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


Washington state jobless rate hits 5-year low in April, state figures show

From my colleague Rolf Boone:

Washington state unemployment fell to a five-year low in April, dropping to 7 percent last month from 7.3 percent in March, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The last time the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was this low was 7.1 percent in December 2008.

The state added 3,800 jobs in the March-to-April period — most of those were retail trade positions — and the state didn’t lose as many jobs as previously thought for March. Instead of shedding an estimated 5,500 jobs in March, the loss was actually 1,600 jobs.

The state has regained

Read more »


Port terminal open again after Tuesday shutdown

Trucks were rolling into the Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminal Wednesday after a nearly day-long shutdown Tuesday.

That terminal closure was prompted by picketing retired longshore union workers upset over problems with payment of their medical benefits.  Active longshore members refused to cross the retirees’ picket line, shutting down operations at the terminal on Port of Tacoma Road.

Those pickets were removed Tuesday afternoon after an arbitrator ruled that the pickets were not allowed under the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.  The PMA represents waterfront employers all along the West Coast

Read more »


Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminal, shut down by pickets Tuesday morning, now reopened

A key Port of Tacoma container terminal was reopened Tuesday afternoon after  a group of retired longshore union workers removed pickets from the facility on Port of Tacoma Road.

Those picketers had shut down the Washington United Terminal early Tuesday to force some action on their complaints regarding the Pacific Maritime Association’s alleged failure to pay retiree medical bills. The PMA represents waterfront employers including shipping lines and terminal operators.

The retirees, an arbitrator and officials from the longshore union and the PMA scheduled a meeting Tuesday afternoon after the picketing had halted activity at the terminal.

Some three dozen

Read more »


Tacoma’s TrueBlue reports higher revenues, but still records loss

Tacoma-based temporary labor provider TrueBlue Inc. today reported revenue increased some 11 percent in the first quarter of 2013 but a $1.5 million profit in last year’s first quarter turned into a $1.1 million loss for the first quarter this year.

First quarter revenues were $346 million  compared with $311 million for the same quarter in in 2012.

The first quarter this year included one-time costs associated with the acquisition of Florida-based MDT Personnel.  TrueBlue said the melding of the two companies’ operations is proceeding smoothly with full integration of operations on schedule for the second quarter this year.


Read more »


Longshore lottery winners posted

And the winners are….

The long-awaited list of  the 226 people chosen in an April 8 lottery drawing to be available for entry-level Tacoma Longshore Union  work is now available on the websites of  International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23 and the Pacific Maritime Association.  The PMA represents shipping lines, ports and port terminal operators that hire longshore workers.

Here are the links to those two sites: the PMA and Longshore Local 23.ILWU 2

The lottery attracted more than 15,000 total entries from people looking to 

Read more »


Boeing engineers’ union complains Boeing outsourcing work to Moscow while laying off workers here

Boeing is planning to send more work to its Moscow Design Center even as it makes plans to lay off up to 1,700 engineers in the Puget Sound area, the union representing those engineers claims.

The Society of Engineering Employees in Aerospace said the union has heard from several reliable sources within the company that Boeing will soon be sending more 787 Dreamliner engineering work to its Russian design center.

“We find it extremely disappointing that Boeing Commercial Airplanes is actively outsourcing engineering work to the Moscow Design Center while laying off employees in the Northwest,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA’s

Read more »


Good news or bad? Boeing withdraws application for big new Everett office building

Boeing has withdrawn its building permit application to construct a big new office building adjacent to its Everett wide-body aircraft production plant.

The company had planned to construct the 650,000-square-foot building to consolidate and expand offices in the vicinity of its plant. The company didn’t say why it had withdrawn those plans.

Does the permit withdrawal represent another step in Boeing’s plans to disperse its facilities beyond Everett or does it mean the company wants to use the site to build an addition to its Everett production facilities?

In recent months, Boeing has made new commitments to its North Charleston,

Read more »


Boeing issues formal layoff warning to 939 machinists

The Boeing Co. issued formal layoff warning notices Wednesday to 939 machinists working on its 787 and 747 assembly lines and modification centers at Everett.

That notice tells them they could be laid off by June 7.

The company two weeks ago told union representatives of the impending cutbacks.  Those cutbacks are happening because the assembly process on the two new planes is stabilizing and because modification work necessary to bring some of the early production versions of those two new planes up to certification standards is declining.

“This is the same layoff that was publicized earlier,” said Boeing spokesman

Read more »