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Hospital workers strike, says management using pandemic against them

in News

Monday marked the first day of a week-long hospital strike in the North Bay.

Hundreds of workers lined the sidewalk in front of Santa Rosa’s Memorial Hospital, banging drums, chanting, and waving signs.

Motorists on Montgomery Drive added to the din, honking horns in support.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers represents nursing assistants, radiology and pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists, housekeepers, and other service employees.

Workers say the timing of the strike, in the shadow of a pandemic, was unavoidable.

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Foam shop that was fixture of Santa Rosa to close after nearly 40 years

in News
Chris Smith/The Press Democrat
Chris Smith/The Press Democrat

A million reasons draw all sorts of people — homeowners and RV roamers and anyone who sits on cushions or sleeps on mattresses — into a custom-cut foam shop.

For patrons of a Santa Rosa store that since 1981 has celebrated the myriad marvels of polyurethane foam, sadly, there are a million and one reasons to drop in before the end of July.

Having struggled financially for some time and been dealt a final blow by the pandemic, Creator’s Foam Shop is closing for good.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Summer internships for college students upended amid pandemic, but opportunities remain

in News/Schools

For Sonoma County college students, June normally marks the beginning of the summer internship season, a time to gain valuable experience in the workplace and jump-start their careers. With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy, many students’ internship plans have been dashed or thrown into uncertainty.

As businesses reduce expenses, work mainly remotely and require employees who are in the office to adhere to prudent social distancing, many have canceled or postponed summer internships. For organizations still hiring interns, most have their college apprentices working online. While that counts as professional experience, these entry-level workers are missing out, for now, on valuable face-to-face interaction with veteran colleagues and managers.

“Given social distancing, everything has been turned upside down,” said Stan Moroz, who recently finished his fourth year at Santa Rosa Junior College and is an intern this summer at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato. He plans to transfer to UC Davis in the fall and study chemistry.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Sonoma County bus operators chart uncertain future as pandemic wears on

in News
Picture Source: BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat
Picture Source: BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat

Sonoma County’s bus operators have weathered severe ridership and revenue declines amid the three-month coronavirus shutdown and now confront hard questions about how to restore service as restrictions are eased and more passengers resurface in need of a ride.

That outlook remains murky as the stay-home orders have profoundly altered work and travel patterns, with potentially long-term implications for the Bay Area’s more than two dozen public transit systems. Some are pressing forward with merger talks due to the severity of the financial crisis they face.

Their shared obstacle is no surprise; It remains unclear when ridership might return to pre-COVID levels, with operators grappling with how to convince transit users that buses are clean, safe and reliable ways to get about.

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