Tuesday, July 13, 2021
► From the (Everett) Herald — Geography defines who gets grocery hazard pay — and who doesn’t — Many of the county’s grocery workers are now earning an extra $4 per hour. After a new ordinance went into effect last week, the county required at least eight stores to provide hazard pay. The mandate applies to large grocery stores in unincorporated Snohomish County. Employees at Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer all qualify as long as their store isn’t within the boundaries of a city. While the county executive’s office has a list of stores required to pony up, more could be eligible. It’s still unclear if Walmart, one of the county’s largest employers, is also required to provide hazard pay.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane city, county union workers rally amid controversy surrounding public labor negotiations — Spokane city and county union workers held a demonstration Friday amid stalled negotiations on new labor contracts due to disagreements over negotiating the deals in public.
TODAY at The Stand — Spokane city, county workers picket for fair bargaining
► From the (Longview) Daily News — Longview apprentice workers miss out on recent federally funded projects — Longview’s apprentice workers have not been brought in on the city’s federally funded projects for more than a year. Neither the city nor local trade unions can say for sure why the change in policy happened.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Edmonds district and teachers agree on a short-term pact — The agreement will extend the current contract for a year and boost the pay of classroom instructors.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Lake Stevens faces fine for alleged worker safety violations — A state agency says lack of training put Public Works employees at risk of injury and illnesses.
► From the Tri-City Herald — Hanford workers hospitalized after feeling sick digging at nuclear waste-tainted site (paywalled “exclusive”)
► BREAKING from CNN — A crane collapse in Kelowna, B.C. has killed multiple people, officials say
► From the Seattle Times — A new 787 Dreamliner manufacturing flaw will prolong Boeing delivery halt — In yet another serious setback as Boeing struggles to recover from the pandemic’s impact on production, its engineers have now found unacceptably large gaps around the forward pressure bulkhead. The additional inspections and repairs now required will prolong the current 787 delivery halt and extend the duration of the large inventory buildup. In addition, it has forced Boeing to cut the already slow production rate further.
► From The Hill — FAA: New manufacturing issue discovered in undelivered 787s
► From the Seattle Times — FAA shows new muscle in working with Boeing (editorial) — The return of real government oversight is a critical step not only to rehabilitate the FAA’s reputation at home and around the world, but also help restore the credibility and standing of America’s largest manufacturing exporter.
► From Reuters — Boeing gets order for 12 more 737-800 converted freighters from lessor BBAM — The deal brings BBAM’s 737-800 Boeing converted freighter orders and commitments to 31, including a deal in January for six firm orders and six options for the same aircraft.
► From KUOW — Nearly 700 people believed to have died in Northwest heat wave — The death count has inched upward since the mercury hit 108 degrees in Seattle two weeks ago. The heat wave is now one of the deadliest weather-related events in Washington state history. At least 25 people died in King County, and 91 statewide. The numbers could still rise, however, as people are still being found in their homes, and others haven’t recovered from dehydration. The heat wave lasted between June 26 and July 6.
► From KUOW — State issues new protections for outdoor workers following extreme heat wave — New emergency rules from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries will soon require employers to provide shade from the sun and breaks for workers to cool down. Washington is now the third state to regulate outdoor work conditions under extreme heat.
TODAY at The Stand — New L&I rule aims to protect workers amid extreme heat
► From the Spokesman-Review — Wildfire closes North Cascades Highway — The decision by the Washington Department of Transportation to close State Route 20 between mileposts 170 and 177 was expected to last at least through the end of Monday. Photos from the highway near the Early Winters campground showed flames and smoke erupting from the forest.
► From the AP — Wildfires threaten homes, land across 10 Western states — Wildfires that torched homes and forced thousands to evacuate burned across 10 parched Western states on Tuesday, and the largest, in Oregon, threatened California’s power supply. Nearly 60 wildfires tore through bone-dry timber and brush from Alaska to Wyoming, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Arizona, Idaho and Montana accounted for more than half of the large active fires.
► From Politico — Biden to call for ‘a new coalition’ to defend voting rights — During his speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday, the president will say Republican election bills are “grounded in autocracy, undemocratic.”
