Avoid death, get your shots | Union busting at The Columbian | Tax town halls

Tuesday, September 21, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Sept. 21 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 628,488 infections (14-day average of cases per day: 3,156) and 7,271 deaths.

► From the Daily News — Washington COVID-19 hospitalizations down, in part due to increase in deaths — COVID-19 hospitalizations in Washington have decreased slightly from record high rates, in part because of an increase in patients dying, according to state hospital officials. “That is a way we do not want to be creating hospital capacity,” said Cassie Sauer of the Washington State Hospital Association. “This is despite giving people the best care that we have for COVID, which is still, honestly, not very good. … For people who think there is a cure and fool-proof treatment for COVID, that does not exist.”

► From the Olympian — 11 more Thurston residents die of COVID; test positivity rate hits record

► From the Peninsula Daily News — Three more deaths due to COVID-19

► From the Tri-City Herald — Tri-Cities COVID rate remains one of highest in WA

► From the AP — Gov. Inslee asks feds for medical staffing help amid ongoing COVID-19 crisis — Washington Gov. Jay Inlsee has asked the federal government for assistance staffing hospitals and long-term care facilities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Inslee wrote Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 coordinator, that the state Department of Health has requested 1,200 clinical and non-clinical staff, and that he was requesting deployment of Department of Defense medical personnel “to assist with the current hospital crisis.”

► From the Yakima H-R — Yakima Valley public schools have majority of staff vaccinated ahead of Oct. 18 deadline — About one month ahead of the deadline to have all staff vaccinated, Yakima Valley school officials report having over half of employees fully vaccinated. They don’t expect to lose many employees, with some filing for religious and medical exemptions.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Whether or not you face a mandate, get vaccinated now! Visit Washington state’s Vaccine Locator to find vaccine appointments near you, or check out the WSLC’s Vaccine Information for Union Members for more information.

► From KING 5 — Nearly 69% of Washington residents are fully vaccinated — In addition, more than 75% of Washington residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

► From the NW Labor Press — Oregon unions contend with vaccine mandates — What’s been unions’ response? By and large they’re encouraging members to get vaccinated to ensure they and co-workers have a safe workplace, but they’re also trying to protect the rights and the jobs of workers who haven’t been vaccinated. And while not contesting that employers have a legal obligation to impose the requirements, they’re seeking to negotiate terms.

► From The Hill — Flight bookings plummet amid delta variant fears




► From the NW Labor Press — Showdown looms as Kaiser sticks to pay-slashing proposals — Industry-leading wages and shared decision-making helped establish Kaiser as a desirable place to work. But increasingly, the partnership appears to be unraveling, and for the second time in the last two years, Kaiser could be nearing the brink of a strike.

► From the NW Labor Press — NewsGuild walks away from The Columbian — Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild announced Sept. 7 that it’s done with The Columbian. Since October 2019 — when the workers voted 19-8 to unionize — most union supporters have been laid off or quit, and the newsroom has shrunk from 28 employees to 13. Workers never got a union contract, despite more than 15 months of bargaining. Guild representative Katie Gillespie, a former Columbian reporter herself, says it became clear The Columbian never intended to reach agreement… Gillespie said the experience with The Columbian speaks to the need for the PRO Act, a proposed labor law reform that passed the U.S. House but is stalled in the U.S. Senate. Under the PRO Act, surface bargaining wouldn’t pay off because if two sides failed to reach agreement on a first union contract, it would be decided on by an arbitrator.

► From the NW Labor Press — Imperfect Foods busts union — On its web site, food delivery company Imperfect Foods won’t shut up about how virtuous it is. An actively anti-racist company, it’s in love with compost, donates to food banks, and promises to be carbon neutral by 2030. But when drivers at its delivery hub in Clackamas, Ore., took steps to unionize, Imperfect Foods sent in a Los Angeles union-buster and waged what Teamsters Local 162 organizer Bobby Rispler calls a dirty and deceptive anti-union campaign. “It was the anti-union campaign I would expect from a company like Walmart or Amazon,” Rispler says.




