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‘Eye of the hurricane’ | PCC’s strings | Bamazon vote begins

Monday, February 8, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Feb. 8 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 320,146 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,427) and 4,449 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 12)

► From KNKX — King County health officer: ‘We’re in the eye of a hurricane,’ COVID-19 cases likely to rise again — Diagnosed COVID-19 cases have been dropping for weeks in Washington, following record high rates of infection through the holiday season. But King County’s top public health official said the decline is likely temporary. Dr. Jeff Duchin said a more contagious strain of the coronavirus known as the B117 variant is likely quietly spreading in the Seattle area and, based on its activity elsewhere in the world, the outbreak could be doubling in size every week.

► From the NY Times — “We are forgotten”: Grocery workers hope for higher pay and vaccinations — The race to distribute vaccines and the emergence of more contagious variants of Covid-19 have put a renewed spotlight on the plight of grocery workers in the United States. The industry has boomed in the past year as Americans have stayed home and avoided restaurants. But in most cases, that has not translated into extra pay for its workers. After Long Beach, Calif., mandated hazard pay for grocery workers, the grocery giant Kroger responded last week by saying it would close two locations. And now, even as experts warn people to minimize time spent in grocery stores because of new coronavirus variants, The New York Times found only 13 states that had started specifically vaccinating those workers.




► From the PSBJ — PCC, an opponent of Seattle’s ‘hazard pay’ bill, proposes temporary pay increase to union — PCC, which operates 15 locations in and around Seattle, submitted a proposal to UFCW 21 on Thursday. The proposal states PCC would provide union-represented staff in the Puget Sound area, not just those jurisdictions with bills like Seattle’s “hazard pay” ordinance, a temporary $4/hour pay increase. PCC has seven stores outside of Seattle: Issaquah, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Burien, Edmonds and Bothell.

► From UFCW 21 (Feb. 4) — PCC bargaining update: Let’s be clear about hazard pay — We believe real hazard pay shouldn’t come with strings attached. Unlike the hazard pay that we won for grocery workers in Seattle and Burien, PCC only proposed paying the $4/hr to workers for 5½ weeks, a small fraction of the time we won in Seattle and Burien. In exchange, PCC is demanding that we make permanent changes to our rights and job protections. “The bargaining team is committed to fighting for hazard pay to acknowledge our hard work and sacrifice throughout the pandemic,” said Quinn Ráo, Ballard Front End, PCC bargaining team member. “The last week has seen both workers and customers across PCC demand $4 hazard pay, and denounce attempts made by company leadership to thwart meaningful grocery worker legislation. Now, PCC wants us to agree to long-term concessions in our contract in exchange for reinstating short term ‘hazard pay.’ We insist that hazard pay should not come with strings attached.”

► From the NW Labor Press — Labor’s Community Service Agency steps up big time in 2020 — In a year unlike any other in more than a generation, LCSA pumped more than $325,000 of assistance into those communities in Southwest Washington and Oregon, representing 1,800 families and 7,000 adults and children served. Most notably, LCSA sent out close to $120,000 in housing stability aid and $85,000 in emergency food resources. The overall emergency response represents a 70% increase in aid compared to 2019, directly representing the tremendous amount of need that working families faced in 2020.




► From the PSBJ — Boeing expands 737 parts production in India after Chinese supplier blacklisted — Boeing said Friday it has added a new production line at Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, its joint venture in Hyderabad, India, to manufacture complex vertical fin structures for 737 Max single-aisle jets… Boeing 737 vertical fins are now made by Chinese manufacturers at Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ltd. AVIC was recently added to a U.S Defense department list of companies banned from receiving exports by U.S. aerospace companies.




► From the Spokesman-Review — Democrats hope to change Washington’s regressive tax structure with new taxes on wealthy — Washington has one of the most regressive tax systems in the country, meaning low-income earners pay more taxes than the high-income earners. With no income tax, Washington’s tax system relies heavily on sales tax and property and business taxes, which Democrats say puts the burden on those with less income. Democratic Rep. Noel Frame, of Seattle, called the tax system’s reliance on low-income earners “unconscionable, unacceptable and frankly unsustainable.” Democratic lawmakers have tried for years to flip that system. This year’s efforts include implementing a capital gains tax and a “billionaire” tax.

The Stand (Feb. 2) — Support the state wealth tax on billionaires

The Stand (Dec. 14) — We must invest in post-COVID Washington (by Larry Brown)

► From the Seattle Times — After years of problems at Washington’s facilities for developmentally disabled people, lawmakers seek changes — An advocacy group called Disability Rights Washington is seeking to close the Rainier School in Buckley, Pierce County, Fircrest School in Shoreline and Lakeland Village, in Medical Lake, Spokane County. But the push to close the facilities have come as families of some developmentally disabled people believe those institutions remain the safest place for their loved ones. Now, after years of mediated talks between the state and elected officials, advocacy groups and people within the community of disable people, lawmakers are again proposing a plan to close most of the facilities.

