Friday, June 25, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 25 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 449,491 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 491) and 5,898 deaths.
► From NPR — New COVID-19 outbreaks are driving some places back under lockdown, behind masks — From Australia to Israel and around Europe, officials announced new restrictions as they report clusters of outbreaks and try to mitigate further transmissions as the more transmissible Delta variant becomes the dominant strain in several countries.
► From the Washington Post — Japan proposes four-day workweek as idea gains purchase amid pandemic — Japan, known for its rigid work culture, is entertaining changes to the standard workweek few would have predicted even several years ago.
► From KNKX — Uber to pay $3.4 million in back pay, sick leave to Seattle drivers — Uber is paying $3.4 million to resolve claims for back wages and unpaid sick leave from more than 15,000 drivers in Seattle. The company reached the settlement after the city’s Office of Labor Standards investigated allegations of inconsistencies with Seattle’s paid sick-leave ordinance.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Seattle Uber drivers win $3.4M settlement — Teamsters join Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzalez in celebrating major paid sick leave settlement.
► From the Washington Post — ‘Jaw-dropping’ forecast is warning sign of climate change’s future impact in Washington, scientists say — Weekend temperatures are expected to approach 100 degrees in Seattle, top 109 in Portland and reach 115 in Eastern Washington — threatening to topple historical records and upend people’s lives. Climate scientists and meteorologists say the forthcoming heat wave — which could persist into next week — is a manifestation of climate change and a concerning signal of what they expect more frequently in the Pacific Northwest, which is poorly adapted to extreme heat.
► From the Seattle Times — Postal Service’s revamp plan will slow the mail in many places, including Seattle — Las Vegas, Seattle, San Diego, Orlando and countless communities in between will see mail service slow by as much as a day under the U.S. Postal Service’s strategic restructuring plan, a new analysis shows. The proposed service standards, or the amount of time the agency says it should take to deliver a piece of first-class mail, represent the biggest slowdown of mail services in more than a generation, experts say. It involves significant reductions in airmail — a Postal Service tradition dating to 1918 — and geographic restrictions on how far a piece of mail can travel within a day.
► From KBOO — Painters launch “Summer of Chaos” (Labor Radio) — Scott Oldham of Painters District Council 5 explains the history and up-to-the-minute news about IUPAT Local 10’s short surprise strikes for fairness at multiple sites in and around Portland.
► From the News Tribune — Inslee details eviction ‘bridge’ to help WA state landlords, tenants through September — Gov. Jay Inslee said his proclamation will help ease Washington “from the eviction moratorium to the housing stability programs put in place by the Legislature… And that includes access to the additional money – hundreds of millions of dollars – that was made available by the federal government and appropriated for rental assistance by the state Legislature to help landlords and tenants.”
► From the Yakima H-R — State denies water permit for Goldendale energy project, invites developer to resubmit — The Department of Ecology is denying the request for a water quality certification because Rye Development failed to provide enough information for officials to weigh the water-quality effects of the Goldendale Energy Storage Project.
► From the PSBJ (April 19) — Clean energy infrastructure vital to Washington’s future (by Matthew Hepner) — One important mature technology in Puget Sound Energy’s planning to remove global greenhouse gas emitting energy sources is closed-loop pumped storage. The proposed Goldendale Energy Storage Project in Klickitat County relies on this established carbon-free technology and would provide our region with the needed energy storage resources that will be essential in complying with Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act. The Goldendale Project will generate 1,200 megawatts of clean electricity while also storing the region’s abundant wind and solar electricity to use when it is needed… This project also makes good economic sense. It will create more than 3,000 family-wage jobs during its four-year construction period, and another 50 to 70 permanent jobs. Also, because the size and duration of the construction of the project it is an important opportunity for the building trades to add to our nation’s critically important skilled and technically trained workforce by training union apprentices.
► From Roll Call — Infrastructure deal reached, now comes the hard part — Biden may have signed off on a bipartisan Senate infrastructure plan worth $579 billion in new spending. But the next step — selling skeptical senators while simultaneously advancing a reconciliation bill in the trillions of dollars — may prove a difficult needle to thread. The success or failure of the two bills appears linked, with Biden, Pelosi and Schumer all saying Thursday the bipartisan proposal won’t become law without the reconciliation package.
