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Are teachers, school staff next? | Transparency at Children’s | Half can’t afford rent

Thursday, August 12, 2021




► From the Seattle Times — Key educators support a vaccine mandate for teachers in Washington — As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, a growing number of elected officials, education leaders and health experts in Washington and around the country are voicing support for a vaccine requirement for teachers and staff in public schools. On Wednesday, the same day California adopted a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff, state Superintendent Chris Reykdal said he has “encouraged” Gov. Jay Inslee to consider requiring public school employees to be vaccinated. The Washington Education Association says everybody who can be vaccinated should be, spokesperson Julie Popper said in an email. But she did not answer questions about whether the state’s teachers union would support a vaccine requirement.

► From the AP — California requires vaccines, tests for teachers and staff — The new policy applies to both public and private schools and will affect more than 800,000 employees, including about 320,000 public school teachers and a host of support staff such as cafeteria workers and cleaners. It will also apply to school volunteers. California’s two largest teachers unions said Wednesday they fully supported the policy.

The Stand (Aug. 9) — WSLC outlines position on vaccine mandates — As labor continues to support vaccination, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO says workers must have a voice in employers’ vaccine policies.

► From SEIU 1199NW — SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is not organizing or supporting demonstrations outside of facilities related to the vaccine mandate — “Participating in an action that could constitute a strike or a picket could subject you to discipline or termination from management.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Nurses Association also cautioned members that protests or actions against vaccine requirements at or near hospitals could result in termination.

► From the USA Today — Vaccine required for HHS health care workers

► From Reuters — U.S. employers get religion with vaccine mandates — As coronavirus infections rise again, U.S. companies mandating vaccinations are confronting an uncomfortable question rarely asked by an employer — what is an employee’s religious belief?

► From The Hill — Pressure builds for full FDA approval of vaccinesThe vaccines are currently under an emergency authorization from the FDA and the vaccines are widely seen among experts as extraordinarily safe and effective, especially after their record of having been given to hundreds of millions of people already. But the official stamp of full approval from the FDA could make a difference for some hesitant people.

► From The Hill — Children’s hospitals fill up as delta, virus cases soar — Growing COVID-19 infections among children in the U.S. have sparked an influx of pediatric hospitalizations in certain areas of the country in recent weeks, alarming parents and experts as the country prepares to send children back to in-person school. These hospitalizations are straining several children’s hospitals across the country, with some in Louisiana and Texas reporting bed shortages.

► From HuffPost — ‘I can’t keep going’: ICU nurse shares grim account as virus surges in Mississippi — “We have a solution by getting the vaccine and wearing our masks and doing what we need to do,” said Jen Sartin, an ICU nurse at Singing River Health System in Ocean Springs, Miss. “We’re tired. Nurses are so tired. It’s getting to the point where we need help. We’ve been helping as much as we can and we need help from our community.”

► From the Washington Post — Hospitals struggle with staff shortages in coronavirus hot spotsJust north of Miami, COVID-19 patients are flooding into the six Broward County hospitals run by Memorial Healthcare System, as Florida is being slammed with the highest rate of coronavirus admissions in the country. Memorial has enough beds. Not so with nurses. The hospital system has scrambled to hire 439 travel nurses from as far away as Alaska, and it is offering some of its own nurses well-paid short-term contracts to compete with the appeal of working for lucrative outside agencies.

EDITOR’S NURSES — If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for children and nurses. Get vaccinated now. Visit Washington state’s Vaccine Locator to find vaccine appointments near you or get more information about vaccination here.

► From the NY Times — Yes, nurses are heroes. Let’s treat them like it. (by Dr. Linda H. Aiken) — The COVID-19 pandemic exposed strengths in the nation’s health care system — one of the greatest being our awesome nurses. But it also exposed many weaknesses, foremost among them being chronic nurse understaffing in hospitals, nursing homes and schools… We celebrate nurses now. We call them heroes. But if we value their sacrifices and want them to be there when we need them, we must prevent a return to the poor prepandemic working conditions that led to high nurse burnout and turnover rates even before COVID.




► From the News Tribune — With hot temperatures forecast through weekend, cooling centers opening across region — A heat wave forecast to stretch into Saturday evening is expected to bring sweltering temperatures to Pierce County this week. The county and City of Tacoma are preparing for the dangerously hot conditions by opening several cooling centers.

The Stand (July 13) — L&I: Employers must protect workers from extreme heat

► From the Washington Post — Two major heat waves roasting Lower 48 states; 175 million Americans under alerts

► From the NY Times — British Columbia battles nearly 300 wildfires at once — The Canadian authorities are urging residents to obey evacuation orders during the worst wildfire season since a devastating one in 2018.




