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Hazard pay for more | Dreamliner nightmare | Death, through a nurse’s eyes

Wednesday, February 24, 2021




Each day during Black History Month, the unions that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO are honoring Black leaders, past and present. Today we’re honoring Jacquie Jones-Walsh, a pillar of Washington’s labor community. Jacquie always knew “how to do, where to go, and whom to contact, and made herself available to serve, mentor, or lead,” according to Kevin Allen, a leader with CLUW, CBTU, APRI and WFSE. Jones-Walsh inspired others with her dedication to unionism and social justice. Her legacy lives on through leaders such as Andrea Vaughn who shares: “She believed in me, encouraged me and pushed me – I became Vice President of WFSE because of her.” Our movement is all the better for Jacquie Jones-Walsh’s leadership.

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► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Feb. 24 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 335,693 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 875) and 4,881 deaths.

► From Jacobin — Coronavirus is an occupational disease that spreads at work (by Justin Feldman) — For both Democratic and Republican politicians, blaming social gatherings for coronavirus’s spread is convenient. But they’ve ignored or denied the central role workplace transmission plays in driving up infections. We need to treat coronavirus as the occupational disease it is — and that means restricting the power of business owners.

TODAY at The StandSenate passes nation-leading bill to protect frontline workers — SB 5115 creates workers’ comp presumption for Washington’s essential workers who are infected with COVID-19.

► From EHS Daily Advisor — Experts urge more action, emergency OSHA standard on COVID-19 — Thirteen medical and scientific experts urged the Biden administration to take immediate actions to address SARS-CoV-2 inhalation hazards, including issuing an emergency OSHA standard. A failure to address inhalation exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts workers and the public at serious risk of infection, according to the letter.

► From Newsweek — CDC urged to recognize COVID aerosol transmission in petition signed by 10,000 — The National Nurses United and 44 other organizations and unions delivered a petition with over 10,000 signatures to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  on Tuesday to press the agency to update its official guidance on how the coronavirus is spread.

► From the Washington Post — FDA review confirms safety and efficacy of single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, especially against severe cases — The review sets the stage for a third coronavirus vaccine to be authorized as soon as this weekend.

► From Vox — The growing evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines can reduce transmission, explained — Even as we wait for more definitive studies on the vaccines’ effects on transmission, more and more scientists think we do have enough information to feel pretty good about the vaccines’ capacity to give us back a semblance of normalcy as we approach a year of life in a pandemic.

The Stand (Jan. 22) — WSLC offers COVID vaccination resource for union members




► From KIRO 7 — Union seeks hazard pay for grocery store workers across Western Washington — Though grocery store workers are receiving additional hazard pay in Seattle and Burien, their union wants all grocery store workers across Western Washington to get that pay as well. UFCW 21 held a news conference Tuesday morning announcing a campaign to make that happen. The union said while grocery stores provided hazard pay to workers for a few months during the start of the pandemic, it was cut in May. Since then, grocery stores have refused to reinstate it, though workers have “more tasks, stress, challenges, profits, and as if there weren’t a risk of getting a deadly virus,” the union said. “Every day we’re going to work and risking our lives, risking our health for very little pay or protection,” said Alycia, a clerk at a Kirkland QFC.

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!

► From the Kitsap Sun — Former Bremerton City Councilman Adam Brockus, known for Manette advocacy, dies at 54 — Adam Brockus, a former Bremerton city councilman and tireless representative of the city’s Manette neighborhood, died last week at age 54, according to family members. Brockus died on Feb. 17 from complications of a series of strokes he suffered in August while traveling to visit his family in Florida… Brockus was no stranger to Olympia, traveling there often to advocate for the ferry system or workers’ rights as a steward of the local Machinists union, IAM Local Lodge 282.

► From the PS Business Journal — Seattle Times to cut 50 jobs at Yakima Herald-Republic, sell building — The moves will result in the loss of 50 full-time and part-time jobs, according to the company.

► From Crosscut — Unemployment disrupts education for low-income WA college students — Students who depend on part-time jobs to help pay tuition and other expenses are making difficult choices during the COVID-related economic downturn.

► From the Columbian — As Vancouver’s population grows, C-Tran strives to build mass transit system




What could possibly go wrong?

► From Bloomberg — Boeing’s deepening 787 inspections point to risk of longer delay — Boeing’s hunt for the source of manufacturing flaws with its 787 Dreamliner extends deep into its supply chain, a sign the planemaker risks further delays as it works to resolve issues that have halted deliveries of the jetliner since October. The threat of worsening delays adds to the pressure on Boeing as executives try to forge a turnaround after one of the toughest years in the company’s century-long history. The planemaker’s path to generating cash over the next two years, after burning through $20 billion last year, depends on its ability to unwind more than 500 jets — mainly Dreamliners and 737 MAX models — that have stacked up in inventory.

