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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Staff shortages prompts STCU to closes some branches

Spokane Teachers Credit Union announced this week that it is temporarily closing some lobbies and branches as it deals with staff shortages caused by the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Maintaining that balance through the pandemic, and particularly during the omicron variant, has meant periodic adjustments of staffing levels,” STCU said in a news release.

As of Thursday, it was closing the lobbies at the Moran Prairie, Cheney, Silver Lake and Ritzville branch locations. At each location, the drive-thru lanes will remain open.

Branch closures include Othello, Hutton Building Branch in downtown Spokane and the Downtown Coeur d’Alene Branch. At each location, external ATM machines remain available, according to the release.

The status of each location will be reassessed early next week. In the meantime, customers are encouraged to visit the STCU website at for information about each of the 34 branches.

Idaho sets historic jobless low of 2.4% in December

Idaho’s unemployment rate reached a historic low of 2.4% in December, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the Idaho Department of Labor.

Idaho added 2,000 non-farm positions in December for a total of 790,500 jobs.

Natural resources, information, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and durable goods manufacturing were industry sectors with the greatest amount of month-over-month job gains last month.

Coeur d’Alene experienced the greatest month-over-month nonfarm job growth in the state with an increase of 0.8% in December.

The state’s previous record low unemployment rate was 2.5% in December 2019, according to the state.

Chevron, Total Energies, stop Myanmar operations

PARIS – Total Energies and Chevron, two of the world’s largest energy companies, said Friday they were stopping all operations in Myanmar, citing rampant human rights abuses and deteriorating rule of law since the country’s military overthrew the elected government in February 2021.

The announcement came just a day after the French company called for international sanctions targeting the oil and gas sector, which remains one of the military government’s primary sources of funding.

It also comes a month after an Associated Press story on the growing push for oil and gas sanctions on both companies and on the resistance from the United States and France.

Total and Chevron had come under increasing pressure over their role in running the offshore Yadana gas field, along with the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) and Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production.

Total has a majority stake in the venture and runs its daily operations, while MOGE collects revenues on behalf of the government.

“The situation of rule of law and human rights in Myanmar has clearly deteriorated over months and despite the civil disobedience movements, the junta has kept power and our analysis is that it’s unfortunately for the long term,” Total said.

Since the takeover, the military has cracked down brutally against dissent, abducting young men and boys, killing health care workers and torturing prisoners.

A former Total employee in Myanmar who has campaigned against the company’s ties to the military government said she was shocked but pleased by the decision, though she acknowledged that it would be difficult to find work elsewhere.

“For the employees who still work for Total, it’s bad news even if they oppose the dictatorship or fight against the military. But for me as an ordinary person and not as an employee, I will say it is great news,” she told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because she feared reprisal from the government.

From staff and wire reportsTotal said it would withdraw without financial compensation and hand over its interests to the other stakeholders.