Wednesday, February 10, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Feb. 10 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 324,025 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,447) and 4,558 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 11)
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle ranks 2nd for willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — The Seattle area ranks second among major metro areas for our willingness to receive the vaccine, according to new survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Among those of us who have not yet been vaccinated, 68% in the Seattle metro area said they are definitely planning to get the vaccine when it’s finally their turn.
The Stand (Jan. 22) — WSLC offers COVID vaccination resource for union members — Website and workshop focus on protecting members by educating them about vaccination.
► From the Washington Post — How a sluggish vaccination program could delay a return to normal and invite vaccine-resistant variants to emerge (interactive) — Experts warn that the current pace of vaccinations won’t just prolong coronavirus restrictions. It could also make it more likely that new variants will infect the previously immune.
► From the Columbian — Investigators ID three Clark County deputies involved in Hazel Dell shooting — Jenoah Donald, a 30-year-old Black man, was shot last Thursday night less than a mile from where Clark County deputies fatally shot Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old Black man, about three months ago. Donald’s family says he remains in an intensive care unit and that doctors have told his mother that there is nothing more they can do to save his life.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It has been SIX DAYS since this man was shot and the Vancouver Police Department, which is handling the release of information and leading the investigation into the shooting, has yet to explain to Jenoah Donald’s family, or the public, why he was shot. Attorney Lara Herrmann said a mother shouldn’t have to wait this long to hear why police shot her son. “Neither should the public. When law enforcement leaves people in the dark, it looks like they’re circling the wagons,” Herrmann said.
► From the PS Business Journal — PCC closes in on deal to give temporary pay boost to all its union workers — PCC Community Markets and UFCW 21 are “close” to negotiating a contract that would increase pay for all of the grocery chain’s union workers, including those outside of Seattle. The negotiations, which will resume on Wednesday, come as the UFCW called Tuesday for U.S. local and federal governments to give higher priority in vaccine rollouts and increased pay to its members. Seattle’s “hazard pay” bill went into effect last week.
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!
► Meanwhile from UFCW 21 — Fred Meyer QFC bargaining update — “Today, we offered Fred Meyer & QFC multiple opportunities to work with us to improve safety and provide fair compensation. They showed us again that we must stand together and fight for what we need and deserve.” — Fred Meyer and QFC Bargaining Team (UFCW 21 and Teamsters 38)
► From the Kitsap Sun — A week after opening, Woodward Middle School closes as two COVID-19 cases are identified. — The Bainbridge Island school will remain closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the week following the announcements of a pair of COVID-19 cases associated with the school.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Lawsuit: Boeing board let CEO mislead on 737 MAX crash causes — Boeing directors, including current CEO David Calhoun, lied about the company’s oversight of its 737 MAX 8 airliner and participated in a misleading public-relations campaign following two fatal crashes involving the plane, shareholders claim. The board ignored red flags about the 737 MAX, didn’t develop its own tools to evaluate safety and didn’t properly hold former CEO Dennis Muilenburg accountable for launching a lobbying and public-relations effort to push back against criticism of the plane’s design flaws, according to recently unsealed court filings. Directors continued to act in bad faith when they decided against firing Muilenburg in a way that would deny him $38 million in stock benefits, according to court filings.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Among the Boeing directors who are part of this lawsuit is former SC Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who many believe is eyeing a White House run in 2024. Haley resigned from the board in March 2020, not because of the 737 MAX scandals and alleged lack of proper board oversight that have helped decimate the company, but because Boeing requested federal assistance to weather the COVID-19 crisis.
► From the AP — Boeing lands few orders but delivers 26 MAX jets to airlines — However, the company again failed to deliver any of its larger 787 twin-aisle jets.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Voters overwhelmingly approve Spokane Public Schools levy — Despite the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, support for Spokane Public Schools remains solid. On Tuesday night, almost 64% of voters approved a three-year, $221.6 million replacement levy that the district says will fill gaps not covered by the state.
EDITOR’S NOTE — There is lots more coverage of local school levies, most of them passing, today as voters step up to fund schools even during the COVID-19 recession. Check your local newspaper for results in your community.
► From the (Longview) Daily News — Port of Kalama, NWIW appeal Ecology’s methanol permit denial — The Port of Kalama and Northwest Innovation Works Tuesday appealed the state Department of Ecology’s denial of a key permit for the proposed $2.3 billion Kalama methanol plant, stating the agency unlawfully applied the shoreline criteria to the project.
► From The Stranger — GOP senators flip out after journalists ask questions about Joe Fain’s appointment — In an open letter published on Tuesday, the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington (NWPC-WA) and some sexual assault organizations called on former State Senator Joe Fain to resign from his position on Washington’s five-person redistricting commission, which is charged with the politically fraught task of redrawing the state’s Congressional and Legislative District lines to account for population changes. In a joint statement, Grist CEO Brady Walkinshaw and Washington State Labor Council secretary-treasurer April Sims — the two people Democrats appointed to the commission — said they “share the concerns set out in the letter and we’ll seek measures to improve safety and provide accountability.”
SEE MORE coverage of the Fain controversy today at Crosscut.
The Stand (Dec. 10) — WSLC’s April Sims appointed to State Redistricting Commission
► From the News Tribune — Washington health insurers ordered to open a special 3-month enrollment period — Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order directing state-regulated health insurers to open a special enrollment from Feb. 15 through May 15 for people who are uninsured.
