannon and Harold talk to two financial experts: Ross Wolf, President of Pacific Financial Advisors, and Patrick Town, founder and Executive Director of Union Home Plus.




► From KNKX — Tax a billionaire, raise some cash? It’s an idea WA Democrats are floating — Washington billionaires would pay a “wealth tax” under a proposal in the state House that will get a public hearing on Tuesday. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle), who chairs the House Finance Committee, and would impose a 1% tax on intangible financial property, such as stocks and bonds, futures contracts and publicly traded options. A billionaire’s first $1 billion in “taxable worldwide wealth” would be exempt. So far, 26 House Democrats have signed onto the bill, representing nearly half the House Democratic caucus.

TODAY at The StandSupport the state wealth tax on billionaires

TAKE A STAND — HB 1406 will get a public hearing today (Tuesday, Feb. 2) at 1:30 p.m. in the House Finance Committee. Please sign up NOW in support of this bill. Try to do so by 12:30 p.m. to make sure your support is tallied before the hearing begins. Follow this link, mark your position as PRO, and fill out the form with your name and address, and organization, if applicable. (Note: Although this form says “Remote Testimony,” this is not a request to testify live at the hearing, it is to have your support for HB 1406 noted in the legislative record.) You can watch the hearing at TVW here starting at 1:30 p.m.

► From the News Tribune — House passes bill with $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief after late-night debate — The state House of Representatives passed a bill 61-36 late Monday that would allocate $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding. The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration. The bill directs federal funding to an array of high-priority areas for relief.

► From the Seattle Times — Personal data of 1.4 million Washington unemployment claimants exposed in hack of state auditor — The personal unemployment claims data of at least 1.4 million Washingtonians may have been stolen in a hack of software used by the state auditor’s office, Auditor Pat McCarthy said Monday. In a head-slapping irony, the compromised data had been collected as part of the auditor’s investigations into how the state Employment Security Department lost $600 million to fraudulent unemployment claims.

► From the Yakima H-R — Agriculture groups say they’ll sue state agencies over emergency farmworker rules — Two grower organizations say they will file a lawsuit Tuesday in Yakima County Superior Court against the state Department of Labor and Industries and the state Department of Health over recently revised emergency farmworker rules. Under the emergency rules, which are in effect through May, growers are subject to several restrictions, including limiting the capacity of farmworker housing to 50% and prohibiting the use of bunk beds unless employers maintain cohort groups that work, travel and live together.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Requirement to teach ‘negative effects of communism’ sparks debate in state Senate — Critics of the bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) called it a throwback to “Red Scare” indoctrination from the Cold War.




► From Bloomberg — Amazon ratchets up anti-union pressure on workers in Alabama — Employees at its warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., have been ordered to attend meetings where managers sow doubts about the unionization drive. The meetings typically last about half an hour, one said, frustrating workers because they fall behind in their duties during the sessions and have to catch up later.

► From the Washington Post — Amazon’s anti-union blitz stalks Alabama warehouse workers everywhere, even the bathroomSome workers in Amazon’s Bessemer, Ala., warehouse complain that the company’s aggressive performance expectations leave them little time to take bathroom breaks. When they do get there, they face messaging from Amazon pressing its case against unionization, imploring them to vote against it when mail-in balloting begins Feb. 8. “Where will your dues go?” reads a flier posted on the door inside a bathroom stall.




► From Reuters — House Democrats ready first step toward $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill — The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives prepared to take the first step forward on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package on Tuesday, with a key vote expected to fast-track the measure through Congress.

► From the News Tribune — Washington parents would get big tax breaks under Biden’s COVID relief plan — Chances are Washington state parents will soon get more tax breaks that will probably be worth thousands of dollars. President-elect Joe Biden is proposing big one-year increases in both the credit for child care, which allows breaks for the cost of such care, and the Child Tax Credit, which lets qualifying parents reduce their tax bill for each child.

► From Vox — Americans want COVID-19 relief done fast — even if it takes budget reconciliation — A new poll shows that people prioritize speed when it comes to a relief package.

► From Bloomberg — Biden to focus on trade enforcement after years of Trump tariffs — Biden’s administration is setting up its trade policy to prioritize enforcement of existing commitments by the U.S.’s partners over negotiating more deals to open new export markets. The AFL-CIO and Democrats made strong labor rules and enforcement mechanisms for Mexico a key demand to win their support for the USMCA in 2019, concerned that the pact it was replacing lacked both. Cathy Feingold, the AFL-CIO’s international department director, said she hopes the union will be a petitioner in a labor complaint under the USMCA within the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency after COVID-19 and other factors complicated the process of documenting ongoing labor violations in Mexico last year.

