Friday, October 29, 2021
► From the Bellingham Herald — Bellingham hospital reports treating near-record number of COVID-related patients again
► From the (Longview) Daily News — State, county COVID-19 vaccination rates up overall, low among teens — Vaccination rates increased statewide over the last three months, but variations in rates mean widespread immunity is far off, health officials said.
► From the Olympian — About 94% of state employees complied with vaccine mandate, governor says — State data show nearly 91% of the state’s 62,591 employees verified their vaccination status and 3.2% have an approved accommodation. Inslee said the state lost 2.9% of its workers and the remaining 3.1% are “pending action,” meaning they may be in the process of getting fully vaccinated, retiring, or securing accommodations. He called these percentages “good news.”
► From the (Everett) Herald — Nearly 90% of Washington public school employees got the jab — As for the other 10%? Most got an exemption and a path to keep working. Only 470 people left jobs or were terminated.
The Stand (Oct. 18) — WSLC updates position on vaccine mandates
► From The Hill — 36 percent of U.S. workers say employer requires COVID-19 vaccine — The latest results are up from nine percent from the same poll in July and have shown a steady increase since then.
► From the union-busting Columbian — Vancouver Public Schools paraeducators back strike if no deal is reached — On Wednesday, the sides met with a mediator from the Public Employment Relations Commission for the fourth time and were again unable to resolve the stalled contract negotiations. Union members have been working without a new contract since Aug. 31.
TODAY at The Stand — Vancouver educators authorize strike to address school safety
► From KNKX — As Sequim votes, conspiracy theories and far-right politics swirl in the background — Elections in Sequim are unfolding against a backdrop of political extremism, online and in real life. It’s fueled, in part, by an organized effort by Republican activists to elect and appoint conservative, populist candidates to local offices on the northern Olympic Peninsula.
► From the Seattle Times — Unemployment claims up in Washington as state continues its slow, uneven recovery — While hiring has surged in some areas and industries in Washington, it lags in many others, new state data shows. Washington’s manufacturing industry, for example, was still down by 32,200 jobs, or nearly 11%, in September compared with September 2019.
► From KING 5 — Inslee could appoint Democrat to replace Secretary of State — Under state law, the governor is not obligated to fill the position with someone from the same political party.
► From the Olympian — Inslee defends Climate Commitment Act veto, vows to continue this work with Tribes — State Tribal leaders praised some of Inslee’s actions at the annual Centennial Accord Meeting on Wednesday, but also criticized his decision to veto sections of the Climate Commitment Act supported by Tribes.
► From the Washington Post — Biden unveils $1.75 trillion spending plan, but divisions delay economic agenda — President Biden on Thursday unveiled a new $1.75 trillion package to overhaul the country’s health-care, education, climate and tax laws, muscling through a slew of policy disagreements and internecine political feuds that had stalled his economic plans for months. But the long-awaited proposal did not prove enough to advance his broader agenda, including a second, separate $1.2 trillion package to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections.
► From the AFL-CIO — Build Back Better framework: Historic overdue investments — AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler:
“This is an important step toward making historic, overdue investments in working people and good union jobs. The reconciliation framework is a pro-worker victory: child care, home care, clean energy jobs, health care, tax fairness, immigration improvements and support for worker organizing. This framework, together with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, is exactly the type of progress working families need as we carry our country out of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is still more work to be done on paid leave and other priorities, we are closer than ever to building back better. It is time for Congress to finish the job by passing both critical jobs bills.”
► From the Washington Post — The president’s plan is imperfect, but a big step forward for the country (editorial)
The framework that President Biden presented to Congress on Thursday represents the core of his domestic agenda. It is a wide-ranging social spending and climate proposal designed to be a down payment on big structural changes that would make the United States fairer and more environmentally responsible. Though the package, as it stands, is far from perfect, it represents a significant step toward both of those goals, while being reasonably fiscally responsible. As recently as a few days ago, such an outcome looked very much in doubt.
