Abortion care workers unionize, expecting heavier workloads. Jan. 6: Charges for Trump possible; more witnesses come forward. Brazil: Bolsonaro’s “surrender of the Amazon to crooks” led to activist, journalist’s murders.
Abortion care workers unionize, expecting heavier workloads
Across the country and across industries, the unionization drive that took off during the pandemic continues to pick up steam. Efforts by workers for retail giants like Amazon, Starbucks, Apple and Trader Joes to organize and win union votes are gathering momentum. Now workers at abortion clinics are following their lead.
Workers at abortion clinics in states where abortion is likely to remain legal are anticipating a “tidal wave of need”. As one worker explained, patients coming from states with abortion bans are illegal are consuming resources that were already stretched to care for in-state patients. Those patients then become displaced themselves, displacing others, and so on.
Better pay for better care
One of the reasons for this is chronic understaffing at many of these clinic. Healthcare workers at abortion clinics are often paid far less than healthcare workers in hospitals and other clinics. This leads to a low retention rate while some stay because they feel the service they provide is important.
Expecting their workloads to double or triple, Planned Parenthood workers are organizing union drives. Workers at Planned Parenthood say the affiliate’s leaders have largely ignored their pleas for more support. They see unionizing as a way to have more of a voice in how the clinics are run. By introducing more competitive pay and benefits, the workers also hope to recruit healthcare workers from other fields, thus allowing them to provide better care for more patients over the months and years to come.
Jan. 6 panel: Criminal charges for Trump possible; more witnesses come forward
Over the weekend, members of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 stated that their work could result in criminal charges for former President Trump. Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) said that the committee could forward multiple criminal referrals to the Justice Department. However, she also said DOJ did not have to wait for the committee’s referrals to file charges.
Some legal experts say that recent allegations made before the committee tie the former President and members of his staff to the violence that occurred that day. If corroborated, this could lay the foundation for criminal conspiracy charges, among others. Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, former top aide to Trump’s White House Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows, implicated both Trump and Meadows in the organization of the rally which then marched toward the Capitol.
In her testimony, Hutchinson stated that Trump and Meadows had close communications with Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, and disgraced former Gen. Michael Flynn and others the night before the riot. Giuliani, Stone, and Flynn established a “war room” in the Willard Hotel, where prominent members of the Proud Boys and OathKeepers were also staying. Hutchinson also testified that Trump knew his rally-goers were carrying weapons and that he had intended to follow them to the Capitol himself.
On its own, Hutchinson’s testimony helps to connect some dots, but would not be sufficient for a criminal referral. However, following her appearance last Tuesday, other witnesses have contacted the committee. The committee has also subpoenaed former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. The committee hopes Cipollone will corroborate key points of Hutchinson’s testimony and fill in other gaps as well.
Brazil: Bolsonaro’s “surrender of the Amazon to crooks” led to activist, journalist’s murders
Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has received a lot of criticism over the years, be it for his COVID-denial or just outright corruption. The recent murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira have shone a light on Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, or lack thereof.
Brazil is home to about one-third of the world’s rainforest cover. In recent decades, these biomes have been under increasing threat from illegal logging, clear-cutting for beef cattle grazing, illegal mining and other destructive economic activity. Under Bolsonaro’s leadership, these threats have only increased. This lawless atmosphere has also encouraged cartel activity in the Amazon. This has made the Amazon an increasingly dangerous place for journalists and activists.
Two of the men in custody for killing Phillips and Pereira were illegal fishermen. But police are also probing whether these murders were an assassination, carrying out orders from higher-up. Whoever proves to be ultimately responsible for this crime, opposition politician Randolfe Rodrigues says the ultimate culprit is Bolsonaro. Rodrigues is leading an inquiry into the killings.
Please share any thoughts, comments or questions in the Comments section below!