Thursday, June 3, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 3 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 437,677 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 914) and 5,801 deaths.
► From the Washington Post — The unseen COVID-19 risk for unvaccinated people — The country’s declining COVID-19 case rates present an unrealistically optimistic perspective for half of the nation — the half that is still not vaccinated. As more people receive vaccines, covid-19 cases are occurring mostly in the increasingly narrow slice of the unprotected population. So The Washington Post adjusted its case, death and hospitalization rates to account for that — and found that in some places, like Washington state, the virus continues to rage among those who haven’t received a shot.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Washington no longer on pace to beat June 30 vaccine goal — Washington is no longer on pace to reach the mark of 70% of adults with one COVID-19 vaccine shot ahead of June 30, officials said Wednesday. Doing so would trigger Gov. Jay Inslee to drop most of the state’s COVID restrictions on businesses and social activity earlier than anticipated.
► From the Seattle Times — Inslee set to announce incentives for Washington residents to get a COVID vaccine — The governor will be joined in Thursday’s news conference by Marcus Glasper, director of the Washington State Lottery, according to a news statement. Various states have offered financial incentives to prod people to get vaccinated. Perhaps most notable is Ohio, where residents who do get vaccinated have a chance to win $1 million. In New Mexico, officials announced there will be a $5 million prize, and a total pool of $10 million.
► From the NY Times — For many workers, change in mask policy is a nightmare — After a shift by the CDC, employers withdrew mask policies that workers felt were protecting them from unvaccinated customers.
► From the NW Labor Press — Management bloat: At Clark College, more administrators, fewer staff — The Southwest Washington Central Labor Council is using its clout to help classified staff and faculty at Clark College fend off departmental cuts. The community college’s administration announced recently that it wants 5% budget cuts across the board. At the same time, the college has received $35 million from the federal government’s COVID relief CARES Act—the most CARES funding of any community college in the State of Washington. Additionally, the Washington Legislature provided adequate funding for higher education in its last session that ended April 25. The Washington Public Employees Association (WPEA)/UFCW Local 365 said the new cuts are part of an ongoing pattern that is undermining Clark College’s ability to provide a quality education. The union represents 262 classified employees there. WPEA said the college has already cut more than 60 positions in the last two years. In addition, more than 50 part-time faculty have lost all of their classes.
► From the NW Labor Press — At Portland-area construction sites, union painters are primed for ‘Summer of Chaos’ — At 5:45 a.m. Friday, May 21, painters started assembling outside under-reconstruction Madison High School in Northeast Portland, and picked up picket signs instead of paint sprayers. For the first time in over 40 years, members of Painters Local 10 were on strike.
► From the Kitsap Sun — Kilmer grills military health leader over Naval Hospital Bremerton staffing cuts — Around 100 positions at Naval Hospital Bremerton have gone unfilled in the past year as the military overhauls its healthcare system, prompting alarm from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6th). The attrition at the hospital is part of a planned reduction of about 18,000 billets aimed at prioritizing military healthcare to those on the front lines of defense. But Kilmer argued at a House subcommittee on appropriations hearing May 25 that loss of staff at the Bremerton hospital will result in a reduction in care for military families and veterans.
► From the Washington Post — Time could be running out for infrastructure deal — The White House is making it increasingly clear that time is running out to craft a bipartisan agreement on rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, taking a sharper tone that could soon clear Democrats to act on their own to achieve President Biden’s jobs ambitions but deny him the deal with Republicans he has actively sought for weeks.
► From Roll Call — Parliamentarian guidance deals blow to reconciliation strategy — The new guidance, issued to Senate staff on Friday, suggests that Democrats will get just one more try this year to pass a filibuster-proof legislative package to enact additional priorities ranging from infrastructure to immigration policy proposed by President Joe Biden and party leaders on Capitol Hill.
► From Roll Call — Labor unions have a new point man on infrastructure — Greg Regan took the helm of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department in the worst of circumstances but with the best possible preparation. The circumstances: In the midst of a global pandemic that threatened his members’ jobs and lives, Regan’s boss and mentor, Larry Willis, died tragically in November after succumbing to injuries from a bike crash. The preparation: Willis’s leadership and trust, which gave Regan and the team Willis had carefully put together the confidence to step up when the moment demanded it.
► From Vox — Billionaires are racing to sidestep Biden’s plan to raise their taxes — The wealth management industry is brimming with a cocksure optimism that they can outsmart the bureaucracy.
► From Mother Jones — New front in ride-hailing wars: Stopping blue states from treating drivers as workers — In the absence of congressional action on labor rights, companies in the gig economy know that two of the biggest threats they face are legislation and court decisions in progressive states that will require employee benefits for drivers, such as a guaranteed minimum wage, access to state unemployment insurance, and company-funded health insurance for full-time workers. The New York fight is a preview of a broader effort by the companies to preempt these efforts by striking deals with unions that provide a few concessions in exchange for cementing drivers’ status as contractors. The companies are also lobbying to block employee classification in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. If they’re successful, hundreds of thousands of workers would be blocked from protections that employees have secured through generations of organizing.
► From The Guardian — Microsoft Irish subsidiary paid zero corporate tax on $315 billion profit last year — The company, Microsoft Round Island One, posted profits last year equal to nearly three-quarters of Ireland’s entire gross domestic product (GDP) – despite having zero employees.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Remember when Republicans promised that U.S. corporations would repatriate their tax-sheltered overseas profits if they slashed the corporate tax rate in 2017? Good times, good times.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.