Tuesday, August 24, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Aug. 24 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 536,814 infections (14-day average of cases per day: 2,990) and 6,383 deaths.
► From the News Tribune — Pierce County passes grim milestone: COVID-19 case rate now ‘the highest it’s been’ — The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported 273 COVID-19 cases on Monday and four new deaths. “Our case rate is now the highest it’s been during the pandemic and we passed 60,000 total cases,” TPCHD stated in its Monday update. “We’re also seeing high rates of serious illness. Our hospitalization rate is close to its peak, and four deaths is four too many. Please get vaccinated if you haven’t, mask up, and take every step you can to protect your family and community.”
► From the Seattle Times — ICE ordered to test detainees for COVID before transfers to Tacoma detention center — ICE is also ordered to take “all reasonable” measures to prevent cross-exposure at the Northwest ICE Processing Center to ensure that detained persons testing negative are not exposed to those who test positive.
► From the News Tribune — Outbreak at Pierce County Jail means limiting bookings
► From the Spokesman-Review — Leaders in the Northwest praise final approval of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — Gov. Jay Inslee called the approval a “great milestone” that should give people more confidence in the vaccine that is not only safe but incredibly effective at protecting people from both the novel coronavirus and its subsequent variants. “We can already see this in the fact that 95% of COVID hospitalizations in our state are among the unvaccinated. It is clear there is no safer, faster or more effective way to stop the transmission of this virus than through vaccination,” Inslee said.
► From UFCW — FDA Pfizer approval key to vaccination efforts vital to protecting essential workers, stopping COVID spread — UFCW statement:
“With more employers considering vaccine mandates after this new FDA approval, UFCW continues to urge all businesses to negotiate any vaccine requirements with their frontline workers. Ensuring that workers have a voice in COVID workplace safety policies is critical to guaranteeing these measures are implemented fairly and build the trust and strong consensus needed for these safeguards to be effective. Companies must also guarantee paid leave so that all their frontline workers can get the vaccine without fear of losing a paycheck.”
The Stand (Aug. 24) — WSLC outlines position on vaccine mandates
► From KNKX — State’s commissioner of public lands calls for federal firefighter vaccine mandate — State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who is the leader of Washington state’s wildfire response, is calling on federal agencies to take the additional step of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations among their wildland firefighting forces to secure the country’s wildfire response capability.
► From The Hill — Pentagon to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for military
► From KNKX — State Rep. My-Linh Thai, herself a refugee, on the future for Afghans seeking shelter here — It’s ultimately up to the federal government to decide who gets refugee status in the United States. But elected leaders in our state – from across the political spectrum – were quick to say they’d welcome Afghan refugees. Rep. Thai says it’s important that they get a clear message when they arrive. “You are not a stranger. You are family,” she said. “You are part of the community and we love you and we care for you, and you are part of us, and let us know how we can welcome you better than the experience I had.”
TODAY at The Stand — How you can show solidarity with Afghan people here, abroad
► From Crosscut — Critical race theory: A political debate hits WA schools — Many Washington state educators feel the hot-button term is being unduly conflated with teaching anything about race and racism.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Baseless claims of fraud threaten voter confidence (editorial) — From the start, we have heard plenty of claims of fraud and irregularities, and the public and election officials have invited that specific evidence to be brought forth, only to be presented with more general and unsupported claims of irregularities and fraud… The call for a forensic audit by Rep. Robert Sutherland (R-Granite Falls), Rep. Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver) and the handful of other lawmakers who attended Sutherland’s recent summit, is certain to fall on deaf ears among the rest of the Legislature. And it should.
► The Evergreen Workers Union (CWA Local 7800) announces via Twitter that the staffs of the Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters are seeking voluntary recognition of their union.
Worker power ? climate justice. Looking forward to @wecprotects and @wcvoters voluntarily recognizing @evergreen_union and our continued work together building equitable & resilient communities for working people. #1u #SolidarityIsEvergreen https://t.co/EdXimztgxJ
— Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) August 23, 2021
EDITOR’S NOTE — Work for a non-profit organization? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work and a real voice on the job. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From Bloomberg — FAA opens new review of Boeing engineers’ safety independence — U.S. aviation regulators are opening a new review of Boeing after a survey of company engineers found a sizable percentage said they couldn’t raise safety concerns without interference. A survey conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration from May through July found that 35% of Boeing employees raised issues of conflicts of interest and a lack of independence.
► From The Hill — Pelosi, moderates inch closer to infrastructure, budget deal — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told rank-and-file Democrats in a private meeting Tuesday that she is inching closer to a deal with a band of centrist rebels who have threatened to tank President Biden’s domestic agenda over disagreements about leadership’s strategy for how to pass trillions in federal spending.
► From The Hill — House Democrats punt key vote on budget to Tuesday — After hours of negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late on Monday night failed to strike a deal with the leaders of a 10-member bloc of centrists who are demanding a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill before considering a budget resolution that paves the way for a $3.5 trillion spending plan to expand social support programs and combat climate change. The group of nine centrists gained a member on Monday: Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.)
► From Vox — Congress’s Democrat-on-Democrat hostage standoff, explained — On the surface, the latest dispute between moderate Democrats and party leaders in Congress seems trivial. It’s about which of Biden’s two big bills will move forward first in the U.S. House. Will it be the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which passed the Senate earlier this month? Or will it be the coming Democrat-only “mega-bill”, containing trillions in spending on health care, anti-poverty programs, climate, and more? This is about much more than just timing. The fight is really about who will have the most leverage in shaping the still-unwritten mega-bill, which aims to enact much of Biden’s agenda in one fell swoop — and about whether it will pass at all.
► From the Milwaukee J-S — Colectivo Coffee workers vote to form a union by a vote of 106 to 99 — Colectivo Coffee workers who want to form a union at the Milwaukee-based chain of cafes have won the election. Once the votes are certified, IBEW Local 494 will issue bargaining surveys and start developing the group’s first negotiated contract.
► From the NY Times — Workers don’t want their old jobs on the old terms (by Paul Krugman) — Many Americans don’t want to go back to the way things were before. After a year and a half of working from home, many don’t want to return to the stress of commuting. And at least some of those who were forced into unemployment have come to realize how unhappy they were with low pay and poor working conditions, and are reluctant to go back to their previous jobs. The pandemic may have given many Americans a chance to figure out what really matters to them — and the money they were being paid for unpleasant jobs, some now realize, just wasn’t enough.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.