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Protect workers: Mask up! | Missing public-option plans | Frito-Lay strike ends

Tuesday, July 27, 2021




► From the News Tribune — Pierce County, 7 others recommend masking up amid rising COVID-19 cases in Washington — “The health officers of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Clallam, Jefferson, San Juan, and Grays Harbor counties have joined together to pass on their best public health advice to protect you, your family, and our communities,” said a joint statement. “We recommend all residents wear facial coverings when in indoor public settings where the vaccination status of those around you is unknown.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — You will be in that grocery/retail store or other public space for just a few minutes, but the people who work there spend their entire day potentially exposed to the new Delta strain of the COVID virus. Respect those workers by wearing a mask. All of us should practice this small but meaningful act of solidarity with frontline workers.

► From the Peninsula Daily News — Hundreds of area hospital workers unvaccinated — Although North Olympic Peninsula hospitals have higher COVID-19 vaccination rates than the general public, more than 690 hospital workers are unvaccinated under policies that make the protection optional.

► From the AP — VA requires COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers — The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccines, as the aggressive delta variant spreads and some communities report troubling increases in hospitalizations among unvaccinated people.

► From Politico — Government leaders to their workers: Get vaccinated or get tested — California, New York City and the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday announced that their own government employees must get vaccinated or get tested regularly, stopping just short of an absolute mandate as the nation experiences an alarming resurgence of COVID-19.

► From the NY Times — As virus cases rise, another contagion spreads among the vaccinated: anger — Frustrated by the prospect of a new surge, many Americans are blaming the unvaccinated. A tougher stance may backfire, some experts warn.




► From the Columbian — Clark County Sheriff: Slain detective Brown “a man I so admired”Detective Jeremy Brown — a 15-year veteran of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and detective with the Clark-Vancouver Drug Task Force — was fatally shot Friday evening while conducting surveillance on a group of people at an east Vancouver apartment complex.

► From KNKX — Whatcom council to vote on permanent ban of new fossil fuel industries at Cherry Point — The ordinance would prohibit new refineries or coal facilities and also force stricter regulation of any expansions of fossil fuel facilities at Cherry Point. Backers say oil industry representatives have been at the table for recent negotiations and are not expected to block the latest iteration of the ordinance.

► From the Olympian — For minimum wage workers, there’s no catching up with the rent — Mikayla Droz, who earns $15 per hour working overnight shifts as an in-home caregiver, is just one example among many low-wage workers who must seek increasingly creative arrangements to scrape by as housing costs in Olympia skyrocket.




► From Crosscut — Despite law, 20 Washington counties don’t offer public-option health plans — Two years ago, Washington state lawmakers passed a public-option health care bill, with the goal of making it easier and cheaper for Washington residents to buy health insurance. Yet in about half the state’s counties, if you try to buy a public-option plan run by the state government, you’ll be out of luck. The spotty availability of the new public-option plans is one of several hiccups that arose during the rollout of Washington’s new, government-procured health care program. Now, Washington legislators think they have found a solution to bring the public-option plans to all of the state’s counties by 2023.




► LIVE from the Washington Post — Jan. 6 committee hearing updates: Police officers deliver emotional testimony about violent day at Capitol — Four police officers are delivering emotional testimony Tuesday about the physical and verbal abuse they endured defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 from a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, as a House select committee holds its first hearing on the insurrection.

► From The Hill — One third of states have passed restrictive voting laws this year — One in every three states across the nation have passed new laws restricting voter access to the ballot in the wake of the 2020 elections, a torrid pace that showcases the national battle over election reform. Voting rights experts and advocates say they have never seen such an explosion of election overhauls. Every new restriction has been passed in states where Republicans own total control of the legislature.

► From the AP — Jesse Jackson among 39 arrested at sit-in at Sinema’s office — Civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and William Barber, were among 39 people arrested Monday after refusing to leave the Phoenix office of U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has faced unrelenting pressure from liberal activists over her opposition to ending the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

► From Politico — High-stakes infrastructure talks stall out as deadline passes — Senators capped off a day of trading blame and stalled efforts on their bipartisan infrastructure proposal with a Monday meeting that quickly broke up, signaling a tough path forward as negotiators missed yet another self-imposed deadline.

► From the AP — Senators, White House in talks to finish infrastructure bill — They hit serious roadblocks over how much would be spent on public transit and water infrastructure and whether the new spending on roads, bridges, broadband and other projects would be required to meet federal wage requirements for workers.

► From the Washington Post — Minimum-wage lessons for the U.S. from the other side of the world — As the United States debates the effects of raising the federal minimum wage, an instructive experience can be found across the Pacific. Australia has one of the world’s highest pay floors and relatively low unemployment, offering a case study in the modern economic theory that raising wages doesn’t kill jobs.




► From the Washington Post — Frito-Lay workers end 20-day strike in Kansas with contract that guarantees one day off per weekHundreds of Frito-Lay employees will return to work in Kansas, ending a 20-day strike with the weekend ratification of a two-year contract that guarantees them at least one day off each week and raises wages. Workers at the Topeka plant had called on the snack food giant to end forced overtime and 84-hour workweeks, saying they had been pushed to the brink as the factory revved up operations during the pandemic, according to the BCTWGM Local 218.

► From the Washington Post — States that cut unemployment early aren’t seeing a hiring boom, but who gets hired is changing — The 20 Republican-led states that reduced unemployment benefits in June did not see an immediate spike in overall hiring, but early evidence suggests something did change: The teen hiring boom slowed in those states, and workers 25 and older returned to work more quickly. The findings suggest hiring is likely to remain difficult for some time, especially in the lower-paying hospitality sector.

► From Vox — Corporations aren’t going to save America (by Emily Stewart) — Companies have a profit motive and are ultimately accountable to shareholders. Doing what’s lucrative often doesn’t align with what’s best for most people, and when they do nice things, it’s often because they know it will play well with consumers and workers.


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

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