The Stand

Have livable wages, will travel | No re-redistricting | Tech organizing

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Monday, December 6, 2021

 


COVID

 

► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Dec. 6 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 780,835 infections (14-day average of cases per day: 1,335) and 9,413 deaths.

► From KOMO — Omicron COVID-19 variant found in three Washington counties — State health officials said a man in his 30’s from Thurston County, another man in his 20’s from Pierce County and a woman in her 20’s from King County are confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

► From the Washington Post — As COVID persists, nurses are leaving staff jobs — and tripling their salaries as travelers — The continued pandemic; an aging, burned out and retiring nurse workforce; the return of hospital services that were shut down last year; and a shortage of foreign recruits and nursing students have combined to make travel nursing one of the most critical and sensitive issues in health care. Hospitals accuse the travel companies of price gouging. The companies say they are responding to the laws of supply and demand in an increasingly mobile work environment. Nurses’ unions say there would be no shortage if nurses were adequately paid and afforded better working conditions.

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 Kaiser Health News — Is it time to change the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’? — Some scientists point out that many vaccines involve three doses over six months for robust long-term protection, such as the shot against hepatitis. So “fully vaccinated” may need to include shot No. 3 to be considered a full course.

 


LOCAL

 

► From WFSE — Everett Community College pauses plans to close Early Learning Center — After community pushback, Everett Community College has paused plans to close its Early Learning Center, which has provided child-care services and nutritional counseling to many low-income families north of Seattle for 29 years.

The Stand (Dec. 1) — EvCC Board: Don’t outsource college’s Early Learning Center

► From the (Everett) Herald — Community Transit, Everett agree to study consolidation — A final report to the Community Transit board and Everett City Council is due by mid-2023. Then voters could decide.

 

► From the Seattle Times — Washington’s maritime industry is pushing to be more inclusive, welcoming — Today there are local businesses, training schools and organizations working to attract younger people into the maritime industry and also ensure this generation of workers includes substantially more people of color and female-identifying and nonbinary people. More than three out of four people in Seattle-King County’s maritime industry are white, and 74% are men. As the maritime industry looks to recruit the next generation of workers, here are stories about the careers of several women working in the Northwest.

► From KIRO 7 —

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► From Crosscut — WA Supreme Court decides not to get involved in redistricting — Members of Washington state’s bipartisan Redistricting Commission were contrite last month after admitting they had missed their deadline to redraw the state’s political districts. But on Friday, the state Supreme Court told them: Nah, you’re good. On Friday, the court announced it would not be taking on the responsibility of redrawing the state’s political boundaries. In a five-page order, the court’s nine justices said the Redistricting Commission actually had met its statutory obligations, despite not releasing completed redistricting maps until a day after its deadline.

► From the Seattle Times — So far, Washington workers pushed out over vaccine mandates aren’t losing jobless benefits — Although thousands of workers in Washington likely have quit or been fired over government and private vaccine mandates — including nearly 2,000 state employees as of Nov. 15, according to state data — just 26 mandate-related claims for jobless benefits had been flagged for review by the state Employment Security Department as of Friday. Although the review process isn’t complete, ESD officials don’t believe that any of those claims have been denied. The number of flagged claims is expected to rise in coming weeks as the ESD’s backlogged review process catches up with mandate-related claims, said an ESD spokesperson.

► From the Seattle Times — Inslee, state Democrats discuss delaying WA Cares long-term care payroll tax — Gov. Jay Inslee and some Washington Democratic lawmakers are in discussions to potentially delay the long-term care payroll tax set to begin Jan. 1. The talks come after state Senate Democratic leaders on Wednesday sent Inslee a letter urging him to delay the tax to fund the WA Cares program until the beginning of January 2023.

► From KING 5 — Changes lawmakers are hoping to make to Washington’s long-term care tax — The WA Cares Fund will begin collecting taxes in January 2022. Lawmakers are racing to pass certain “common sense fixes” during the 2022 legislative session.

► From the (Everett) Herald — State Rep. Lovick gets nod for state Senate — State Rep. John Lovick emerged Sunday as the nearly unanimous choice of local Democrats to fill the Senate seat vacated by Steve Hobbs after his appointment to statewide office. Meanwhile, there was more competition for who should get Lovick’s House seat in the 44th LD. After a series of votes, those same Democrats nominated Joyce Copley, Brandy Donaghy and Sean Paddock.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From The Hill — Democrats see Christmas goal slipping away — Democratic senators are growing increasingly doubtful that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will be able to meet his Christmas deadline because several major disagreements are holding up the Build Back Better Act, including a fight over lifting the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions.

