The Stand

Deadly heat | Court abandons voting rights | Queen at 50

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Friday, July 2, 2021

 


EXTREME HEAT

 

► From the AP — Hundreds believed dead in Pacific Northwest heat wave despite efforts to help — Many of the dead were found alone, in homes without air conditioning or fans. Some were elderly — one as old as 97. The body of an immigrant farm laborer was found in an Oregon nursery. As forecasters warned of a record-breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada last weekend, officials set up cooling centers, distributed water to the houseless and took other steps. Still, hundreds of people are believed to have died from Friday to Tuesday.

► From the Oregonian — Marion County farm where worker died was previously cited for workplace safety violations — Ernst Nursery and Farms and Brother Farm Labor Contractor, under investigation by Oregon’s workplace safety agency after the death of a farm worker in the extreme heat, were both previously cited for workplace violations.

► From the Oregonian — Umatilla construction worker found in trailer without air conditioning is among heat-related deaths in Oregon (subscribers only)

► From In These Times — The heat wave shows climate change is a workers’ rights issue (by Mindy Isser) — Between 1992 and 2017, at least 815 workers in the U.S. were killed and more than 70,000 were injured from heat stress injuries. It’s likely that the true number of workers hurt or killed due to extreme heat is much higher than reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Many workers who labor outside — particularly agricultural workers and construction workers — are undocumented or otherwise vulnerable and precarious, and may not know to report illnesses to OSHA. And of course, their employers are likely to misclassify a heat-related death. As temperatures continue to rise year after year, we can guess that the number of heat stress injuries and deaths will rise too.

The Stand (June 28) — Ask Congress to support heat stress standard

► From the Spokesman-Review — As current dry, hot conditions increase fire risk, authorities in Inland Northwest counties urge against fireworks this Fourth

 


LOCAL

 

► From the Bellingham Herald — Bellingham Cold Storage workers on strike. Here’s why. — More than 100 workers at Bellingham Cold Storage went on strike Thursday, July 1, protesting what they say is the company’s unwillingness to negotiate on a new contract. Workers with picket signs were at both the Roeder Avenue and Orchard Drive facilities after the strike started at 8 a.m. The workers plan on continuing the strike until the company shows a desire to negotiate, said Rich Ewing, secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters Local 231. About 115 people went on strike, with many of the positions involving forklift operations at the two cold storage facilities. The strike comes at a crucial time not just for the storage company, but for local berry farmers. The raspberry and blueberry harvests are underway and many of the high-quality berries are quick-frozen and stored in places such as BCS.

TODAY at The StandBCS workers are out on strike — again

TAKE A STAND — Show your support for striking BCS workers by joining them on the picket lines at 600 Orchard Dr. and 2825 Roeder Ave. in Bellingham. Also, contact BCS President/ CEO Doug Thomas at 360-733-1640 or doug.thomas@bellcold.com or JGC Chairman Joshua (Jay) Green III at 206-622-0420 or using this web form. Tell them to negotiate in good faith for a fair contract that shows respect for their hard-working employees.

► From the Tri-City Herald — Darigold to build $500 million Tri-Cities plant, creating 1,200 jobs — Darigold will build a $500 million processing plant in Pasco under a new deal with the Port of Pasco. When done, the plant that will make specialized protein powder and butter, will create 200 on-site jobs and addition 1,000 support service jobs. The Seattle-based company has 11 other plants in the Northwest. Darigold is the marketing and processing subsidiary of Northwest Dairy Association, a co-op of 350 dairy farm families in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

► From the Inlander — Twenty drag performers leave the Globe after disagreements over pay and working conditions — Drag is a form of art and self expression. For many, it’s also a job. On June 16, 20 drag queens walked away from the Globe Bar and Kitchen in downtown Spokane after a meeting with management and the owner went south. The group had called the meeting to discuss concerns over pay, working conditions and a lack of communication.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From KING 5 — Lawmaker’s apology for wearing yellow star at Lacey speaking event not enough for Anti-Defamation League — State Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) said he’s sorry he wore a yellow Star of David while speaking to a conservative group last Saturday at a Lacey church. “I don’t think it’s enough,” said Miri Cypers, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League.

 


VOTING RIGHTS

 

► From the NY Times — Supreme Court upholds Arizona voting restrictions — The Supreme Court on Thursday gave states new latitude to impose restrictions on voting, using a ruling in a case from Arizona to signal that challenges to laws being passed by Republican legislatures that make it harder for minority groups to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.

