Tuesday, June 29, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 29 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 450,930 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 455) and 5,911 deaths.
► From the Seattle Times — Inslee to celebrate end of COVID-19 restrictions with stops in Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is set to raise a flag above the Space Needle to celebrate the lifting of most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. Thursday’s hoisting of a “Washington Ready” flag over the iconic Seattle structure is part of a mini-tour the governor has scheduled to commemorate the end of most restrictions intended to curb the pandemic. Those restrictions, which are expected to officially end starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, include 50% occupancy limits on indoor spaces.
► From Bloomberg Law — OSHA virus rule intended to cover all workers, draft shows — OSHA’s emergency standard protecting health-care workers from COVID-19 that was issued June 10 after months of anticipation originally was intended to protect all workers, a draft version showed. Yet, the final version of the emergency temporary standard that took effect June 21 and has a July 6 compliance deadline for employers limited the standard to only health-care employees, prompting at least two lawsuits by unions seeking a broader regulation. … “Current guidelines are inadequate, and are not enforceable, resulting in millions of workers left unprotected on the job,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “An enforceable workplace safety standard that protects all workers is key to beating this pandemic.”
► From the NY Times — Delta variant drives new lockdowns in Asia and Australia
► From the Seattle Times — Pacific Northwest’s record-smashing heat wave primes wildfire, buckles roads; health toll not yet known — 108. That’s the new measure for the hottest day in Seattle. Temperatures at Sea-Tac Airport on Monday afternoon eclipsed Seattle’s previous record of 104, set on Sunday, bringing a dangerous and unprecedented heat wave to a crescendo in a wilting city. Temperatures could drop at a record rate as a surge of marine air brings a measure of relief early Tuesday morning.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Tuesday outages expected as Avista implements rolling blackouts to ‘alleviate strain’ during heat wave
► From the News Tribune — Crews protect roads, bridges from heat. Power outages, water shortages reported — The historic heat wave has brought power outages, water shortages and proactive roadwork across Pierce County.
EDITOR’S NOTE — A big THANK YOU to all the crews working out there in extreme heat to protect the rest of us. Stay safe!
MORE local coverage from the (Aberdeen) Daily World, Bellingham Herald, Columbia Basin Herald, Ellensburg Daily Record, (Everett) Herald, Kitsap Sun, Olympian, Peninsula Daily News, (Portland) Oregonian, Skagit Valley Herald, Tri-City Herald, (Vancouver) Columbian, Walla Walla Union Bulletin, Wenatchee World, and Yakima Herald-Republic.
► From the NY Times — How weird is the heat in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver? Off the charts. — The recent weather that’s been smothering the Pacific Northwest has little precedent in at least four decades of record-keeping.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Inslee to virtually attend meeting with Biden, Western governors on heat, drought, wildfires
► From the Seattle Times — United orders 200 Boeing 737 MAX planes in huge boost for the jet program — United Airlines has announced a massive new airplane order that proved even bigger than rumored: firm contracts for 200 Boeing 737 MAXs, along with 70 Airbus A321neos. The news is a huge boost for Boeing’s efforts to revive the MAX program, which suffered hundreds of order cancellations over the past couple of years.
TODAY at The Stand — IAM celebrates United’s historic investment — “This order is positive news for IAM members in the Puget Sound region and beyond,” says Machinists District 751’s Jon Holden.
► From NPR — United Airlines is buying 270 new planes in massive bet on future of travel — United Airlines is placing a jumbo-sized order of narrow-body aircraft: The company is purchasing 270 new planes from Boeing and Airbus. Business and international flights are still down from pre-pandemic levels, but domestic leisure travel, the kind where single-aisle planes dominate, is roaring back. United is planning for growth, and ready to spend billions to get there, though it did not mention a specific price tag on Tuesday.
