Tuesday, March 9, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, March 9 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 345,731 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 775) and 5,063 deaths.
► From the Seattle Times — If you’ve gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, here’s what you can do now under CDC’s new guidance — Among other things, you can visit with other fully vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physical distancing.
► From the Seattle Times — Washington is the best state for the second year in a row. Obviously! — U.S. News & World Report has named Washington the best state in the union for the second time in a row — the only state to be so named twice — and unapologetically identifying the worst. the rankings were drawn from government and proprietary data covering more than 70 metrics and weighted to what the publication said matters most to people: health care, education, the economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime, corrections and a state’s natural environment.
► From the Senate Democrats — Senate passes Stanford bill to extend unemployment during pandemic — Washingtonians would have greater access to extended unemployment benefits during times of high unemployment, under SB 5425, sponsored by Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), which passed by a strong bipartisan majority in the Senate.
► From the Columbian — Clark College president focuses on equity — Clark College first-year President Karin Edwards spoke on advancing racial equity in higher education, continuing budget challenges facing the college and how the school has responded to COVID-19 in her virtual State of the College Address.
ALSO today at The Stand — Senate OKs bill to improve CTC faculty diversity, retention
► From the Seattle Times — How the fracture in Republican Party could affect Southwest Washington — When U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash., 3rd) voted to impeach Trump, a crack between the two wings of the Republican party in the district widened into a chasm.
► From the News Tribune — MultiCare fined again for COVID-19 safety violations, this time at Puyallup hospital — Another medical facility within the MultiCare system has received a citation and fine from the state Department of L&I for multiple COVID-19 safety violations. MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup was issued a citation and notice of assessment Feb. 19. The violations were same in kind and number to those issued in February to a MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care clinic in Puyallup.
TODAY at The Stand — MultiCare docs plan pickets in Puyallup (3/16), Tacoma (3/17)
The Stand (Nov. 30, 2020) — MultiCare Indigo docs in region strike for safer conditions
► From KING 5 — Seattle teachers, district spar over safety, days before classrooms set to reopen — In negotiations that have been acrimonious, the Seattle teacher’s union provided a glimmer of hope Monday that younger Seattle Public Schools students could soon return to class.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
► From KOIN — Oregon union workers want Rep. Schrader’s support on PRO Act — Dozens of union members demonstrated outside U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader’s office in Oregon City on Monday, insisting he vote in favor of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and the American Rescue Plan. When the House first voted on the American Rescue Plan on Feb. 26 – President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package intended to provide aid during the ongoing pandemic and recession – Schrader was one of only two Democratic congress members who voted against it.
► From the NY Times — In Biden, labor leaders see a president who ‘is not playing’ — As the Biden administration kicks into gear, it is putting organized labor at the heart of its push to rebuild the economy to a greater degree than any president — Democrat or Republican — in well over half a century. The administration has indicated that a sweeping infrastructure bill is likely to be its next major focus, after Biden signs the $1.9 trillion relief package that appears on its way to passage in Congress. The president has repeatedly said that “good-paying union jobs” will be at the core of his infrastructure plan, a commitment that he reiterated during his meeting with labor leaders last month. He has also thrown his support behind the PRO Act, which would represent the most comprehensive piece of federal labor reform in a century.
► From the Washington Post — Now is the time to restore the power of labor (by Katrina vanden Heuvel) — For more than 40 years, America’s unions have endured body blow after body blow, inflicted by Republicans and abetted by the neglect of pro-corporate Democrats. But now, the tide is turning. The House is set to pass, for a second time, the Protecting the Right to Organize (Pro) Act, which would dramatically strengthen unions. President Biden, the most pro-union chief executive in recent history, issued an extraordinary message in support of workers in Bessemer, Ala., attempting to unionize a large Amazon warehouse. Polls show that young people strongly support strengthening unions. And a diverse new generation of labor leaders is forming coalitions to fight back against anti-union campaigns.
► From Politico — Dems ready to leap on Biden’s $1.9T COVID aid plan as final vote nears — Democrats are readying a final vote on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package as soon as Tuesday, executing on the measure in less than eight weeks — and making a political bet on mammoth federal spending to boost the economy. They will do so without a single Republican vote.
► From the Hill — Frustrated progressives on relief package: ‘We’ll take the win’ — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash., 7th), the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Monday that she didn’t think the changes pursued by Senate centrists were “good policy or good politics,” but minimized them as “relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.”
► From the News Tribune — When will your $1,400 stimulus check arrive?
► From HuffPost — Georgia Senate passes sweeping bill that attacks voting rights — The legislation, which would end no-excuse absentee voting and establish voter ID requirements, is the latest Republican effort to suppress the vote.
The Stand (March 4) — AFL-CIO hails voting rights bill, urges swift Senate action
► From The Hill — Sen. Blunt’s retirement deals blow to McConnell inner circle
► From NPR — ‘Why us?’: A year after being laid off, millions are still unemployed — While the labor market is showing signs of recovery, millions who lost jobs at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic a year ago are still out of the labor force. According to the monthly jobs report released on Friday, in February more than 4 million people had been unemployed for six months or more, a surge of 3 million over the past year. Those who are long-term unemployed accounted for 41% of all unemployed people in the United States — levels not seen since the height of the Great Recession.
► From the NY Times — A year later, who is back to work and who is not? — Significantly fewer Black and Hispanic women are working now than any other demographic, according to the latest government data — and women are lagging behind men across race and ethnicity.
► From Patch — Trumka: Nothing provides financial stability like a union card — “There is nothing that restores your dignity, nothing that pulls you back into the workforce, nothing that amplifies your voice in the workplace, nothing that provides financial stability like a union card,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the American Legion’s Conference. “It is a key to a world-class apprenticeship. To good wages. To a sound retirement. To solidarity. To equality.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Want financial stability? 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! Bonus: it will make you cool…
► From Vice — Unions are cool now (by Katie Way) — We’re calling it now: 2021’s hottest trend is being pro-union. Don’t believe me? Ask any of 17.1 million people who watched Meghan Markle drop a very special shout out into her exclusive, tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey about the pain she suffered as a working member of the British Royal family: “At my old job, there was a union and they would protect me,” Markle said. By referencing her time as a union member, Markle neatly and casually illustrated the primary reason unions exist: to support workers when their employers fail to do so — a fantastic piece of advertising for her former union, the SAG-AFTRA.
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) March 8, 2021
► From the Washington Post — Amazon fights aggressively to defeat union drive in Alabama, fearing a coming wave — Amazon’s relentless push to beat back a union drive among warehouse workers mirrors the company’s past efforts to oppose unions in Seattle, New York, Canada and the United Kingdom.
► From Jacobin — Amazon’s anti-union activities should all be illegal (by Gabrielle Semel) — In the ongoing union drive in Bessemer, Ala., Amazon is playing a massive role in influencing the outcome of the election. This should be a crime — bosses should be legally prohibited from interfering with their workers’ union organizing… Unions are organizations of workers; they alone should decide. In no other arena does the entity being organized against get to decide who can be in the group fighting them. If you buy a used car that is a lemon and discover the dealer has done the same thing to others, you can create a group to protest the dealer’s practices without the dealer getting to say who can join. In sports, a team does not get a voice in deciding their opponent’s roster or strategy. The Democrats don’t get to decide the candidates of the Republicans, or vice versa.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.