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Labor Neighbor Radio

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hello again.

The weather has improved the outlook for battling Eastern Washington wildfires....including the largest one in state history...the so called Carlton Complex of fires in Okanogan country.   It has burned almost 400 square miles.

New fires have started even as crews battled earlier ones.   I asked Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Janet Pierce if they saw this coming.

(sot)  We did and we were ready...but lightning caused most of them.

Some numbers from the fire:    150 homes destroyed.   One fatality...a heart attack.    1600 firefighters,  100 fire engines.  100 National Guard soldiers.  500,000 gallons of water and fire retardant.

Falls are the number one cause of injury and death on construction sites and it happened again this week on the campus of Bellevue College. A 31-year-old worker, working on the fourth floor of the health sciences building,  fell off a ladder.  It was 50 feet to the ground.

The Washington State Labor convention is underway in Wenatchee.  It's a three day affair setting the direction of the labor movement for the next year with most of the state's labor leadership in attendance.


Kathy Cummings,  Communications Director.

Meantime hundreds of Teamsters, working at three grocery warehouses, have voted to ratify contracts with Safeway, SuperValu and Unified Grocers....keeping the grocery distribution system in place from those outlets.    One more to go....at Fred Meyer.


The State Attorney General is sueing 5-hour Energy drink....claims the popular stimulant advertised on TV makes false claims--one that's its recommended by doctors and , two, it causes a caffeine crash.

 Puget Sound Business Journal reports Boeings final tally from the London Air Show.....is 201 planes sold, worth 40.2 billion dollars.

 Those 6 or 7 thousand job layoffs at Microsoft will actually be 18,000, says the company.  14 percent of the workforce.  1300 of them will be in this region.  Microsoft has about 43,000 employees in Washington.

Our unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent in June.  That's the lowest in 6 years.  Companies really started hiring in June.


 Labor Neighbor Radio is supported by the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council 

I'm John Sandifer

Labor Neighbor Radio

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hello again.

Firefighters have the Entiat fire about 34% contained after it burned almost 30,000 acres north of Wenatchee, according to DNR communications manager, Janet Pierce.


(sot)  It's very big


Meantime there are other lightning and man-caused smaller fires burning here and there in what looks like a tough fire season.




Janet says we ought to program a fire reporting number into our phones...its faster than calling 911.   Here it is....800 562 6010.


The big air show at Farnborough, England, got underway this week.  Boeing is there selling airplanes.  Governer Inslee is there helping them.

Meantime, Boeing has been testing a new robot system in Anacortes, designed to put 60,000 rivets in an airplane fuselage that is now done by hand.   Unions don't know if they object, because the robots are supposed to be safer.


The Washington State Labor Convention convenes in Wenatchee next week, where Communications Director, Kathy Cummings says a lot of labors major agenda starts.


There's always a lot of issues on the plate, and Cummings points out its not just on behalf of union members.


Looks like the effort to reverse Seattle's $15 dollar minimum wage, will not make it on the ballot.  Not enough signatures.

Obama Care....that is the Affordable Care Act....is significantly reducing the number of people who don't have health insurance.  This from the Urban Institute in a national survey which said only 13% of Americans do not have insurance now.


Staples will not now have postal service counters in its stores.  The letter-carriers raised enough cane about the idea that it no longer sounds like a good one....a rare win for the unions.


Members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 are happy about two new contracts covering 1600 employees at Skagit Regional Hospital  where workers haven't had a wage increase in 7 years and at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton.


Longevity Construction Company....was not registered with the state...one of the first thing six homeowners could have checked when they hired Gary Shannon Edwards to fix their kitchens or bathrooms and paid him $45,000, says the Attorney General.  Hardly any of the work got done and the state has filed theft charges.  Edwards has pleaded not guilty.  Worse, his previous brushes with the law include theft and murder.


 Labor Neighbor Radio is supported by the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council 

I'm John Sandifer

Got labor news?  Contact us:  John@laborneighborradio.com