Tuesday, March 2, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, March 2 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 340,708 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 828) and 4,969 deaths.
► From The Hill — 41 percent say they are not willing to receive coronavirus vaccine — Among those who said they were unwilling to get the vaccine, 66 percent said they were concerned about side effects, while another 33 percent said they did not believe it was effective. Twenty-seven percent said they were not concerned about the virus, 23 percent said it should go to more at-risk individuals and 17 percent said they had health concerns.
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 Seattle Times — Please tax my capital-gains profits: Washington’s crises demand it (by Nick Hanauer) — To imply that a tax on capital-gains profits would be paid by anyone other than a small handful of me and my superwealthy friends is a disingenuous scare tactic meant to advantage people like me over people like you. Don’t believe them… Look, nobody likes to pay taxes, especially rich people. But Washington can emerge from this crisis quickly, and better for everyone, if we finally require our richest citizens to pay taxes at a rate approaching that of the middle class. When we look at the facts, a wealth tax on extraordinary capital-gains profits is exactly what Washington’s economy needs to recover.
The Stand (Feb. 17) — Senate panel advances capital gains tax to fund child care
► From Crosscut — Private prison ban could limit ICE detention in the Pacific Northwest — The recent cancellation of ICE contracts and possible action from the Washington state Legislature could curtail detention in the near future.
► From the Senate Democrats — Senate passes Saldaña’s HEAL Act to ensure environmental justice — Legislation passed Monday by the Senate would reduce environmental health disparities in Washington state and improve the health of all people in Washington using principles of environmental justice.
► From the Seattle Times — State lawmakers advance bills to ban police use of chokeholds and neck restraints, collect use-of-force data — The state Senate on Monday approved a bill to begin requiring law enforcement agencies around the state to report details when officers use force against citizens. On Saturday, House legislators approved a bill to ban police from using chokeholds, neck restraints and “no-knock” warrants.
► From the Olympian — Here are 5 police reform bills that Washington state families are watching — As state lawmakers debate and vote on law enforcement reforms in Washington state, family members who have lost loved ones to police violence watch with optimism and concern.
► From the Columbian — Police reform complex, necessary undertaking (editorial)
► From the Herald — Training, support must follow policing mandates (editorial)
► From the News Tribune — Tri-Cities legislator wants to end WA state voting by mail — Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) said he has a “reasonable suspicion” there is widespread fraud, although he did not have a specific example of fraud… Klippert was joined by five other Republicans as co-sponsors, Reps. Rob Chase, Robert Sutherland, Jesse Young, Tom Dent and Jim Walsh.
EDITOR’S NOTE — As the Republican Secretary of State and countless GOP county auditors assure us, there is no widespread fraud. The handful of cases where people have attempted to vote twice have been rooted out and prosecuted. The only thing that’s changed in the many years that Washington has successfully conducted elections by mail is that Donald Trump doesn’t like it.
► From the Seattle Times — Speed up vaccines for teachers, Seattle lawmakers urge Inslee and Durkan — To bridge a school-reopening impasse between Seattle Public Schools and its teachers union, several state lawmakers are lobbying Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to create vaccine clinics on school sites for educators, and fast-track their timeline to receive doses. On Monday evening, Inslee gave no indication that he would change the state’s eligibility requirements to move teachers higher up the priority list.
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle teachers union files unfair labor practice complaints against school district — The Seattle Education Association union has filed unfair labor practice complaints against Seattle Public Schools for actions the district took late last week to bring some educators back to classrooms before the two sides had reached an agreement on reopening school buildings after months of remote learning because of the coronavirus pandemic.
► From the Seattle Times — COVID and squalor threaten tribal members living in once-abundant Indian fishing sites along Columbia River — The encampments are overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary, with entire communities relying on a single water source, and people living in makeshift shacks and broken-down trailers replete with fire, structural and health risks.
► From the Kitsap Sun — St. Michael Medical Center fined $17K for safety violations during COVID-19 outbreak — L&I cited the hospital for six violations, including a lack of barriers to ensure social distancing and issues with respirator protocols.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane City Council unanimously backs labor deal with Police Guild after years of delay
► From the News Tribune — Tacoma teacher investigated for alleged affiliation with Proud Boys to resign, records show
► From the PS Business Journal — United boosts Boeing 737 MAX program with latest order, faster deliveries — United Airlines said Monday it has ordered 25 of Boeing’s 737 Max single-aisle jets and accelerated deliveries of 45 prior Max orders, moves that offer a major confidence boost for Boeing’s Renton program.
► From the NY Times — Amazon workers’ union drive reaches far beyond Alabama — A vote on whether to form a union at the e-commerce giant’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., has become a labor showdown, drawing the attention of N.F.L. players, and the White House.
EDITOR’S NOTE — ICYMI…
Workers in Alabama – and all across America – are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace. It’s a vitally important choice – one that should be made without intimidation or threats by employers.
Every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union. pic.twitter.com/2lzbyyii1g
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 1, 2021
► From the NY Times — Biden is saying things Amazon doesn’t want to hear (by Jamelle Bouie) — Biden is not the first president to speak in support of unions, but he may be the first to speak so publicly — and so directly — in their favor (certainly since Harry Truman). The words themselves are ordinary, but the context, an American president speaking in support of the most high profile organizing drive in the country, makes them extraordinary. And that, in turn, raises expectations for what Biden can and should accomplish as president on behalf of the labor movement.
