Boeing talks jobs, moves jobs
Updated at 8:20 p.m.
Talks between Boeing and the Machinists Union District 751 collapsed Thursday afternoon after the union rejected what Boeing said was a final offer of a deal to build the new 777X airliner in the Puget Sound area. The collapse set off speculation in several media reports that the breakdown made it more likely that Boeing would take the work, which once seemed destined for Everett, to another part of the country.
Gov. Jay Inslee sent out a statement holding out "hope that the company will recognize that the best way to ensure that the 777X is delivered to its customers on time and at the least cost is to build it here." Inslee went on to say that he would be contacting both the union and Boeing on Thursday night. In a statement on the Machinists District 751 website, the union said the contract offer was "mostly unchanged" from one that members rejected 2-to-1. The Puget Sound Business Journal pointed to the company's continuing desire to end traditional pensions under the new offer as a possible factor.
The unadulterated bad news came on a day that Boeing also issued a bad news-good news announcement about a series of technology research centers Boeing is establishing around the country as it redistributes its cutting-edge work. The Seattle area is the big loser in jobs, which are expected to decrease by 800 or more. South Carolina, Alabama and St. Louis will get more Boeing jobs. The little bit of good news: Seattle gets one research center, focused on "manufacturing technology integration." Whatever that means. Love those bread crumbs.
Charter schools mostly win
A King County Superior Court judge's ruling generally upholds the voter-approved charter school law against challenges from the teachers union and other plaintiffs, according to the Attorney General's office. Even though Judge Jean Rietschel's opinion finds that charter schools can't be considered part of the "common schools" system — i.e. public schools — and are therefore ineligible for some state funds, the rest of her decision upholds the charter measure (Initiative 1240). The AG says the common schools problem doesn't invalidate the rest of the law. A spokesman for the Washington Education Association said an appeal is likely.
King County Executive Dow Constantine says that a pilot project will put hundreds of homeless families into rental housing as quickly as possible. The new Rapid Re-housing for Families could serve as many as 350 families in the county by the end of next year, moving them directly from the streets to rental units while providing temporary training, job-finding and other support services. The program is supported by $3.1 million in public and private funds. United Way of King County's Jon Fine says the approach can help families "avoid spiraling deeper into homelessness." Speaking of spiraling: An absolutely remarkable New York Times series focusing on a 12-year-old girl named Dasani ought to serve as a continuing inspiration for this and other efforts to lift families out of homelessness.
Pay to park, even if you don't own a car
A new study by the Northwest environmental organization Sightline looks at the costs and apparent waste of providing car parking spots at multi-family residences around Seattle. One big point: Nearly three of every eight parking spots at condos and apartments sits empty — at night, when use should be at the max. Publicola's Erica C. Barnett responds with a short, smart rant: "As someone who doesn't own a car, this infuriates me. I was well aware that I involuntarily rent a parking space at my own apartment building — 'included' in the rent, whether I want it or not — but I was stunned to see how much it's actually costing me to pay for something I don't use." We're guessing that just about everybody will be surprised by the oversupply enforced by local government development requirements — except maybe developers and operators of multi-family housing. Better to require more low-rent units, perhaps?
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