► From KNKX — Paid leave loss hits hard for Patty Murray, other leaders after decades of advocacy — “We are not going to allow one man tell all of the women in this country that they can’t have paid leave,” she told reporters on Wednesday, before heading to the Senate floor to continue lobbying the 74-year-old Manchin. But in the end, a proposal for up to 12 paid weeks off to recover from major illness, childbirth or to take care of family members was jettisoned this week.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Murray on Thursday said Biden’s framework “sets us on the course to deliver a once-in-a-generation investment in our families, our workers, our economy, and our future.” But she added:
“Make no mistake, this framework does not solve every problem we face—far from it. It is downright shameful that America is the only developed nation where working people are not guaranteed paid leave if they have a child, get seriously ill, or need to take care of a loved one—and I think I’ve made it abundantly clear I’m going to keep fighting to get paid leave included.
“Similarly—lifesaving drugs don’t do anyone any good if they can’t afford them—we can change that by empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug costs.
“11 million undocumented residents are living in the shadows under a deeply unjust and broken immigration system—including our Dreamers and so many essential workers—that’s why we must pass a fair pathway to citizenship for those who are American in every way but on paper.”
► From the AP — Medicaid issues, not Medicare’s, get fixes in Biden budget — The budget blueprint Biden released Thursday would fulfill a campaign promise to help poor people locked out of Medicaid expansion across the South due to partisan battles, but with Medicare, Democrats were unable to reach consensus on prescription drug price negotiations.
► From IUPAT
There are no real financial penalties that exist today to prevent employers from violating workers’ rights in our country.
The reconciliation bill would finally ensure that there are significant financial consequences for labor law violations and anti-union practices. pic.twitter.com/KfKuDnr0mr
— IUPAT | Pass the PRO Act! (@GoIUPAT) October 28, 2021
► From KMTV — ‘This is a national reckoning’: National labor leader comes to Omaha to support Kellogg’s workers — Liz Shuler, President of the AFL-CIO, who represents over 12 million union workers across the US, came to Omaha in solidarity with Kellogg’s workers. “They’re standing there to protect the middle class in this country as the country has been hollowed out. As companies are off-shoring and moving jobs overseas and trying to institute two-tier systems, so the next generation is less better off,” said Shuler.
► From Mother Jones — ‘You are worth more’: Kaiser Permanente workers are on the verge of a historic strike — More than 36,000 Kaiser workers have voted by overwhelming margins in recent weeks to authorize strikes if the nonprofit health care network does not back down from the two-tier wage system it is proposing. The deal being negotiated between Kaiser and union leaders will cover more than 50,000 workers in states spanning from Georgia to Hawaii. It could lead to one of the largest health care strikes in recent U.S. history.
► From the AP — SEPTA workers reach contract agreement days before deadline — Members of Philadelphia’s largest transit workers union reached a tentative contract agreement early Friday, averting a possible strike that threatened to bring elevated trains, buses and trolleys to a halt.
► From Bloomberg — Starbucks workers win ruling to seek union in November vote — The NLRB rejected Starbucks Corp.’s bid to prevent store-by-store unionization votes at several locations in the Buffalo, New York, area — dealing a preliminary victory to a labor group trying to establish the first union foothold among the coffee giant’s corporate-run U.S. stores.
► From the NY Times — Roger Goodell’s pay for two years reached nearly $128 million — The NFL commissioner’s compensation for 2019-20 and 2020-21, bolstered by bonuses for closing labor and media rights deals, was disclosed to team owners in a private meeting.
► As it does periodically, Rolling Stone just ranked the top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and — spoiler alert — the #1 song is one that you’ll often hear at labor rallies and picket lines: Aretha Franklin’s cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect.” The magazine proclaims:
“Respect” catalyzed rock & roll, gospel, and blues to create the model for soul music that artists still look to today. Just as important, the song’s unapologetic demands resonated powerfully with the civil rights movement and emergent feminist revolution, fitting for an artist who donated to the Black Panther Party and sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. In her 1999 memoir, Franklin wrote that the song reflected “the need of the average man and woman in the street, the businessman, the mother, the fireman, the teacher — everyone wanted respect.” We still do.
On April 28, 1968, about a year after her version was released, Franklin appeared at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the city’s grand concert hall famous for its acoustics and on-stage seating. She was joined by the Sweet Inspirations, a vocal group that included her sister, Carolyn Franklin, Charnissa Jones and Wyline Ivey, as well as a stage band. He she is at that show performing The Greatest Song of All Time™. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.