Acronym fest! Boeing-SPEEA, Tesoro-USW, USPS-NALC, LGBT-labor…
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing, SPEEA get jump on talks — Representatives of the Boeing Co. and negotiators for the the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace/IFPTE 2001, representing the company’s engineers, were to begin discussing a new labor agreement Thursday and Friday. Their contract doesn’t expire until October.
LEARN MORE at www.speea.org.
► At HeraldNet.com — Boeing supplier Spirit to resume production Monday — Spirit AeroSystems will restart production of aircraft parts on Monday, more than a week after the company’s Kansas site was damaged by tornadoes.
► At In These Times — Strike? Tesoro refinery workers protest concessions 2 years after deadly explosion — On April 2, 2010, an explosion rocked Tesoro’s oil refinery in Anacortes, Wash., killing three workers instantly. Another four workers died later in the hospital. The refinery shut down for nearly six months as the refinery was repaired, costing the company Tesoro at least $35 million in fines, refinery repairs, and downtime according to the United Steelworkers union. Despite Tesoro making $546 million in profits last year and paying its CEO $8.8 million, Tesoro is now demanding workers make massive concessions, the union says. They include pushing to eliminate retiree healthcare plans, contribute less to retirement plans, and insert contract language that would allow the company to make unilateral change to the contract in the middle of the contract, says USW Local 12-591 President Steve Garey.
► From AP — BP Cherry Point refinery closer to restarting work after fire — Officials say they are weeks away from being able to restart regular operations, two months after a fire shut the facility down. More than 3,000 contract workers have been on site doing cleanup and maintenance work at the Blaine refinery.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Cowlitz PUD reaches contract deal with IBEW — Under the 3-year agreement, IBEW Local 77 members will receive wage increases of 1% this year, 1.75% next year and 2% in 2014.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — DOE not ready to commit to expanding vit plant– The Department of Energy is not ready to commit to expanding the Hanford vitrification plant to treat all 56 million gallons of radioactive tank waste, upsetting state regulators.
► In today’s WWU Western Front — Unions are not ‘third parties’ (letter to the editor) — Aramark manager Stephen Wadsworth declined to receive a letter from employees expressing their desire to form a union and declined to hear it read to him. He said he does not believe a “third party representation best serves the interests of employees.” A union is not a third party, it is still just the same workers, but now organized to support one another. The difference between isolated individual workers and workers who have built a union is the difference between the vulnerability of the extended fingers of an open hand, and a fist.
BONUS: OREGON NEWS!
► In NW Labor Press — 300 workers strike at Cascade Steel in McMinnville, Ore. — Workers walked out of Cascade Steel Rolling Mills on Easter Sunday to protest bad faith bargaining by parent company Schnitzer Steel Industries. The mill’s 300-plus workers are members of United Steelworkers Local 8378.
► In today’s NY Times — Oregon town weighs a future with an old energy source: coal– Boardman, Ore., is among at least half a dozen ports in the region weighing whether to ship millions of tons of coal to Asia from Wyoming and Montana. If all of the projects were built, as much as 150 million tons of coal per year could be exported from the Northwest, nearly 50% more than the nation’s entire coal export output last year.
► In today’s Olympian — State budget would let liquor employees cash out sick leave, if they stay through transition– About 900 state liquor employees will lose their jobs when spirit sales are turned over to the private sector this June, but there’s incentive in the state budget for some of those workers to stay to the end: cashing out 25% of their sick leave.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Manufacturing propels state’s job growth — Companies like Terex, a builder of aerial lifts, have hired hundreds of new workers as demand slowly rises. The state’s manufacturing sector added 14,600 jobs — most of that growth in the Seattle area — over the 12 months ending in March, leading all other sectors.
► From AP — State’s unemployment rate stays flat at 8.3%– Washington’s jobless rate for March remained flat, but the state added 3,300 jobs last month, marking the third consecutive month of growth. As of April 7, more than 77,000 workers in the state had exhausted all of their unemployment benefits. An additional 12,500 will lose their benefits by the end of this week.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Jobs gains in March too small to make an impact (editorial) — If the rate of hiring does not improve on March’s pace, it will take seven years for all the 289,400 seasonally adjusted people now looking for work in Washington to find it. Meanwhile, state workers by the hundreds are cleaning out their desks.
