Thursday, February 11, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Feb. 11 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 324,706 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,379) and 4,603 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 12)
► From KUOW — Kent postal workers struggle with COVID-19 outbreak — Noel Pascual works at a postal facility in Kent. Currently, he’s at home sick recovering from COVID-19, still struggling with headaches, but his sense of taste and smell is finally back. He’s one of 40 people who have tested positive for the virus recently, according to union officials from the NPMHU and APWU.
► From My Northwest — Postal workers push for vaccine after outbreak in Kent
► From The Hill — Double masking works, says CDC study — Wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask can significantly decrease the spread of COVID-19, according to a new study released by the CDC. The agency updated its guidance to note that double masking or wearing a tightly fitted surgical mask are two of the best ways to boost protection against exposure.
► From The Guardian — U.S. could have averted 40% of COVID deaths, says panel examining Trump’s policies — The country began the pandemic with a degraded public health infrastructure, leading to more deaths than other high-income countries. Almost 470,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus so far, with the number widely expected to go above half a million in the next few weeks.
► From UFCW 21 — UFCW 21, PCC reach agreement on COVID safety and hazard pay — After intense pressure from workers, shoppers, and community through petitions, leaflets, and other action we have finally reached an agreement with PCC on hazard pay for all stores outside of Seattle and Burien! PCC agrees to extend $4 per hour hazard pay to all PCC workers in all stores through June, 5, 2021, expanding on the Hazard Pay ordinances won by UFCW 21 workers in Seattle and Burien. The agreement provides for Quarantine Pay for workers who get diagnosed with COVID 19 as well as other safety provisions. PCC will begin a curbside pickup program that captures work for union members instead of giving it away to the gig economy.
► From the PSBJ — PCC agrees with grocery union on companywide ‘hazard pay’
► From Oregon Public Broadcasting — Police say deputies wrestled with Jenoah Donald before shooting — Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped Jenoah Donald on Feb. 4 for a broken tail light, before the situation escalated into a physical struggle that ended when one deputy, Sean Boyle, fired his gun twice, striking Donald once. That’s according to a Wednesday update from investigators, offering the first detailed account from law enforcement on the shooting. Donald remains on life support. The update provides, so far, the only details of the shooting. There have been no other witnesses identified to have seen the traffic stop. Neither the Vancouver Police Department, nor the Clark County Sheriff’s Office use body-worn cameras or dashboard cameras… A lawyer for Donald’s family responded to the update saying the new accounts show an unlawful use of deadly force. “The officer should be arrested and held accountable,” attorney Lara Herrmann said. “After a six-day silence, they’re admitting Jenoah had no gun, no weapon, and posed no serious threat to the three officers.”
► From the Seattle Times — Tim Eyman violated campaign finance law, judge rules, is barred from controlling political committees — Tim Eyman, who for two decades has been Washington state’s most prolific conservative activist and political provocateur, committed “numerous and particularly egregious” violations of campaign finance law, a judge ruled Wednesday, as he barred Eyman from controlling the finances of political committees in the future. “Mr. Eyman’s violations had a significant and material impact on the public,” Judge James Dixon ruled. “Mr. Eyman has personally benefited economically from these allegations.” Dixon barred Eyman from “managing, controlling, negotiating, or directing financial transactions” for any kind of political committee, and issued a fine of more than $2.6 million.
► From the AP — Legislature approves $2.2 billion in coronavirus relief — A bill that allocates $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding was approved by the Legislature on Wednesday and now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. Under the bill, $668 million will be allocated to schools as they move toward welcoming students back to the classroom. An additional $618 million will go to vaccine administration, contact tracing and testing, and $365 million will go toward rental assistance to help renters and landlords affected by the pandemic.
► From My Northwest — House bill seeks reforms for Employment Security Department — HB 1487 seeks to reform certain policies at the ESD in the hopes of fixing some of the department’s difficulties from over the last year, including the backlog of people waiting on claims, and the inability for many to get through over the phone or internet to adjudicators.
► From KNKX — State lawmakers consider backfilling school district budgets after enrollment declines — Public school enrollment is down as some families decided not to enroll their kindergartners because of remote learning, and others have switched to private schools or home schooling. Because state education funding is calculated based on the number of students, many districts are now facing budget deficits. State lawmakers are considering a bill to send more money to school districts that have seen a drop in enrollment during the pandemic.
► From the Tri-City Herald — State House passes three policing-related bills Wednesday — “The bills that we passed of the House floor today are an important prelude to the more substantive measures that are on their way to the House floor,” said Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), who chairs the House Public Safety Committee.
► From the Washington Post — House impeachment managers emphasize the danger to Pence and other top officials in harrowing retelling of Jan. 6 attack — House impeachment managers on Wednesday led a rapt U.S. Senate on a harrowing retelling of the terror that engulfed the Capitol last month, sharing shocking new audio and video recordings of rioters declaring their intent to harm Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials — and showing how close they came to doing so.
► From the NY Times — ‘We have to relive it’: Images revive painful memories in Senate — The nation’s most powerful lawmakers became a captive audience at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, as video footage forced them to absorb the enormity of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
► From Politico — Trump on path to acquittal despite stunning evidence — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) engineered a strategy that put all but six GOP senators on the record saying Trump’s impeachment trial is unconstitutional.
