A defining test for Boeing, Governor Inslee, huge tracts of land…

Thursday, January 17, 2013




► In today’s Seattle Times — 787 grounded, but Boeing to keep building — The FAA’s dramatic grounding of the 787 Dreamliner fleet — the first such order since it suspended DC-10 flights in 1979 after a series of major crashes — will inflict a significant financial hit on Boeing. Though deliveries are likely to stop, the grounding will not immediately affect production and jobs in the company’s Everett and North Charleston, S.C., assembly plants.

► Today from AP — Battery was swollen from overheating, official says — “We still don’t know if the problem is with the battery, the power source or the electronics system,” said a spokesman for GS Yuasa Corp., the Japan-based maker of the lithium ion batteries used in the 787s. Thales, the France-based company that makes the battery charging system, has not commented.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — SPEEA proposes Boeing contract extension in light of 787 woes — With 787 woes piling up, Boeing faces a potential strike by the engineers and technical workers tasked with coming up with solutions on the Dreamliner. However, Boeing could make its union troubles disappear if it accepts a SPEEA proposal to extend for four years its most recent contract. The company is expected to answer SPEEA’s offer at a meeting Thursday morning. “I hope Boeing accepts the SPEEA proposal and moves on,” said Scott Hamilton, an aerospace analyst with Leeham Co.

► ALSO at The Stand — SPEEA offers status-quo deal to focus on 787

► In today’s Seattle Times — Now it’s a crisis (by Jon Talton) — Boeing’s bean-counters, Wal-Mart-worshipping outsourcing consultants and tax-avoidance specialists can’t fix things now. Only the engineers can — and the engineering culture that made Boeing great.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — A defining test for Boeing (editorial) — For Boeing, a labor impasse crossed with the Dreamliner nightmare is the consummate crisis-management scenario.

► Today from Reuters — 787 output, review threatened if engineers strike — An escalating series of mishaps on Boeing’s new 787 has dealt engineers pushing for a new contract a strong card to play at the negotiating table. The engineers are considered by aviation experts to be crucial to a safety review of the 787 that the FAA launched last week after a fire, fuel leaks and other failures sparked widespread fears about the new jet. The safety concerns threatened to turn into a full-blown crisis (with the worldwide grounding of 787s).




► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee sworn in as governor, promises ‘disruptive change’ — Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee took office on Wednesday, promising to bring “disruptive change” to Olympia and tackle a range of issues from gun violence to better funding for public schools.

► From AP — Inslee lauds state’s business achievements in inaugural address — Inslee cited the state’s history of development in aerospace and software, and he declared that Washington isn’t done with that work. He said the state can harness its unique blend of values and talents to help bring fresh job growth, but he cautioned that “the world will not wait.” Inslee also said that he would work with the Legislature on a bipartisan transportation plan: “We need ways to free capacity for freight and commerce, and rethink how we do the business of transportation in our state and how we use our transportation infrastructure.”

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Gregoire named as possible replacement for outgoing Interior chief — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a key backer of forming a new national park that would include Hanford’s historic B Reactor, announced Wednesday that he’s stepping down.. Among names mentioned as a possible replacement is outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire, another advocate of saving the reactor and making it more accessible to the public.




► From AP — Sen. Tom says he would support gas tax increase — The new Senate Majority Leader says voters are more comfortable with tax hikes closely linked to upgrading important government services that cannot easily be provided by private industry. Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle responded to Tom’s comments cautiously.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Will State Senate coalition flatten Roadkill Caucus? — The Roadkill Caucus’s forces are depleted by departures in the House and its leaders divided by the new politics of the Senate. Roadkill Sens. Hobbs and Hatfield don’t view themselves as simply an insurance policy for Tom should a couple of Republicans go rogue. They figure they can shape some policies and to that end — and to the chagrin of other Democrats — they accepted offers from the coalition to serve as committee chairmen. But both issued statements rejecting predictions they would be the next to join the coalition.

► From AP — GOP+2 will try to learn source of Pam Roach leak to AP — A Republican-dominated coalition in the state Senate has decided to investigate how The Associated Press obtained documents that describe another instance of Sen. Pam Roach verbally attacking a staff member. The investigation into the leak came a day after a committee voted to lift sanctions against Roach. The change allows her to serve as chairwoman of a Senate committee focused on government operations. Roach is a key vote in a new Republican-leaning coalition in the Senate, because that caucus has only a one-vote advantage.

