The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Category: Labor


Grocery workers to post informational pickets Wednesday

Attempts to reach a new labor agreement for some 30,000 grocery workers in the Puget Sound area are reaching a confrontational stage.

Workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, will post informational pickets outside 12 stores Wednesday to draw attention to what they say are attempts by local grocery chains to cut back their pay and benefits.

Those informational pickets will march in front of the stores between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. One Tacoma store, the Fred Meyer at 6901 South 19th Street, has been targeted among the dozen Puget Sound stores.

The union claims

Read more »


Boeing to lay off 266 more workers in the Puget Sound area

Boeing issued layoff warning notices to 266 more workers in the Puget Sound area Thursday bring to more than 1,500 the number of workers it has told they will be losing their jobs this year.

The latest notices were the fourth round this year by the aerospace company. Boeing has said it is trimming its forces here as work on major developmental projects such as the 747-8 and the 787-8 and 787-9 airliners diminishes.

The company has said it will lay off as many as 1,700 engineers and technical workers this year.

The workers receiving notices this week will be

Read more »


Unemployment rates rise in May in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties

A declining unemployment rate in the South Sound over the last several months lured more people to re-enter the job market last month causing unemployment percentages to jump upward in Pierce and Kitsap counties, new figures from the state show.

In Thurston County, the situation was different.  There the workforce declined by 420 workers, but the number of employed declined even faster, 940 fewer jobs, resulting in the higher unemployment rate.

“It’s a phenomenon that we usually see in the spring especially if people perceive that the economy is improving,” said Jim Vleming, regional economist for Washington State Department of

Read more »


Horizon Air, flight attendants union reach tentative deal

Sea-Tac-based Horizon Air and the union that represents its nearly 500 flight attendants have reached a tentative deal for a new five-year labor contract.

The agreement comes nearly 18 months after the previous agreement became amendable.  Labor contracts in the airline and rail industries don’t expire, they become “amendable” at the end of their terms.

Flight attendants represented by the Association of Flight Attendants will vote on the proposal in mid-July.  The contract terms weren’t disclosed, but both the airline and the union said the deal includes pay raises, quality of life improvements and more flexible scheduling.

Horizon Air, which

Read more »


Cranes drawing extra scrutiny from feds after string of fatalities in the Northwest

Federal inspectors will be conducting a round of enhanced inspections of cranes  at construction sites and ports beginning this week in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities from cranes mishaps in the Northwest.

Officials from the federal Occupational Health and Safety have investigated 13 crane-related fatalities in the last five years in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.

The latest crane-related fatality  in Pierce County happened  March 12 when a longshore union crane mechanic was killed on a crane at the Port of Tacoma’s Pierce County Terminal.  Jeff Surber, 46, of Bonney Lake died while adjusting machinery atop one of

Read more »


Alaska pilots reach tentative accord on five-year contract

The union representing pilots flying for SeaTac’s Alaska Airlines said Thursday it has reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year labor contract.

The Airline Pilots Association International leadership is sending the proposed agreement to the union’s membership with a unanimous recommendation for approval.

The union’s members at Alaska will vote on the proposal in the near future.

“It is common for airline negotiation to last for years beyond the contract amendable date,” said ALPA official Chris Notaro, an Alaska captain.  ”The fact that we were able to reach an agreement so close to our amendble date is indicative of

Read more »


Boeing to lay off 253 more workers

Boeing continued culling its Puget Sound workforce this summer, sending layoff notices Tuesday to 253 workers due to be laid off by mid-July.

This week’s layoff notices were the third set of workforce reductions Boeing has scheduled thus far in 2013.  The company earlier this year issued layoff notices to 939 workers for layoffs effective June 7 and to 99 workers for layoffs effective June 21.

The company has said it is trimming its workforce of extra engineers, technical workers and others made redundant by cutbacks in work on the 787 and 747-8 airliners.

Boeing had hired hundreds of workers

Read more »


Free veterans’ job fair set for June 6 at Seattle Center

A free job fair for veterans and their spouses is set for June 6 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.

Thirty-eight companies are participating at the fair.  Among those companies are the fair’s sponsor, Microsoft,  US Bank, Lockheed Martin, Amazon, L3 Communications and BNSF Railway, to name a few.

The fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The fair’s organizers, Recruit Military LLC, said such fairs typically attract some 450 veterans and their spouses.  The average Recruit Military job fair results in job offers for more than 100 participants.