► A related story from the AP — Texas Democrats leave state to try to stop GOP voting bill — Democrats in the Texas Legislature bolted Monday for Washington, D.C., and said they were ready to remain there for weeks in a second revolt against a GOP overhaul of election laws, forcing a dramatic new showdown over voting rights in America.
► From CNN Politics — Biden fires top official at Social Security Administration after he refuses to resign — President Joe Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul after he refused to submit his resignation as the President had requested, a White House official told CNN. Biden had asked for the top two officials at the Social Security Administration to submit their resignations, the White House official told CNN, but only Saul refused. Deputy Commissioner David Black agreed to submit his resignation, the official said, and it was accepted.
► From the Washington Post — Fired and defiant, former Social Security chief is cut off from agency computers
► From SS Works — Social Security Works applauds Biden for firing Saul, Black — “Today is a great day for every current and future Social Security beneficiary,” said Alex Lawson, Executive Director for Social Security Works.
► From the AP — Biden signs order to limit noncompete agreements, encourage consumer protections — The sweeping order includes 72 actions and recommendations that Biden said would lower prices for families, increase wages for workers and promote innovation and faster economic growth. However, new regulations that agencies may write to translate his policy into rules could trigger major legal battles.
► From The Hill — Business groups lobby against key Biden labor nominee — David Weil, President Biden’s pick to run the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, is facing fierce opposition from several business groups. The Senate Health Committee on Thursday will hold a nomination hearing for Weil, who held the wage division post in the Obama administration from 2014 to 2017. During his tenure, Weil pushed to classify independent contractors as employees and criticized gig companies and franchises for relying on contractors.
► From Politico — GOP support for bipartisan infrastructure deal going wobbly — Comments by technically supportive Republicans illustrate that, after a two-week recess, Republican support for an aisle-crossing deal with President Joe Biden is soft.
► From Poynter — Not just a wave, but a movement: Journalists unionize at record numbers — In the past decade, workers at news publications have launched more than 200 union drives, and over 90% of them have been successful. Media outlets have called it a “wave.” But it’s more than that, said University of Toronto associate professor Nicole Cohen. It’s a movement.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Join the movement! 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 the People’s World — Hotel execs firing up to 39 percent of housekeepers even after full reopening — U.S. hotel industry executives, using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse, plan to cut up to 39% of their housekeepers, depending on the chain involved, even after fully reopening once the plague retreats, UNITE HERE reports. Its eight-page study, Playing Dirty, released at the end of June, calculates up to 180,917 housekeepers, 89% of whom are women and 73% of whom are Black and brown, would lose their jobs. Hotel CEOs cut housekeepers after each of the last two industry recessions, one due to 9/11 and the other from the 2008 financier-created crash, Unite Here said. The hotels also urge guests to decline demanding daily housekeeping services, resulting in less work each day—and a lot more work, per remaining housekeeper, at the end of each guest’s stay.
► From KLKN TV — ‘WE ALL QUIT’: Local Burger King sign goes viral — Rachael Flores said the Burger King in Lincoln, Neb., had employees working in the kitchen with no air conditioning for weeks. At one point, the kitchen reached over 90 degrees. Flores ended up in the hospital for dehydration. She said her boss reacted, saying she was being a “baby.”
► From the NY Times — Despite outbreaks among unvaccinated, Fox News hosts smear shots — Months after Rupert Murdoch got a COVID-19 vaccine dose, one of his network’s stars, Tucker Carlson, called a Biden vaccination proposal “the greatest scandal in my lifetime.”
► From the Washington Post — Republicans refusing to get vaccinated are owning no one but themselves (by Eugene Robinson) — Over the weekend in Dallas at the Conservative Political Action Conference, attendees cheered when Alex Berenson, who has made himself a Fox News folk hero for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, crowed about the fact that fewer Americans were getting their shots than public health officials had hoped. The cheers are all about “owning” Fauci, President Biden, liberals in general, scientists in particular, mask-wearers, fancy-pants “elites” and everyone else urging people to get vaccinated. The inevitable result will be that we end up mourning people who didn’t need to die. And the worst-case possibility is that covid-19 roars back — along with the restrictions and isolations Americans thought we’d left behind.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.