Wednesday, September 29, 2021
► From the Wenatchee World — ICU faces staffing shortages as COVID-19 cases surge — Central Washington Hospital’s intensive care unit has been filled with COVID-19 patients due to the most recent wave of the virus. The Wenatchee World asked ICU hospital staff how they are handling the influx of hospitalizations as some nurses work shifts up to 16 hours long. Here’s a look inside the hospital’s ICU.
► From KOMO — Yakima hospital tells most people with COVID to go somewhere else — As Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital continues to operate near capacity, they’re now telling people in the community to avoid going to the hospital if they have COVID, unless it’s severe.
► From the AP — COVID hospital numbers looking better in Washington state — Authorities in Washington state said Monday that COVID-19 hospital admission rates “look better” but hospitalizations still remain high.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to set records in Idaho — State officials said crisis standards of care remain in effect statewide as the number of coronavirus patients continues to exceed available health care resources.
► From the AP — WA worker vaccination increases ahead of mandate deadline — As a crucial deadline for Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate approaches, state data shows that vaccination numbers for Washington state workers subject to the requirement are about 20% higher than earlier this month. By Oct. 4, most workers must show that they have gotten all their shots in order to be considered fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Exemption alone won’t save state workers’ jobs — Thousands of state workers, health care workers, teachers and others are hoping to stay employed without getting vaccinated against COVID-19. But many could soon find themselves on a job hunt.
► From the Seattle Times — Forget the Wazzu football coach and the other spectacles — the vaccine mandates are working (by Danny Westneat) — The bigger pandemic story is that in just a two-week period in September, 12,000 state employees who aren’t suing or mavericking (or whatever WSU football coach Nick Rolovich can be said to be doing) went and got vaxxed. That’s about 20% of the state workforce covered by the mandate. So far, the state reports, 68% of state employees are vaccinated, up from 49% in early September. Two weeks from now, as the deadline closes in, I bet it will top 80%, even 90%. The same trend is happening with most every workplace vax mandate. There’s loud resistance, sometimes chanting in the streets. Followed by a very quiet getting with the program.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If you are subject to the mandate and you have not yet been vaccinated, you need to get a Johnson & Johnson shot by Oct. 4. Visit Washington state’s Vaccine Locator to find vaccine appointments near you, and if you are having trouble finding a J&J vaccine appointment, contact the state Department of Health.
► From the (Longview) Daily News — PeaceHealth St. John nurses, supporters picket for fair contract — Dozens of PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center nurses, supporters and union members picketed outside the Longview hospital Tuesday, calling for a fair contract for nurses amid staffing and safety concerns. The Washington State Nursing Association bargaining team at St. John decided to hold the informational picket demanding the hospital return to the bargaining table after canceling sessions scheduled for September.
► From the PS Business Journal — Charles Costanzo named executive director of Puget Sound Pilots — Puget Sound Pilots appointed a new executive director, Charles Costanzo, formerly general counsel and Pacific region vice president for American Waterways Operators.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Vancouver, police union agree on camera policy, pay raise — Vancouver police officers will welcome 2022 with a 2% raise in pay as part of a memorandum of understanding to create a comprehensive police camera program.
► From Bloomberg — Boeing tanker deliveries were paused this spring because of a stray plastic cap — Deliveries of Boeing’s troubled KC-46 tanker were halted for about a month earlier this year after Air Force and company inspectors found a red plastic cap lodged in a fuel valve that caused the uncontrolled flow of fuel from a one tank into another.
► From the Seattle Times — Fight looms over 2022 midterms as Democrats and Republicans propose dueling Washington congressional maps — As they did with legislative maps proposed last week, the Republican commissioners, Joe Fain and Paul Graves, are aggressively pushing for more favorable competitive boundaries for the GOP, which now holds three of the state’s 10 House seats. The Democratic commissioners, April Sims and Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, proposed maps that would more likely maintain the status quo partisan split, and said they’re hewing to legal requirements including fair representation and uniting communities of interest.
► From the Seattle Times — Washington’s moratorium on utility shut-offs is ending. Here are some assistance programs — With Washington state’s ban on disconnecting utilities set to lift Thursday, officials are urging customers with overdue water and energy bills to seek assistance.
► From the Seattle Times — ICE arrests in Washington tell stories of suffering that goes unseen (by Angelina Snodgrass Godoy) — In recent days, images of Border Patrol agents on horseback whipping Haitian asylum seekers at the Texas-Mexico border have reminded Americans of the racist origins — and current practices — of our nation’s immigration enforcement agencies. While Washingtonians are right to recoil from these images, the practice of unlawfully expelling asylum-seekers happens in our state, too, we just haven’t seen pictures.
