Ron May, the president of Local 747-C of the International Chemical Workers Union, says that the margin was razor-thin, but he reports that the union membership has ratified a new three-year contract with Emerald Kalama Chemical, heading off a possible strike. May says that 95 percent of the 72 Union members voted on a new company offer on Friday, the same day that a contract extension expired. The previous contract had expired in May. Under the extension, workers continued to operate under provisions of the old contract. When the contract expired in May, union members had also overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. May says that they’ll get wage increases of two percent per year, and there are also company adjustments regarding vacation accrual and retirement contributions. May says that it was an extremely difficult negotiation, with both sides gaining some and losing some. May says the main thing is that they have a deal done, and both the union and the company can now move ahead.
Archive | June, 2011
Construction crews working near Castle Rock are getting the blame for yesterday’s long distance and 911 outage that affected Castle Rock, Ryderwood and the north part of Cowlitz County. Emergency Management reports that the outage was first reported at about 11 am, when workers inadvertently cut a fiber optic cable just north of the intersection of West Side Highway and PH 10 Road. The outage affected pretty much everyone in the 274 phone prefix area; Qwest reports that more than 3,500 phone customers were affected, along with 642 internet customers. Local calls could be made, but long distance was out, along with the connection to 911. Emergency calls were routed to the fire station in Castle Rock, with additional law enforcement and emergency crews staged in the area, in case they were needed. Fortunately, there were few emergency calls during the outage. Service was completely restored at 6:30 pm.
Charlene Lynn Turner, 46, of Longview is under arrest, taken into custody last night by Longview Police as they responded to a prostitution complaint. The complaint came in shortly before 7 pm last night, from a convenience store on Oregon Way. A short time later, Officers caught up with Turner in the 800 block of California Way. She was taken into custody at that time, and is now being held on the misdemeanor charge, with bail set at $250.
If you’re a user of the Longview Wye, you’ll need to get ready for a major traffic shift, as the new on-ramp from Tennant Way to I-5 southbound is brought on-line. The Washington Department of Transportation says that they’ll need to close an existing ramp and then shift some 14 hundred cars per day onto a temporary detour route. Starting next Tuesday, they’ll close the existing ramp from Talley Way to Tennant Way eastbound, also starting the removal process. Drivers that are heading to Carrolls and traffic that’s heading from Talley Way to I-5 northbound can either use alternate interchanges, or they can follow a signed detour to westbound Tennant Way. WashDOT says that the detour adds about three minutes to the trip, at a distance of one-point-six miles. The detour will take drivers onto westbound Tennant Way to Dike Road; they’ll exit there, will loop under the highway, then will re-enter onto eastbound Tennant Way. This detour is expected to be in place for about six weeks. During this time, they’ll pave the new ramp to southbound I-5, and will also complete paving another new ramp from Talley Way to eastbound Tennant Way. The plan is to open the new ramps and shift traffic onto those in mid-August. Project Engineer Denys Tak says that this new ramp to I-5 southbound is one of the most important elements of the Longview Wye reconstruction project, and they’re looking forward to getting it open. You can track the project on the WashDOT website.
Local Farmer’s Insurance agents are teaming up with Safelite Auto Glass to raise some money for the March of Dimes, and also help get your car back in shape at today’s second annual Glass Chip Repair Day. This will run from 9 am until 3 pm today at 1339 Washington Way, suite C in Longview. You can get your chipped windshield repairs, with the folks at Farmer’s calling in your insurance claim. If you don’t have coverage, the repairs can be completed for a special price. If you make a donation, you can get a lunch of a grilled hot dog, chips and a cookie, and they’ll also be raffling off a $50 gift card. get more details by calling the Corwin-Rey Insurance Agency at 414-8754.
There’s a special event planned for today at the Johnston Ridge Volcano Observatory, but it’s less to do with science and more to do with the natural, human impacts of our local volcano. “Volcanic Verse” will be presented at Johnston Ridge this afternoon, with events set for 1 and 2 pm. Jeannie Bennett with the Mount St. Helens Institute says this follows last year’s “Pulse” event, where scientists gathered share information on research about the biologic processes at the mountain. Last year, a group of ten writers and poets was included in the “Pulse” event, and two of those writers will be featured today. Poets Derek Sheffield and Simmons Buntin will be sharing their work; admittance to the event will be included with the admission fee to the Volcano Observatory.
It’s not too soon to start making plans for this year’s Cowlitz County Fair, coming up from Thursday, July 28th through Sunday, the 31st. Fair officials announced yesterday that tickets for this year’s Thunder Mountain Pro Rodeo are now available for purchase. This year’s rodeo is set for Friday the 29th and Saturday, the 30th. Tickets are available at the Fair office, located at 19 hundred 7th Avenue in Longview. That’s just one of the major events coming up at this year’s Cowlitz County Fair; at 7 pm on Thursday, the 28th, country music star Jo Dee Messina will perform in the rodeo arena; advance tickets for that show are now on sale at Bob’s Sporting Goods, Link’s Four Corners General Store, the Bridgeview Tobacco Shop and at Team Pro Caliber Motorsports. On Sunday, at 2 pm, the annual Demolition Derby will be staged. Another highlight for this year’s fair is the first-ever Homebrew competition, where home beer makers will be able to compete for awards. Full details on this year’s fair are available on the Cowlitz County Fair website, or by calling 577-3121.
Ron May, the president of Local 747-C of the International Chemical Workers Union reports that the union membership has ratified a new three-year contract with Emerald Kalama Chemical, heading off a possible strike. The 72 union members voted on a new company offer on Friday, the same day that a contract extension expired. The previous contract had expired in May. Under the extension, workers continued to operate under provisions of the old contract. When the contract expired in May, union members had also overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. May says that they’ll get wage increases of two percent per year, and there are also company adjustments regarding vacation accrual and retirement contributions. May says that it was an extremely difficult negotiation, with both sides gaining some and losing some. He also says that about 95 percent of the local membership voted, and while they didn’t have the exact numbers for ratification, May says that he understands that the margin was extremely close.
Labor issues continue at the Emerald Kalama Chemical plant, as members of local 747-C of the International Chemical Workers Union await the results of a contract vote that was conducted last Friday. The 72 members of local 747-C voted Friday on a new contract offer from the company, on the last day of a contract extension with the company. The last contract between Emerald Kalama and the ICWUC expired back in May. On the union’s website, they say that local 747-C is in “the fight of its life” with Emerald Kalama, also noting the ongoing labor battle that’s going on at an Emerald Chemicals plant in Henry, Illinois. Teamsters represent the workers at that plant, and they’ve been locked out since March. Local 747-C members authorized a strike back in May, after the original contract ran out, but remained on the job under the contract extension that ran out on Friday. The results of last Friday’s voting haven’t yet been released.
Longview School District officials asked for Longview Police to stand by at last night’s School Board meeting, after board members each received a letter that they thought might constitute a threat. District officials called LPD shortly before 6 pm, reporting that each board member had received one of the anonymous letters in their personal mailboxes. A Longview officer examined one of the letters, noting that the writer was talking about possible legal action against the board, but he didn’t perceive any personal threats. No incidents were reported at last night’s School Board meeting.