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“I am not your virus” | Union leader at DOL | DeJoy’s austerity plan

Tuesday, March 23, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, March 23 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 355,986 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 735) and 5,183 deaths.

► From Crosscut — More Black and Latinx people in Washington are getting vaccines — Washington state is doing a better job of vaccinating those hardest hit by the coronavirus, but some of the data used to track this trend is missing. Still, Dr. Leo Morales, chief diversity officer at the UW School of Medicine, says that doesn’t mean the data is unreliable.




► From KNKX — Inslee, local leaders decry ‘horrendous surge’ of violence against Asians — Gov. Jay Inslee was joined Monday by community leaders to decry what he called a “horrendous surge” of violence against Asian-Americans. State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, who represents a district that includes Seattle’s Chinatown International District, pointed to the country’s long history of anti-Asian violence and xenophobia and the need for a better way to understand and report hate crimes: “When you hear my community saying, ‘I am not your virus, I am not your scapegoat,’ they’re also saying, ‘I’m not your geisha girl, and I’m not your computer geek. I am an individual,’ because we have not been silent. But no one is listening to us, and that has to change.”

The Stand (March 22) — Support Asian, Pacific Islanders by becoming APALA member

► From the (Everett) Herald — Make preventing, fighting wildfires a priority (editorial) — State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is seeking an investment of $125 million over the coming two-year budget cycle to bolster state and local fire response, make private homes, properties and communities more fire resilient and limit the spread of fires in forests, as well as a dedicated revenue source that will continue and speed up that work for the long haul… While limiting such losses is worth the investment itself, there are other benefits in the eyes of people such as WSLC President Larry Brown, who sees the legislation and budget request as an opportunity, beyond making forests more resilient and strengthening the response to fires. “We need economic development in the communities across the state that aren’t necessarily in Seattle, Everett and Tacoma,” Brown said. “This is a great investment in our communities.”

► From KIMA — Yakima city councilmember supports legislation increasing transparency in hospitals — Dr. Kay Funk who sits on the Yakima City Council said HB 1272 would allow stakeholders to hold hospitals accountable for failing to meet the state’s healthcare needs. Additionally, hospitals would have to give the State Department of Health extra data and disclose funds received from governments for declared emergencies. Funk said had the bill been in place, the closure of the Yakima Astria hospital may have been avoided.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO also strongly supports HB 1272. Download the WSLC’s one-pager (PDF) explaining the bill and why it should be approved.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Federal aid is key to House, Senate transportation budgets — The Democratic plans count on $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to offset a drop in gas taxes, tolls and ferry fares.




► From the America’s Work Force Union Podcast — Seattle BCTC uses Project Labor Agreements to get through the pandemic — A year into the pandemic, Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Monty Anderson discussed what actions were taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the building trades, how construction has fared and what is being done to diversify the trades in the Pacific Northwest.


► From the News Tribune — By going ‘Karen’ on a newspaper carrier, Ed Troyer has fractured public trust (again) (by Matt Driscoll) — As sheriff, Troyer should be the standard bearer, not a liability. The lack of judgment and professionalism he displayed is damning. He created this mess. He broke the public’s trust.

► From the News Tribune — Troyer’s 2 a.m. fiasco is Exhibit A why Pierce County must stop electing sheriffs (editorial) — An election every four years isn’t enough accountability for unqualified or reckless sheriffs.




► From the PS Business Journal — Several aerospace suppliers say they’re in talks with Boeing for new airplane — Boeing is currently in talks with eight or more aerospace suppliers about developing a new airplane program, according to new report from Canaccord Genuity aerospace analysts Ken Herbert and Austin Moeller. The juicy news comes just two months after Boeing CEO David Calhoun tantalized analysts with remarks about a new airplane. Reports about a Boeing New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) have been bubbling up for five years, but this time the supply chain appears already quite involved.




► From NPR — Marty Walsh, Boston mayor with union roots, confirmed as Labor Secretary at key time — Marty Walsh, the two-term mayor of Boston, was confirmed as the Labor secretary by the Senate in a 68-29 vote on Monday, becoming the first union leader to run the department in over four decades. Walsh will become the head of the Labor Department at a critical time, as the pandemic has left millions unemployed and raised concerns about workplace safety. The former union leader will also serve in a Biden administration that has pledged to protect the power of unions and is looking to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

“Congratulations to Secretary Walsh. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this moment. For four years, working families have lived with a Labor Department devoted to serving a handful of elite interests. Now, the power to enforce safety and equity in our workplaces has been handed from a ruthless corporate lawyer to a proud union brother.

