The Stand

UFW steps up | Cowardly Jan. 6 denial | PRO Act vs. Senate ‘graveyard’

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

 


COVID-19

 

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, May 19 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 424,050 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,137) and 5,653 deaths. Vaccination: 47.21% of Washington residents have received their first dose; 37.54% are fully vaccinated.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Trust, organization crucial in getting farmworkers vaccinated — Rosa Reyes was eager to get a coronavirus vaccine when it was finally made available to farmworkers earlier this spring. She has worked in hop fields around the Yakima region for 15 years, but this last year has been challenging, she said, trying to stay safe at work, keeping the virus away from her and her family. In April, she finally found a way to get the vaccine on her day off when the United Farmworkers Foundation announced that there were spots at a clinic. Reyes saw the foundation’s post with a phone number, and she was able to get her questions answered. The April vaccination clinic was flexible, and Reyes didn’t have to have an appointment. She was able to walk up and get her first dose easily… Reyes trusted the UFW Foundation, which is why she decided to attend the clinic in April, and that community partner trust is important to getting more people to be vaccinated, she said.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Advocates push to overcome Latino vaccine hesitancy

► From HuffPost — Paid time off could boost slowing vaccination rates — A new survey shows Black and Latino workers in particular are concerned about missing work — and pay — because of the vaccine’s side effects.

TODAY at The Stand — Patty Murray keeps fighting for paid leave — “We cannot rebuild a stronger and fairer economy if workers are forced to choose between their — and their families’ — health, or their paychecks,” the U.S. senator says at a Tuesday hearing.

► From Politico — ‘Public Health 101 failure’: CDC mask decision may knock out Biden’s workplace COVID crackdown — The CDC’s surprise mask-dropping guidance for those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 may have killed any effort to require their blanket use in workplaces — a bitter disappointment to unions and other safety advocates who have been pushing the Biden administration to tighten things up on the job, not loosen them.

► From The Hill — Fauci: Americans ‘misinterpreting’ mask rules — “I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It’s not,” said Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert. “It’s an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors.”

► From the AP — Changed by pandemic, many workers won’t return to old jobs — There’s a wild card in the push to return to pre-pandemic life: Many workers don’t want to go back to the jobs they once had… Nate Mullins quit his job as a bartender last November after clashing with managers over mask rules and worrying that he would spread the coronavirus to his immune-compromised sister. Mullins’ unemployment checks don’t match what he was making at his Oak Harbor, Wash., bar, but they’re enough to get by while he looks for jobs that would provide health care and retirement benefits. “This opportunity to take a step back and really think about what you’re doing really changed my mind,” he said. “(It) made me think long-term for the first time.”

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From the News Tribune — Governor signs $59 billion, two-year budget for Washington — Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed a $59 billion, two-year state operating budget that he said would help provide relief and recovery from the widespread effects of the pandemic. The Democrat also signed an $11.8 billion transportation budget and a $6.3 billion state construction budget. Inslee noted that the budget makes vital investments in areas like public health, homelessness, climate change, access to broadband and child care. He said it was a good thing that lawmakers previously resisted widespread calls (from state Republicans) to slash state spending for services because the budget situation improved during the year.

► From the AP — Washington governor signs sweeping police reform measures — Inslee on Tuesday signed one of the nation’s most ambitious packages of police accountability legislation, prompted by last year’s outcry for racial justice following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people at the hands of police. The dozen bills Inslee signed include outright bans on police use of chokeholds, neck restraints and no-knock warrants. They also require officers to intervene if their colleagues engage in excessive force.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Inslee’s partial vetoes threat to lawmakers’ work (editorial) — The governor’s desire for due speed on climate issues is laudable; his executive overreach is not.

► From the Seattle Times — Now an Inslee recall? Some people just can’t quit the last election — Inslee’s pandemic emergency powers had long been upheld by multiple courts. He ought to bring that emergency to an end, with the state scheduled to fully reopen next month. But his overall handling of the issue, warts and all, was overwhelmingly endorsed by voters just last November. A recall on those same issues — now? That’s pretending the last year of intense, record-voter-turnout democracy never happened. Which, from Mar-a-Lago on down, is what’s really going on here. Six months after an election that was mostly about the pandemic, the pandemic is easing its grip. It’s democracy that’s still on a ventilator.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Which brings us to…

 


INSURRECTION

 

► From The Hill — GOP splits open over Jan. 6 commission vote — The House on Wednesday is set to approve legislation to create a bipartisan investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack in a vote that will re-expose the deep divisions in the GOP over Trump’s role in the event and influence in the party. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday announced his opposition to the legislation.

► From the Washington Post — Kevin McCarthy plumbs new depths of political cowardice (editorial) — Democratic and Republican negotiators agreed last week to create a high-level, expert commission with subpoena power to conduct an examination of the Jan. 6 Capitol invasion, one of the lowest moments in U.S. history. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday threw his negotiators under the bus, condemning the compromise and vowing to oppose the bill creating the commission when it comes to a House vote Wednesday. This is cowardice, distilled… An honest proceeding would require McCarthy to testify under oath about his eyewitness experience of the violence — and to Trump’s apparent indifference. McCarthy has resisted offering the public a frank accounting of his interactions with Trump, including on a phone call during which McCarthy reportedly begged Trump to stop the mob. McCarthy has concluded that whatever political benefits he receives from embracing Trump are worth the price of his integrity.

