Orders, Obama and lemmings at Boeing; bucks for Bangor, Rowe on trades…
► At IAM 751′s blog — Boeing, Machinists move forward together in Renton — Boeing is “spending money on detailed floor plans and placing orders for new tooling and machines,” said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751. This shows that Boeing is moving forward with its commitment to build the latest version of the 737 in Puget Sound, he said, and “I don’t need to tell you how significant that will be in terms of Machinists Union jobs.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing locks in biggest order ever — The company says it has finalized an order from Indonesian carrier Lion Air for 230 planes — worth a combined $22.4 billion. Lion Air also has the rights to buy 150 more. The deal is the largest commercial airplane order ever for Boeing by both dollar value and number of airplanes. The order includes 201 of Boeing’s redesigned 737, which it calls the Max, and 29 extended range 737-900s.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Obama to talk jobs at Boeing — The president will fly into Paine Field on Friday and tour Boeing’s widebody jet factory in Everett. The White House said he will discuss the importance of American manufacturing and exports to the country’s economy. Sen. Patty Murray said the visit will be an opportunity for Obama to meet with the area’s highly skilled aerospace workers.
► From Reuters — After lemming exodus, manufacturers look to U.S. — Big U.S. manufacturers moved their production out of the country too quickly over the past decades and now see a competitive advantage in building up their footprints back home, top executives said on Monday. The chase for lower-paid workers drove the migration, which resulted in employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector falling by 40% from its 1980 peak. But big companies including Boeing and GE are now finding that the benefit of lower wages can be offset by higher logistics and materials costs.
“We, lemming-like, over the last 15 years extended our supply chains a little too far globally in the name of low cost,” said Boeing CEO Jim McNerney. “We lost control in some cases over quality and service when we did that, we underestimated in some cases the value of our workers back here.”
SEATTLE PORT TRUCKERS
► In today’s Seattle Times — Port of Seattle truckers rally as walkout passes 2nd week — The work stoppage, which began Jan. 31, continued Monday morning with a rally that attracted 300 people to the Duwamish Waterway. Afterward, dozens of truckers chanted at the doors of Pacer Cartage, a California-based company that has been increasing its Seattle operations. “We are powerful right now. A lot of drivers are promising to join us,” said Zacharias Abebe, a member of the new Seattle Port Truckers Association.
ALSO in The Stand — Hundreds rally to support Seattle port short-haul truckers
► In today’s Seattle Times — Stalemate as Port labor fight continues — In Olympia, the House passed HB 2395, which would grant short-haul truck drivers more of the rights of employees under state law. Currently, they are treated as independent contractors. Still, a meeting involving port officials last week produced no resolution.
► In the Bellingham Business Journal — Business owners call on state to stop the cuts, seek new revenue instead — As state lawmakers enter the year with another partisan budget battle, the Main Street Alliance of Washington is bucking the cliche that every small business owner wants lower taxes and less government spending. “Washington is a great place to live, work and run a business,” Joshua Welter, the alliance’s director, said. “We want to keep it that way and make it better, not see how quickly we can race to the bottom.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Gregoire signs same-sex marriage into law — With Gov. Gregoire’s signature, Washington joins six other states and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex couples to marry. Within hours of the bill signing, same-sex-marriage opponents filed Referendum 73 with the aim of repealing it. If they collect enough signatures by June 6, the law would be put on hold until the November elections.
► At TheOlympian.com — State tax receipts run $44 million above November forecast — Last week’s caseloads report brought more than $200 million in good news for state budget writers. Today’s monthly revenue collections report brought another $54 million not counted on before. Neither report fills the $1 billion to $1.5 billion shortfall lawmakers need to close, but passes for good news in a time of financial strain.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Corrections officers push lawmakers for better uniforms — Corrections officers across the state have taken their case for better threads to Olympia. They want the Legislature to sack their garment makers — the inmates the officers are charged with keeping in line.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Senate approves Hatfield-sponsored pulp mill biomass bill– A bill that would classify decades-old incinerators and boilers at pulp mills as renewable energy cleared the state Senate on Saturday. It has the potential to save local pulp producers millions of dollars.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Navy getting $280 million to build explosives handling wharf — Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor will get $280 million in the next fiscal year — beginning Oct. 1 — for a second explosives handling wharf for Trident submarines, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) said Monday. Construction of the $715 million facility is scheduled to begin this summer.