► From the Washington Post — Republican senators show emotion, but little evidence of changed minds
► From the Washington Post — State and local GOP committees attack any Republicans who dare turn on Trump — Since Trump left office, grass-roots Republican activists and state parties have become his vociferous defenders, condemning and censuring elected Republicans who dare to deviate in any way from full-throated support of the former president. That has created a backlash of its own, as some Republicans — even some who eventually may oppose impeachment — are pushing back against local leadership.
► From the Washington Post — Trump’s trial has crystallized the horror of Jan. 6. The Senate must convict him. (editorial) — Senators will bring disgrace upon their chamber if they fail to hold the former president accountable. No reasonable listener this week could fail to find him culpable for the Capitol assault. If the Senate fails to convict, Democrats should challenge Republicans’ constitutional dodge by introducing a censure resolution spelling out Trump’s responsibility for inciting an insurrection. Each senator should be obliged to go on the record to condemn or condone a president’s unprecedented assault on U.S. democracy.
► From the AIA — Aerospace workers, industry coalition applaud jobs protection provision in FY21 Omnibus Reconciliation Act — The provision would provide a federal cost-share program to retain aerospace workers who are at risk of being furloughed and recall workers who were furloughed due to the drastic reduction in air travel since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As many as 5,550 businesses and 130,000 workers could benefit from this assistance. “Machinists Union members are the most skilled and dedicated aerospace and defense workers in the world,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We must do everything we can to preserve such a critical workforce through this crisis and be ready for growth when it passes. As the largest aerospace and defense union in North America, we applaud Reps. Larsen and Estes, Sens. Cantwell and Moran, and others who are championing this bipartisan, worker-first and desperately needed legislation.”
► From the Seattle Times — Analysts divided over U.S. aviation prospects — and worried about Boeing’s future in the Pacific Northwest — Speakers at a major local aviation suppliers conference Wednesday were sharply divided over how quickly the aerospace industry can climb out of the depths of the current pandemic-driven downturn. And whatever the pace of recovery from the impact of COVID-19, one analyst outlined a bleak future for Washington state aerospace if Boeing decides to build its next new airplane elsewhere.
The Stand (Sept. 13, 2018) — Washington ranked #1 (again) for aerospace manufacturing
► From Politico — Biden under pressure to go nuclear to get minimum wage hike — Progressives, union leaders and activists are demanding that the Biden administration use every tool available to make sure its massive coronavirus relief package includes an increase in the minimum wage. Biden’s team is leaning heavily against the idea of having Vice President Kamala Harris use her powers as president of the Senate to keep the minimum wage provision inside the relief package.
► From the NY Times — The evidence for a $15 minimum wage (interactive)
► From the Washington Post — Affordable Care Act subsidies likely to increase under congressional plan — Federal assistance in affording health insurance would expand for the first time in more than a decade under plans Congress is considering to provide relief to Americans harmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
► From the NY Times — Biden administration urges Supreme Court to uphold Affordable Care Act — In a letter to the court in a pending case, the Justice Department disavowed the Trump administration’s challenge to the law.
► From Vox — Charging patients just $10 more for medications leads to more deaths — The economic argument for eliminating out-of-pocket costs, in one new study.
► From CNN — Tensions high at Amazon warehouse as milestone union vote gets underway — On their way to and from the sprawling warehouse facility in Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon workers see union representatives holding signs encouraging them to vote “yes” for a union. But inside the facility, workers have frequently been pulled into meetings informing them of Amazon’s stance that a union is an unnecessary expense. Even when they sit on the toilet, they see anti-union signage on the bathroom stall. For weeks, tension has been building at this warehouse in a small town in central Alabama ahead of a milestone vote, beginning this week, on whether to form what would be the first U.S. union in Amazon’s nearly 27-year history.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Hey, Amazon wareh–, ahem, fulfillment center workers in Washington state. Are you feeling fulfilled about your working conditions and pay? If you think you deserve better, you are not alone. Get 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 — Maine hospital brought anti-union consultants from out of state and vaccinated them — The nurses union and the governor called the decision an insult to front-line workers and residents waiting for shots.
► From the Midland R-T — Union again hits Kroger over vaccines as cases in Houston spike — Around 500 Houston-area Kroger workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since Christmas, according to the UFCW, which said in a Tuesday news conference the time had come for grocery workers to move up the vaccine priority list.
► From the AP — Autoworkers face dimmer future in a new era of electric cars — It won’t happen overnight. But the likelihood is growing that legions of autoworkers who trained and worked for decades to build machines that run on petroleum will need to do rather different work in the next decade — or they might not have jobs.
► From the NY Times — Reddit is America’s unofficial unemployment hotline — Faced with a seemingly impenetrable bureaucracy between them and a financial lifeline, many have turned to what seems like the only place left to go for help — the internet. As unemployment claims shot up early in the pandemic, so did posts on r/Unemployment, one of the many topic-based forums on the site known as subreddits.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand is off Friday, but we’ll be back on Monday (Presidents Day).
For some reason, Phil Collins was trending this morning on Twitter. That’s a good enough reason as any to share this great Genesis song. And by the way, perhaps the most unexpected thing you should know about Phil Collins is that, like Pee Wee Herman, he was obsessed with the Alamo. Over the years, Collins collected $100 million worth of Alamo memorabilia that he later donated to the historic tourist attraction in San Antonio, Texas. And thus, the legendary English drummer, singer, songwriter and record producer became an honorary “Texan.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.