Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Challenges to Biden Vaccine Mandates
As the omicron variant skyrockets COVID-19 infections, the Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on Friday regarding challenges to two federal vaccine requirements covering tens of millions of workers. President Joe Biden’s administration unveiled a series of mandates in November, including for large employers, federal contractors and healthcare workers. All of these rules have been suspended by the courts as lawsuits challenging them are considered. So far, judges have repeatedly dismissed challenges to national and local COVID-19 vaccine mandates. But the court’s Tories, who now enjoy a 6-3 majority, have been much more skeptical of the power of federal agencies – while giving the Biden administration a tough reception.
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Chicago cancels school for Friday as union debate rages on virus
Leaders in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district, canceled classes for a third day in a row as heated negotiations continued with the Chicago Teachers Union over distance learning and other COVID-safe measures. 19 while the omicron variant has skyrocketed the number of cases. In a message to parents on Thursday, Chicago executives said classes would be canceled on Friday, but “in-person learning and activities may be available at a small number of schools” depending on the number of staff. presenting at work. A small percentage of teachers continued to visit schools during what the district called an “illegal work stoppage”. The district said about 10% of the roughly 21,620 teachers came to work on Wednesday and Thursday it was nearly 13%. The Chicago Teachers Union voted on Tuesday to suspend in-person learning and remote work until January 18, or until cases of COVID-19 fall below a particular threshold. The union is also demanding that the district require negative tests of students and staff before returning to school.
East Coast braces for first bomb cyclone of 2022
The East Coast braces for the second major winter storm in five days as an explosive cyclone prepares to strike on Friday. A bomb cyclone is defined as a storm whose central pressure drops by 24 millibars in 24 hours. In and around Washington, DC, where more than a foot of snow fell in places on Monday, up to 3 more inches of snow was forecast for Friday morning. “These back-to-back storms will generate dramatic winter conditions that require additional flexibility, especially as many continue to face power outages,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said. Up to a foot of snow could sweep parts of Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts if the storm strengthens quickly enough, AccuWeather said.
Jobs report: pre-omicron surge, hires may have rebounded in December
Inflation continues to skyrocket and new omicron infections are on the rise, but U.S. employers reportedly continued to hire in December thanks to strong consumer spending. One of the reasons for optimism about the jobs data the government will release on Friday morning is that it likely hasn’t been affected much by the omicron wave. Hiring figures will reflect the state of the labor market for the first half of December, before omicron virus cases peak. Economists predicted that employers created 400,000 jobs in December, according to data provider FactSet via The Associated Press. This would mark an increase from just 210,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate is expected to drop from 4.2% to 4.1%, a relatively healthy level. In fact, Friday’s jobs report will conclude one of the best years for American workers in decades, although it followed 2020 – the worst year in the labor market since the record began in 1939, a consequence of the pandemic recession.
U.S. figure skating championships continue with women’s free skate
On Friday, the nation’s top figure skaters will continue to compete in the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships – a crucial final competition ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics next month. The women’s free program will air at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Unlike many other Olympic sports, American figure skating selects its Olympians based on their performance over the past two years. Thus, a ranking in the top two or three this week does not guarantee a place in the American team in Beijing. The competition for one of three women’s spots on the US Olympic team, which includes two-time national champion Alysa Liu, has been fierce.
Contribution: The Associated Press