► From the AFL-CIO — Following White House statement on Amazon, AFL-CIO urges passage of PRO Act — “President Biden campaigned on a promise to be a friend to the labor movement. He has proven he’s willing to speak out and stand with us. Now it’s time to follow words with action. In order to convert the spirit of the president’s message into the letter of the law, we must pass the PRO Act.”
The Stand (Feb. 11) — Washington Democrats step up for workers on PRO Act — Both of Washington’s U.S. senators and all seven Democratic representatives are sponsoring the bill to build back better with unions.
► From The Hill — Senate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill — A group of Democrats met with President Biden on Monday to talk about the path forward on the legislation, which is expected to come to a vote on the Senate floor in a matter of days.
► From The Hill — Sanders vows to force vote on $15 minimum wage — Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says Democrats should “ignore” the recent ruling of the Senate parliamentarian and is vowing to force the Senate to vote this week on an amendment to set the federal minimum wage at $15 an hour.
► From Politico — GOP may hold keys to Democrats’ long-sought minimum wage hike — Dems have batted away a GOP proposal to raise the wage to $10 an hour and enact stricter immigration vetting requirements for employers.
► From the NY Times — After stimulus, Biden to tackle another politically tricky issue: Infrastructure — Strengthening the country’s highways, bridges and broadband networks has broad popular support, but Washington remains bitterly divided on the details… AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who joined other labor leaders in a meeting in February to discuss infrastructure with Biden, said a big, bold infrastructure bill was “a racial justice bill, a COVID safety bill and the most important climate bill of all time, all in one.”
ALSO today at The Stand — Invest in infrastructure and Buy American! — Show your support for a bold infrastructure investment that is Made in America.
► From Politico — Census data snafu upends 2022 elections — A six-month delay in releasing redistricting data to is set to delay primaries and blow deadlines for new maps in some states.
► From The Guardian — ‘I don’t have money for food’: Millions of unemployed in U.S. left without benefits — Like millions of other Americans who have seen their work dry up as the virus has spread, Stephanie Gaither has fallen through the huge holes in the unemployment benefits system. Her unemployment benefits expired in December 2020 and she has waited several weeks without any benefits while caring for her children who are currently learning remotely.
► From the Washington Post — ‘It just sucks’: America’s jobless owe thousands of dollars in taxes on their unemployment — Unemployment compensation is taxable. Many are just figuring this out as they sit down to do their 2020 taxes, even though they remain out of work.
► From Politico — LA teachers union slams California schools plan as ‘propagating structural racism’ — California’s largest local teachers union on Monday slammed the state’s new school reopening plan as “a recipe for propagating structural racism” hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers unveiled their compromise proposal.
► From the AP — Georgia House passes GOP bill rolling back voting access — Republican lawmakers in Georgia muscled legislation through the state House on Monday that would roll back voting access, over the objection of Democrats and civil rights groups gathered at the Capitol to protest.
► From the AFL-CIO — Women’s History Month profiles: Joelle Hall — Recently elected as the president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, Joelle Hall (UFCW) is the first woman to hold the office since the state federation was chartered in 1943. She previously served as director of operations and has spent more than 20 years shaping Alaskan politics. She has a well-deserved reputation for bipartisan coalition building and the utmost dedication to the principles of the labor movement
► From the LA Times — Grocery workers deserve ‘hero pay.’ Kroger shouldn’t close stores to avoid paying it. (by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Calif. state Rep. Anthony Rendon) — The need for hero pay is undeniable, and the data proves it: A Harvard University study found that one in five grocery workers tested positive for COVID-19 — and workers who interact with customers are five times as likely to test positive… Long Beach’s hero pay ordinance was the first of its kind in the country aimed specifically at frontline essential grocery and food retail workers… Instead of protecting the frontline employees who keep their stores running, Kroger Co., the grocery giant behind Ralphs and Food 4 Less, has decided to strike back. The company is shuttering two stores in Long Beach and, in turn, creating food deserts in the city’s poorest neighborhood.
Instead of putting workers and communities at risk, corporate grocers like Kroger should use their economic power to prove that profits and worker safety are not mutually exclusive. Making it safely through this pandemic requires every one of us to do the right thing by coming together, supporting one another and, above all, protecting those at risk. We urge Kroger Co. to find their courage and join us.
► From UFCW 21 — QFC CAN’T BULLY US — Frontline grocery workers at our QFC stores are heroes – coming to work every day to help feed our families. QFC workers put themselves, and their own families at risk of COVID, so they can help the rest of us. They need hazard pay. But Rodney McMullen, CEO of QFC’s parent company Kroger, doesn’t want to give our community’s heroes temporary raises. So he’s trying to bully and intimidate us. First, McMullen tries to threaten workers by closing stores in Seattle and Long Beach. Then he sues taxpayers and communities – like Seattle and Burien – just for trying to help QFC workers with hazard pay laws. Then he pays himself $21 million per year, 789 times what a median employee makes.
TAKE A STAND — Sign the petition to stand up against the bullying of QFC grocery workers.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.