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Omicron takes hold | Prison safety concerns | Strike at Kroger’s King Soopers

Wednesday, January 12, 2022




► From the Washington Post — Omicron will infect ‘just about everybody,’ Fauci says — The Omicron coronavirus variant will infect “just about everybody” regardless of vaccination status, top U.S. infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci said Tuesday. But those who have been vaccinated will “very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well,” and avoid hospitalization and death, he said.

► From the Spokesman-Review — Cases triple in Spokane County as Omicron takes hold

MORE local coverage of the Omicron crisis in today’s Bellingham Herald, (Everett) Herald, and the Peninsula Daily News.

► From the Washington Post — Federal agencies must test unvaccinated workers weekly starting in February, Biden administration says

► From the Seattle Times — Growing list of Seattle-area schools switch to remote learning, cancel classes

► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane schools urged to cancel or delay spirit games as COVID rates soar, while one school goes temporarily remote

► From HuffPost — Lori Lightfoot gets COVID after standoff with teachers over safety precautions — The mayor of Chicago said she will work from home, something educators had also voted to do before she blocked them from teaching students altogether.




► From the Olympian — ‘We need action’ Gov. Inslee says in annual State of the State address — “I can encapsulate the state of our state very simply: We need action,” Inslee said during his address. The governor began by thanking frontline workers, educators and state employees for their work over the past two years. He also took time to thank those who administered emergency services during the “unprecedented weather events.”

The Stand (Jan. 11) — WSLC Legislative Conference will be Jan. 28

The Stand (Jan. 10) — WSLC announces 2022 legislative agenda

A pre-COVID photo of Department of Corrections employees rallying at the State Capitol.

► From Teamsters 117 — Teamsters raise serious safety concerns at WA state prisons — Teamsters 117, the union that represents 6,000 correctional employees in the Washington state prison system, is calling on the Department of Corrections to take immediate action to address safety concerns brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. In a letter sent Tuesday to DOC Secretary Cheryl Strange, the Teamsters say the DOC is not appropriately managing the staffing shortages at 12 prison facilities across the state and not doing enough to keep workers, the incarcerated population, and our communities safe.

► From the Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County Council names replacement for Sen. Ericksen –Whatcom County Council members selected Simon Sefzik to finish the term of state Sen. Doug Ericksen, who died Dec. 17 after a five-week battle with COVID-19. Sefzik, 22, of Ferndale, is a recent graduate of Patrick Henry College, a conservative Christian school in northeast Virginia. He interned in Congress and at the White House in 2020 and 2021.

► From L&I — Roofing companies face more than $750,000 in fines collectively for repeatedly putting workers at risk of dangerous falls — L&I recently issued a combined $768,000 in fines against three Washington roofing companies — Always Roofing of Snohomish County, Wilson Roofing and Construction LLC of Kirkland, and Valentine Roofing Inc. of Tukwila — for allowing workers to roof on top of homes without using fall protection and for other safety violations.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Federal lawsuit challenges ‘tribal monopoly’ on sports betting — Maverick Gaming wants to invalidate compacts allowing tribes, including the Tulalip and Stillaguamish, to offer sports wagering.




► From the NY Times — A voting rights push, as states make voting harder — In the nine months since Republicans in Georgia muscled through a host of new voting restrictions, 18 other states have enacted 33 such laws. More than 30 states have concluded their redistricting processes, with extreme partisan gerrymandering locking in Republican control over legislatures in the electoral battlegrounds of Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas for another 10 years. On Tuesday, President Biden urged Democrats to change the Senate’s rules to open a path — now blocked by the threat of a Republican filibuster — for federal legislation that would roll back some of the more egregious new voting restrictions and rein in hyperpartisan gerrymandering.

TODAY at The Stand We must Sideline the Filibuster to protect our right to vote

TAKE A STAND — Our democracy is under attack. The U.S. Senate must sideline the filibuster and make sure everyone can vote. Please take a moment to sign this important petition today: Sideline the filibuster and protect our right to vote. And then, fill out this form to make the call to our U.S. senators urging them to sideline the filibuster. You can also record a video explaining why it’s so important to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 and the Freedom to Vote Act.

► From the NY Times — Dem looking at multiple proposals to curb the filibuster

► From the Washington Post — Trump abruptly ends NPR interview after he is pressed on baseless election fraud claims

► From the Washington Post — This is why Democrats should push hard on voting rights (editorial) — In state after state, Republican legislatures have curbed voting access and chipped away at impartial election administration since Donald Trump began his campaign to discredit the democratic system that denied him a second term. Republicans cite concerns about election integrity — which they have stoked — to justify new voting restrictions. State-level Republicans claim that making it harder to vote will safeguard democracy. In fact, they are imperiling it. Democrats’ efforts to make voting fairer and less complicated — and to make it harder to overturn legitimate election results — is the aid U.S. democracy really needs.

► From the AP — U.S. inflation soared 7% in past year, the most since 1982 — Inflation jumped in December at its fastest year-over-year pace in nearly four decades, surging 7% and raising costs for consumers, offsetting recent wage gains and heightening pressure on President Biden and the Federal Reserve to address it.

► From The Guardian — The fight to oust Louis DeJoy and his ‘disastrous’ austerity plan — In March 2021, U.S. postmaster general Louis DeJoy unveiled a 10-year austerity plan to improve the financial sustainability of the postal service, which includes implementing longer delivery windows, cuts to branch hours, consolidation and shutdowns of branches and facilities, and postage rate increases. As well as fears over the efficacy of postal voting, the move has raised concerns over impacts on low-income Americans, rural communities and small businesses that rely on these services. “The 10-year plan is a plan for privatization. It just doesn’t use the ‘p’ word,” said Porter McConnell, co-founder of the Save the Post Office Coalition. “It’s already happening. I think what they’ve discovered is that you can privatize without talking about it.”

► From HuffPost — Democrats say it’s time to ‘cut a deal’ and salvage Build Back Better — With much of their agenda stalled, Democrats vowed to pick up the pieces of their broken Build Back Better bill and figure out what they can pass, even if that means drastically cutting the size and scope of the legislation’s ambitious social spending and climate programs.

► From the Guardian — West Virginians scramble to get by after Manchin kills child tax credits — Families probably received their final monthly payments in December after Congress failed to pass the Build Back Better Act. The legislation, the cornerstone of the Biden administration’s domestic policy, would have made the payments permanent. But one Democrat stood in the way – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

► From The Hill — Pressures aligning on Biden, Democrats to forgive student loans




► From Reuters — Workers at nearly 80 Kroger’s King Soopers go on strike as talks stall — More than 8,000 workers at nearly 80 King Soopers stores went on strike for better wages and benefits on Wednesday after the latest round of negotiations between the Kroger-owned Colorado chain and the union failed. The strike started at 7:00 a.m. ET and will go on for three weeks, UFCW Local 7 union said. The workers on strike are employed at King Soopers stores in the Denver metropolitan area, Boulder, Parker and Broomfield cities of Colorado, among others.

► From Politico — Records of former labor leader and close Biden ally subpoenaed — A grand jury is probing Harold Schaitberger’s financial activities as the leader of the International Association of Fire Fighters.


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

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