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Wednesday, November 17, 2021




► From the Olympian — 6 more Thurston residents died of COVID-19, 519 more cases reported in past week — The county reports its responding to 15 ongoing outbreaks at congregate care settings. To date, there have been 102 such outbreaks.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Just a reminder that people who work in health care or other jobs interfacing with the public continue to face much higher risk of COVID exposure. They should be rewarded for accepting that risk, not punished by being expected to do more with fewer staff. Plus, YOU can show your respect and solidarity for these workers by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.

► From the Wall Street Journal — Nurse salaries rise as demand for their services soars during COVID-19 pandemic — Average annual salary for registered nurses, not including bonus pay such as overtime, increased about 4% this year to $81,376.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Good. Now hire enough of them to do their jobs!

The Stand (Oct. 20) — Healthcare unions: WA hospitals must mitigate staffing crisis — WSNA, SEIU 1199NW and UFCW 21: Short-sighted and costly stopgap measures are only a Band-Aid; hospitals have the tools and resources to alleviate burnout nightmare.

► From the Tri-City Herald — 31 employees at PNNL quit, retire or are fired over COVID vaccine mandate

► From the AP — GOP-majority court chosen to consider Biden vaccine mandate — Challenges to President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers will be consolidated in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel dominated by judges appointed by Republicans. The Cincinnati-based court was selected Tuesday in a random drawing using ping-pong balls, a process employed when challenges to certain federal agency actions are filed in multiple courts.




► From the (Everett) Herald — Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries — Washington entered uncharted political waters Tuesday when the state Redistricting Commission failed to approve new legislative and congressional district maps, punting the chore to the state Supreme Court. In a statement, commissioners said that “after substantial work marked by mutual respect and dedication to the important task,” they were unable to complete the once-a-decade redrawing of boundaries ahead of a legal deadline — even though they apparently cast votes on purported maps at the conclusion of a marathon virtual meeting Monday night.

MORE coverage of local legislators’ reactions to the redistricting process in the union-busting Columbian, Columbia Basic Herald, Skagit Valley Herald, (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, Tri-City Herald and the Yakima H-R.

► From the NY Times — How a cure for gerrymandering left U.S. politics ailing in new ways — Partisan gerrymandering is as old as the republic, but good-government experts thought they had hit on a solution with independent commissions, advisory groups and outside panels. Taking the map-drawing process out of the hands of lawmakers under pressure to win elections, the thinking went, would make American democracy more fair. But as this year’s once-in-a-decade redistricting process descends into trench warfare, both Republicans and Democrats have been throwing grenades at the independent experts caught in the middle.

► From the Kitsap Sun — Washington State Ferries: Service will be restored ‘slowly, one route at a time’ — Washington State Ferries is moving toward bringing back sailings that were cut last month as it struggled to staff its vessels, but it appears it will take some time for the agency to get back to its previous service levels up and down Puget Sound.

► From the Seattle Times — Inslee picks advisory board for Washington’s new police accountability office — Gov. Jay Inslee announced his picks Tuesday for an 11-member panel to oversee the state’s newly created police accountability office with powers to independently investigate cases of law enforcement’s use of deadly force.




► From the Seattle Times — Boeing wins a big 737 MAX order in Dubai, though Airbus dominates air show — On the third day of the Dubai Air Show, Boeing finally landed a big deal: Indian startup Akasa Air ordered 72 single-aisle 737 MAX jets. Otherwise, the first big aviation show since the COVID-19 pandemic locked down the industry in early 2020 has been a showcase for a newly ascendant and confident Airbus.




► From the Boilermakers — Local 104 volunteers upgrade Seattle zoo playground — Boilermakers at Local 104 (Seattle) volunteered their time at the Seattle and Portland training centers making upgrades to the playground at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. The project was completed with volunteers taking a couple hours of their evenings each night over a few months to work. Said Local 104 Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer Steve Behling:

“I would like to thank Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo for giving L-104 membership the opportunity to be of service to our community. We are proud to have been a part by making the upgraded bamboo scramble installation much safer for the children of Seattle and we hope that many generations to come are able to enjoy their visit to one of the best zoos in our area.”