The Stand (April 21, 2016) — Jim McNerney’s legacy at Boeing: $29 billion in unpaid 787 bills — Diamond Jim was lavishly paid as he led the company down this 787 rabbit hole. In just his final three years before bailing in July 2015, he got $80 million. For his 10 years of service, he also collects a pension worth $4 million per year for the next 15 years. Sure, the stock performed well while he was there. McNerney slashed costs and boosted profits by, among other things, cutting or eliminating pensions for everybody else. But if you are a Boeing shareholder staring down $29 billion in deferred 787 costs spread out over God-knows-how-many years, it’s Jim McNerney you have to thank. How do you like him now?

McNerney’s outsourcing-on-steroids strategy for developing the Dreamliner must have looked pretty good on the back of that Chicago country club napkin. It promised to “spread the risk” associated with development costs among suppliers across the globe. As it turned out, the parts didn’t fit together and, lacking necessary engineering expertise, some suppliers went full Radio Shack with their components. Ultimately, the 787 delays weren’t measured in months, but in years, and the billions in costs mounted.

► From the Washington Post — FAA orders fan blade inspections after pattern of engine-related failures — The FAA on Tuesday mandated fan blade inspections before some Boeing 777 jetliners are allowed to fly again, responding to a harrowing flight Saturday from Denver that fit into a pattern of Pratt & Whitney engine-related failures.




► From the House Democrats — House passes bill banning private prisons — The House said “no more” to abuses at private detention facilities in Washington state by passing HB 1090 on Tuesday with bipartisan support, 76-21. “This bill is about the conflict of interest that exists between a corporation that is beholden to its stakeholders demanding profits and detainees who are living in unacceptable conditions,” said Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), who prime-sponsored the legislation. By prohibiting persons, businesses, and state and local governments from operating or contracting with private detention facilities, this bill will effectively ban private for-profit prisons and detention centers and restrict existing facilities from renewing their contracts. Ortiz-Self said that the Northwest Immigrant Detention Center in Tacoma, the only privately owned detention center in the state, has abused the practice of solitary confinement more than any other immigration customs enforcement facility in the nation, that there have been at least thirty documented hunger strikes, and that people are continuously denied medical attention.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Inslee praises Spokane’s in-person classes after visit to Stevens Elementary School — The governor heard from politicians and principals, teachers and students about the benefits of in-person learning despite the hazards of COVID-19. In a roundtable discussion with Inslee, Adam Swinyard, the Spokane Public Schools superintendent, and Jeremy Shay, president of the Spokane Education Association, emphasized the importance of communication — “even when Jeremy called me at 7:30 on Sunday night,” Swinyard said. Shay said that mitigation “is more than distancing and masks.” He also praised the district for increasing air flow inside buildings and holding webinars for teachers. “It’s been a real partnership,” Shay said.

► From the Spokesman-Review — COVID-19 wave hits Spokane Public Schools bus drivers — Thirty-six employees at the local branch of Durham School Services, which serves Spokane Public Schools, have either tested positive recently or are awaiting a test, the company confirmed Tuesday. Some are bus drivers. The office has 180 workers at its Spokane location, which means that 1 in 5 is affected.

► From KING 5 — Seattle educators say aging buildings a concern in COVID-19 safety — A Seattle Education Association member says teachers are concerned about aging infrastructure at schools and airflow, and how it could impact COVID-19 safety.

► From the News Tribune — Tacoma teacher group plans sick-out over COVID-19 safety concerns for in-person learning — A post on Instagram Sunday by a group called Safe Return Tacoma encouraged Tacoma Public Schools employees to request a sick day, set students up with independent work and join in “mini actions” throughout the day. Safe Return Tacoma defines itself as a group of nearly 100 rank-and-file members of the Tacoma Education Association (TEA), not union leadership.




► From The Hill — Collins: Biden’s $1.9T coronavirus package won’t get any Senate GOP votes — Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) says that Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package likely won’t get any Republican votes on the Senate floor.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Republican “moderates” asked Biden to lower the $1,400 stimulus checks and he has refused.

► MUST-READ from The Hill — Americans are united against corporate greed — Biden should join the cause (by Ana Kasparian) — Biden hosted corporate executives at the White House to discuss the upcoming relief package. The gathering included a who’s who of America’s austerity fan club: JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon, Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison and U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue. (The Chamber is pushing for means testing for the $1,400 checks and to limit the extension of unemployment benefits in the relief package.) … Biden entertaining the thoughts of fabulously wealthy chief executives is egregious and unacceptable. The Democratic Party can’t expect to win future elections by simply engaging in the culture war. If Biden fails to appropriately respond to this moment of economic crisis, he will pave the way for another Trump-like demagogue who will direct Americans’ rage toward immigrants and minorities.

► From The Hill — Democrats in standoff over $15 minimum wage — The fight could escalate as soon as Wednesday, the earliest the Senate parliamentarian is expected to make a determination on whether the proposal can be included in the relief legislation under special budgetary rules planned for the package.