► From the Seattle Times — Seattle Children’s staff call for full report from probe into racism at hospital system — Seattle Children’s leaders face continued fallout from how they handled an external investigation into racism within the hospital system, as some staff and community members are calling for further transparency and even the resignation of top leaders. On Wednesday, around 100 employees staged a one-hour walkout on the main campus in Laurelhurst, calling for the release of the full investigative report. Protests were also planned outside three other hospital locations.

The Stand (Jan. 6) — WSNA, others call on Seattle Children’s to address racism

► From the Seattle Times — Bartell customers face delays, staff shortages after Rite Aid takeover — Bartell appears to be seeing unusually high pharmacy turnover recently — including several cases where most of a location’s pharmacy staff has left, according to many customers and several employees.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Thought of the day: Good jobs are created by people who refuse to quit, and instead, join together to demand better pay and working conditions.

► From the PSBJ — Amazon’s investments in Washington outpace every other state — and it’s not close — Inc. says it invested $129 billion into Washington state’s economy from 2010 to 2020, according to its economic impact report released Wednesday.

► From WFSE — WFSE Local 793 member’s son wins national AFSCME Family Scholarship — Sibley Haamid IV, the son of a WFSE member, has been awarded one of twelve AFSCME Family Scholarships. He applied for the scholarship on his own and was selected out of hundreds of national applicants. “I knew WFSE offered many benefits and I decided to see if they offered scholarships—and they did. So I handed it over to my son and said, get busy,” said Sibley’s mother, Carla Cooper-Haamid, a Student Services Representative and WFSE Local 793 member. Sibley will soon attend Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, where he plans to major in graphic design and minor in business management.




► From the Seattle Times — UW human rights report questions compliance with state law restricting cooperation with immigration officials — The report identifies what it describes as “serious and systematic gaps in compliance across many Washington counties” and cites numerous, documented examples — most from 2019 and early 2020. They range from calling immigration officials to traffic stops, to holding jail inmates for federal agents beyond their release date without judicial warrants, to collecting information about where people booked into jails were born and faxing that in daily reports to ICE.




► From Roll Call — Democrats about to walk budget tightrope in House — At least eight to 10 moderate House Democrats are privately expressing a willingness to vote against the budget if Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) does not schedule a vote on the Senate-passed, bipartisan infrastructure bill first. Pelosi has repeatedly vowed to hold the infrastructure bill in the House until the Senate also passes the reconciliation package, ensuring all of Biden’s economic policies are implemented together. The reconciliation bill, however, won’t be ready for weeks.

The Stand (Aug. 11) — U.S. Senate passes historic infrastructure bill

► From the AP — Census data kicks off effort to reshape U.S. House districts — Redistricting season officially kicks off Thursday with the release of detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau that will be used to redraw voting districts nationwide — potentially helping determine control of the U.S. House in the 2022 elections and providing an electoral edge for the next decade.

► From Politico — Dems plot last-ditch voting rights push as midterm clock ticks — The party is down to its final few weeks before new congressional maps are drawn for 2022. It’s working furiously on two compromise tracks.




► From The Guardian — Nearly half of American workers don’t earn enough to afford a one-bedroom rental Rents in the U.S. continued to increase through the pandemic, and a worker now needs to earn about $20.40 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom rental. The median wage in the U.S. is about $21 an hour. The data shows that millions of Americans – from Amazon warehouse workers to cab drivers to public school teachers – are struggling to pay rent. For the poorest Americans, market-rate housing is out of reach in virtually all of the country.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Can’t afford rent? Get a union! Union members earn nearly 20 percent higher pay on average than non-union members. 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 Reuters — Four beats five as pandemic prompts shorter working week trials — From travel to technology, employers across the globe are offering four day weeks as incentives to woo workers after the coronavirus pandemic upended their working patterns.


RICHARD TRUMKA (1949-2021)


► From the AFL-CIO — Labor leaders remember Richard Trumka, a champion for working people — Working people were shocked at the untimely passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He was a vibrant and energetic leader who never stopped fighting for working people, doing everything he could to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act until his last moments. The loss of Richard Trumka is devastating to the many who loved him and fought along with him on behalf of working people everywhere. Leaders across the country have spoken about their memories and admiration him. Here are their words.

REVIOUSLY at The Stand:

Nation mourns, honors AFL-CIO’s Trumka (Aug. 6)
WSLC: Richard Trumka’s passing is a monumental loss (Aug. 5)


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

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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!