What's essential? Confusion clouds workers, employers
Are construction workers essential? It depends.The standards for what constitutes essential work under COVID-19 pandemic rules vary state to state, city to city, and, in some cases, hour to hour. Some orders change because of industry pressure; some change as the pandemic worsens; and some governors clarify earlier orders when confusion ensues.The result has been a confounding patchwork of rules that have left some workers befuddled and industry organizations scrambling for guidance. Governors and local officials face the difficult task of trying to balance public safety with the huge hit to t...
Editorial: NRA's lawsuit against California exploits coronavirus crisis to push agenda of death
If you want to increase the chances that someone in your family will die during the coronavirus shutdown, buy a gun. Studies show that guns in the home make premature death more likely.That’s one reason why the National Rifle Association’s decision to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom and other California officials in the middle of this pandemic is so disgusting. On Friday, the NRA sued Gov. Newsom, along with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, demanding that gun stores be deemed “essential” despite stay-in-place orders that have shuttered most businesses.No one expects anything good from the NRA...
The Sacramento Bee
Alarm grows as Cook County, state struggle with what to do with the incarcerated in the face of COVID-19
CHICAGO — Officials knew two weeks ago just what kind of crisis loomed outside the front doors of the sprawling Cook County Jail.COVID-19 had just been declared a pandemic. More than 5,500 detainees were housed in close quarters inside the Southwest Side facility, with new arrivals coming daily from all corners of the county. Conditions were ideal for the new disease’s unchecked spread.A potential disaster, as Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli put it. A huge problem, Sheriff Tom Dart added, noting, “there is no playbook here.”In the Illinois Department of Corrections, too, alarms were...
Jets at 3 NY-area airports grounded briefly due to virus exposure of airport staffers
NEW YORK — The Federal Aviation Authority temporarily suspended flights coming out of New York City’s three regional airports Saturday afternoon over concerns of virus exposures to staff, authorities said.Philadelphia airports were also temporarily closed because of virus-related staffing issues, according to the Associated Press.The grounding was called after an air traffic controller trainee at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., tested positive for COVID-19. Operations were shut down and all planes were ordered grounded so the areas where the trainee worked co...
New York Daily News
Editorial: Washington's coronavirus reflex: Spend, spend, spend
Snowstorms, Chicagoans understand: A winter weather system shuts down business activity for a few days, then the sun comes out. A recession or financial crisis? We’ve survived those too.The coronavirus pandemic is a different category of catastrophe, a public health threat that can only be tamed by banning aspects of human interaction. It’s impossible to keep an economy humming when people temporarily can’t mingle, whether on Ford’s Chicago assembly line or at a tavern.So who might save the day when there’s no snow to melt? That’s a dangerous question because the easy answer is expensive: The ...
UAW and GM agree to run parts distribution centers with paid volunteers only
The UAW and General Motors have settled the fate of their parts distribution centers as anxious workers at the facilities fretted over having to show up during the coronavirus pandemic.Two people familiar with the matter said the UAW and GM agreed Friday morning to shut down all U.S. parts distribution centers at the end of business Friday.Ford Motor Co. is still in discussions with the UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has not replied for comment.Earlier, a person familiar with the UAW had said a deal was struck with all three.But the centers will continue to operate using employees who volun...
Detroit Free Press
Puerto Rico seeks to suspend all incoming flights to battle COVID-19 spread
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico is asking U.S. authorities to suspend all domestic and international flights for 14 days as it hopes to further lock down the island to contain the spread of the coronavirus.In a statement Wednesday, Gov. Wanda Vazquez said she made the request to Federal Aviation Administrator Stephen Marshall.In the letter, she also asked the FAA to close all airports where local authorities aren’t screening incoming passengers, limit the airstrips where charter planes can land and allow the island to limit all air traffic except for vital services and the military.“Each o...
Lime suspends e-scooter service in 5 markets, including California, due to coronavirus
Lime, the shareable bike and e-scooter company, announced Tuesday it is suspending service effective immediately in five of its markets that are most heavily impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including California, where its heaviest presence in the Bay Area.Lime says it will be “pausing” its service in California and Washington state, as well as Italy, France and Spain. No end date was given, but the company in a news release said it will provide updates on the situation “in the coming weeks.”“The COVID-19 virus is an unprecedented challenge facing cities and communities around the...
The Sacramento Bee
Hornets owner Michael Jordan is assisting part-time workers after NBA season halted
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and his players have stepped up to provide financial assistance to part-time employees adversely affected by the suspension of the NBA schedule.“It was the right thing to do!” Jordan told the Observer about forming a fund to compensate part-time employees who will miss paychecks as a result of canceled Hornets and Greensboro Swarm games, and other lost Spectrum Center events, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.The Hornets’ news release said about 500 part-time employees would be eligible for assistance, such as ushers, ticket-takers, entertainers, pu...
The Charlotte Observer
Editorial: Facial recognition software takes personal invasion into a new dimension
Law enforcers around the world are celebrating the rapidly expanding potential of facial recognition software to help them catch criminals faster and solve long-dormant cases. Such capabilities in the right hands could reap enormous public safety dividends. But in the wrong hands, an entirely new dimension in crime, extortion and mayhem could soon be unleashed.Before it’s too late, Americans need to think long and hard about the wisdom of venturing down this uncharted road. Few would argue against tools that help police capture dangerous criminals. It’s the law-abiding among us who need to wor...
St. Louis Post-Dispatch