The Stand (Dec. 10, 2019) — AFL-CIO endorses USMCA after negotiating labor improvements

► From the NY Times — Biden to sign 3 orders that will roll back Trump’s immigration agenda — One executive order aims to reunite migrant families separated at the southern border. The others authorize a wholesale review of the former president’s immigration policies.

► From Crosscut — Washingtonians weigh in on Biden’s immigration agenda — DACA, the banning of private prisons and changes to ICE enforcement are among the issues that could have a big impact in the state.

► From NPR — Meatpacking companies, OSHA face investigation over coronavirus in plants — A U.S. House subcommittee is investigating coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants, citing the deaths of more than 250 employees nationwide and accusing the Trump administration of failing to enforce worker safety laws.

► From LGBTQ Nation — Here’s why we’re suing the federal government. This is what solidarity looks like. (by Pride at Work’s Jerame Davis) — On their way out the door, the Trump administration couldn’t help but take one last swipe at LGBTQ working people. Upending nearly 80 years’ worth of existing federal policy, Trump’s Department of Labor implemented a rule that makes it easier for federal contractors to discriminate by claiming a religious exemption to nondiscrimination protections. This change to the rules is not only illegal but runs counter to the mission of the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the office charged with enforcing these rules. So last week, we (and some of our friends) sued to vacate the rule.

► From Politico — Dems deliver GOP ultimatum over Marjorie Taylor Greene — They’re moving to strip the controversial Republican of her committee assignments.

► From Roll Call — Senate Ethics has not sanctioned a member in 14 years




► LIVE from the NY Times — House impeachment managers argue that Trump was ‘singularly responsible’ for the Capitol riot — The riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was the direct result of a campaign by former President Donald J. Trump to undermine American democracy and overthrow the election at any cost, the House impeachment managers will argue in his Senate trial. They warn that acquitting him and failing to disqualify him from future office could do grave damage to the nation.

► From Reuters — ‘He invited us’: Accused Capitol rioters blame Trump in novel legal defense — Trump told the crowd to “fight like hell,” said “we will not take it anymore” and repeated his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud. Trump exhorted his followers to go to the Capitol. One rioters attorney wrote in a court filing that “the nature and circumstances of this offense must be viewed through the lens of an event inspired by the President of the United States.”

► From Politico — ‘I thought I was going to die’: AOC personalizes insurrection, bringing up past sexual assault — “These folks that tell us to move on … these are the same tactics as abusers,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said on Instagram Live.




► From the Oregonian — American labor movement looks to Oregon women for new leader, solidarity — The AFL-CIO, the nation’s most powerful labor group, will likely elect a new president at its next convention. For the first time, two leading candidates are women. And both are from Oregon. Liz Shuler, who grew up in Milwaukie, is the current second-in-command at the AFL-CIO. She has ascended with lightning speed to the highest levels of American labor, motivated in part by a corrupt corporation that exacted a painful toll on her family. Sara Nelson, who grew up in Corvallis, is the charismatic, fiery head of the Association of Flight Attendants. She has emerged as one of the most powerful and visible union leaders in the country thanks to her genuine militancy.

► From KTLA — Long Beach Ralphs, Food 4 Less stores to close over $4 ‘hero pay’ boost for grocery workers — Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs and Food 4 Less, will soon shut down two of its stores in Long Beach in response to the city imposing a “hero pay” increase of $4 per hour for some grocery store workers. “After everything they’ve been through and all the sacrifices and the service our members have provided Long Beach during the pandemic, Kroger responds with this chilling message to workers,” said Andrea Zinder, president of UFCW Local 324. “Kroger closing these stores is a clear attempt to intimidate and discourage workers from standing up and using their voice to create better working conditions and wages.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — In Washington state, Kroger owns QFC and Fred Meyer stores.




For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making Black history across the labor movement. Each day the AFL-CIO blog will feature a new profile so you can meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country.

► From the AFL-CIO– Black History Month profiles: Jane Hopkins — Jane Hopkins is a nurse and an immigrant from Sierra Leone. She is a vice president for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She also has risen to the leadership of her union, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and was appointed to serve on the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Advisory Board.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Learn more about Jane at

► From the AFL-CIO — Black History Month profiles: Tanya Acker — Tanya Acker has been active in the labor movement for more than 30 years. She was a member of American Federation of Musicians Local 148 in Atlanta. There she became involved in the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), learning her dedication to service from her father, who also was active in APRI for decades. Acker now lives in Colorado, where she serves as the vice president for the state chapter of APRI.


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

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