Archive for January, 2012
Here’s a (link) to an article by Bloomberg about several U.S. oil refiners preparing for a possible strike by the United Steelworkers union. The current contract is scheduled to expire at midnight, but negotiations are ongoing and could continue after the contract expires without a work stoppage.
Prior to the contract expiring, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. received notices from USW of its intent to strike at refineries in Montana and Texas if a national labor contract expired without an agreement.
The contract covers 30,000 workers at 69 refineries. Companies are deciding whether to shut refineries or operate them with nonunion workers if the union should declare a general strike. During negotiations three years ago, both sides agreed to three, 24-hour rolling extensions of the contract before a deal was finally worked out.
One of the facilities involved in this is the ConocoPhillips Ferndale Refinery, which has about 400 full-time and contract employees. At this point it’s a wait-and-see situation while negotiations continue. I’ll try to update this evening if the situation changes.
UPDATE: Refiners and the union reached a tentative three-year agreement at around 5:30 p.m. local time. Details will be posted on the business section at TheBellinghamHerald.com
National economist Bill Conerly is the keynote speaker for the 2012 Economic Forecast.
The event, organized by the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, will be held 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. Conerly will talk about what to expect in 2012 both locally and nationally.
For more information and to make a reservation, visit bellingham.com.
Here’s a news release from U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, about the approval of disaster assistance for local farmers that had issues with last year’s cool spring/summer. U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray issued similar releases:
Farmers in Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan and Island counties are eligible to apply for federal disaster support, Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, announced today. The counties are included in a list of 15 in Washington designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as primary natural disaster areas due to agriculture losses caused by excessive rain, flooding, below normal temperatures, high winds, frosts and freezes in 2011.
Bandito’s Burritos, a downtown Bellingham restaurant founded in1995, closed over the weekend.
Owner Kristi Christianson left a note on the front door saying the business had a tough year financially, and with the death last week of one of her employees, decided that now was the time. The business was at 120 W. Holly St., near the Cornwall Avenue intersection.
“Being a part of the downtown community has been such a wonderful part of my life. I will miss all of my regular customers and regret not being able to say goodbye to all of you,” Christianson wrote in the note.
Christianson started working at Bandito’s at age 19, then took over ownership of Bandito’s at age 27 in December 2009.
According to the note on the door, Christianson plans to continue selling her salsa. For details and updates, visit banditosburritos.com. Also, everything at the restaurant is currently for sale.
From the City of Bellingham, via Facebook:
Bay Street pay stations are scheduled to be activated on Monday, Jan. 30.
There will be three units: two on the Pickford side (of the street), one on The Woods Coffee side.
Here’s the latest companies to register to do business in Bellingham (Jan. 12-17). Most are new to this area, but some are changes in address/ownership:
Little One’s Beverage, Vesla A Kazimer, 4808 Mosquito Lake Road, Deming
NRC Environmental Services, 9520 10th Ave S #150, Seattle
Oshkosh Truck Corporation, 2307 Oregon St., Oshkosh, Wisc.
So far today four banks were shut down by government regulators (Patriot Bank in Minnesota, BankEast in Tennessee, Tennessee Commerce Bank and First Guaranty Bank of Florida), making it seven so far in 2012. I’ll update with a new post if a West Coast bank gets shut down before I leave the office today.
Over in the Politics blog, Jared Paben put up a post about bills being presented that would either suspend the minimum wage increases during periods of high unemployment or be adjusted for restaurant staff that receive tips. Here’s the (link)
It’s still early in the session, but it’ll be interesting to see if either bills get much traction.
From The Associated Press:
Starbucks Corp.’s fiscal first-quarter profit increased 10 percent as the coffee company added stores, customers and new products.
The Seattle-based company reported after the market closed Thursday that it earned $382.1 million, or 50 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Jan. 1. That’s up from $346.6 million, or 45 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
Its total revenue increased 16 percent to $3.44 billion.
A few items I noticed while starting to put together my Sunday retail column…
– According to its Facebook page, the Beach Store Cafe on Lummi Island (near the ferry dock) has closed. The owners thanked the community for its support for the past three years and said it was closed until further notice.
– Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Lynden (8082 Guide Meridian) will soon be opening. The construction is done and now it’s down to the final inspections, said Owner Cheri Benson in an email.