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Unions And Vaccines

 April 21, 2021 at 4:38 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday April 21st. >>>> Unions have been organizing to get their members vaccinated... We’ll have more on that next, but first... ###### After the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, about 150 people gathered and marched in downtown San Diego last night. Emotions for many such as Alicia Crawford are bittersweet. “Justice for me looks like Black and brown people being able to walk outside their house and not feel like they might not make it home.” For Crawford, the verdict is just the beginning of a longer march toward justice. Beatriz Palmer, co-chair of the racial justice committee of alliance for regional solutions also had reactions to the guilty verdict. “those aren't my kids and george floyd isn’t my blood but every black mother that sees george floyd sees their son, and every sister their brother. Thank god for this outcome and now lets create some movement for the next case. it never ends.” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria also released a statement, saying [quote] “Derek Chauvin's actions were an abuse of power and a disservice to the men and women who nobly protect and serve our communities”. Chauvin was convicted of two counts of murder, and one count of manslaughter for killing George Floyd last year. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Local unions are used to advocating for their members, and pushing lawmakers for change. Now they’re doing more than that to encourage their members to get COVID-19 vaccines. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser has the story. “I signed up on my phone, done.” Lili Novarino had been looking for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment everywhere with no luck. She’s been a Vons worker for 30 years, so she turned to an organization she often turns to for help: her union. Lili Novarino “The union organized clinics for different employees..00:08:20:15 It was a huge relief, looking back to the beginning of the pandemic, when I was coming home from work, leaving my shoes outside, taking off my clothes, going straight to the shower, it was really scary.” Unions across the San Diego region are working hard to get their members vaccinated, employing many of the same tactics they use to get laws passed and favored political candidates elected. Local unions lobbying for vaccines Asking lawmakers to grant eligibility for their members Securing separate supplies of vaccines Launching vaccine awareness campaigns for members They’re lobbying lawmakers to grant eligibility to their members and securing separate supplies of vaccines from state and county officials. They’ve also launched vaccine awareness campaigns among their members. “It is a trusted information source for people.” UC San Diego epidemiology professor Rebecca Fielding-Miller says all of this will have a big impact -- increasing herd immunity in unionized workplaces and vaccination rates in low-income communities.. “There’s a fire hose of information all the time, but if your union reaches out and says do this and this on this day, that’s really helpful.” “It’s what we do every day.” Todd Walters is president of the local food worker’s union. He says they’ve made it easy for members to sign up for vaccine appointments at union-run clinics, and are encouraging those who are vaccine-hesitant to get the shot. “When you visit members on the job site, that’s so important, because when you see people on the job site, you have a captive audience, build relationships with them, they trust you and share information with you.” Unions that represent child care and home care providers and utility workers have also organized their own vaccination clinics. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union successfully lobbied the governor to add utility workers to Tier 1B, so they could begin receiving vaccines in mid-March. Now, Nate Fairman, the business manager for the local branch, says more than 50% of his members are vaccinated. “Your union is one of your most trusted sources of information. People get inundated with information, but when someone is a member of a union and they get communication... they trust that information coming from their union.” Brigette Browning, president of Unite Here! Local 30, a hotel workers union, says she’s letting her members know that skipping the vaccine may cost them work. “I think we're going to have to tell our members, if you don't get vaccinated and this customer says you can't be in their banquet room, you can't be in their banquet room.” Restaurant worker broll, for example. Even for non-union workers, pressure from coworkers and friends can often make a difference in whether they take the shot. Paolo Morales is the sushi manager at Sushi Deli in Mission Hills and says at first, many of his coworkers didn’t want the vaccine, but now they’re coming around. “We're never going to win, we're never going to get over this situation if a lot of you just wait to see what's going to happen.” After seeing Morales and others get their shots, another coworker, Daniel Flores, says he will get one, too. “It's a new vaccine and we don't know much about it because it's barely coming out, but it's all about each other's health, so we should all get it. Be protected.” And that was KPBS” Claire Traegeser. ########## A new report from immigrant advocacy groups says President Biden is continuing many of Trump’s most destructive border policies. KPBS’ Max Rivlin-Nadler reports. The report, titled Failure To Protect, focuses on the continued use of title 42 — a Trump-era regulation that expels almost all asylum-seekers from the country. The groups say the regulation, which was originally justified as a pandemic-control measure, put asylum-seekers in harm’s way — keeping families, children, LGBTQ migrants, and black migrants in dangerous border cities indefinitely. Nicole Ramos is a lawyer with Al Otro Lado, which advocates on behalf of asylum-seekers in Tijuana. We are one of the most powerful and