September 21, 2008 in City

Strikers told to file for unemployment


Union leaders say striking Boeing workers should apply for unemployment compensation but concede they have little chance of collecting.

The Machinists union strike has shut down Boeing’s aircraft assembly plants since Sept. 6.

The union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint, accusing Boeing of improperly questioning workers about parts of a contract proposal. Boeing also is accused of giving the union misleading information.

If the National Labor Relations Board upholds that complaint, union leaders say there’s a “slim” chance that members who have filed for jobless pay might be able to collect.


Bush, Uribe urge free-trade pact

President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe renewed their push on Saturday for Congress to approve a free-trade deal before lawmakers leave town to campaign for re-election.

“It’s in our economic interest that we continue to open up markets in our neighborhood, particularly with a nation that is growing like yours,” Bush told Uribe in the Rose Garden. “And yet we can’t get a vote out of Congress. I’ve been asking the Democrat leadership in Congress for a vote, and they’ve consistently blocked the vote.”

Congressional Democrats say they are delaying votes on trade deals involving Colombia, Panama and South Korea until the Bush administration resolves questions about the impact on U.S. jobs and other issues.

Bush urged lawmakers to reconsider their opposition, but seemed resigned that it might not happen on his watch. Bush called Uribe an “honest man” who has responded to U.S. concerns about crime in Colombia and has been successful in reducing homicides, kidnappings and terrorist attacks.

Uribe said a free-trade agreement would help increase U.S. investment in Colombia and provide jobs for people as an alternative to engaging in terrorism, illegal drug-trafficking and violence.

JUNEAU, Alaska

Bridge is a no-go, but road’s all done

Alaska now has a Road to Nowhere going to what would have been the Bridge to Nowhere.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s transportation department has completed a $25 million gravel road leading to the site of a bridge that Palin, as John McCain’s vice presidential candidate, now boasts that she stopped to save taxpayers money. The road was built with federal tax dollars.

Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein said the 3.2-mile road will be useful for road races, hunters and possibly future development. But with no bridge to serve it, that’s probably about it.

“I think it will be good for recreational things like a 5K and a 10K,” Weinstein said. “And instead of people walking through brush, it may be used for hunting in the area.”

From wire reports

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