► From the Yakima H-R — After brutal attack, Yakima jail officer’s co-workers set up account to cover medical expenses

► From the union-busting Columbian — Vancouver school board to vote on contract approved by paraeducator union — The Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors will vote on the newly approved contract with the Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals at its meeting Dec. 14.




► From the AP — Reviving Biden’s big bill, Democrats look to regain momentum — Regaining momentum, Democratic leaders are pressing ahead on President Joe Biden’s big domestic policy bill, with the House expected to vote later this week and the Senate vowing to follow by Christmas in hopes of boosting the party’s standing and delivering on a main campaign promise.

► From the Washington Post — The second-biggest program in the Democrats’ spending plan gives billions to the rich — The House is expected to vote this week on President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation. The social spending bill includes investments in clean energy and affordable child care — but it also includes a $285 billion tax cut that would almost exclusively benefit high-income households over the next five years. The rich are poised to gain more from the SALT cap increase than lower-income people are from other elements of the bill, such as the child tax credit. The provision was added at the urging of representatives from high-tax, high-income states like New Jersey and New York.

► From The Hill — Democrats scramble to figure out shutdown strategy — Democrats are trying to lock down their strategy for a looming government shutdown fight, as they debate punting into early 2022 or setting up another deadline closer to Christmas. Congress has until the end of Dec. 3 to pass another government funding bill after using a short-term patch, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to get them past the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal 2022 funding year.

► From HuffPost — House GOP lawmaker takes credit for infrastructure funding he voted against — After Democrats passed their COVID-19 relief legislation earlier this year, Republicans took credit for provisions in the popular bill even though they voted against it. Now, Republican lawmakers are starting to do so again with the infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law this week.

► From Roll Call — Democrats might drop union bonus for electric vehicle credit — House Democrats are starting to acknowledge changes to their sweeping budget package that will be needed to get through the evenly divided Senate, such as dropping a special add-on tax credit for electric vehicles built with unionized labor. Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) has said he opposes the bonus credit for manufacturers of plug-in electric vehicles that rely on union labor.




► From the Washington Post — How the pandemic drove John Deere factory workers to demand more — About 10,000 Deere workers in multiple states have rejected two contract offers in recent weeks, and are set to vote on a third Wednesday. The historic strikes at Deere, best known for its John Deere branded-machinery, are a stark example of the pandemic’s impact on the economy. The gyrations that coronavirus caused in global commerce have upended not only supply and demand but workers’ attitudes, causing many to question for the first time in decades what they’re willing to tolerate. That is unsettling the way labor relations have existed in the United States since the Reagan administration, when corporations began chiseling away pay and benefits.

► From the People’s World — Poll shows 74% of voters OK strikes for higher pay, benefits — Some 74% of 1,294 likely voters, including 60% of Republicans, either approve or strongly approve of workers forced to strike for higher pay and better benefits, an AFL-CIO poll found.

► From the Guardian — U.S. school bus drivers in nationwide strikes over poor pay and COVID risk — Strikes, walkouts, protests or sick-outs among school bus drivers have taken place this fall in many states including North Carolina, New Mexico, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, Georgia Pennsylvania and New York, among others.

► From the LA Times — UC lecturer strike averted as union hails ‘best contract’ ever — University of California lecturers won’t hold a two-day strike that threatened widespread class cancellations after agreeing on pay, job security and family leave.

► From the Boston Globe — Harvard Graduate Students Union reaches tentative contract deal with universityThe agreement, reached Monday after eight months of negotiations, provides the more than 4,500 members of the HGSU/UAW with annual raises, expanded medical benefits, and a new legal fund to support workers in employment disputes.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected? 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!

► From The Hill — Public health experts push Amazon to improve working conditions — A group of over 200 public health experts sent a letter to Amazon Wednesday calling on the company to improve its workplace conditions ahead of the holiday shopping season. The e-commerce giant has already begun staffing up for the rush of Black Friday and Christmas shopping. The letter sent to new President and CEO Andy Jassy says that with those hires “creating better working conditions for warehouse workers and delivery drivers has never been more important.”

► From the NY Times — A group of Activision workers say their CEO should step down — A group of workers at Activision Blizzard, the maker of well-known video games like Call of Duty, called for the company’s chief executive, Bobby Kotick, to step down on Tuesday because of accusations that he did not respond to claims of sexual misconduct from employees.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

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!