► From the News Tribune — Thugs harassing Washington state election workers? Unacceptable. Maybe this will help (editorial) — Here in Washington, the state elections director was targeted alongside dozens of peers from other states. An “enemies of the people” website featured her name, address and a photo with a crosshairs printed on her face, along with a countdown clock and a clear threat: “Your days are numbered.” SB 5148, heard by a Senate committee Monday, would make it a felony to knowingly harass election workers, putting them at reasonable fear of harm in the performance of their duties. It would offer peace of mind to staffers in the Secretary of State’s office and county auditors’ offices, whether full time or part time.
► From the Washington Post — Senate votes to pursue Trump impeachment trial after declaring the proceedings constitutional — The Senate voted along mostly partisan lines Tuesday to pursue Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, after hours of arguments and the airing of a gripping documentary of the deadly Capitol riot that followed Trump’s inflammatory rally on Jan. 6. Aided by the graphic 13-minute video that spliced violent images of the Capitol siege with Trump’s rhetoric, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) and other impeachment managers delivered an impassioned account of the physical and emotional trauma to lawmakers, police, staffers and local residents. They said there was no “January exception” in the Constitution — meaning that a president couldn’t escape accountability through impeachment just because he had left office before the trial.
► From the Washington Post — Jamie Raskin told us how to think about Jan. 6. Then he showed us how to feel about it. (by Monica Hesse) — The correct political response to what America saw on Jan. 6 is to impeach the man responsible. The correct human response is something between a gasp and a sob, followed by a vow — to your children, to your loved ones, to your countrymen, to your country — that you are going to do your best to make it so that next time, they’ll be safe.
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) February 10, 2021
► From KUOW — Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler defends impeachment vote amid backlash — Herrera Beutler (R-Wash., 3rd) said she believes Trump provoked the attack, pointing to his speech earlier that day, which included lines like, “You’re never going to take back our country with weakness.”
► From the Seattle Times — A local Republican made the strongest case yet for Trump’s impeachment, but is anybody listening? (by Danny Westneat) — Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash., 4th) says Trump’s words on Jan. 6 weren’t the main point for him anyway. It’s what Trump did after the riot started. Mostly what he didn’t do. “Many members of Congress were trying to communicate with him, and ask him for help,” Newhouse related. “Only he, I think, had the power to be able to quell the siege that was happening, as people’s lives were being threatened, as people’s lives were being lost. He didn’t do that… So I think that all this inaction, it was just as egregious as the actions … We had a domestic enemy at the door, and he did not respond.”
► From the Washington Post — Republicans will exonerate Trump, but they can’t ignore the horrors (by Dana Milbank) — In the end, they will vote to exonerate Donald Trump for inciting last month’s deadly attack on the Capitol. But first, Trump’s Republican defenders in the Senate will be made to relive the horrors he and his bloodthirsty insurrectionists inflicted. In the Senate chamber, several of Trump’s fiercest defenders didn’t watch the video Raskin played of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Rick Scott and Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) were suddenly immersed in paperwork. They could avert their gaze, but could they shut their ears to the bloodcurdling shouts and chants of the mob as they rampaged through the seat of American democracy?
► From the Washington Post — A majority of the people arrested for Capitol riot had a history of financial trouble — Trail of bankruptcies, tax problems and bad debts raises questions for researchers trying to understand motivations for attack.
► From the Financial Times — Amazon must not interfere with union effort, say investors — Amazon should stop interfering with efforts by its workers to unionize ahead of a pivotal vote in Alabama, said a group of more than 70 of its investors. Mail-in balloting began this week among more than 5,800 employees in Bessemer, Ala., workers to vote for union representation, but the company has waged an anti-union campaign through posters, flurries of text messages and compulsory meetings during working hours. The Amazon investors, led by the Swedish groups Folksam and Ohman Fonder, collectively control more than $20 billion in shares. They called upon Amazon to end its union-busting and remain “neutral.” They added that Amazon appears to be going against the tenor of its own Global Human Rights Principles, published on the company’s website, which states it respected “employees’ right to join, form, or not to join a labor union or other lawful organization of their own selection, without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or harassment.”
► From KTVH — Montana Legislature considers ‘right to work,’ anti-union bills — Bills making it harder for labor unions to collect dues or fees have been defeated in Montana for many years, by organized labor and its allies. But this year, with Republicans firmly in control of the Legislature and the governor’s office for the first time in almost two decades, right-to-work supporters and foes of unions are hoping for a different outcome.
TODAY at The Stand — New study: ‘Right to Work’ states underperform in multiple areas
► From WWJ — Bills introduced to repeal Michigan’s controversial ‘right to work’ laws — Legislation introduced in the Michigan House on Tuesday would repeal the Right to Work bill, and restore worker protections to pre-2012 levels for private and public sector workers.
► From the American Independent — These House bills could make life better for millions of U.S. workers — Among them are the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage in annual increments from $9.50 to $15 an hour by 2025; the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would protect workers’ rights to organize, join a union, and collectively bargain “for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces;” and the National Apprentice Act of 2021 that aims to create nearly 1 million apprenticeship opportunities.
The Stand (Feb. 4) — WSLC applauds introduction of PRO Act in Congress
► From The Hill — Momentum is growing towards investing in America’s crumbling infrastructure (by Chris Spear and Rep. Earl Blumenauer) — With the amount of division our country has witnessed in recent months, infrastructure investment may be the one issue that can help unify our nation, with the promise of better roads, less congestion and job creation, reaching every corner of America. We have the experience, we have the coalition, and we have the policies, we only need Congress to provide the political courage to reinvest in America for decades to come.
The Stand (Jan. 29) — How we can build back a better Washington state
► From the AP — Teachers union approves deal with Chicago schools to return to class — The deal follows months of negotiations with plans that include teacher vaccinations and metrics to allow school closures when COVID-19 infections spike.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.