Grocery workers walking. Or not.
Grocery workers are counting an internal vote of the United Food and Commercial Workers union over whether to go on strike over workers pay and benefits. They will reveal the results at 9 a.m. Thursday. The union has been in negotiations with representatives of big, nationally owned grocery chains — Safeway, Albertsons, QFC and Fred Meyer.
If a strike is authorized, UFCW 21 says they will provide 72-hour notice before any walkout occurs. But the message also gives the location as King County Strike Headquarters, UFCW 21 Main Union Hall. Does the "strike headquarters" give something away?
Hanford: New ideas?
The Department of Energy has released a new framework for Hanford cleanup that aims to address problems around a pretreatment plant for a high-tech glassification facility, and old, leaking radioactive material in storage tanks.
The DoE proposed creating an interim pretreatment facility based on current technologies, which would allow the removal of cesium and low level contaminants from nuclear waste, facilitating the timely processing of low level waste. This phasing would hopefully allow some of the older, or leakier, tanks to be emptied quickly, and cut down on the amount of material leaking into the ground.
High-level waste presents a very different set of challenges. In an effort to cut down on high level waste, the DoE is looking into reclassifying some of it, which would allow for its disposal in a waste plant in New Mexico, the Tri-City Herald reports.
Critics point to significant legal hurdles that stand between both reclassification, and full operation of the vitrification plant, which will turn wastes into glass for safer storage. Critics of the DoE plan have also continued calls for the DoE to build more tanks in an attempt to reduce, or stop, leakages. — A.S.
There will be books
In an age of iPads, Kindles and “bookless libraries,” Everett Public Library-users aren’t ready to turn the page on good old-fashioned print. According to a study the city’s library recently conducted, which the Everett Herald reported on this morning, 96.6 percent of 678 survey respondents said printed books were “very important” and only about 27 percent said they wanted tablets — like Kindles — for in-library use. There are two public library branches in Everett and according to the Herald article about 40,000 people hold library cards.
Everett’s bibliophilic book-borrowers might be off-put by the idea of a digital library, like the one that opened in Bexar County, Texas last April. “If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who spearheaded the project, told the San Antonio Express News last January. Meanwhile, a handful of engineering libraries at universities around the country, including Kansas State, Stanford and Cornell, have traded all or most of their shelves for server space.
At least digital libraries could end overdue fines. And here’s a fast fact for you: The longest overdue book, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, was checked out by Robert Walpole from Sidney Sussex College in 1667 or 1668 and returned 288 years later — never would’ve happened if he’d borrowed a digital edition. — B.L.
WaMu Day remembered
We'd rather forget that Washington Mutual ever happened to Seattle or the rest of the rest of the country, because of all the derailed home-ownership dreams and careers it left behind. But it did, and both Jon Talton of the Seattle Times and Puget Sound Business Journal editor George Erb note today's fifth anniversary of the bank's collapse. At 4 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2008, Erb writes, "nine federal banking regulators walked into the lobby of WaMu’s headquarters on Second Avenue, took an elevator to the executive floor and strode into the boardroom."
As Erb notes, WaMu remains the largest bank collapse in U.S. history. The very savvy Talton says that the causes of the collapse aren't entirely known even today. But the popular view that the bank's leadership coterie got too far from the basics is hard to dismiss when you remember the we-know-it-all ad campaigns. — J.C.
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