► From Politico — Senate sinks deeper into quagmire of dysfunction — The House is beset by historically deep personal animus and vitriol. The Senate is plumbing its own depths of straight-up gridlock. Democratic leaders’ decision to kick some critical business until the end of the year allowed them to write a new infrastructure law and near agreement on a social spending bill. But as the end of the year draws closer, impending deadlines for government funding, the debt ceiling and the annual defense bill have empowered a handful of Republicans to muck everything up — with potentially massive consequences.

► From Roll Call — Big companies look to Senate to ease budget bill’s minimum tax — Some of the largest U.S. corporations are looking for new exemptions from the budget reconciliation bill’s minimum tax on income reported to shareholders, arguing it could depress economic activity. The tax would only apply to corporations reporting income of more than $1 billion on annual financial reports to shareholders, or only apply to about 200 companies in total. If those companies owe a tax rate of less than 15 percent, the alternative minimum tax would kick in.

► From Politico — Biden and businesses agree on one thing: U.S. needs immigrant workers — Foreign nationals already in the U.S. have been waiting for months — and in some cases, for over a year — to have their employment authorization approved or extended.

► From Politico — Biden embraces his one-time foe: Walmart — The sight of a Democratic president embracing Walmart would have sent shockwaves through the political ecosystem not too long ago. But times have changed since those days when Biden and others were holding out the company as a corporate force of evil. Over the past few years, Walmart has adopted internal policies that have softened its image among Democrats. It has also donated to Democratic lawmakers and their causes, right as the party was forging common ground with corporate America during the Trump years. In turn, the company has won an audience with top Democratic officials, including the president himself. Beyond the administration, the embrace of Walmart has been disorienting, especially for those in the labor community who fear the message it sends.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From Reuters — Labor movement’s next frontier is the tech industry, AFL-CIO’s Shuler says — Shuler said the labor federation wants to enable more organizing in the tech industry under her leadership:

“What we are seeing in the tech sector is workers rising up. You look at companies like YouTube, Google, Apple. Their workers have been speaking out. They have been staging walkouts on issues like racial justice and sexual harassment… You don’t have the collective power that you have when you have a union, and I think tech workers are starting to connect the dots.”

► From McClatchy — Hundreds join company’s pre-holiday Zoom call — to be told they’ve lost their jobs — About 900 employees at Better.com, a digital mortgage company with offices in California, North Carolina and Texas, signed onto a live Zoom call only to discover their jobs had been eliminated just before the holidays.

► From the Seattle Times — Google temp fired for being ‘ungoogley’ files complaint — Tuesday Carne had only worked inside a Google data center for nine days before she was allegedly fired for being “ungoogley.”

► From the Seattle Times — Amazon’s employee surveillance fuels unionization efforts: ‘It’s not prison, it’s work’

EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers to have a voice in workplace policies and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► From The Guardian — Exclusive: Oil companies’ profits soared to $174 billion this year as U.S. gas prices rose — Exxon alone posted a net income of $6.75 billion in the third quarter, its highest profit since 2017, and has seen its revenue jump by 60% on the same period last year. The company credited the rising cost of oil for bolstering these profits, as did BP, which made $3.3 billion in third-quarter profit. Gasoline prices have hit a seven-year high in the U.S. due to the rising cost of oil, with Americans now paying about $3.40 for a gallon of fuel compared with around $2.10 a year ago.

► From Business Insider — A big reason for the labor shortage is hiding in plain sight — day cares are losing workers — With the release of the November figures, daycare services are 10.3% below employment levels in February 2020. “With a workforce that is down, where are you going to send your kid?” said Jasmine Tucker, the director of research at the National Women’s Law Center. “If you don’t have a safe place for your kid to go, you’re not coming back to work and that’s going to disproportionately impact women.”

► From CNBC — Federal corruption probe leads to first major overhaul of UAW elections in 70 years — UAW members and retirees voted to change the union’s process of electing leaders from a weighted, delegate-based system to a direct, or “one member, one vote,” election.

► From the UAW — UAW statement on election referendum results — “We are, and always will be, one union. We move forward together In Solidarity.”

► From TPM — As lockout begins, Baseball’s Hall of Fame blacklists Curt Flood… again — On Thursday morning, Major League Baseball (MLB)’s owners locked out its players, sending the sport into its first work stoppage since 1994. The owners and the players union were at a bargaining impasse over how to share baseball’s growing revenues and profits. In the five years since the last collective bargaining agreement was signed, players have received a declining proportion of their teams’ revenues… Missing from the stories about baseball’s current labor war is the key role that Curt Flood played in the struggle for free agency. An outstanding hitter and outfielder during the 1950s and 1960s, Flood sacrificed his career to challenge baseball’s plutocratic control over players’ lives and livelihoods. In 1970 he sued baseball to end the reserve clause, which bound players to their teams. For that, he was blacklisted. For the past three decades, he’s also been blacklisted by the Hall of Fame. And now it has happened again this year.

 


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

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