Friday, June 4, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 4 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 438,544 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 909) and 5,821 deaths.
► From KUOW — Coronavirus is more contagious now than last year as variants spread in King County — People who are not yet vaccinated are more likely to catch COVID-19 now than we all were around this time last year. Consider June last year: near total lockdown. There are now more variants, which are more contagious. Three-quarters of the coronavirus cases in King County that have been sequenced, or examined closely, are variants.
► From KNKX — State hopes cash and prizes will motivate people to get COVID vaccine — A chance at winning a $1 million jackpot or a $250,000 prize. Tuition assistance, airline tickets, gaming systems and gift cards. Those are just some of the incentives announced Thursday to entice more Washington residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. If you have at least one COVID-19 shot on record with the state, you’ll get a lottery number. Not vaccinated and want in on the “Shot of a Lifetime”? You can make an appointment at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The gift card prizes reportedly will be for different kinds of retail offerings — from groceries to fishing gear to… top soil.
► From the PSBJ — UW to require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by fall — Like university students, staff will be able to seek exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. Without an exemption, staff will need proof of their vaccination come fall in order to work on the university’s campus or in its facilities.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Passions escalate as Sound Transit ponders project delays — Tensions are rising as leaders of Sound Transit near critical decisions on which projects of a voter-approved expansion are delayed, and for how long, due to a surge in costs. The Board of Directors has known for more than a year that the Sound Transit 3 plan is unaffordable. They are expected next month to settle on what to do about it. It could mean hard choices that would put the regional transit authority on a course to delay many projects, including extending Link light rail service to Everett and Tacoma.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
► From the NW Labor Press — Bakers in another standoff at Nabisco — Just over a year after the BCTGM union accepted the elimination of their pension in order to end a four-year deadlock with Mondelēz-Nabisco, the two sides are back in another standoff. The company is doing well amid a pandemic-related snack boom and CEO Dirk Van de Put got paid $18 million last year — 561 times the median worker at the company. At the same time, Mondelēz-Nabisco is cutting its union workforce in half from about 2,000 to about 1,000, closing its plant in Fairlawn, N.J., and its plant in Atlanta. After the closures, there will be just three remaining Nabisco bakeries in the United States: in Chicago, Portland, and Richmond, Va. The company has shifted production in recent years to a newer plant in Mexico and to Hearthside, a massive non-union contract bakery in McComb, Ohio.
► From the Oregonian — Powell’s, union remain at odds over bookstore’s rehiring practices — Talks on rehiring laid-off workers at Powell’s Books have broken off amid continuing rancor between the landmark Portland bookstore and the union representing its workers (ILWU Local 5).
► From the Washington Post — Biden offers tax concession in infrastructure talks with key Republican — Biden signaled at a private meeting on Wednesday that he would be open to significant revisions on the size of his infrastructure package and how it would be paid for in order to win Republican support, outlining a plan for about $1 trillion in new spending financed through tax changes that do not appear to raise the top corporate rate. While Biden has not abandoned his call for these tax increases as part of his broader agenda, the moves are still a potential new concession in stalled talks over funding to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes and ports.
► From Politico — Biden can’t quit infrastructure talks and progressives are losing their minds — With talks ongoing and new concessions being offered, leaders of liberal organizations say they’re losing patience, fearful that the White House is wasting time in pursuit of Republican votes that are unlikely to materialize.
► From the Washington Post — House Democrats unveil $547 billion transportation bill, a boost that highlights partisan divide — The biggest chunk of the bill is $343 billion for road and bridge construction, as well as highway safety, a boost of more than 50 percent over the last transportation bill Congress passed in 2015. It also calls for $109 billion for transit and $95 billion for rail — including a tripling of funding to Amtrak.
► From the CBS News — FBI investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over campaign fundraising — The investigation follows a report last year that alleged DeJoy’s employees at New Breed Logistics, the North Carolina-based company where he served as CEO, were pressured to make campaign donations or attend fundraisers for GOP candidates and then were reimbursed for their contributions through bonuses.
► From the NY Times — Sinema and Manchin’s nihilistic bipartisanship (by Michelle Goldberg) — Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Wva.) say they are committed to bipartisanship as a supreme good, which in practice means bowing to the wishes of a party that doesn’t believe Joe Biden is a legitimate president and wants above all to see him fail.
► From Reuters — JPMorgan resumes political giving, freezes out Republicans who contested 2020 election — The bank was among many corporations that paused political giving following the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots when supporters of former president Donald Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying the election.
► A related story from The Onion — Congress takes field trip to Goldman Sachs to learn how laws get made — Listening enraptured as the most powerful people in the world discussed their process, the United States Congress took a field trip to Goldman Sachs headquarters Thursday to learn about how laws get made. “I’ve always wondered how the government decides who is allowed to do what, so it’s really cool to hear how the people in charge make those decisions,” said Illinois representative Cheri Bustos.
► From WMUR — New Hampshire House rejects, buries ‘right-to-work’ bill on key roll call of 199-175 — The New Hampshire House soundly killed the latest attempt by state and national proponents to pass right-to-work legislation and then buried the measure with an indefinite postponement vote that meant it cannot be resurrected until 2023, barring a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules.
EDITOR’S NOTE — New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett’s statement: “The New Hampshire AFL-CIO applauds the New Hampshire House of Representatives for voting to indefinitely postpone on SB-61, harmful legislation that would have made the Granite State the first ‘right-to-work’ state in the Northeast.” Meanwhile, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
“Today, working people showed our collective power and defeated “right to work” in New Hampshire. We know right to work is nothing more than a racist Jim Crow relic designed to divide workers and make us poorer. While today’s victory is a testament to the strength and will of working people, the reality is we should not have to fear that big corporations and anti-worker politicians are going to pass this legislation in New Hampshire—or anywhere else. That’s why we need the PRO Act because it would eliminate right to work, putting it in the ash heap of history where it belongs. The days of playing defense are over. Let’s celebrate this massive victory for working people in New Hampshire today and recommit ourselves to passing the PRO Act tomorrow.”
► From the Washington Post — U.S. economy adds 559,000 jobs in May, as the recovery shows signs of strength — The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, the latest sign of a strengthening recovery as vaccinations rise and COVID restrictions ease nationwide. The unemployment rate dropped slightly from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent, according to the monthly report, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The gains were driven strongly by jobs added at restaurants, bars and other food service establishments, which added 186,000 workers in the month.
► From Politico — Newsom counting on labor union army to tank the California recall — With a recall vote looming, the Democratic governor’s political survival could hinge on activating enough of his base to counteract the fervor of conservative foes. A substantial part of that task will fall to unions that have vowed to defend him with a mass mobilization effort, dispatching members to doorsteps across the state.
► Last month the Los Angeles Public Library posted a video of The Linda Lindas, an all-girl Asian-American and Latinx punk rock band of local pre-teens, performing “Racist, Sexist Boy.” The video went viral and by the end of May they had a record deal. This week, they made their late night television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Racist, sexist boy / We rebuild what you destroy.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.