► At PubliCola — King County Labor Council recommends Brett Phillips in race for open 36th House seat — Despite support from the maritime unions, the KCLC isn’t going to recommend Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton for the Washington State Labor Council endorsement in the crowded Democratic intramural to replace retiring lefty state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36). Instead, today’s big winner is newcomer Brett Phillips, son of County Council member Larry Phillips, who won the KCLC’s recommendation for a sole endorsement. The WSLC endorsement convention will be May 5.
► At Slog — Teamsters tell Gael Tarleton to cease and desist in the 36th — Teamsters Local 174 is asking the legislative candidate “to immediately pull all advertisements, website materials, printed materials and any other publications using the Teamsters Local 174 name and logo.” Also: “Teamsters Local 174 will not endorse your candidacy for state legislature based on your long record of anti-labor activities during your tenure on the Port of Seattle Commission, including your public opposition to improving dangerous, poverty-level working conditions for thousands of workers in the port trucking sector and your public efforts to block job protections for women and men working at SeaTac Airport.”
► In The Stranger — Jay Inslee has already lost (the press) — Can Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee possibly get a fair shake from local media that have all but marked Republican Rob McKenna’s inauguration on their calendars? Probably not.
► At TPM — As Romney courts Latinos, GOP cuts their services — The Republican-led House advanced legislation Wednesday that aims to prevent parents who immigrated to the country illegally from receiving tax credits for raising children. And that’s inciting the ire of influential Hispanic advocates.
► In today’s Washington Post — Two-paycheck families, working because they must (E.J. Dionne column) — It’s good that Ann Romney had choices. She made them honorably and raised a great family. Now let’s debate what should matter in a presidential campaign: which policies will relieve the economic pressures on millions of parents who are equally determined to do right by their kids but have far less room for maneuver. Pro-family rhetoric doesn’t pay the bills.
► In The Hill — Postal union report slams ‘shrink to survive’ proposals — The NALC study says that both the USPS framework and bipartisan Senate legislation would employ a flawed approach. Instead, the paper argues for a top-to-bottom makeover of its business model, which could include expanding its reach, increasing stamp prices and implementing the sort of business structure found in the corporate world.
► At Politico — Unionization poster rule delayed — The NLRB has been barred from from requiring businesses to display a poster informing employees of their right to unionize under a federal appeals court emergency injunction Tuesday. The poster rule was scheduled to be implemented on April 30, but will be delayed pending appeal.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Public investment is the best engine for economic growth — The surest route to returning to the productivity, economic growth and employment the U.S. experienced in the post-World War II era and again in the late 1990s requires a substantial increase in public investments, a new EPI report finds.
► In today’s NY Times — Ford to build new plant in China to bolster global sales
► In today’s Seattle Times — Citi pay rejection a moral victory, maybe more (Jon Talton column) — In a first for a major bank, shareholders rejected the pay increases at Citigroup for CEO Vikram Pandit and other top executives. The bad news: It’s a non-binding vote. It’s too bad corporate governance law doesn’t allow shareholders to rein in compensation and make it stick. Still, this is a symbolic moment and it will be interesting to see if angry shareholders at other banks follow the lead.
► In today’s Washington Post — How to grow the middle class (Harold Meyerson column) — Two proposals have emerged that could boost Americans’ incomes. First, Sen. Harkin wants to raise the federal minimum wage and index it to the cost of living. The second, extend the employment protections of the Civil Rights Act — which forbids firing workers for reasons of race, gender, age and disability — to workers seeking to join a union.
► From AlterNet — An LGBT-labor alliance– From Washington state to Maryland, unions have become key players in the fight for marriage equality. Washington United for Marriage, which faces the prospect of a November ballot referendum to repeal the state’s new law, has spent significant energy organizing conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans in swing districts in suburban Seattle as well as rural populations represented by powerful state legislators. Labor has been critical in these efforts. The campaign has benefited most from the diffuse constituency and broad support of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 — without whom, one LGBT activist claims, “we wouldn’t have been able to win.”
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