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Cherry Point, IUOE’s Top Hand, mooning Boeing…



►  In today’s Seattle Times — Cherry Point coal terminal completes long-range plan, benefits Whatcom County (column by Ken Oplinger and Chris Johnson) — The terminal, called Gateway Pacific, will create more than 3,000 jobs for at least two years of construction, support 1,200 to 1,700 permanent jobs at full operations and pay about $10 million a year in taxes. As leaders of our area’s chamber of commerce and the local laborers’ union, we believe SSA Marine should be given the opportunity to complete its review process, a process that will allow them to demonstrate that this project can be a steady source of family-wage jobs, strong tax revenues and sound environmental management — in the tradition our community values. Cherry Point is a proven model for building a strong economy. Let’s finish what we started.

►  In today’s Ellensburg Daily Record — Operating Engineers show off skills at Top Hand competition — About 200 people attended the fifth annual Top Hand Competition at the Operating Engineers Regional Training Center on Vantage Highway on Saturday. The seven competitions involving multiple-ton machines included an excavator, backhoe, cranes, forklift, bulldozer and loader. Operators from across Washington, most members of regional operating engineer unions, came to show off their skills.

►  In today’s Tri-City Herald — DOE alleges mistakes in scathing Hanford safety report — The Department of Energy plans to detail the inaccuracies in the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s highly critical review of the safety culture at Hanford’s vitrification plant, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said in a message to employees.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle to cut 63 positions, $10 million from budget — Twenty-five general-fund positions will be eliminated, effective July 1. Twenty of those are unfilled. Additionally, the city’s Department of Transportation will cut 38 positions that are funded from user fees, permits and state gas-tax revenues, all of which are down as the economy continues to struggle.

►  At — Constantine: Pass $20 license fee for buses — The King County Executive said that without the new money, Metro will cut 17% of bus service – some 600,000 hours.




►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — State is all business at Paris Air Show — Gregoire led a delegation of roughly 75 leaders in Washington’s aerospace industry to the international air show taking place outside Paris this week in hopes of landing more business for the state’s 650 aerospace companies.

►  From AP– Airbus outpaces Boeing with fuel-efficient planes on 2nd day of air show — Airbus benefited Tuesday from airlines’ worries about sky-high fuel prices, winning customers for scores of its more fuel-efficient planes at the Paris Air Show as it jockeyed with Boeing for the spot as world’s biggest planemaker.

►  At — Deloitte analyst: “The golden age of aerospace is over” — Washington’s biggest advantage in luring and keeping aerospace jobs may also be its biggest problem: its workers. “You essentially have an off-the-shelf work force that understands how to work in the aerospace industry and has the support from the politicians and the local community for that,” said SPEEA executive Director Ray Goforth. But a Deloitte analyst says the cost of these workers and their reputation for union activism have kept Washington from being a serious player in recent fights to win aerospace production jobs.




►  In The Hill — What’s really at stake in Boeing-NLRB-dispute (by John Logan) — Conservative politicians and pundits have tried to make this dispute about anything other than the key question: Did Boeing violate the law? Fox News has run stories on South Carolina workers with headlines like: “What would you do if the government tried to kill your job?” But South Carolina is not the issue – the legal issues would be identical if Boeing had transferred the jobs to the moon. The NLRB is not telling a private company where it can and cannot do business. So what is this really about? Though they would never say so, it is about Republicans’ visceral hatred of the current NLRB and the workplace rights it protects. Republicans have been looking for issue with which to attack the NLRB since their sweeping election victories last November. Several previous attempts floundered, but Boeing has provided red meat for those who would like to destroy the last vestiges of workers’ rights in America.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Go ahead and count Washington’s own Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Washington Business, among those who hope “to destroy the last vestiges of workers’ rights in America” by deliberately misrepresenting the facts in the Boeing-NLRB case. And thank you, commercial media, for giving AWB boss Don Brunell a regular twice-monthly forum to publish his propaganda while refusing to balance his columns with those from a labor leader.

►  In today’s Washington Post — Fight between labor, Boeing puts Obama in a bind — The International Association of Machinists does not want the president to take sides. “As far as the president becoming involved, we see him as leading by example and staying out of it. This is not a matter for politicians to be throwing their weight around on,” said Frank Larkin, a spokesman for the union. “This is an enforcement issue, and there is a process for handling enforcement issues.”




►  In the News Tribune — Jim Kastama plans to leave Senate, run for Secretary of State — Sen. Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup) expects to leave his seat to run for the top job overseeing state elections. This year, Kastama tried unsuccessfully to deny a Senate seat to fellow Democrat Nick Harper. He also joined with fellow “Roadkill Caucus” Democrats to pressure their party to negotiate with Republicans on a state budget, to approve settlements for injured workers and to pass unemployment-insurance tax relief for employers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Kastama — pictured here, holding the paper, with fellow Roadkilling corporate Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom and Brian Hatfield —  also led the charge to promote contracting out of state services.

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — Former Rep. Baird, family find new life in Edmonds — Baird is showing no signs of wanting to wade back into politics. But he has a bundle of money in his campaign kitty — $451,000 as of March 31 — and has chosen to live where a congressional seat may soon be available, so rumors continue.




►  From Mother Jones — All work and no pay: The great speed-up — Pundits across the political spectrum revel in the fact that US productivity (a.k.a. economic output per hour worked) consistently leads the world. Yes, year after year, Americans wring even more value out of each minute on the job than we did the year before. U-S-A! U-S-A! Except what’s good for American business isn’t necessarily good for Americans. We’re not just working smarter, but harder. And harder. And harder, to the point where the driver is no longer American industriousness, but something much more predatory.

►  In today’s NY Times — Wal-Mart wins. Workers lose. (editorial) — Without a class action, it will be very difficult for most of the women potentially affected to pursue individual claims. The average wages lost per year for a member of the rejected Wal-Mart class are around $1,100 — too little to give lawyers an incentive to represent such an individual. For the plaintiffs, for groups seeking back pay in class actions, and for class actions in general, it was a bad day in court.

►  In today’s Washington Post — Airport screeners voting for union — The overtime battle between the two largest federal employee labor organizations finally ends Tuesday, with the close of a month-long runoff union election for transportation security officers. The Federal Labor Relations Authority will announce the winner on Thursday.

►  In today’s Washington Post — Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than making jobs (Dana Milbank column) — Where are the jobs, Gov. Walker? Wisconsin’s governor, who has large Republican majorities in the legislature, has experimented with a long conservative wish-list, but the state hasn’t been a standout in job creation during his six-month tenure.


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