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IAM contract at JBLM, GOP blocks jobs bill, lost toolbox…

Monday, July 23, 2012




► At — Machinists at JBLM ratify first union contract — A group of Machinists Union members who work for a civilian contractor at Joint Base Lewis-McChord has approved its first union contract. As a result of their vote for the contract, the employees of URS Corp. are in line to receive their first pay raises in the past three years.

EDITOR’S NOTE — To contact a Machinists District 751 officer for information on how a union contract can help you, click here.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Legislator pulled gun during road incident — Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) pulled a gun during a confrontation with another motorist last November in what police reports describe as a road rage incident. He was cited for two violations of state firearms law.




► In Sunday’s Olympian — Inslee, McKenna close in polls and fundraising, but not on issues— Despite years of downsizing in the state government work force that have left it the size it was in the late 1990s, McKenna is pledging to slim it some more, to cut unspecified rules and regulations for businesses, and to potentially farm out some state work to the private sector. Jay Inslee is campaigning on a jobs plan that would use tax credits to boost the clean energy, biotech and high-tech fields. But he says he wants to change the culture of Olympia, too. Inslee often talks about the “Lean” management techniques used by Toyota, Boeing and Virginia Mason hospital to root out wasteful activities.

► In the (Everett) Herald — First test: What primary win might mean for McKenna, Inslee — In one of their rare moments of consensus, they both think whatever happens in the Aug. 7 election won’t reveal much about which of them will be Washington’s next chief executive.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Senate Republicans say ‘Don’t Bring Jobs Home’ — Given the choice between supporting American workers or the corporations that ship U.S. jobs overseas, Senate Republicans sided with the job exporters last Thursday and blocked a vote on the Bring Jobs Home Act.

► In the Washington Post — Senate Republicans kill Obama-backed measure to curb job ‘outsourcing’ — The bill would forbid companies from deducting the expenses of moving workers or operations overseas from the U.S., and would offer a 20% credit for the costs of shifting workers back home. Republicans filibustered to block the measure; a 56-42 vote fell just four votes of the 60 required to advance the legislation. (Both Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray voted in favor of the bill.)




► In today’s Washington Post — U.S. poverty on track to reach 4-year high — The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.

► In the Washington Post — Union says contract with TSA is near — “Following marathon negotiations, AFGE and TSA are close to a historic labor contract,” AFGE President John Gage said Sunday. “We have partial agreement, but we ran out of time at about 3 a.m. Saturday before we could complete the entire agreement. Both parties remain committed to reaching an agreement and will go forward from here to bring the negotiations process to a successful conclusion.” This would be the first labor agreement for the officers who screen passengers and baggage at the nation’s airports. They chose AFGE as their bargaining agent 13 months ago, after more than a decade of pushing for collective bargaining rights.

► In today’s NY Times — At Caterpillar, pressing labor while business booms — In what has become a test case in American labor relations, Caterpillar is trying to pioneer new territory, seeking steep concessions from its workers even when business is booming. Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projecting even better results for 2012, the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory In Joliet, Ill.

► In today’s NY Times — As California warehouses grow, labor issues are a concern — Labor advocates say a vast majority of the jobs provide just minimum wage, often without benefits. In some warehouses, workers are paid based on how much work they complete, like the number of trucks they empty.

► In the NY Times — Two units of AT&T reach tentative pacts — AT&T says it has reached tentative three-year contracts with CWA, representing more than 13,000 workers in its Midwest division and an additional 5,700 workers at a unit specializing in major corporate accounts.




► In the NY Times — A nation that’s losing its toolbox — At a time when the American factory seems to be a shrinking presence, and when good manufacturing jobs have vanished, perhaps never to return, there is something deeply troubling about this dilution of American craftsmanship. This isn’t a lament — or not merely a lament — for bygone times. It’s a social and cultural issue, as well as an economic one. The Home Depot approach to craftsmanship — simplify it, dumb it down, hire a contractor — is one signal that mastering tools and working with one’s hands is receding in America as a hobby, as a valued skill, as a cultural influence that shaped thinking and behavior in vast sections of the country.


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