► From AP — After GOP coup, Senate to debate killing prepaid tuition program — Until a month ago, lawmakers studying Washington’s prepaid tuition program were focused on getting rid of a state policy that threatened its solvency. (But after the GOP+2 coup) they turned 180 degrees and started talking instead about closing the GET program, one of the few ways the Legislature helps middle class families send their kids to college.




► From AP — State unemployment rate drops to 7.6% — It’s the second month in a row with a state jobless rate below 8% and the lowest rate in four years. But ESD officials caution that the recent drops in unemployment can be tied, in part, to unemployed job seekers who have stopped looking for work.

► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Company buys huge tract of land in McCleary, could mean hundreds of jobs — A company planning to build a steel pipe manufacturing facility has purchased a huge swath of industrial land in northern McCleary and says it will invest $200 million and their initial phase will create 400 “new direct jobs” by late 2014.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Well played, Daily World copy editors. Well played. (Click the image for more information.)

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — North Kitsap firefighter’s expulsion from union exposes rift with ambulance company — As punishment for working a second job at a Bremerton ambulance company, longtime North Kitsap firefighter Mark Romero, 52, has been kicked out of the union that represents him (IAFF 2819).

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County employees not required to take unpaid days off — A cost-saving plan to require county employees to take six unpaid days off in 2013 has been canceled, Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws said.

► In today’s News Tribune — Less than feared, transit cuts are still painful (editorial) — It’s all too easy to predict the effects of Pierce Transit’s service cutbacks scheduled to go into effect later this summer: Many low-income workers, senior citizens and students will feel the pain of fewer routes and hours.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Write a letter: Stop the bullies in Congress! — Working families all over the United States are gearing up for round two in the fiscal showdown. Once again, Republicans in Congress are demanding benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and threatening to tank our economy by causing a default of the U.S. government on March 1 unless they get their way. Write a letter to the editor today asking our elected officials to: 1) Oppose benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. 2) Close loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans.

► In The Hill — Republicans worry they’ll lose House if they botch debt talks — There’s growing angst among Republicans that the party’s House majority could be at risk in 2014 if the deep GOP divisions that emerged during the recent “fiscal cliff” negotiations persist in looming negotiations over a slew of budgetary issues.

► In The Hill — Experts skeptical of GOP plan to avoid default by prioritizing payments — Experts are dismissing Republican proposals to prioritize federal payments in the event of a debt-ceiling breach, arguing they would be nearly impossible for the Obama administration to carry out.




► In today’s Washington Post — As manufacturing bounces back from recession, unions are left behind — U.S. manufacturers have added a half-million new workers since the end of 2009, making the sector one of the few bright spots in an otherwise weak recovery. And yet there were 4 percent fewer union factory workers in 2012 than there were in 2010, according to federal survey data. On balance, all of the job gains in manufacturing have been non-union.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Vote for a voice at American Airlines falls short — The vote for union representation among passenger service agents at American Airlines fell 150 votes short of the required majority of voting agents, but the CWA will continue to work with agents for a voice on the job and in their future.

► At Huffington Post — Campaign to overturn Citizens United: L.A. to become largest electorate to weigh in — The LA City Council voted Wednesday to draft ballot language for voters to weigh in on whether they believe there should be limits on campaign spending and whether corporations should have the same rights as people.

► In today’s NY Times — Vincent Sombrotto, who led postal strike, dies at 89 — Vincent Sombrotto, who as a rank-and-file letter carrier led a wildcat strike that shut down post offices across the country in 1970, prompting President Richard Nixon to call out the National Guard, and who went on to lead one of the nation’s most powerful postal workers’ unions for 24 years, has died.




► From Reuters — U.S. ports’ drive to control labor costs leads to labor strife — Shipping companies are pushing hard to control costs, including the cost of labor — and workers are pushing back. It all comes down to who gets the rewards from the investment the port operators have put into increasingly automated equipment: the companies and their shareholders or the unionized dockworkers.

Tensions are likely to remain high for some time, particularly as competition between ports increases ahead of the completion of a widening of the Panama Canal in 2014, which means more containers move straight from Asia to the East and Gulf coasts. “Everyone wants to reduce their cost and that means lower wages or fewer people,” said a senior executive at a major West Coast container terminal operator who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to affect future negotiations with labor unions.


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