► From The Hill — Kagan rips colleagues in blistering 41-page voting rights dissent — Justice Elena Kagan’s fiery dissenting opinion, which was joined by the two other liberal members of the court, Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, accused her conservative colleagues of undermining Section 2 of the landmark Voting Rights Act and tragically weakening what she called “a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness.” She wrote, “Never has a statute done more to advance the nation’s highest ideals. And few laws are more vital in the current moment. Yet in the last decade, this court has treated no statute worse.”

► From the AFL-CIO — Supreme Court voting decision will have dire consequences for democracy — “Endorsing the efforts of extremist Arizona lawmakers to silence voters’ voices based on the color of their skin is a stain on the highest court in the land,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

► From the NY Times — The Supreme Court abandons voting rights (editorial) — The current conservative majority on the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roberts, shows no interest in thwarting Republicans’ attack on democracy and protecting Americans’ fundamental constitutional right to vote. The ball is in Congress’s court, and time is fast running out.

► From the Washington Post — The Roberts court systematically dismantles the Voting Rights Act (editorial) — At times, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has labored to maintain the Supreme Court’s legitimacy against the gale-force pressures of partisan acrimony and social division. When it comes to voting rights, he has pushed in the opposite direction, presiding over the court’s systematic dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, overriding Congress’s clear intentions and gravely injuring U.S. democracy.

► From The Hill — Majority more concerned about voting access than fraud: pollWhen it comes to priority in voting laws, 56 percent of respondents said the priority should be “making sure that everyone who wants to vote can do so.” By comparison, 41 percent said that the focus should be “making sure that no one votes who is not eligible.”

► From The Onion — Supreme Court waits in line for hours before voting to uphold Arizona restrictions

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From the AP — Supreme Court says California can’t collect names of dark money donors — The court ruled in favor of conservative organizations that opposed the requirement that donors’ identities be disclosed to the state attorney general’s office.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This decision is a victory for the anti-union Freedom Foundation, which refuses to disclose its donors but has been linked to the Koch brothers and other right-wing billionaires.

► From Roll Call — Democrats, Republicans take recess as workers’ trade aid shrinks Congress goes into the Fourth of July recess with Democrats and Republicans at odds over the next steps to take on key trade legislation, including retraining funds for workers hurt by foreign competition. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) blamed Republicans for allowing the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, or TAA, to revert as of Thursday to a program that provides fewer benefits and training to workers in manufacturing. The program will no longer cover the service industry.

► From the Seattle Times — U.S. proposal for 15% global minimum tax wins support from 130 countries — An effort to push the most sweeping changes to the global tax system in a century gained significant momentum Thursday when 130 nations agreed to a blueprint in which multinational corporations would pay a fair share of tax wherever they operate.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From the AP — U.S. adds a solid 850,000 jobs as economy extends its gains — In an encouraging burst of hiring, America’s employers added 850,000 jobs in June, well above the average of the previous three months and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.

► From NPR — Hospitals have started posting their prices online. Here’s what they reveal. — A colonoscopy might cost you or your insurer a few hundred dollars — or several thousand, depending on which hospital or insurer you use. Long hidden, such price variations are supposed to be available in stark black and white under a price transparency rule that took effect at the start of this year. It requires hospitals to post a range of actual prices — everything from the rates they offer cash-paying customers to costs negotiated with insurers. Many have complied. But some hospitals bury the data deep on their websites or have not included all the categories of prices required, according to industry analysts. A sizable minority of hospitals have not disclosed the information at all.

► From the LA Times — There’s no labor shortage — just not enough good jobs — Some employers have already raised wages and reconfigured jobs to make them more appealing. And while restaurants, hotels and retail stores desperately seek workers to meet surging demand, other sectors are under less pressure as consumers readjust to the lifting of COVID restrictions.

 


T.G.I.F.

 

► Fifty years ago today, Queen performed at Surrey College, England in what was the group’s first gig with the line-up of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. The rest is history. So today The Entire Staff of The Stand presents, not one of Queen’s massive hits, but a deeper album cut that highlights how talented this band truly was. Yes, Freddie Mercury’s vocals are amazing as always, but watch as Brian May starts out on piano with his guitar in his lap, and then Mercury seamlessly swaps places with him so May can shred a solo. Enjoy.

 


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

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