Wednesday, March 10, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, March 10 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 346,403 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 769) and 5,077 deaths.
► From The Hill — New CDC guidelines a blow for ailing airline industry — While the CDC issued a number of recommendations that allow vaccinated and low-risk people more freedom to gather, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Monday that the agency’s advice on travel remains the same for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans: Don’t do it.
► From UFCW 21 — King County passes $4 hazard pay for grocery store workers — “Watching this ordinance pass today made me really emotional,” said Jeannette Randall, UFCW 21 executive board member and shop steward at the Roxbury Safeway, a store that would be covered by this ordinance. “This vote and passing of this ordinance shows that local government can help improve the lives of workers. This legislation passing shows that King County Council cares about the vital service grocery workers provide for our community.”
► From the Seattle Times — King County approves hazard pay for grocery workers in unincorporated areas — Beginning March 22, hundreds of grocery employees throughout King County will get additional money in their pockets when a $4-per-hour raise goes into effect. Grocery employees who work 32 hours a week could potentially earn an additional $120 that could go toward child care or mental health services, said UFCW 21.
The Stand (Jan. 26) — UFCW 21 celebrates victory on $4/hour hazard pay in Seattle
► From KING 5 — Seattle Public Schools delays in-person instruction until late March — The district said in a joint statement with the Seattle Education Association that they are working on a bargaining agreement to get students enrolled in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways and preschool back into the classroom by March 29.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Pandemic relief bill would restore daily Empire Builder train service — and advocates push for more — Nearly half a year after Amtrak reduced service on the Empire Builder to three days a week due to a precipitous decline in revenue and ridership, all that’s needed to restore its schedule is President Joe Biden’s signature on the pandemic relief bill.
► From the AP — Boeing finally sees positive net orders for airplanes — The company reported 82 new orders and 51 cancellations for a net gain of 31. In addition, Boeing put orders for 16 planes back into its backlog, indicating it is now more confident that those sales will go through.
► From the Seattle Times — Two years after second 737 MAX crash, have Boeing and the FAA changed enough? — Boeing has fixed the jet’s flawed flight-control system and the FAA has allowed the MAX back in the air. Yet after multiple investigations revealed failures both in the airplane’s design and in the oversight process, both the jet maker and the safety agency still face intense scrutiny and calls for more accountability. Meanwhile, the emotional impact of the tragedies in Indonesia and Ethiopia has been profound and personal.
► From the House Democrats — House passes Thai’s expanded Working Families Tax Credit — On Tuesday, the state House of Representatives passed HB 1297, sponsored by Rep. My-Linh Thai (D-Bellevue), an expansion of the 2008 working families tax exemption, making more than 400,000 taxpayers in Washington eligible for a credit between $500 and $950. “Many working families in Washington are one the brink of economic catastrophe,” said Rep. Thai. “Too many Washingtonians are just one missed paycheck or unexpected bill away from disastrous long-term economic hardships.”
The Stand (March 8) — ‘The kind of change we need’: Senate OKs capital gains tax — “SB 5096 represents a positive step in addressing our state’s broken, upside-down tax system,” said WSLC President Larry Brown.
► From the Senate Democrats — Conway bill to fight wage theft clears Senate — A bill to help working people regain lost pay due to wage theft cleared the Senate on Tuesday on a 25-24 vote. SB 5355, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma), will give working people a major new tool to recoup lost wages by expanding Washington’s existing wage lien system to include additional industries.
► From the (Longview) Daily News — Maskless crowd begins ‘Anyone but Jaime’ campaign in Kelso — Cowlitz County Republicans crowded the county headquarters in Kelso on Tuesday, proudly sitting shoulder to shoulder and wearing no masks, to begin a campaign to defeat six-term GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.
► From the USA Today — House passes sweeping pro-union bill that would reform labor laws — “I believe every worker deserves a free and fair choice to join a union — and the PRO Act will bring us closer to that reality,” said President Joe Biden. “I urge Congress to send it to my desk so we can summon a new wave of worker power and create an economy that works for everyone.”
