Monday, November 18, 2013
► Last week in the NY Times — Under my thumb (by Timothy Egan) — Boeing is on a roll, its stock at a record high despite the troubled rollout of its 787 Dreamliner, and the pay of its C.E.O. boosted 20 percent to a package totaling $27.5 million last year. It is not impelled, as the auto industry was five years ago, in the midst of bailouts and cutbacks. Boeing could afford to be generous, or at least not onerous. But it’s easier to play state against state, the race to the bottom.
What Boeing’s riveters, line-assemblers and welders want is a thimble of respect. People have been building flying machines in this region since young Bill Boeing rolled seaplanes out of a barn nearly 100 years ago. The machinists didn’t ask for hefty pay raises or new benefits as a condition to keep the much-promoted 777X production in this region. They just wanted to preserve what they had — jobs that could pay up upward of $80,000 a year, with a guaranteed pension.
► In Saturday’s Seattle Times — ‘Squeeze play’ on Machinists is reality elites failed to feel (by Danny Westneat) — Here’s how this past week seemed choreographed to many Machinists: Boeing, you get $9 billion. Politicians, you get a “big win” to hail at news conferences. And workers, you get to cancel your pensions. Deal?
► From 24/7 Wall St. — Boeing tallies $100 billion in new 777X orders at Dubai airshow — While The Boeing Co. doesn’t yet know where it will build the planes, the company on Sunday took orders for 259 of its new 777X mini-jumbo jets, 30 of its 787 Dreamliners, and 111 of the company’s 737 models.
► From Reuters — Boeing to decide soon where to build new 777 — Boeing expects to make a decision on where to build a new version of its 777 passenger jet within 2-3 months, Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney said on Monday. “We will be announcing within next 2 to 3 months very specifically plans for manufacturing,” he told reporters at the Dubai Airshow. “We have a number of alternatives and we are in the process of considering them.”
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Long Beach, Calif. at full throttle to try to win Boeing 777X — As secretary treasurer of UAW Local 148 in Long Beach, Calif., George Burden says he’d hate to take work from the Machinists in Seattle, but he’d rather Boeing’s upgraded version of the jet go to his factory than a non-union facility at a right-to-work state in the South.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Peace after the IAM vote (editorial) — The takeaway from the International Association of Machinists’ tsunami rejection of the pistol-to-your-head Boeing contract: Working people don’t want to get buffaloed, especially by elites. The Cold War between Boeing and the Machinists can’t last more than a few days or everyone will lose.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Analyst: ‘It behooves both parties’ to resume talks — Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton: “What is sad here is that to a large degree is the unions aren’t getting the recognition and the respect and considerations for saving the company. But in the business world, it’s what have you done for me lately.”
► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — 777X vote shows bitter rift in Machinists leadership — The union’s national leaders pushed the vote through despite an emotional confrontation with local staff and officials just days earlier. After the resounding rejection of the offer, the local union leadership remains bitterly split, immensely complicating any reopening of talks with Boeing to salvage the eight-year deal.
► In the (Everett) Herald — IAM president: Heat from Airbus behind Boeing offer — IAM President R. Thomas Buffenbarger says that catching up with the Airbus A350-1000 drove Boeing’s board of directors to seek a swift contract extension with the union to ensure the new, comparable 777X could be produced at a fast rate to satisfy customer demand.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
► In the Spokesman-Review — Washington’s health site an early success in a nation of glitches — Washington’s new online health insurance marketplace, one of the nation’s most successful, has provided early answers to some of the biggest questions in federal health care reform. On Friday, the state’s Health Benefit Exchange released a 12-page statistical report containing demographic details about those who have enrolled so far. Washington’s state-run exchange has signed up more people for health insurance than any state other than New York and California.
► From AP — Once a leader, Oregon Exchange struggles — With all the problems facing the rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, nowhere is the situation worse or more surprising than in Oregon, a progressive state that has enthusiastically embraced the federal law but has so far failed to enroll a single person in coverage through the state’s insurance exchange.
