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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

January 4, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Saturday Memo: Machinists say yes … A pipe blocks Bertha … Pay raise for Seattle workers

Weather: Glistening, sunny, in the 40s. The National Weather Service forecast

Boeing: A divided Machinists union accepted Boeing’s contract proposal Friday by a slim 51 percent. The deal passed despite a full-throated Vote No campaign led by the union’s local leadership. As the result was announced inside the Seattle union hall filled with Machinists who opposed the contract, some men and women wiped away tears and a few cried openly. The outcome means Boeing will build the 777X jetliner in Everett and its wings will be fabricated nearby by Boeing machinists. Boeing is assured of labor peace for the next decade, and the region’s economy is assured of high employment at the company for a decade to come, and likely more.

And the mystery object is? A pipe. Since early December, it turns out that a steel pipe has been blocking Bertha, the world’s largest tunnel machine that is trying to bore through the ground to create a new Highway 99 tunnel. Officials told us last month that Bertha was stuck, but never said she struck a pipe. Officials said Friday that Bertha hit the pipe Dec. 3, and things haven’t gone well since. Since Dec. 6, she hasn’t budged. Some of the pipe has been removed, but more is down there and there is no clear strategy about how to extract the pipe and restart Bertha. Read more about what state transportation officials and contractors know and don’t know and what they have and haven’t said over the past month.

$15 minimum for Seattle government workers: New Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Friday announced an executive order to move toward paying city employees at least $15 an hour. There are about 10,000 city employees, and 600 of them make less than $15 an hour. Some ushers, parks attendants and cashiers are paid $10 to $15 an hour, but none make less than a $10 hourly wage, city budget Director Ben Noble said. Noble and the mayor’s personnel director, Susan Coskey, will “begin a process,” Murray said, to raise those workers’ pay.

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Comments | More in | Topics: $15-an-hour minimum wage, bertha, Boeing


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