“Working people organized, mobilized and voted to deliver that victory. But we aren’t finished yet. It’s time to build a truly just recovery that hands power back to the workers who have borne the brunt of this crisis.

“That means delivering unprecedented funding to create a 21st-century infrastructure alongside a new generation of good-paying union jobs. It means raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. And most of all, it means strengthening working people’s right to organize together by finally passing the PRO Act. Our work has only just begun, and we will be stronger with Secretary Walsh in the fight ahead.”

► From The Hill — Unions eager for swift action from new Labor secretaryWalsh is expected to come under immediate pressure from labor groups to ramp up workplace safety standards following COVID-19 breakouts at food processing plants and similar settings. Worker advocates say the next few months will be crucial as more businesses open up without a fully vaccinated adult population.

► From Truthout — Biden labor board strikes barrier to unionization of 1.5 million grad students — Campus organizers are hoping that dozens of new unionization campaigns may be on the horizon nationwide following the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision to withdraw a proposed Trump-era rule that would have barred graduate students from joining a union.

► From the Washington Post — USPS chief DeJoy said to cut post office hours, lengthen delivery times in 10-year plan — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will unveil the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation as part of his 10-year plan for the U.S. Postal Service, according to sources, including longer first-class delivery windows, reduced post office hours and higher postage prices.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Sounds like a plan that USPS competitors and privatizers will support. DeJoy and his wife have more than $30 million invested in XPO Logistics, a Postal Service contractor, and as much as $300,000 invested in United Parcel Service. Unfortunately, as Government Executive reports, even with Biden’s new appointees to the USPS governing board, we are probably stuck with this guy and his 10-year plan for the foreseeable future.

► From The Hill — White House eyes sweeping $3T spending proposal — A source familiar with the plans confirmed that administration officials are eyeing $3 trillion as the topline figure for its Build Back Better jobs and infrastructure proposal. The new package is expected to be split into two separate bills. The first would focus on infrastructure, with spending on manufacturing and climate change measures, broadband and 5G, and the nation’s roads and bridges. The other measure would include funds for pre-K programs, free community college tuition, child tax credits and health care subsidies.

► From the NY Times — 11 years on, the Affordable Care Act defies opponents and keeps expanding — More than 200,000 have used a special enrollment period to sign up for health insurance under the act, while Alabama and Wyoming eye the law’s Medicaid expansion.

► From HuffPost — Democratic senators plot path forward on raising minimum wage — Their Tuesday meeting is the party’s first attempt at restarting efforts to hike the minimum wage after a progressive push to include a $15 per hour minimum wage in the COVID-19 relief bill died earlier this month.

► From the NY Times — Supreme Court wary of law letting union organizers onto private propertyIn Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, a majority of the justices seemed uneasy with a California regulation that allows union representatives to meet with farmworkers at their worksites for up to three hours a day for as many as 120 days a year. The regulation’s drafters said this was the only practical way to give the workers, who are often poorly educated and hard to locate, a realistic chance to consider joining a union. But several justices said they were concerned about ruling that the regulation amounted to a government taking of property, fearing such a decision could endanger all kinds of laws authorizing entry onto private property, including government safety inspections and visits from social services workers.

► From Vox — The Supreme Court confronts a union-busting argument that’s too radical even for Kavanaugh (by — Conservative lawyers shot for the moon in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid. They probably asked for too much.




► From CNN — 10 dead in shooting at Colorado grocery store — Ten people, including a police officer, were killed Monday when a gunman opened fire in a supermarket in the Colorado college city of Boulder, in one of several mass shootings in the US over the last week.

► From the UFCW — UFCW statement on Colorado grocery store shooting — Marc Perrone, president of UFCW, the union that represents 32 King Soopers grocery workers who work at the Boulder store where the shooting took place: “Every day of this pandemic, grocery workers have been bravely putting their health at risk on the frontlines of COVID-19 to keep our families fed. This shooting is a tragic reminder that the pandemic is not the only threat our communities face.”

► From The Onion — ‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens


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