► From The Hill — Trump calls for Jan. 6 commission debate to end ‘immediately’

EDITOR’S NOTE — Well, of course he does.

► From Politico — McCarthy races to contain GOP defections on Jan. 6 commission — Dozens of Republicans are privately considering voting for the Jan. 6 commission.

EDITOR’S NOTE — House Republicans held a secret voice vote to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post for her refusal to embrace Trump’s Big Lie about election fraud and to downplay the insurrection. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was the only Washington Republican to reveal how she would vote: against Cheney’s ouster. This time, they will have to go on record. Will Reps. Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers show the same “cowardice” and lack of integrity as Speaker McCarthy and vote against this bipartisan commission into one of the lowest moments in U.S. history? Stay tuned.

► From the Washington Post — A GOP congressman compared Capitol rioters to tourists. Photos show him barricading a door.

 


THE PRO ACT

 

► From the Morning Consult — The Senate cannot be the graveyard for labor law reform again (by Richard Trumka and Sen. Jeff Merkley) — In the 86 years since the passage of the NLRA, amendments have corroded collective bargaining rights. The courts have chipped away at what is left. Pro-worker lawmakers have tried to restore worker power and close the loopholes that permit union-busting, but they have been met by the same roadblock: the Senate filibuster — the requirement to have a 60-vote supermajority to close debate and vote on a bill — which has been weaponized to block labor law reform… The filibuster — just like the right-to-work laws the PRO Act would eliminate — is an artifact of Jim Crow and a creature of white supremacy… Today, the common justification we hear for keeping the filibuster is that it promotes bipartisanship, which we all want. But in today’s hyperpartisan Senate, the filibuster has neither sparked real debate nor encouraged cooperation. Instead, it has become a minority veto that diminishes our democracy and maintains the economic, political and social inequalities that harm working people. The Senate cannot be the graveyard for labor law reform once again. And the filibuster cannot be the tool used to kill the PRO Act in 2021.

► From Roll Call — Biden’s labor support may stall unless Senate enacts protections President Joe Biden may be a labor-friendly president, but months into his term he is running out of ways to support unions without help from Congress. Unions praised Biden’s actions so far, but union leaders and labor economists say there’s a limit to what Biden can do unless the Senate passes a bill that would strengthen protections for workers forming a union (the PRO Act). Even Plan B would involve getting provisions of that bill attached to something else that could pass. Biden’s and the Democrats’ labor record among unionized workers may depend on those provisions getting enacted.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From The Hill — Democrats seek answers from Boeing, FAA after production issues with 737 MAX, Dreamliner jets — House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation, said in a statement that they are seeking records amid recent reports of electrical problems, foreign objects in debris of newly manufactured aircrafts and other quality control issues. The lawmakers specifically said they were seeking records regarding “continued issues with the manufacture and production of Boeing commercial aircraft at facilities in both Washington state and South Carolina.”

► From Politico — Clock ticking on Biden as second GOP infrastructure meeting yields little progress — A group of Senate Republicans held a second meeting in less than a week with Biden officials to discuss infrastructure. But they’re still far apart on a deal.

► From Politico — Liberals to Biden: Ditch the infrastructure talks with Republicans

► From Vox — These workers were left out of the New Deal. They’ve been fighting for better pay ever since. — For decades, home care has been defined as a profession with low wages, long hours, and scant benefits. Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan contains a provision that could help change that: $400 billion to make long-term care cheaper and raise care workers’ wages.

► From Common Dreams — ‘You lie’: Katie Porter wields ‘Whiteboard of Justice’ while grilling Pharma CEO on price hikes

► From Reuters — Biden’s Supreme Court Commission to meet as abortion debate reignites — Biden’s commission to study potential changes to the U.S. Supreme Court, including expanding the number of justices as some liberal activists have urged, is set to hold its first public meeting on Wednesday, two days after the court charged back into the battle over abortion.

► From the Washington Post — House passes bill to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans

 


NATIONAL

 

► From Business Insider — Sanders, AOC will join striking McDonald’s workers demanding higher wages ahead of the chain’s annual investor meeting — Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will join McDonald’s workers in strikes planned around the U.S. for higher wages on May 19, the day before the company’s annual shareholders meeting. On “Walkout Wednesday,” employees in 15 US cities will go on strike to demand all McDonald’s workers make at least $15 per hour. So far, the strikes are planned for Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Chicago, Detroit, Flint, Kansas City, St Louis, Raleigh-Durham, Fayetteville, Houston, and Milwaukee.

► From the Washington Post — Investigation of Trump Organization now exploring possible criminal conduct, N.Y. attorney general’s office says — New York Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation into the Trump Organization is now considered a criminal matter, James’s office said Tuesday night, noting that officials with the former president’s company were recently apprised of the development. Previously, the danger posed by the investigation seemed to be merely financial — the kind of lawsuit Trump had faced from New York attorneys general before over his Trump University and his charity. Those cost him money but didn’t threaten his liberty. Now, however, James could also seek criminal penalties.

 


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

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