Union workers march on Amazon
Supporters of Amazon's dissatisfied German workers took their cause to the company's Seattle headquarters today in a protest that drew several dozen people. The protesters mainly came from labor unions here, but there were two reps from Germany, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. A report on the German magazine Stern's website said that some 1,800 workers walked off the job in three Amazon centers in that country, the latest in a series of walkouts that began last summer. The German Ver.di union is unhappy with Amazon's wages and the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.
Boeing workers march on union
Updated at 5:15 p.m. Speaking of unions, a Boeing machinist tells the Associated Press that some of his fellow machinists are planning a march Wednesday on union District 751 headquarters in Seattle. They plan to demand a vote on the company's most recent contract offer. The proposal would have guaranteed construction of the new 777X airliner in the Puget Sound area in return for concessions by the union work force. But union leadership rejected the proposal before union members got to vote and Boeing appears disinterested in pursuing it further. Publicola reports that major unions statewide are snubbing Gov. Jay Inslee's holiday party over his calling on the District 751 leadership to allow a vote on the contract.
A new poll finds that 80 percent of Northwest drivers believe they do a good job driving in the snow. This despite what The Herald so aptly calls "the chaos that plays out on Puget Sound-area roads on snow days," and the fact that nearly half the poll respondents admit they are uncomfortable driving in the white stuff. Confusion notwithstanding, the findings of this unscientific poll — you can take it here — seem about right: Just consider how many drivers go sailing through a storm as if they've got everything under control. And the fact that, as writer Bill Sheets notes, Washington state's accident rates go up in fall and winter, snow or no.
Unemployment cutoffs loom
A new report from five Democratic members of Congress shows that, if federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation ends — and it looks likely — more than 12,000 unemployed workers in the central Puget Sound area will lose their unemployment benefits on Dec. 28. At the state level, some 24,000 people will suffer the same fate on the 28th; another 37,000 will see their unemployment benefits disappear during the first six months of 2014. The five Dems (Jim McDermott, Suzan DelBene, Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer and Rick Larsen) want Congress to extend emergency unemployment payments. They argue that due to the weak recovery there are still fewer jobs than before the recession began. The emergency compensation provides up to 43 weeks of unemployment payments; without the program, most benefits end in 13 to 26 weeks. The five Dems blame House Republican leaders for blocking the extension; the extension of benefits was not included in the recent bipartisan budget deal. (Washington's sixth Democratic congressman, Adam Smith, didn't join his colleagues on this one.)
Portland art museum brings home the Bacon
The Portland Art Museum is about to open an exhibit that includes "the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction," according to OregonLive.com. That record-setting piece? A triptych by Francis Bacon titled, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud." The Bacon triptych went for $142.4 million in an auction at Christie's last month. The work is on view from Dec. 21 to March 30.
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