TODAY at The Stand — Historic labor law reform passes U.S. House
► From Politico — House passes labor overhaul, pitting unions against the filibuster — The PRO Act, which advanced mostly along party lines, is unlikely to win the 60 votes needed for passage in the narrowly controlled Senate. And already, some union leaders — who hold outsize sway in the Biden administration — are amping up pressure on Democrats to eliminate the filibuster so they can see one of their top priorities enacted. “We’re not going to let a few people stop it from happening,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “Its time has come. Its time is long past due to be enacted. And we’ll do it.”
► From HuffPost — Democrats are rapidly evolving on the filibuster — Key holdouts on nixing the 60-vote threshold include President Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). But the party is definitely warming to an idea that is gaining momentum.
► From the People’s World — Women organizing to win: 9to5 yesterday; the PRO Act today (by Liz Shuler and Karen Nussbaum) — If you’ve never had to make coffee for your boss, it’s thanks to women who organized in the 1970s. And while the electric typewriter is no more, how women of that era organized is relevant—to current battles like organizing big tech, building care infrastructure, and winning labor reform by passing the PRO Act—so women can form and join unions now without fear. A new documentary, “9to5: The Story of a Movement,” captures the history of an organization started by a group of secretaries in the 1970s, and their sister union, SEIU District 925, and offers powerful insight for us today.
► LIVE from the NY Times — Biden’s stimulus plan is hours from final vote — The House is poised to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, a major victory for President Biden seven weeks into his term. The bill sends direct payments to Americans, expands a child tax credit and extends a $300 weekly unemployment supplement.
► From The Hill — Poll: 68 percent support passage of $1.9 trillion relief bill
► From the AP — Biden won’t put his name on relief checks, unlike Trump
► From the Washington Post — Immigration arrests have fallen sharply under Biden, ICE data show — Biden’s orders to rein in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement led to a sharp drop in arrests by the agency last month, even though a federal judge in Texas has blocked the new administration’s 100-day “pause” on deportations.
► From Business Insider — More than 1,000 Amazon workers across the U.S. have asked about unionization following the historic union vote at an Alabama warehouse — Workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama — which has more than 5,800 employees — are in the middle of a unionization vote. If they vote in favor of a union, this would be the first Amazon worker’s union to be established in the US. “It would help very much if Alabama votes yes,” an anonymous Seattle-based worker said. “The chances that we’ll do something increases.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — If you work at Amazon (or anywhere else), 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!
► From the AFL-CIO — Amid coronavirus pandemic, AFL-CIO delays its convention — In order to protect the health and safety of our delegates and hold a safe, in-person event that builds solidarity and supports union members and unionized businesses in the great city of Philadelphia, the AFL-CIO Executive Council today unanimously delayed the AFL-CIO 29th Constitutional Convention from October 2021 to June 2022.
► From the Washington Post — Los Angeles schools reach agreement with teachers union to reopen classrooms — Los Angeles, with more than 600,000 students, is one of the last remaining large urban districts to remain almost fully remote, as teachers and district administrators there resisted reopening while infection rates in the area were high.
► From the AP — Jimmy Carter says he’s ‘saddened and angry’ over Georgia GOP’s efforts to restrict voting — From his statement:
“American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open, and secure. It should be flexible enough to meet the electorate’s changing needs. As Georgians, we must protect these values. We must not lose the progress we have made. We must not promote confidence among one segment of the electorate by restricting the participation of others. Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.”
► From the NY Times — Police unions won power using his playbook. Now he’s negotiating the backlash. — As officer perks and protections draw new scrutiny, Ron DeLord, an officer turned labor organizer who has been an architect of longtime police bargaining tactics, says police unions are at risk of losing it all.
► From Rolling Stone — Rep. Tim Ryan demonstrates proper level of anger toward Republicans in Congress — After listening to Republicans take aim at legislation that would help organized labor, the Ohio Democrat let them know on Tuesday that he’s had about enough of the party’s preoccupation with stoking inane culture wars while American workers are still suffering through the pandemic.
It had to be said. Our Republican colleagues are busy talking about Dr. Seuss when they should be working with us to help the American people. pic.twitter.com/Mc7IwFlb25
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) March 9, 2021
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.