well-resourced nations on earth. Yet the excuses 90 days into this government title 42 has not been repealed, really challenges that image we’re projecting to the world. The report calls for the Biden administration to rescind Title 42 and immediately restore asylum — saying there’s more than enough capacity to process arriving families and individuals. UC San Diego officials want to return to normal, in-person, classes in the fall. But that means making sure students and staff get vaccinated. KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong spoke with university officials about whether they’ll make vaccines mandatory. As of now, it’s unclear whether the University of California Board of Regents will require students and staff at all UC campuses to be vaccinated before returning in the fall. UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said the regents should require vaccinations except for those with medical reasons or strongly held religious beliefs. At the end of the day, our job is not to be just individually independent, we also need to be part of a societal structure. In addition to safeguarding ourselves, we also have to be responsible for people around us. So it’s a balance we have to think through right? Among other local colleges, the University of San Diego has announced it will require all students to be vaccinated before returning to campus. A San Diego State University spokeswoman said the Cal State system has not yet made a decision on vaccination requirements. Joe Hong KPBS News. San Diego is increasing internet access for people across the city. KPBS’S CRISTINA KIM reports. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria laid out a plan to expand free internet access to the more than 53,000 San Diegans living without reliable broadband. IC: 1:36 “For us to be a truly great city we must address equity head on… OC: 1:54 “... As a part of our new SD Access for all program.” Mayor Gloria’s announcement… which builds upon a program started last year under then Mayor Kevin Faulconer…. also includes new laptops and 900 mobile hotspots that people will be able to check out from select libraries…. like this one in San Ysidro. ...It received its first hot spots a little over 3 weeks ago and has been operating an outdoor computer lab since October. San Ysidro’s Branch Manager, Elaine Sinsuan <>, says the internet access has been crucial to her predominantly Latino and bilingual patrons… who use the computers to study and apply for jobs. ID: Elaine Sinsuan, San Ysidro Library Branch Manager IC: 9:13 I get a lot of happy stories that have to finish their work OC: 9:40 time limits and lack of constraints.” CK VO: The newly announced program comes on the heels of Mayor Gloria’s proposed budget cuts to San Diego Libraries which will cut down hours but be he says will be offset by new digital resources. And that was KPBS’ Cristina Kim. ############ And… in South Bay …. it’s first legal cannabis dispensary. "here we go! (cheering, etc)" The Grasshopper dispensary was welcomed by chula vista city officials on tuesday. It's located in an industrial area, and it’s the first of eight cannabis storefronts planned for the city. Owner Andres Camveros says it took more than two years to get this point. "i grew up in chula vista born and raised raising my kids my family this is a chula vista business right now something everyone can be proud of" All dispensaries opening in chula vista will be for recreational consumption, meaning customers don't need a medical card. ########## Coming up.... California is facing a “mega-drought.” We’ll have more on what that is and what it means along with a preview of this year’s FILMOUT San Diego next, just after the break. For many Californians, drought conditions haven’t been a seasonal issue - they’ve been a way of life. With consecutive years of record high temperatures and scarce rainfall, some say it’s possible that California is facing a “mega-drought” - which means the impact of climate change could be much more severe across the state. Daniel Cayan is a researcher of Climate, Atmospheric Science & Physical Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. He spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Host Jade Hindmon about the drought. Here’s that interview. And that was Daniel Cayan, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon. Filmout, san diego’s lgbtq film festival, continues with its monthly film screenings online. kpbs film critic beth accomando reviews its latest offering, a true-life inspired drama from bolivia. The film Tu Me Manques opens with stage direction… CLIP Scene…a curtain opens revealing… he is elegantly dressed in a suit and tie. (:16) The film’s a beautiful and healing meditation on grief, loss and the creative process. It begins with Jorge, arriving in New York City from his conservative Bolivian home, and confronting his son’s boyfriend Sebastian with news of the son’s suicide. CLIP Gabriel es muerto (:05) The men clash over Jorge’s inability to understand and accept his son’s sexuality. The events prompt Sebastian to stage a play that not only pays tribute to his dead lover but which also addresses the homophobia they both faced in their native Bolivia. Writer director Rodrigo Bellot straddles the US and Bolivian film industries. Tu Me Manques draws eloquently on his own personal story. The film also chronicles his creative process of staging a mutli-media play in Bolivia that helped bring LGBTQ issues to the forefront in that country. Tu Me Manques gives voice to a particular Latinx perspective and is available streaming this Thursday through Sunday from FilmOut San Diego. Beth Accomando, KPBS News. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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Local unions have lobbied lawmakers to make union members eligible for the vaccine; They’ve secured their own vaccine supplies and have launched outreach campaigns promoting vaccination. Meanwhile, we have local reaction to the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial. Plus, California could be facing a “mega-drought.”