Boeing’s Perfect Washington: South Carolina Labor Standards and Puget Sound Aero-Expertise

Boeing’s machinists Union overwhelmingly (67%) rejected the 777X proposal which would have discontinued pension contributions and replaced them with 401(k) retirement plans, and allowed for raises of only 1% every other year until 2024.  Boeing has since mentioned a few other locations for production of the 777X: Huntsville, AL; Long Beach, CA; and Salt Lake City, UT.  Washington State has estimated that Boeing’s 777X production “would deliver $21.3 billion in economic benefits and support more than 56,000 direct and indirect jobs over 16 years.”  The ball is now in Boeing’s court and some are calling their bluff.  Washington’s “excellent port, skilled aerospace workforce and longtime experience in building sophisticated aircraft” makes the Seattle area a prime destination for Boeing to continue its work.  Professor and labor expert Jake Rosenfeld of UW said “What the company clearly wants is South Carolina labor standards with the expert skills that Washington State Boeing workers possess.”  Meanwhile, “hundreds of thousands of retired union workers are facing pension cuts that could slash their monthly payments in half.”  There are more than 10 million Americans currently working or retired from industries like trucking, construction, retail, mining and manufacturing that depend on their multiemployer pension plan.  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a pension insurance company, says that “up to 10% of the roughly 1500 multiemployer pension plans will run out of money in the coming decades” due to an aging workforce.  Single-employer pension plans are insured up to $59,320 a year; multiemployer pension plans are guaranteed up to $12,870 a year.

Help Me Silicon Valley Nerds, You’re My Only Hope: The CIA, Retail Spies and Fatca(t) Expats

Apparently the NSA isn’t the only agency secretly collecting databases of information on US citizens: the CIA is keeping track of “international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union.”  While the data does not include domestic transfers or bank-to-bank transactions and American identities are withheld (supposedly?).  Many are raising eyebrows at the level of data collection going on in the US, as “even lawmakers on the [Congressional] Intelligence Committees have indicated they are not sure they understand the entire landscape of what the government is doing in terms of bulk collection.”  And then there is this headline: Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Coding.  This reflects one of the best ironies out there in my opinion: while Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Amazon all ravenously collect consumer information for ad targeting, Silicon Valley nerds are still considered the superheroes and the US government is the arch-villain.  Also, there is one industry out in the open about its surveillance and data collection: Retail.  As online retailers like Amazon increase their own data collection of shoppers’ activity for ad targeting, the “brick and mortar” retailers are catching up with heat sensors, meters, video and GPS tracking systems.  Surprisingly enough, consumers seem to be responding pretty amicably.  According to a European retail consultancy firm, 90% of consumers they approach opt-in for marketing and mobile loyalty schemes in exchange for participating in the new tracking technologies.    Meanwhile, more Americans are ditching their passports and their tax bills.  So far this year, 2,369 Americans have jumped ship for other countries, which is already 33% more than 2011, the previous record year for expatriation.  There are only two countries in the world that tax citizens regardless of where they live: The United States and (drumroll please) Eritrea.  A new rule known as “Fatca” (c’mon guys, just deleting the last letter of the word doesn’t make it any less obvious) is “prompting smaller and mid-sized foreign banks in countries where Americans live and work to dump their American clients.”

China: “One-Child” To Go Away?

A blueprint for the future of China was released through state media this morning; includes easing out of the “one-child” policy and abolishing “re-education through labor” prison camps, as well as “moving to market-based pricing, liberalizing resources and financial markets and allowing more equal competition between private and state enterprises.”  The details of exactly how these policies come about are expected to be fleshed out by government departments later.  In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of what Xinhua is reporting from the blueprint.

Banking: Credit Ratings Drop for US Banks, EU Banking Union is Getting the DC Treatment

JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and BNY Mellon all saw their credit ratings drop by one notch this morning, “reflecting a belief that the institutions would not receive the same level of government support in another financial meltdown.”  Meanwhile, EU legislators appear to be catching the “do-nothing-and-complain-loudly” bug from Washington, DC as the EU banking union deadline approaches.

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