► In today’s NY Times — The shame of American health care (editorial) — People in the United States pay more and get less than citizens in other advanced countries.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Much work remains on transportation package — Another morning of negotiations on a multibillion-dollar transportation package ended Friday without an agreement. But House and Senate transportation leaders left their two-hour meeting in the governor’s office with something close to smiles on their faces. There’s no imminent agreement and participants ruled out reaching one by next week when all lawmakers will be in Olympia for their annual committee days. Their next negotiating session is set for Tuesday.
► In the Columbian — Transportation draft raises concerns — A new draft of a transportation revenue package is circulating among state lawmakers, but its shortage of money for Clark County projects is raising concerns in Southwest Washington.
► In today’s Olympian — Rep. Alexander keeps promise, stepping down Dec. 31 from House — Rep. Gary Alexander’s departure from the 2nd district seat is one of several vacancies in the works at the Legislature ahead of the 60-day session that begins in January. He also lost to Mary Hall in the Thurston County auditor’s race.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — State receives record 163,000 comments on Millennium project — Regulators have received 163,000 comments on the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal dock west of Longview — likely the biggest public response to a project in state history.
► At SeattlePI.com — Kshama Sawant victory rally: A win for everyone — Sawant graciously gave the first of her victory platform over to local leaders of the Seatac Initiative $15/hr minimum wage Abdi Mohammed, Carlos Hernandez and her campaign staff along with Socialist Alternative before giving her own victory speech. This rally didn’t seem like a loud grand congratulatory speech as much as a unifying meeting of activists, unions and educators.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford clean-up called a dysfunctional mess — The government’s multibillion-dollar effort to clean up Hanford, the nation’s largest former nuclear weapons site, has become its own dysfunctional mess, critics say. For more than two decades, the government has planned and worked to dispose of 56 million gallons of nuclear and chemical waste in underground, leak-prone tanks at the Hanford nuclear reservation. But progress has been slow, the budget is rising by billions of dollars, and a long-running technical dispute has sown ill will between some of the project’s senior engineering staff, the Energy Department and its lead contractors on the vitrification plant, where waste will be treated for disposal.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Deaconess, Valley hospital nurse strike plans on hold — About 1,100 unionized nurses, medical techs and service staff at Deaconess and Valley hospitals have postponed plans for a one-day strike this month. However, the strike could be rescheduled unless labor contracts bolstering staffing levels are approved. The strike talk underscores the difficult contract negotiations between two health care organizations known for tough bargaining, even as both sides noted progress Thursday and Friday.
► At Salon — Truckers who haul for Wal-Mart and Forever 21 plan surprise strikes today — In labor’s latest challenge to a low-wage economy and a legal system that excludes huge swathes of the workforce, hundreds of non-union Port of Los Angeles truck drivers plan to stage surprise strikes against three companies Monday. The workers transport goods from the port to companies including Costco, Forever 21, Sketchers and Wal-Mart. They allege their companies illegally punished workers for organizing and exposing wrongdoing.
► Today from the LA Times — Port truck drivers from 3 firms strike — Drivers from Green Fleet Systems allege their employer has in recent months retaliated against them for their efforts in seeking to unionize.
► In today’s NY Times — Extension of benefits for jobless set to end — Unless Congress acts, during the last week of December an estimated 1.3 million people will lose access to an emergency program providing them with additional weeks of jobless benefits. A further 850,000 will be denied benefits in the first quarter of 2014.
► In The Hill — Defense bill headed for time crunch — If the Defense bill slips until December, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees would have less than a week to convene a conference committee, finish the conference report and get the measure passed in both chambers.
LIVING OFF TIPS
Here’s the latest video from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United tells the stories of workers who are “Living Off Tips.” In an industry that is dominated by women workers who get paid a minimum wage of $2.13 plus tips, many workers can’t afford to pay their basic necessities or the needs of their families. ROC United is calling on tipped workers to tell their stories so that more and more people can learn the difficulties of the hardworking women and men who rely on a tipped wage that hasn’t been increased since 1991. Hear more stories from workers Living Off Tips or share your story.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.