► From Roll Call — Some moderate Democrats oppose Biden spending package, as progressives feared — Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) said he’s planning to vote against a budget resolution that would include reconciliation instructions for trillions of dollars in additional spending… The budget resolution is needed to begin the reconciliation process, which Democrats can use to get around a Senate filibuster and pass a partisan spending and tax bill without Republican support.
► From The Hill — Republicans raise early concerns over Biden infrastructure deal — Some Republican senators are already raising concerns about what’s in the plan and whether the proposed pay-fors will really cover the cost of spending priorities.
► From the NY Times — U.S. bans imports of some Chinese solar materials tied to forced labor — The White House announced steps on Thursday to crack down on forced labor in the supply chain for solar panels in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, including a ban on imports from a silicon producer there.
► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO welcomes administration’s rejection of forced labor in solar product production — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “The transition to a low carbon economy can only happen by upholding strong, enforceable worker rights protections.”
► From the Washington Post — We can’t fight climate change using forced labor in China — President Biden says climate change is the “number one issue facing humanity,” but that we must fight it while still upholding our values, such as human rights. China is testing our ability to honor both goals, by running its solar industry using forced labor linked to an ongoing genocide. That simply can’t be tolerated or ignored. We can’t save the planet by increasing the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people.
► From The Week — ‘Pay them more’: Biden’s succinct response to questions about worker shortages –“This is an employee’s bargaining chip now,” the president said. “[Employers] are going to have to compete and start paying hardworking people a decent wage.” Not exactly rocket science.
► From NPR — Lawmakers reach a bipartisan agreement on police reform — Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have reached a preliminary, bipartisan agreement on police reform after months of closely watched debate on the topic. Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) announced the agreement on Thursday evening. The exact details of the plan were not immediately clear.
► From the NY Times — Derek Chauvin to be sentenced today for murder of George Floyd — Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, may choose to speak at his hearing. He could face decades in prison.
► From the Teamsters — Teamsters pass landmark resolution to build worker power at Amazon — Delegates of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters voted overwhelmingly Thursday for a resolution to address Amazon’s exploitation of its employees, contractors and employees of contractors by committing all levels of the union to unite with core platforms of member engagement, worker and community engagement, antitrust enforcement and policy reform, and global solidarity. The resolution states that the union will fully fund and support the Amazon Project and supply all resources necessary. It also calls for ultimately creating a special Amazon Division to aid Amazon workers and defend and protect the standards in Teamster-represented industries from the existential threat that is Amazon.
► From the AP — The Teamsters have a new mission: Unionize Amazon workers
► From Salon — Corporations like Amazon pay big bucks for “union avoidance” — and it all happens in the dark — Morgan Lewis is the “union avoidance” law firm that almost certainly designed and directed a detailed plan to defeat the Amazon organizing drive in Alabama. We don’t know for certain what role Morgan Lewis played, because everything about the union-avoidance business happens in the dark… According to a 2019 estimate by the Economic Policy Institute, U.S. employers spend nearly $340 million per year on union avoidance services.
► Happy Global Beatles Day! Why today? It was on this date in 1967 that an audience of more than 400 million watched the first-ever live worldwide satellite broadcast called “Our World.” The idea was for all nations to contribute a positive cultural message live — no politicians or heads of state could participate — and no videotape or film was permitted. The colossal undertaking involved some 10,000 technicians, producers and interpreters. To close the two-and-a-half-hour broadcast, The Beatles debuted a new song written especially for the occasion and performed in Studio Two at Abbey Road Studios. Invited to attend and join in the chorus, among others, were Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon and Graham Nash. Although the program was originally transmitted and recorded in black-and-white, for its use in the 1995 TV special The Beatles Anthology, the Beatles’ performance was colorized, using color photographs taken at the event as a reference. So without further adieu, here’s what Rolling Stone magazine dubbed “the sing-song anthem of the Summer of Love, with a sentiment that is simple but profound.” Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.