► From The Hill — Senate Democrats eye government funding bill without debt hike — Senate Democrats are trying to vote as soon as Wednesday to avert a government shutdown, as they de-link the funding from a fight over the country’s borrowing limit.
► From the AP — Sign of progress, Biden digs in to strike deal on $3.5T plan — Pressure mounting but with signs of progress, President Joe Biden will hunker down at the White House to try to strike a deal and win over two holdout Democratic senators whose support is needed for his potentially historic $3.5 trillion government overhaul.
► From The Hill — Democrats search for sweet spot below $3.5 trillion price tag — With the reality setting in that the long-touted figure of $3.5 trillion is not going to be the top line — a blow to progressives who already viewed it as a compromise — Democratic leadership and the White House are now actively trying to figure out what their competing factions can live with.
► From the NY Times — Liberals dig in against infrastructure bill as party divisions persist — Liberal Democrats dug in on Tuesday against voting for a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill this week, angrily rejecting a decision by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to push the bill forward before the party could resolve bitter disagreements over a sprawling social policy and climate package. The day after Pelosi signaled she would follow through with a Thursday vote on the infrastructure plan, the backlash reflected deep mistrust in the Democratic ranks that is threatening to derail President Biden’s domestic policy agenda.
► From the NY Times — Republicans at odds over infrastructure bill as vote approaches — With a bipartisan infrastructure bill set for a Thursday vote in the House, a campaign by business groups and some Senate Republicans to secure GOP support may be the measure’s last hope.
► From the Denver Post — Ryan’s Senate staff joining union — The U.S. Senate campaign staff for Congressman Tim Ryan is joining IBEW Local 1466 — the first U.S. Senate campaign in the state’s history to unionize.
► From the Denver Post — After a year-plus of essential work, employees at Aurora HelloFresh pushing to unionize — Workers say that while business and revenue have skyrocketed for the Germany-based HelloFresh during the pandemic, so has the pressure on employees to work harder to meet the demand. Nothing seemed to change after meetings with managers about safety concerns and what they described as work speed-ups. Because of that the majority of the nearly 400-member staff have signed up to form a union and are waiting for an election to be scheduled. UNITE HERE, a union representing 300,000 people in food service, gaming and other industries, is working with HelloFresh workers in Aurora and at a larger facility in Richmond, Calif.
TAKE A STAND — Sign this petition of support for HelloFresh workers who are organizing a union to make their jobs safer and more sustainable at the largest meal kit company in the United States.
► From Deadline — IATSE leaders say ‘now is the time to change the culture of our work places’ as union gears up for strike-authorization vote — The union leaders said that the strike-authorization vote, which will be held October 1-3, “will empower our negotiators to secure a fair deal.” IATSE President Matthew Loeb and the presidents 13 Hollywood locals issued a statement that reads:
“We each have witnessed first-hand the physical and emotional suffering our members and their loved ones endure as a result of punishing and unrealistic schedules, and lack of rest or meal breaks. We have repeatedly seen the economic impact of inadequate rates for members who do not make a living wage, and the discounted ‘New Media’ pay rates that subsidize mature and profitable streaming businesses… Now is the time to change the culture of our work places. We fully support our members who demand safe and sane working conditions, equitable wages and sustainable health and pension benefits.”
TODAY at The Stand — Sign petition urging fair deal for IATSE film, TV crews
► From the AFL-CIO — New program from Machinists supports women in leadership — The Machinists union, led by International President Robert Martinez Jr., is making good on a promise to support women in their efforts to rise to positions of leadership within the organization with the creation of the Leadership Excellence Assembly of Dedicated Sisters, or LEADS, program.
► From Reuters — Analysis: Auto industry wonders whether Ford-SK battery plants will sport the union label — The plan announced this week for Ford Motor Co. and Korean battery partner SK Innovation to build three battery plants in the United States will prompt a furious drive to organize the plants, potentially setting the tone for future union drives at auto industry factories in the U.S. South.
► From the AP — Alabama wants to use its COVID relief funds to build new prisons — The state that recently led the country in COVID-19 deaths wants to spend its pandemic relief funds on incarceration instead.
WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN
⚡⚾ BREAKING ⚾⚡️
WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN!
Food service workers at the @SFGiants ballpark were ready to strike, and now we’ve won a deal that will transform our approx. 950 jobs – including $7/hour raises, affordable health care, COVID safety measures, and more… pic.twitter.com/kQMT9WoWOo
— UNITE HERE Local 2 (@UniteHereLocal2) September 29, 2021
EDITOR’S NOTE — Transform YOUR job. 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!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.