Wales release Liam Williams back to Scarlets to prove Six Nations fitness | Rugby Union News

British and Irish Lions star will play for Scarlets on Friday night against Benetton in the PRO14, with the 29-year-old still shaking off a long-term ankle injury; will rejoin national squad on Monday

Last Updated: 21/10/20 4:00pm

Liam Williams has been told to prove his fitness before Wales' Six Nations match against Scotland

Liam Williams has been told to prove his fitness before Wales’ Six Nations match against Scotland

Wales have released full-back Liam Williams to play for Scarlets this weekend so he can prove his fitness ahead of the Six Nations match against Scotland.

Williams will play for his region on Friday night against Benetton in the PRO14, with the 29-year-old still shaking off a long-term ankle injury.

The British and Irish Lions star missed Wales’ World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa in October 2019 after suffering the ankle problem in training and has only played once since.

Now though, the former Saracens man will have a chance to prove his fitness ahead of the rearranged Six Nations encounter with Scotland at the Principality Stadium on October 31.

Dragons winger Jonah Holmes has also been released for regional action this weekend as Wales boss Wayne Pivac looks to keep his squad fresh.

“Liam Williams (Scarlets) and Jonah Holmes (Dragons) have been released from the national squad back to their respective regions for action this weekend,” read a Wales statement.

“They will re-join the national squad on Monday.”

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California’s $100M dialysis battle comes with ancillary benefits for labor union


A patient undergoes dialysis at a clinic in Sacramento, Calif.

A patient undergoes dialysis at a clinic in Sacramento, Calif. | Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

OAKLAND — In initiative-happy California, one set of ads stands out — those involving dialysis clinics, an industry that’s historically been a lower-profile player in politics.

The ads are unusual not only because of their unlikely topic but their volume, which is high because industry opponents of a labor ballot measure are spending more than any group opposing the other 11 proposals California voters must decide on.

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The massive spending gap between the $100 million opponents, including DaVita Inc., have raised and the $8.9 million by supporters led by SEIU United Healthcare Workers West means that the dialysis industry has flooded airwaves as it defends itself against organized labor. The same chain of events played out two years ago, resulting in a resounding defeat for the union’s ballot initiative.

California’s ballot wars have escalated in recent years as industries see little problem spending more than $100 million — and nearly twice that amount in the gig industry’s case — to persuade the electorate. Businesses and organizations that don’t get their way in the state Capitol often use the ballot to change state laws or as leverage to pressure lawmakers and other powerful interests. Proposition 23 is the third most expensive ballot initiative in 2020, according to data compiled by POLITICO.

While SEIU-UHW says it is committed to passing Prop 23, political strategists suggest that labor backers may simply be playing the long game by placing an initiative on the ballot every two years challenging the industry. Win or lose, the union is putting pressure on dialysis companies to spend gobs of money each general election.

“The threat of a ballot measure is something UHW has used strategically,” said Brian Brokaw, a Democratic strategist in Sacramento who is not involved in the Prop. 23 campaign. “In order for a threat to actually be credible, sometimes you have to put it on the ballot. But appearing on a ballot and actually running a campaign to support something are two different things.”

Proposition 23 faces long odds not just because of the industry’s $100 million war chest, but also because it involves a regulatory matter on a crowded ballot — a perfect recipe for voter rejection.

Two years ago, Californians voted 60-40 to reject Prop. 8, another SEIU-UHW-backed initiative that would have capped dialysis profits. But to get that win, the dialysis industry, led by the dominant franchises DaVita Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care, invested about $111 million to defeat it, or nearly six times what the proponents spent.

One day after that Nov. 6, 2018 election, the union vowed to refile the initiative in California and other states. SEIU-UHW did file another initiative, but Prop 23 looks dramatically different, focusing on requirements that clinics must meet such as staffing one doctor on site.

John Logan, director of labor employment studies at San Francisco State University, said unions have long used non-traditional tactics like ballot-box campaigns to get

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Backus Hospital and the union representing more than 400 nurses agree to a tentative contract after 4 months of bargaining

Backus Hospital and the union representing more than 400 nurses agreed early Saturday morning to a tentative four-year contract the union president hailed as a victory.

Sherri Dayton, president of the Backus Federation of Nurses, said pay raises will help secure a major goal of the union: keeping nurses from leaving for jobs with higher salaries.

In addition, Hartford HealthCare, the hospital’s parent company, agreed to single-use face masks “instead of storing masks in brown paper bags,” she said.

Donna Handley, president of the hospital called the agreement a “fair and responsible contract.”

We greatly value and respect our nurse colleagues and the critical roles they play in our hospital,” she said in an emailed statement.

Nurses have scheduled a ratification vote Thursday.

Nurses went on strike for two days this week to pressure the hospital to negotiate better contract terms. Dayton said the walkout and political involvement by Gov. Ned Lamont helped spur an agreement.

Stephen Singer can be reached at [email protected]

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