The Daily Troll: Boeing union leaders survive. Big Coal makes enviro hire. Bertha shaft work poised to begin.

Bezos discusses drones with students. Hey sports fans, here's an artist's work you might recognize.

Boeing union leaders declare victory

Leaders of the International Association of Machinists, which represents Boeing technical workers here, say they have survived the first election challenge in more than a half-century. The insurgent group, IAM Reform, tells The Herald they will dispute the election results. Some of the momentum for change came from the discontent among many workers over contract concessions — pushed by national union leaders — given to Boeing to ensure that the compny would build the 777X airliner in Washington state. — J.C. 

Coal firm hires enviro board member 

The Sightline environmental group reports that a firm planning to ship coal from Longview to China has hired the board president of a Seattle-based environmental group as its next president. Bill Chapman, an attorney with K&L Gates for many years, will become president of Millennium Bulk Terminals, which is seeking permits for a major coal shipping operation. Chapman is currently president of the board of directors for Mountains to Sound Greenway, and a board member for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. — J.C.

Digging to Bertha

Now that an environmental review is complete, Seattle Tunnel Partners can build the 120-foot-deep pit that will allow crews to repair our stalled tunneling machine. 
Pit construction will be hard to see because crews recently erected a wall to shield neighbors from construction noise at the the waterfront site between South Jackson and South Main streets. If you're dying for a glimpse, the best viewing spot is online via the state's newly installed time-lapse camera

Excavation of the shaft won't begin until workers dig a ring of 75 boreholes around the site, and inject a concrete barrier that will keep water from seeping in. Meanwhile, scientists are searching the shaft area for anything of archaeological significance. The actual shaft digging is tentatively scheduled to begin in late July.

Here's what the work site looked like at noon Friday. — J.S.

Bezos talks drones

In a talk to a local school, Jeff Bezos talked up the possibility of using drones to deliver items to customers, saying 80 percent of its shipments involve packages of five pounds or less. According to Puget Sound Business Journal, the Amazon CEO said the decision about its pace of any introduction of drones will be determined by Federal Aviation Administration's actions to regulate drones.  The Journal, which based its reports on tweets by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff (a parent at the school, which was not named in the report), said Bezos basically replied "why not?" to a question about drones carrying people eventually. Should Lyft and Uber be worried that their apps will soon be old school? — J.C. 

Visual artist honored 

Claudia Fitch has won the Artist Trust's 2014 award for lifetime achievement by a Washington state woman artist. By giving Fitch its Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Artist Trust  recognized and honored her innovations in visual arts. (The award includes a $10,000 award). Visitors to CenturyLink Field — home of the Seahawks and Sounders — will be familiar with one of her better-known public-art projects, Colossal Heads. Fitch's work can also be seen at the Lynnwood Transit Center and along the Interurban Bike Trail in Tukwila. And, of course, on her website. — J.C. 

CenturyLink's Colossal Heads. Credit: Claudia Fitch website

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Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at

John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing

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