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A trade truce | Nothing new at Amazon | Mitch vows to block another nominee

Tuesday, June 15, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 15 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 444,722 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 581) and 5,782 deaths.

► From the Oregonian — Oregon lawmakers propose new stimulus payments for essential workers — Oregon lawmakers will consider paying essential workers who stayed on the job through the pandemic up to $2,000 in new stimulus payments and a separate $1,200 payment to unemployed Oregonians who return to work in frontline jobs by fall.

► From the NY Times — Customer fatally shoots cashier in argument over mask at Georgia supermarket

► From the Wall St. Journal — Forget going back to the office — people are just quitting instead — As the pandemic clouds lift, the percentage of Americans leaving employers for new opportunities is at its highest level in more than two decades.




► From the NY Times — U.S. and E.U. agree to suspend feud over aid for Airbus and Boeing — President Biden on Tuesday announced the end of a bitter, 17-year dispute with the European Union over aircraft subsidies for Boeing and Airbus, suspending the threat of billions of dollars in punitive tariffs on each other’s economies for five years. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that both sides had agreed to extend a suspension of tariffs while working together to counter China’s investment in the aircraft sector. But she said the agreement set limits on the subsidies that the European Union would be allowed to provide to Airbus, and she warned that the United States would reimpose billions of dollars in tariffs if subsidies by European Union countries crossed a “red line.” Tai described the new agreement as part of Biden’s effort to conduct what he has called “a foreign policy for the middle class.” She said resolving the dispute would protect 1.2 million jobs in the aerospace sector and related industries.

► From Bloomberg — Boeing PAC resumes giving to Republicans who opposed certifying election — Boeing’s political action committee resumed giving to federal candidates and committees in May after a three-month pause, including donations to members who opposed certifying the 2020 election results for President Joe Biden.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Hey, Boeing shareholders! Doesn’t it violate your free-speech rights when Boeing takes YOUR money and gives it to political candidates you abhor? The Supreme Court has made sure unions can’t do that. Individual union members can object and ensure no portion of their dues are used for political spending they oppose. What about you?




► From the NY Times — The Amazon that customers don’t see (interactive) — When the coronavirus shut down New York last spring, many residents came to rely on a colossal building they had never heard of: JFK8, Amazon’s only fulfillment center in America’s largest city. What happened inside shows how Jeff Bezos created the workplace of the future and pulled off the impossible during the pandemic — but also reveals what’s standing in the way of his promise to do better by his employees.

► From the NY Times — Power and peril: 5 takeaways on Amazon’s employment machine — Outsiders see a business success story for the ages. Many insiders see an employment system under strain. 1) Amazon has been churning through employees. 2) Buggy and patchwork systems caused some workers to lose their benefits, and even their jobs, in error. 3) Amazon’s strict monitoring of workers has stoked a culture of fear. 4) There is rising concern over racial inequity. 5) Many of Amazon’s most contentious policies go back to Jeff Bezos’ original vision.

► From Vox — Amazon’s Black employees say the company’s HR department is failing them — In interviews with Recode, dozens of Amazon employees detailed allegations of racial bias and discrimination on the job — and many of them said the company’s HR department was part of the problem.

► From Salon — Amazon’s labor exploitation is a return to the 1920s — and unions are our best hope out (by Randy Corgan) — Amazon claims to be innovative, but its strategies of market dominance and labor exploitation are as old as capitalism itself, and were perfected by predecessors like Standard Oil, General Motors, US Steel, AT&T, Walmart and Microsoft. My union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, views this as history repeating itself. The Roaring ’20s were great for those at the top, but meant massive exploitation of workers. As we embark further into the 2020s, the Teamsters will make sure that Amazon cannot repeat a history where workers suffered acutely to make ends meet and were frequently injured or even killed on the job while company executives stuffed their pockets with the profits.




► From The Hill — Bipartisan infrastructure deal takes fire from left and right — A bipartisan infrastructure deal unveiled last week by a group of five Republicans and five Democrats is coming under fire from both sides of the aisle and may not survive the week.

► From The Hill — Sanders won’t vote for bipartisan infrastructure deal — Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he won’t support a bipartisan infrastructure spending proposal unveiled last week because he believes it doesn’t do enough to address the needs of the country and shields the wealthy from tax increases.

► From Politico — Republicans plot an infrastructure 2-step: Spend more, then kill Biden’s agenda — A growing number of Senate Republicans are betting that if a deal is reached on a bipartisan plan for roads and bridges, Democrats won’t have the votes needed to pass the rest of Biden’s “soft infrastructure” priorities, such as child care and clean energy.

► From The Hill — McConnell sparks new Supreme Court fight — McConnell’s pledge on Monday that a GOP-controlled Senate would block a potential Biden nominee in 2024 comes at a critical moment for the Supreme Court. Observers are waiting to see how an increasingly emboldened 6-3 conservative majority comes down on key decisions in the final weeks of the term and if the justices take up cases that would put them in the middle of fights crucial to the right in the months leading up to the 2022 midterm elections.

► From the Washington Post — The GOP’s increasingly blunt argument: It needs voting restrictions to win (by Aaron Blake) — In this age, in which one party in particular has embraced an all’s-fair-in-politics approach, they’re bothering less with arguing that voting restrictions are the right policy for government, and more that they’re the right policy for Republicans being able to control government. There was a time in which such arguments were considered faux pas. Now they’re apparently just more high-quality red meat for the base.




► From the Washington Post — Hotel industry emerges from pandemic with new business model, possibly fewer workersSome properties, particularly in leisure-centric areas like Florida, are scrambling to find enough workers to staff bustling properties. Many others, meanwhile, have still not brought back all their workers amid a continued travel slump. But one thing that hotels across the board are considering is whether many of their customers are willing to accept fewer services than before, such as daily room cleanings and sizable breakfast spreads, analysts say, and that might mean a smaller hotel workforce in the years following the pandemic.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand Hotel industry plan would cost women of color billions — A new report by UNITE HERE, the hotel workers’ union, finds that planned housekeeping job cuts would devastate women and communities of color. “My hotel has reopened without daily room cleaning, and I’m so scared that it means I’ll never go back to work,” said Brenda Holland, a housekeeper at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport.

► From The Nation — How UNITE HERE turned the West’s biggest red state blue — Arizona was pivotal in the 2020 presidential election. Its shift was no accident.


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

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