► From the (Longview) Daily News — U.S. Supreme Court chooses not to hear Millennium Bulk Terminals case — The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday not to hear the final lawsuit over the Millennium Bulk Terminals, “signaling the official end of the project,” according to environmental activism groups and dismissing the plaintiff’s arguments that the case is broader than the one terminal.
► From the Seattle Times — Justices deny Wyoming, Montana coal suit against Washington state — The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday that it won’t allow Wyoming and Montana to sue Washington state for denying a key permit to build an export dock that would have sent coal to Asia. The Washington state Department of Ecology in 2017 denied a permit for the export dock, saying the facility on the Columbia River would cause “irreparable and unavoidable” environmental harm.
► From the Olympian — Why is it taking so long to get relief money to renters? — The money has reached 643 households in Thurston County — but more than 1,400 households have pending applications or are waiting for screening appointments, according to data provided by the county.
► From Crosscut — NW tribes want to be at the table for green energy planning — Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to veto a tribal consultation portion of the Climate Commitment Act has stirred up conversation among tribal leaders.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
► From Willamette Week — Voodoo Doughnut workers go on strike, claiming sweaty shop conditions — On Sunday, some Voodoo Doughnut workers at the Old Town location announced they were going on strike, alleging unsafe work conditions on the hottest day ever recorded in Portland history. They alleged that the internal temperature of the shop was so high that customers stepped inside and immediately departed. “The doughnuts themselves melt in the heat as the frosting never fully dries,” the striking workers said in a Facebook post.
► From Yahoo News — Americans can be proud of the infrastructure deal (by President Joe Biden) — This deal is the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure in nearly a century. Economists of all stripes agree that it would create good jobs and dramatically strengthen our economy in the long run. But the deal also represents much more. It is a signal to ourselves, and to the world, that American democracy can work and deliver for the people. Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted in this agreement. But that’s what it means to compromise and reach consensus — the very heart of democracy. When we negotiate in good faith, and come together to get big things done, we begin to break the ice that too often has kept us frozen in place and prevented us from solving the real problems Americans face.
► From Politico — Federal employees give their agencies high marks for meeting their pandemic needs — Federal agencies scored 86.1 out of 100 in the federal government category that examined workers’ views on how employers supported them during the pandemic, as well as their agency’s ability to deliver on its mission, according to a new report.
► From Bloomberg — Supreme Court’s Breyer leaves Democrats in suspense on retirement — Democrats are watching the Supreme Court warily in the last week of its term to see if its oldest member will retire, allowing President Joe Biden to name a replacement while the party still holds a narrow majority in the Senate.
► From the Seattle Times — What you need to know about the child tax credit — In about three weeks, millions of American families will receive the first of six monthly payments of up to $300 per child from the federal government, thanks to an expanded child tax credit.
► From the AP — UAW leaders pick Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry to run union — Ray Curry is taking over leadership of the United Auto Workers at perhaps the most critical juncture in the union’s history. The UAW’s International Executive Board on Monday named Curry, its secretary-treasurer, as union president, replacing Rory Gamble, who retires Wednesday. As soon as he takes over the 397,000-member union Thursday, Curry will face extreme challenges in just about every direction.
► From the Washington Post — America’s workers are exhausted and burned out — and some employers are taking notice — Employers across the country, from Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo and Verizon to boutique advertising firms and nonprofit organizations, are continuing pandemic benefits such as increased paid time off and child- or elder-care benefits as well as embracing flexible work schedules and remote work in recognition that a returning workforce is at high risk of burnout.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If YOUR employer isn’t stepping up to provide extra time off and other benefits, get 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 the NY Times — Why do we work so damn much? (podcast with Ezra Klein) — Our culture of work would be profoundly puzzling to those who came before us.
► From Politico — California Democrats are reliably pro-labor. But one union is testing their patience. — The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, known colloquially as “the Trades,” has killed some of the Democrats’ most ambitious bills to tackle climate change and the state’s housing crisis, and lawmakers and others working on the issues are increasingly willing to voice their frustrations.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.