ALSO at The Stand — PLA for U.S. Navy’s Bangor project is a first
► In today’s Daily News — Longview council OKs contract for EBA union — The city’s largest employee union has negotiated a contract that includes pay raises in each of the next three years.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Snohomish County may open trash hauling to bidders — County leaders are gearing up to revisit a $20-million-per-year contract that sends garbage by rail to Eastern Washington and might soon open it up to competition.
► In today’s News Tribune — Santorum makes best of protests during Tacoma visit– Maybe it wasn’t the best site to host a rally for a Republican presidential candidate, right next to the Occupy Tacoma encampment. He tells protesters: “Instead of standing here unemployed yelling at somebody, to go out and get a job and work for a living.”
► At AFL-CIO Now — UI deadline approaching, jobless tell lawmakers ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ — If Congress doesn’t act and renew unemployment insurance benefits for the nation’s jobless workers by Feb. 29, millions of workers like Kenny Wilkes will be left without a vital lifeline to keep their families head above water.
ALSO at The Stand — Unemployment benefits on the chopping block; call Congress now!
► In today’s LA Times — House Republican leaders agree to extend payroll tax cut — Surrendering to political reality, House Republican leaders did an about-face and said they were willing to extend a payroll tax cut for 160 million working Americans without insisting that it be paid for with spending cuts.
► In today’s LA Times — Overtime bill pits needs of high-tech employers vs. workers– High-tech workers across the country could see smaller paychecks under an industry-led campaign to revise labor laws to further limit overtime benefits. Some of the multinational firms behind the effort, such as IBM and Intel, say the changes are necessary to keep jobs from going overseas, where technology workers are paid a fraction of U.S. wages. Computer workers, however, see it as an effort to squeeze more work out of employees for less pay in an industry that’s notorious for killer hours and all-nighters.
► In today’s NY Times — Critics question choice of labor monitor selected by Apple — The company’s announcement on Monday that an outside monitoring group, the Fair Labor Association, has begun inspecting its suppliers’ factories in China rekindled a debate over how effective the group has been in eliminating labor abuses.
► In today’s NY Times — Montana and the Supreme Court(editorial) — Justice Anthony Kennedy should deny a request to summarily overturn or to stay Montana’s anticorruption ruling that bans corporate donations to campaigns.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Trumka: federal budget proposal ‘puts us on the right path’ — Says the AFL-CIO president: “We simply cannot afford to return to the ‘you’re-on-your-own economics’ of the Bush years. Working families will pay too high a price for extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans or cutting Social Security benefits, Medicare or other health care benefits. The President is right in his budget to insist that the Bush tax cuts expire for our nation’s wealthiest families — those with incomes over $250,000 per year. At the same time, the Administration should resist the temptation to once again ask federal employees to absorb harmful, disproportionate cuts.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Obama budget reduces money for vit plant — The Obama administration is requesting a largely flat budget of $2.2 billion for the Hanford nuclear reservation in fiscal 2013. However, money for the vitrification plant would be reduced from current spending, another signal that a deadline of starting up the plant by 2019 to treat radioactive waste for disposal may not be met.
► In today’s NY Times — A responsible budget (editorial) — If Congress were not dysfunctional — if it cared more about economic stabilization than scoring political points — it would sign on to a budget like this. As it is, the proposal will go nowhere, largely because of the Republican refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy and to spend money on vital programs. Senate Democrats, who don’t want to make hard political choices, also share the blame.
► In today’s NY Times — Money urged for colleges to perform job training — As part of his budget, President Obama on Monday proposed an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, with the goal of training two million workers for well-paying jobs in high-demand industries.
► At Huffington Post — Kicking underdogs when they’re down (by USW President Leo Gerard) — Americans love an underdog. That’s why the sudden surge of right-to-work (for less) legislation is so confounding. Right-to-work (for less) laws are perks for the wealthy, for the top dogs. These laws facilitate destruction of unions. The concerted action of a labor union is a tool that workers use to win fair wages, benefits and conditions from the powerful, from the likes of massive multi-national corporations. At a time of dwindling union membership, at a time when labor union participation is so small as to be nearly negligible, state legislatures across the country are taking up right-to-work (for less) laws that will further decimate union ranks. They’re kicking the underdog when it’s down.
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