Grain lockout expands, Boeing’s bidding, OT ‘flexibility’…

Monday, May 6, 2013




► In the Oregonian — Columbia Grain export terminal locks out longshore workers at Port of Portland — A bitter labor dispute on Northwest docks escalated Saturday as Columbia Grain Inc. locked out Portland longshore workers, accusing them of obstructing exports by gaming the system. The lockout, which began at 6 a.m. at Columbia’s Port of Portland grain elevator, compounds a similar action at United Grain Corp. in Vancouver, where dockworkers have been shut out since Feb. 27.

► In today’s Columbian — Grain lockout expands to Port of Portland — “Unfortunately, Marubeni-Columbia Grain has done what it’s wanted to do all along, and locked out local workers who have made this company profitable for decades,” said ILWU Local 8 President Bruce Holte. “Rather than reach a fair agreement, the company has hired an out-of-state strikebreaking firm, attorneys and a publicist to make allegations against local workers who simply want to do our jobs and support our community.”

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Commissioners: $3.9 million crane will boost port’s competitive edge — Port of Longview commissioners agreed to buy a second mobile harbor crane, a purchase that port officials say could help them better compete to unload imported oil refinery equipment needed for a Midwest oil boom.

► In Sunday’s Spokesman-Review — Northwest ports need big assist, in a hurry (editorial) — Expansion of the Panama Canal will be completed next year. Ships triple the size of those sailing through the canal today will be able to reach East Coast and Gulf ports instead of having to unload on the West Coast. But even the expanded canal cannot accommodate the next generation of ships… so the next threat is closer to home; just across the border, in fact, in British Columbia.




► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Where will Boeing build the 777X? — It wouldn’t make sense to build the next generation of the Boeing 777 anywhere but here at Paine Field, where 777s have been assembled since 1994. That’s the overriding sentiment of aviation analysts, Washington politicians and labor leaders. Even Boeing CEO Jim McNerney recently called Everett an “attractive place” for building the updated twin-aisle aircraft, he didn’t say Boeing will locate the program here.

► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Politicians make plans to snag 777X — Boeing’s board on Wednesday gave the OK for the company’s sales team to begin offering the latest version of the Everett-built 777 to customers. The next step will be for the board to approve the 777X’s formal program launch, which is expected later this year. That’s when Boeing could announce a competition of sorts for where the 777X will be built. After the company board’s move Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee said he’ll soon unveil a comprehensive aerospace strategy for Washington. The governor said he has been working on the plan with the Washington Aerospace Partnership, a coalition of labor, business and government representatives.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee seeks budget deal — Gov. Jay Inslee is asking House and Senate budget writers to renew negotiations in earnest as early as Tuesday in hopes of making substantial progress on a deal before lawmakers return for special session scheduled to begin next Monday.

► In today’s News Tribune — Senate, House divided on education issues — The leader of the conservative-leaning Senate majority said that three education “reform” proposals, which stalled in the Democratic-led state House, will be used as bargaining chips when lawmakers reconvene May 13 for a special session to finalize a budget.

► In the Columbian — Benton hire is an insult (editorial) — Clark County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke insulted their constituents by rushing to hire a political pal, state Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver), who lacks even the basic qualifications for one of the most important jobs in the county.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State Sen. Don Benton for environmental post? Really? (editorial) — Putting Sen. Don Benton in charge of environmental review is like using a paper shredder to edit a document. The lone Democrat on the three-member county board of commissioners, Steve Stuart, rightly decried the “political cronyism” of Benton’s selection.

► At — Employment Security sends ‘at risk’ notices to 200-plus workers — All told about 400 jobs are being wiped off the books in the agency that pays out unemployment compensation and also helps unemployed workers get jobs.

► In the Olympian — Inslee OKs parking, bus breaks for state workers — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law today that lets state employees pay for their work-related parking and transit costs using pretax earnings.

► From AP — Gregoire’s pension check nearly $160,000 a year — She benefits from an old rule that gave elected officials a special deal on retirement, but she was eligible because she began working in state government a long time ago.




► In The Hill — Poll: 71% back immigration bill similar to Senate’s — Voters broadly support an immigration reform proposal that includes a pathway to citizenship, increased border security, employer verification requirements and allowing more high-skilled and guest workers into the country, according to a new poll published Monday.

► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Do visas for skilled foreigners shut out U.S. tech workers? — Even as Microsoft and other tech companies lobby for more H-1B visas to hire skilled temporary foreign workers, hundreds of thousands of American engineers and programmers are failing to find full-time jobs.

► In the Seattle Times — Foreign workers for U.S. jobs a rarity at Boeing — Why? Boeing already has offshored a significant share of its engineering work to suppliers and design centers in Japan, Russia and elsewhere. Boeing also is heavily unionized, with a vocal labor force intent on job preservation. Concerns about transferring aerospace technology out of the country may be another factor.




► In today’s LA Times — Serving their country, losing their jobs — The jobs of the nation’s citizen soldiers are supposed to be safe while they are serving their country: Federal law does not allow employers to penalize service members because of their military duties. Yet every year, thousands of National Guard and Reserve troops coming home from Afghanistan and elsewhere find they have been replaced, demoted, denied benefits or seniority.

► From AP — Republicans seek alternative to overtime pay — Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay. They say that would bring more flexibility to the workplace and help workers better balance family and career.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Beware of Republicans offering workers flexibility. Those of us living in the real world understand that the managers and bosses will decide when their employees have the “option” of taking leave instead of OT pay. This is simply about paying people less money, and that’s why the corporate lobbying groups want it.

► At AFL-CIO — USW paper workers, private equity firm work together to keep mills open — Bucking a trend that has seen private equity firms buy business to bleed then shut down, United Steelworkers at three Wisconsin paper mills and KPS Capital Partners have reached a new four-year collective bargaining agreement that workers ratified Friday.

► At TPM — Bangladesh collapse death toll tops 640 — Bangladeshi police are investigating possible murder charges against the owner of a shoddily built factory that collapsed nearly two weeks ago after the wife of a garment worker crushed in the accident filed a complaint.

► In today’s Washington Post — Residents near U.S. ports say expansions taking heavy toll — As East Coast ports look to expand, residents who live nearby worry that more trucks will mean more pollution.

► In the NY Times — The apprentices of a digital age — Enstitute, a new two-year program that teaches skills in fields like information technology, computer programming and app building via on-the-job experience, seeks to challenge the conventional wisdom that top professional jobs always require a bachelor’s degree — at least for a small group of the young, digital elite.




► In the NY Times — Corporations find a friend in U.S. Supreme Court — The Supreme Court’s business decisions are almost always overshadowed by cases on controversial social issues. But the business docket reflects something truly distinctive about the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Its business rulings have been, a new study finds, far friendlier to business than those of any court since at least World War II. In the eight years since Chief Justice Roberts joined the court, it has allowed corporations to spend freely in elections in the Citizens United case, has shielded them from class actions and human rights suits, and has made arbitration the favored way to resolve many disputes. Business groups say the Roberts court’s decisions have helped combat frivolous lawsuits, while plaintiffs’ lawyers say the rulings have destroyed legitimate claims for harm from faulty products, discriminatory practices and fraud.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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