Tuesday, August 3, 2021
► From the Seattle Times — ‘Every hospital is quite full’ in Washington as delta variant of coronavirus spreads — Health care leaders are again becoming increasingly worried about hospital capacity in Washington as intensive care units and emergency rooms start to fill up, driven by the spread of the extremely transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus among unvaccinated residents.
► From The Guardian — COVID hospitalizations reach U.S. highs of last summer
► From Vox — Breakthrough cases aren’t the cause of the surge — The problem still seems to be the prevalence of unvaccinated people, who make up the vast majority of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
► From The Hill — Most K-12 parents support mask mandates: poll
► From Politico — Florida COVID hospitalizations shatter record as DeSantis downplays threat — The head of Florida’s largest hospital association warned that the skyrocketing number of COVID hospitalizations is unlike anything the state has seen before — even as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) downplays the spike.
► From The Hill — Florida district drops mask mandate after DeSantis threatens funding cut
► From the Washington Post — Sen. Lindsey Graham tests positive for coronavirus after meeting senators without masks — Sen. Lindsey O. Graham announced Monday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, a development that comes after he recently attended GOP and Senate functions without wearing a mask, including a gathering Saturday aboard Sen. Joe Manchin III’s boat.
► From the PSBJ — Kaiser Permanente makes vaccines mandatory for employees — The target date to reach this milestone is Sept. 30. Exemptions are permitted for medical or religious reasons, and will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Kaiser reports that 78% of its employees and 95% of doctors are already vaccinated.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Some hospitals, including MultiCare, will require employees to get vaccinated — All MultiCare hospital and clinic employees will have to get vaccinated against COVID-19 starting this fall. Details are still being worked out, and more information is being distributed to employees in the coming weeks.
► From The Hill — Tyson Foods to require vaccinations for employees
► From the News Tribune — Tuesday is the 2021 primary election. Here is what you need to know. — Washington voters have until 8 p.m. on Tuesday to submit their ballots for the 2021 primary election. Tuesday is election day, and mailed ballots must be postmarked Aug. 3 to be counted. No stamp is required. Voters also can return their ballots through one of hundreds of ballot drop boxes located throughout the state. Find a drop box near you.
The Stand (July 15) — Got ballot? Check out labor’s primary election endorsements
► From NBC News — Amazon violated labor law in Alabama union election, labor official finds — The director who presided over the NLRB hearing will recommend whether a new election is conducted, but the final decision whether workers will be allowed to cast new ballots and form a union ultimately lies with the director of the regional NLRB office.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is not unusual. Corporations routinely break union-election laws in America. Why? Because it takes months, sometimes years, of hearings and appeals before any rulings force a new election, reinstated workers, or back pay. In the meantime, the company can continue to target and eliminate union supporters. These companies consider any eventual penalty down the road as “a cost of doing business,” and worth it to avoid unionization. America’s labor laws are broken. This is why we must pass the PRO Act now!
► From the NY Times — $1 trillion infrastructure bill pours money into long-delayed needs — Amtrak would see its biggest infusion of money since its inception a half-century ago. Climate resilience programs would receive their largest burst of government spending ever. The nation’s power grid would be upgraded to the tune of $73 billion. The sprawling, $1 trillion bill that the Senate took up on Monday — a 2,702-page bipartisan deal that is the product of months of negotiating and years of pent-up ambitions to repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure — would amount to the most substantial government expenditure on the aging public works system since 2009.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill would invest billions to combat wildfires — The legislation would spend nearly $3.4 billion on wildland firefighting efforts. Another $5.75 billion would go toward natural resource-related infrastructure, including fire management and restoration.
► From HuffPost — Infrastructure deal could pave way for 18-year-old truck drivers — The bill would establish an apprenticeship program that would let 18- to 21-year-olds cross state lines in 18-wheelers ― a small win for the freight industry on top of the bill’s $100 billion investment in roadways. Federal law requires commercial truckers to be at least 21 years old for interstate commerce, but the trucking industry has long complained of a labor shortage, saying there aren’t enough drivers willing to work for prevailing pay rates.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Simple solution: Raise prevailing pay rates.
► From the UConn Blog — CFPB and AFL-CIO offer help to avoid evictions — With some states refusing to issue state orders to stop evictions many people are at risk of losing their housing, but there is help out there. To help union members who might have fallen behind on their rent, the AFL-CIO sent a text out to their list to inform union members of a CFPB program to provide emergency rental assistance. The money that is being used was allotted to states during previous spending bills, but accessing it has been tricky in some states. Both tenants and landlords can apply for help. You can find out more information by clicking here.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Gov. Jay Inslee has extended Washington state’s moratorium on evictions until Sept. 30. But starting Aug. 1, tenants must have “demonstrably taken action to pay rent” by seeking rental assistance, for example, to avoid being evicted for past due rent through Sept. 30. Learn more here.
► From the Washington Post — Liberals erupt in fury at White House over end of eviction moratorium — Tensions escalated sharply Monday between liberal Democrats and President Biden, as disputes over the end of an eviction moratorium and the fate of the Democrats’ social agenda threatened to upend the Democrats’ delicate center-left alliance.
► From the Washington Post — ACLU and Biden administration to face off over migrant family expulsions — The Biden administration and the ACLU have reached an “impasse” over the expulsions of migrant families at the southwest border and are returning to federal court to ask a judge to rule on the issue. The move abruptly ends months of closed-door negotiations as the ACLU pressed for an end to the continued expulsion of migrant families under a public health order the Trump administration imposed during the pandemic.
► From Reuters — U.S. company profits even bigger than Wall Street’s lofty targets — Much stronger-than-expected profit reports from U.S. companies in recent weeks have ratcheted up already high Wall Street forecasts on how second-quarter earnings growth will look versus last year.
EDITOR’S NOTE — There isn’t a labor shortage, there’s a wage shortage. And many companies can afford to pay their workers more. Want to get paid? Get a union! 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 Te Guardian — ‘In tears before I even logged in’: Cigna call center workers challenge working conditions — Employees started a petition demanding improvements, including lifting a pay raise freeze and removing pressure to meet metrics.
► From CBS Chicago — Auto mechanics on strike at 56 Chicago area car dealerships — More than 800 mechanics represented by Automobile Mechanics’ Local 701 walked off the job on Monday, a day after authorizing a strike. The union’s contract with the New Car Dealer Committee expired on Sunday, and the union said 97% of its members voted to reject the committee’s latest contract proposal, and then authorized a strike by a 99% vote.
► From the New Yorker — The Big Money Behind the Big Lie — Although the Arizona election audit may appear to be the product of local extremists, it has been fed by sophisticated, well-funded national organizations whose boards of directors include some of the country’s wealthiest and highest-profile conservatives. Dark-money organizations, sustained by undisclosed donors, have relentlessly promoted the myth that American elections are rife with fraud, and, according to leaked records of their internal deliberations, they have drafted, supported, and in some cases taken credit for state laws that make it harder to vote. One of the movement’s leaders is the Heritage Foundation, the prominent conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. It has been working with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—a corporate-funded nonprofit that generates model laws for state legislators—on ways to impose new voting restrictions. Pillars of the conservative establishment, faced with a changing U.S. voter population that threatens their agenda, are exploiting Trump’s contempt for norms to devise ways to hold on to power. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said of the campaign, “It’s a massive covert operation run by a small group of billionaire élites. These are powerful interests with practically unlimited resources who have moved on to manipulating that most precious of American gifts—the vote.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.