► From Washington State Wire — Tax structure town halls begin Wednesday, Sept. 22 — Washington’s Tax Structure Work Group is preparing to embark on seven town hall meetings beginning on Sept. 22 through November to gain feedback from people living in the state on possible changes to the tax code. Six potential tax scenarios were originally released during a May work group meeting, but Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) who co-chairs the group along with Sen. Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro Woolley), said the scenarios that will be presented during the upcoming town halls are finalized versions. Five of the scenarios are tax-neutral, Frame said, and they range from adjusting property taxes to B&O and income taxes. The sessions are designed to allow the work group and lawmakers to hear directly from constituents about what they would like to see. The feedback will be incorporated into a report, and eventually legislative action slated for 2023.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Click here to sign up for your region’s Town Hall meeting. This Wednesday, the East region town halls will be at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.




► From The Hill — Biden takes first step on workplace protections from extreme heatThe White House on Monday said the administration will start the rulemaking process for standards that would protect Americans from the kind of heat exposure that has led to hospitalizations and even death in the workplace. The announcement of forthcoming action from OSHA, an agency within the Labor Department, comes after a years-long push from advocates and health experts who have sounded the alarm over worker deaths, especially in vulnerable communities.

► From The Hill — Democrats look for Plan B after blow on immigration — At the top of the list is a congressional mandate for the executive to change the registry date for certain undocumented immigrants and beneficiaries of humanitarian parole programs, essentially implementing a statute of limitations for past unauthorized entries. According to an analysis by FWD.us, changing the registry date to 2010 — allowing any migrants who’ve been in the country since that date to apply for residency — would make around 6.7 million people eligible for legal permanent residency.

TODAY at The Stand Immigration reform will benefit all workers — America’s unions are clear and undaunted: A pathway to citizenship is needed for a just recovery.

TAKE A STAND — Please call 833-770-1697 to connect with your U.S. senators and leave a message in support of immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for the broadest possible number of immigrants in the Build Back Better budget reconciliation package. Learn more here.

► From the AP — Democrats tie government funding to debt bill, GOP digs in — Democratic congressional leaders backed by the White House say they will push ahead with a vote to fund the government and suspend the debt limit, all but daring Republicans who say they will vote against it despite the risk of a fiscal crisis. Congress is rushing headlong into an all-too-familiar stalemate: The federal government faces a shutdown if funding stops at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. At the same time, the U.S. risks defaulting on its accumulated debt load if the borrowing limits are not waived or adjusted.

► From Politico — House GOP unlikely to rescue Biden’s infrastructure bill on the floor — Fewer than a dozen House Republicans are expected to vote for the $550 billion infrastructure bill — which got 19 Senate GOP votes last month — according to multiple lawmakers in the party. But the infrastructure measure’s House GOP support could triple if Democrats detach its fate from a party-line social spending bill with a multitrillion-dollar price tag, several House Republicans estimated.

► From The Hill — Voting bill seeks to crack down on gerrymandering — The latest version of the Freedom to Vote Act seeks to address what courts have long been reluctant to do, giving judges firmer ground for rejecting maps by barring those that unfairly give a significant advantage to one political party.




► From the Hollywood Reporter — IATSE to hold a strike authorization vote amid stalled contract talks — The vote, which allows international union president Matthew Loeb to order a strike if members authorize it, at the very least pertains to all 13 West Coast locals of the union that are currently in talks for a three-year basic agreement. IATSE represents over 150,000 entertainment workers in the U.S. and Canada, including editors, grips, operators, cinematographers, sound technicians, costumers, make-up, hair stylists, writers assistants, script coordinators and others.

► From the Guardian — ‘Pay me my worth’: Restaurant workers demand livable wages as industry continues to falter — America’s restaurant industry is largely open for business again. But behind the full tables and busy kitchens is a story of a sector still in trouble amid the impact of the pandemic, marked by staff shortages, low wages and fears that safety protocols are still not enough to cope with a virus that is still a threat as the more contagious Delta variant spreads across the U.S.

► From the Guardian — How the U.S. labor movement is getting to grips with the climate crisis — In Texas and West Virginia, unions are having tough conversations about the future of fossil fuels – and finding new ways to support workers transitioning from oil and coal to cleaner jobs

► From the ‘State of the Unions’ podcast — On the front lines: A conversation with NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN — Co-hosts Tim Schlittner and Carolyn Bobb sit down with National Nurses United Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, to discuss how nurses have gone above and beyond to speak out and advocate for patient care and workplace safety while on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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

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