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A rare reckoning | SPU vs. LGBTQ+ | Three to go for PRO

Wednesday, April 21, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, April 21 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 388,718 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,297) and 5,407 deaths.

► From the NY Times — Nation faces ‘hand-to-hand combat’ to get reluctant Americans vaccinated — Half of American adults have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine. Now comes the hard part: persuading the other half to get it.




► From the NY Times — Derek Chauvin verdict brings a rare rebuke of police conduct — A former police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck until well past Mr. Floyd’s final breath was found guilty of murder on Tuesday in a case that shook the nation’s conscience and drew millions into the streets for the largest racial justice protests in generations. The verdict, which could send the former officer, Derek Chauvin, to prison for decades, was a rare rebuke of police violence, following case after case of officers going without charges or convictions after killing Black men, women and children.

The Stand (April 20) — WSLC applauds conviction of Derek Chauvin — But justice for George Floyd requires dismantling of racist policing system that enabled Chauvin.

► From the AFL-CIO — Trumka: Chauvin verdict just the beginning

“We are relieved the jury delivered justice for George Floyd’s family. Floyd’s murder shocked our collective conscience and sparked a movement for change that has inspired America over the past year. While this verdict is welcome news, the work of dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy is just beginning. As members of our communities and representatives of union public safety professionals, the labor movement has a unique role to play in changing this culture of policing. We are hard at work developing a public safety blueprint for change, and we look forward to using our experience and influence to heal this nation through liberty and justice for all.”

► From the Minnesota AFL-CIO — Statement on Derek Chauvin’s conviction — “The Minnesota AFL-CIO is committed to building a more inclusive Labor Movement by listening to and elevating the voices of Minnesota’s Black union members as we work to reimagine public safety.”

► From the Washington Post — As Chauvin is convicted on all counts, what’s next for him and the other police officers tied to George Floyd’s death? — Now, all eyes turn to Chauvin’s sentencing in the coming weeks, where he faces up to 40 years in prison, as well as the trials in August for the three other former Minneapolis police officers facing charges stemming from Floyd’s death.

Lisa Robinson reacts to the Chauvin verdict outside the AFL-CIO Building in Washington, D.C.

► From the Seattle Times — Reactions to the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, in Washington state and nationwide — Gov. Inslee: “Weary families in so many communities, traumatized from images of brutality against Black and Brown people and feeling no power to stop it, can take heart today that justice was served in this instance. Yet, there is still much work to do. This is one step on a long journey we are just beginning.”

► From the Seattle Times — Verdict ‘a reckoning,’ but Seattle activists and leaders say there’s more work ahead

► From the Spokesman-Review — Relief, determination in Spokane following Chauvin conviction

► From the Yakima H-R — In the Yakima Valley, hope that verdict “will help us turn a corner”

► From the Washington Post — Derek Chauvin’s conviction shouldn’t feel like a victory. But it does. (by Eugene Robinson) — “Days like this don’t happen,” said a joyous Chris Stewart, an attorney for the Floyd family. He pointed out the obvious: It shouldn’t be so hard to win justice for a citizen brutally killed by a police officer. We should be under no illusions that justice will be easily won in the next case involving unjustified police violence against an African American. And Black Americans deserve more from law enforcement than not to be killed by police: As Stewart put it, “All too often, African Americans only get the spear or the sword. We need more of the shield.”

► From the Washington Post — By bearing witness — and hitting ‘record’ — 17-year-old Darnella Frazier may have changed the world (by Margaret Sullivan) — After so many previous instances in which police officers were acquitted of what looked to many people like murder, this time was different. And it was different, in some significant portion, because of a teenager’s sense of right and wrong.

► From the AP — Garland announces police probe day after Floyd case verdict — “Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis,” said the Attorney General.




► From the Seattle Times — Police in Washington who see fellow officer using excessive force must intervene, Legislature says — The Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill to require law enforcement officers to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force in an encounter. SB 5066 is one of a slew of proposals designed to reshape police tactics and oversight of law enforcement in the wake of last year’s protests over the death of Black people at the hands of police. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.




► From the Seattle Times — SPU faculty votes ‘no confidence’ in leadership after board upholds discriminatory hiring policy — Seattle Pacific University faculty members have cast a vote of “no confidence” in the leadership of the school’s Board of Trustees, which last week announced it would retain a hiring policy that discriminates based on sexual orientation. The private Christian school in Queen Anne has long been accused of not supporting its LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff, many of whom have repeatedly asked the school to reject a rule that doesn’t allow openly queer people to join the school’s full-time faculty.




► From The (Maine) Beacon — King backs PRO Act after campaign by labor, advocacy groups — After a campaign by organized labor and advocacy groups, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) is supporting legislation that would expand the ability of workers to organize a union and pursue collective bargaining. Union leaders say the PRO Act would be a “game changer” for workers and “would finally begin to level a playing field” that makes union organizing pushes “unreasonably difficult.”

► From the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail — Manchin throws support behind measure to bust right-to-work laws — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will support a measure that would block state right-to-work laws, including the one in West Virginia.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that the PRO Act, which has already passed the House, will get a vote in the U.S. Senate if supporters get 50 co-sponsors. It now has 47. The three Democratic senators who have yet to sign on to the PRO Act are Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Regardless of whether your senators have signed on as co-sponsors — Washington’s Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both have — keep calling 866-832-1560 to urge them to sign (or thank them for signing), and tell them to bring the PRO Act to a vote!


Historic labor law reform passes U.S. House of Representatives (March 10)
Six ways the PRO Act restores workers’ bargaining power (March 18)
No, the PRO Act doesn’t threaten freelancers and contractors (March 25)

► From Common Dreams — Union leader presses Biden to immediately fire Trump Social Security holdovers — Three open letters by AFGE Council 220 president Ralph de Juliis published in the past week argue that as SSA commissioner and deputy commissioner, Andrew Saul and David Black “continue to wreak havoc on the biggest social safety net program in the United States” and “harm the basic services of the federal government to score political points.”

► From Politico — Inside the Democratic strategy to expand voting rights state by state — Who can vote in the next election — and how easily — will depend on where Americans live more than at any point in recent decades. Red and blue states are on opposite tracks in shaping the electoral process: As Republicans pass some of the most restrictive voting laws of modern times, Democrats are ramping up a strategy to expand voting rights by passing bill after bill to make it easier for more Americans to access the ballot box.




► From Politico — Audubon CEO resigns after complaints of toxic workplace — David Yarnold, the CEO of environmental group the National Audubon Society, is stepping down under a “mutual agreement,” coming on the heels of an internal audit into its workplace culture that resulted from revelations first reported by Politico. Yarnold is exiting an organization he helmed for nearly 11 years, leaving behind an organization that faced charges of permitting an atmosphere marked by systemic racism, gender discrimination, intimidation and threats.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Toxic workplace? Don’t call Politico. Form a union! Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better working conditions and a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!


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

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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!