► From HuffPost — Republican senators propose raising minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 — “While I’m glad some Republicans in Congress are finally acknowledging $7.25 an hour isn’t a livable wage, a $2.75 an hour increase for some workers stretched out over five years just isn’t enough,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) The AFL-CIO was not impressed with the Republicans’ proposal. “What an insult to the millions of people working every day to keep this country afloat,” said a spokesperson.

► From The Hill — DeJoy set for grilling by House Oversight panel — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is set for a grilling by the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday over his leadership of the U.S. Postal Service as Democrats push President Biden to pave the way for his ouster. In recent weeks, Democrats have been urging Biden to fill the three vacancies on the Postal Service’s Board of Governors so that a new majority could vote to remove DeJoy from his position. DeJoy was a top GOP donor who ran a logistics company before becoming postmaster general in June.

► From Reuters — Republican-backed voting curbs set for U.S. Supreme Court scrutiny — The court is poised to ponder the legality of a restriction on early voting in Arizona that Republicans argue is needed to combat fraud.

► From the Washington Post — Biden to order sweeping review of U.S. supply chain weak spotsThe White House aims to avoid shortages of critical goods such as computer chips and surgical masks.

► From the Washington Post — Critics slam Sen. Ron Johnson for unfounded claim that ‘fake Trump protesters’ led riots: ‘It’s disgraceful’As senators on Tuesday worked to unpack the security failures that allowed a pro-Trump mob to storm the Capitol last month, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) offered a wholly different take on what had happened: that “agent provocateurs” and “fake Trump protesters” were to blame. Critics, including some within his party, promptly slammed Johnson over his unfounded suggestions that the Jan. 6 insurrection had been a “jovial” protest and that rioters who stormed the Capitol were not supporters of Donald Trump.

► From The Onion — Mitch McConnell presses Merrick Garland about legal philosophy on vengeance — “Now, Judge Garland, how would you feel, hypothetically speaking, about the Justice Department using its power to just absolutely wreck the life of someone who may or may not have brazenly wronged you on the public stage, say, oh, I don’t know, five or so years ago?” asked the seven-term Kentucky senator.




► From the Progressive — Multimillion-dollar ‘union avoidance’ industry faces new scrutiny — Workers unionizing with the Retail Workers and Wholesale Distribution Union at an Amazon distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama, have been met with a range of tactics to dissuade them from voting for a union, including frequent text messages, paid social media advertisements, and “classes” intended to warn them against unionization. Amazon, with more than one million employees, has hired the law firm Morgan Lewis and a Koch-backed consulting group called the Center for Independent Employees to hinder the union vote. The tactics utilized by Amazon aren’t unusual. In 2017, Boeing took out a Super Bowl ad to combat an employee union effort in Charleston, South Carolina, and the governor of Tennessee led “captive audience” meetings at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga facility in 2019.

The rise of professional “union avoidance” consultants in the 1970s created an industry that reaps hundreds of millions of dollars annually by convincing workers not to form or join unions. And it works: According to a November 2020 report by the Economic Policy Institute, the use of these tactics has been a major reason for increased difficulty organizing unions, contributing to private sector union density declining from 35.7 percent in 1953 to just 6.2 percent today… The recently reintroduced Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act includes the “Persuader Rule,” which forces employers to disclose money spent on union avoidance.

The Stand (Feb. 11) — Washington Democrats step up for workers on PRO Act — Both senators and all seven Democratic representatives sponsor labor law reform bill to build back better with unions.

► From the Washington Post — No officers indicted in death of Daniel Prude, a Black man pinned and hooded during mental crisis — Announcing Tuesday that a grand jury declined to indict, New York Attorney General Letitia James said she was disappointed in the outcome of the case that thrust Rochester, N.Y., into the national spotlight last fall, after Prude’s family released graphic footage of his arrest following a months-long legal battle to make key records public.

► From ProPublica — How Dollar Stores became magnets for crime and killing — Discount chains are thriving — while fostering violence and neglect in poor communities. The chains’ owners have done little to maintain order in the stores, which tend to be thinly staffed and exist in a state of physical disarray. In the 1970s, criminologists argued that rising crime could be partly explained by changes in the social environment that lowered the risk of getting caught. That theory gained increasing acceptance in the decades that followed. Another way of putting this is that crime is not inevitable. Robberies and killings that have taken place at dollar store chains would not have necessarily happened elsewhere.

► From the Washington Post — Net neutrality law to take effect in California after judge deals blow to telecom industryDecision could open the door for other states to pass open-Internet rules the Trump administration opposed.




► From the NY Times — Death, through a nurse’s eyes (video) — This short film allows you to experience the brutality of the pandemic from the perspective of nurses inside a COVID-19 intensive care unit. Opinion Video producer Alexander Stockton spent several days reporting at the Valleywise Medical Center in Phoenix. Two I.C.U. nurses wore cameras to show what it’s like to care for the sickest COVID patients a year into the pandemic. So many Americans have died in hospitals without family by their side, but they were not alone. Nurses brush patients’ teeth, change their catheters and hold their hands in their final moments.


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

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