► From the (Everett) Herald — COVID bills to be signed, Eyman’s fate to be decided (Cornfield Report) — This week will bring enactment of pandemic relief bills and a ruling on the state’s nearly four-year legal battle with Tim Eyman.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Here’s how the state will spend $2.2B in federal pandemic aid — Administer vaccines. Resume classroom instruction. Reopen shuttered businesses. Assist those who can’t make rent. Those are the largest targets of $2.2 billion in federal money lawmakers will soon disperse across the state to fund the ongoing response to the pandemic and to restore a semblance of normalcy to public life.

► From the Seattle Times — A handful of Washington schools are rapid testing staff and students for COVID-19. Is it working? — White River, which is teaching 85% of its students in person, is among 13 Washington school districts piloting coronavirus testing on school grounds. Quick coronavirus tests are among the many tools — and one of the most expensive — that school officials are considering as they reopen school buildings.

► From the Seattle Times — Washington’s hospitals send N95 masks to 3M for testing and discover many are knockoffs — After receiving notice from 3M about the possibility that some masks were counterfeit, the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) on Friday alerted the state’s hospitals and asked them to pull potentially affected masks from their supplies.




► From — Rep. Smith applauds House passage of the National Apprenticeships Act — The House passed NAA reauthorization, which would invest in increasing access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships during a time of record unemployment left by the wake of the pandemic. “With over 10 million people out of work, now is the time to invest in the most successful workforce training programs in the country,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash., 9th). “Registered Apprenticeships provide paid, on-the-job learning opportunities and a pathway to stable, good-paying jobs which in turn will accelerate our economic recovery.”

► From Roll Call — Road Ahead: Budget markups, impeachment trial define week — The Senate is embarking on its second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump this week, focused on his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Meanwhile, Democrats are still operating on a tight timeline to finish the relief legislation through the budget reconciliation process before enhanced unemployment benefits and airline aid expires in March.

► From the Washington Post — New Biden rules for ICE point to fewer arrests and deportations, and a more restrained agency — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing to issue new guidelines to agents this week that could sharply curb arrests and deportations, as the Biden administration attempts to assert more control over an agency afforded wide latitude under Trump.

► From the Seattle Times — Trump’s election fraud falsehoods have cost taxpayers $519 million — and counting — Trump’s onslaught of falsehoods about the November election misled millions of Americans, undermined faith in the electoral system, sparked a deadly riot – and has now left taxpayers with a large, and growing, bill.

► From The Hill — Actors’ union bans Trump from being readmitted — SAG-AFTRA this weekend voted to permanently bar Donald Trump from readmittance to the union after he resigned last week.




► From Tech Crunch — Amazon workers begin historic vote to unionize — On Friday, the NLRB rejected Amazon’s attempt to delay a union vote set to begin on Monday, Feb. 8. For many, the online giant’s bid was seen as a stalling tactic, including a motion to demand votes take place in-person — a clear health risk, as the COVID-19 virus still poses a major threat in the United States and globally. “Once again Amazon workers have won another fight in their effort to win a union voice,” Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum said. “Amazon’s blatant disregard for the health and safety of its own workforce was demonstrated yet again by its insistence for an in-person election in the middle of the pandemic. Today’s decision proves that it’s long past time that Amazon start respecting its own employees; and allow them to cast their votes without intimidation and interference.”

► From HuffPost — Why Amazon insisted on an in-person union election during a raging pandemic — The retail giant says it’s worried about low participation with mail-in ballots. But experts say it’s more about delay and intimidation.




► Every day this month from the AFL-CIO — Black History Month profiles: LaTanya Cline — LaTanya Cline is a member of United Domestic Workers of America (AFSCME Local 3930). Cline is a home care provider to many individuals, including her husband, a military veteran. She is also one of the hardest-working union organizers you’ll ever meet. Whether she’s dancing and welcoming people to food distributions, door-knocking to organize home care providers or talking to voters, Cline shows up time and time again for working families and her community.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected? Get a union! Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From HuffPost — Chicago, teachers union reach tentative deal to reopen public schools — The agreement on COVID-19 safety protocols could avert a strike in the country’s third-largest school district.

► From the NY Times — The union leader who says she can get teachers back in schools — Randi Weingarten, the nation’s most powerful teachers union president, has a message: She wants to get students back in the nation’s classrooms… What she needs, she said, is just a bit more time to bring her rank and file along with her. Whether she can do so will be a major test of her own leadership, and of her ability to deliver a win for President Biden, who has said open schools are critical both for children and the economy. Still, Biden and his surrogates have shown little willingness to speak forthrightly about union recalcitrance. Teachers, Weingarten says, have good reasons to be anxious.

► From the — Beltrami to retire from Alaska AFL-CIO after 15 years — The Alaska AFL-CIO announced today that President Vince Beltrami is retiring after 15 years as the head of the state’s largest labor organization.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!