King hits 70% | Richland linemen seek support | We’re averaging $76K?

Wednesday, June 16, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 16 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 445,155 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 587) and 5,800 deaths.

► From the Seattle Times — King County hits 70% vaccination mark, mask mandate to disappear in 2 weeks — King County has reached the 70% vaccination threshold, triggering a two-week countdown until the county’s mask mandate is rescinded, the county announced Tuesday.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand Union members can do this: Get vaccinated — From now until July 4, the AFL-CIO will join with affiliates, national allies and the Biden administration under the umbrella of “Made to Save” to reach the goal of 70% adult vaccinations across the country.

► From the NY Times — As U.S. death toll nears 600,000, the counting is complicated — Many experts say the official total is probably an undercount. Had it not been for the removal of hundreds of deaths from tallies in California, the country would have surpassed the mark already.




► From the Tri-City Herald — Richland linemen haven’t had a contract for 6 months. Now they’re going door to door — Richland residents may see a future where power outages drag on for hours. Even now frustrated electrical department workers are saying construction projects are being held up and positions remain unfilled because the city of Richland isn’t paying them a fair wage. And they are taking their case to the streets, even door to door, to Richland residents. Richland Energy Services employees along with their union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, are visiting neighborhoods, printing yard signs and posting to a new website in hopes of getting the city to agree to pay raises.

► From the Seattle Times — Casa Latina to reopen as board admits mistakes in handling sexual harassment claim — Casa Latina said Tuesday its weeklong closure would end within days, after reaching an initial agreement with hunger strikers who had set up an encampment outside the Central District campus of the immigrant workers rights organization. Casa Latina’s board made the announcement in a statement that admitted the organization had made mistakes in its handling of a sexual harassment allegation, as shown by a just-completed independent investigation. The statement said the nonprofit would work to rebuild trust with the help of mediators.




► From the Seattle Times — U.S. ends Airbus subsidies dispute and pivots to confront China — risking Boeing jet sales — The trade deal the Biden administration announced with the European Union includes an agreement that the two sides will now pivot to confront China on trade. Earlier this month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said the jetmaker won’t be able to ramp up 737 MAX production as planned next year unless China opens up its market. That outcome now seems at risk.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Counting the costs of Boeing-Airbus trade battles (editorial) — Everett’s loss of production of the 787 to a non-union plant in South Carolina should in the future raise doubts in lawmakers’ minds about the certainty of what tax incentives can actually deliver in the long term, at least where world trade is involved.




► From the AP — Jury deciding if immigration detainees must get minimum wage — A federal jury is deciding whether one of the nation’s biggest private prison companies must pay minimum wage — instead of $1 a day — to immigration detainees who perform tasks like cooking and cleaning at its jail in Washington state.

► From the Seattle Times — Jobless benefits for new claimants to jump by nearly 50% in Washington state — In a perverse twist of the pandemic economy, Washington is boosting the weekly benefit for some jobless workers by nearly 50% starting next month — the largest increase on record, the Employment Security Department announced Tuesday. And employers might not need to endure another tax increase to pay for it. The benefit increase stems from a state policy that ties jobless benefits to the state’s average wage, which thanks to a grim statistical quirk increased during the pandemic even as tens of thousands of workers lost their jobs. As a result, the minimum weekly unemployment benefit will increase by $94, to $295, for workers who file their first jobless claim on or after July 4.

► From the Spokesman-Review — The average Washington salary is $76,000? Technically, but economists say it’s complicated — Rising pay for tech workers coupled with layoffs affecting many low-wage Washingtonians during the pandemic led to an average wage of $76,741 last year, according to a state report released Tuesday. The Employment Security Department reported the average annual wage paid to a Washington worker was a record-breaking increase of 10.1% from the year prior. But that calculation divides the actual amount paid to workers by the number of people employed, and the state saw a reduction of its workforce by 164,161 people during the pandemic year.

► From the Columbian — Inslee lauds wind energy jobs during visit to Port of Vancouver — Gov. Jay Inslee paid a visit to the Port of Vancouver Tuesday afternoon to tour one of the terminals where a shipment of wind turbine blades is in the process of being unloaded and trucked out to a wind energy project near Wasco, Ore.




► From the Washington Post — Senate passes bill to make Juneteenth, day commemorating the end of slavery, a federal holiday — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a measure that would establish a federal holiday for Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in Texas. The bill now heads to the Democratic-led House, where it is likely to be approved, although the timing remains uncertain.

ALSO at The Stand WSLC kicks off Juneteenth week with IG Live event — Missed yesterday’s WSLC Instagram Live event? Watch it here. Plus, see the list of Juneteenth events.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Nine years later, ‘Dreamers’ ask Congress to make citizenship a reality for DACA recipients — During a Zoom call to celebrate the nine-year anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era policy that grants undocumented citizens a temporary stay in the United Sates, DACA recipients looked to cement their time in America with one ask from Congress: citizenship. Leydy Rangel, who moderated the call held by United Farm Workers, touched on personal experiences of the nine-year limbo of DACA, whose recipients are called “Dreamers.” “I know how much meaningful change, liberty and stability the program gives me,” Rangel said. “But every time I renew my permit, I worry, when will be the last time?”

► From The Hill — Democratic patience runs out on bipartisan talks — Democratic tensions over infrastructure and the Biden agenda showed signs of boiling over Tuesday as one progressive lawmaker after another blasted a bipartisan framework negotiated by centrists in both parties. The scaled-down agreement backed by a bipartisan group of 10 senators appears on life support days after it was announced, with progressives pressuring the White House to move on from bipartisan talks.

► From The Hill — Democrats seek staffer salary boost to compete with K Street — Democratic lawmakers want to raise congressional staffer salaries in a bid to increase diversity and retain talent that is often lured away by the more lucrative private sector.




► From Bloomberg — Mapbox faces union drive as labor organizers extend push in tech — Employees at Mapbox Inc., which makes mapping tools used by Instacart Inc. and Snap Inc., have announced their intention to unionize, making them the latest group of tech workers to embrace organized labor in a traditionally nonunion industry. The union seeks to represent all 222 U.S. employees, technical or not, at the SoftBank Group Corp.-backed company. Nearly two-thirds of workers have already signed union cards with the CWA, which has increasingly focused on tech workplaces in recent years.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected? Get a union! Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From Jalopnik — Striking Alabama coal miners are getting attacked with pickup trucks: report — The United Mine Workers Of America released video last week of two of the three attacks on its picketing members by people driving large trucks. The union says these assaults were carried out “…by persons working for Warrior Met Coal, Inc.” Around 1,100 coal miners have been on strike since the beginning of April, seeking better pay and working conditions.

TAKE A STAND — These workers at Warrior Met Coal have been on an Unfair Labor Practice strike since April 1. They could use your support so they can stay out “one day longer” and ultimately force Warrior Met to agree to a fair and equitable contract. Donate to the UMWA 2021 Strike Fund here. Also, add your name to say you support their fight for a fair contract.


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

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