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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hope You Like Those Cranes on the Skyline

posted by on July 2 at 17:23 PM

I’ve got an article in this week’s issue about how the building bust will impact some of the glamorous projects in town. Lots of buildings—mostly tall fancy towers—are on hold or on the chopping block till the economy turns around. Meanwhile, the downtown skyline is filled with cranes for projects already under construction. So at least those glamorous towers are on schedule, right?

About 500 union fire-sprinkler installers have gone on strike, affecting work on several of the largest construction projects in the Seattle area.

[P]icket lines had gone up at about 25 sites in the Puget Sound area, including Olive 8 and 818 Stewart in downtown Seattle and the Bravern, Bellevue Towers and City Center Plaza in downtown Bellevue. Other union construction workers appeared to be honoring the picket lines for the most part…

David Thyer, president of R.C. Hedreen, Olive 8’s developer, said only about 20 nonunion construction workers were working on the high-rise hotel/condo project today. Normally more than 300 people would be on the job, he said.

And if you thought it was dangerous living without fire sprinklers, consider the risk of living with cranes.

RSS icon Comments


Labor unions are a joke. Get a grip, you whining fools.

Posted by Seattle Crime Blogger | July 2, 2008 5:57 PM

You know what's a joke? Your blog, Seattle Crime Blogger. And you, personally: you're a joke.

This is exactly what unions are for, and I hope they win. Not like those simpletons at Starbucks.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 6:49 PM

the union wants three years, but employers are want four.

Oh my.

You know I can't imagine how mistakes like that happen. Why can't The Seattle Times recruit decent copyeditors when they require a three-year internship for a slim chance of getting a low paid, thankless job.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 2, 2008 7:38 PM

oh unions, why don't you actually want to be productive?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 3, 2008 12:16 AM

They are productive. They're producing high wages for their members. Without their members, no buildings. Their members actually MAKE THE BUILDINGS, see?

Posted by Fnarf | July 3, 2008 12:20 AM

Most people who don't like unions are just envious of those of us who are fortunate enough to belong to one.

Our latest contract got my job classification an 8% pay raise, with a 3.9% COLA on top of that. The agency I work for (City Light) is self-supporting. Actually, it contributes to the general fund, which just goes to show that you can have a profitable enterprise while delivering a low-cost, labor-intensive product. After all, our electricity rates are among the lowest in the nation.

Gotta love the unions...

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | July 3, 2008 6:37 AM

cmon catalina, you can't seriously be using a line lifted from people that appear on day-time TV "YOU JUST JEALOUS OF WHAT I GOTS!".

fnarf, that's rent seeking; changing the rules of the system to benefit you more without any additional output on your part.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 3, 2008 8:40 AM

and further, an un-unionized sprinkler installer could do the work. it isn't like if the union ceased to exist work would cease to be done.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 3, 2008 8:41 AM

and cat, you can not seriously be proposing that the cost of electricity for the end user is cheaper because of unionized labor instead of perhaps how our electricity is generated.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 3, 2008 8:49 AM

Yes, BA, we want to have nonunionized, unregulated, unlicensed, untrained labor building our skyscrapers. Like in Africa or South America or Asia, where oddly enough buildings collapse all the time because of substandard methods and materials. If you want a free market, better go as far as possible down that road, so we can enjoy the laissez-faire benefits of a country like, say, Tanzania, and not be handicapped by living in a third-world shithole like the USA. Right?

Posted by Fnarf | July 3, 2008 9:26 AM

Bellevue, you must hella rich. I'm told that gives one a different perspective on things, which might explain your comments. See, filthy rich folks are pretty much the only ones in this country who haven't directly benefited from the labor movement.

On the other hand, if you've ever worked a standard 40-hour workweek: thank the unions. If you've ever had a weekend off (Sunday AND Saturday), thank the unions. If you've ever seen a nice little bump in your paycheck thanks to overtime wages: thank the unions. If you've ever been injured on the job and not had to worry about getting fired as a result: thank the unions.

It's no joke.

Posted by Kalakalot | July 3, 2008 9:27 AM

Bellevue Ave has the capitalist version of penis envy. I think this is the result of learning a little bit about macroeconomics without having any understanding whatsoever of microeconomics.

Dude, the Horatio Alger myth is just that - a myth.

Posted by Mr. X | July 3, 2008 9:35 AM

fnarf, how are unions and licenses inseparable? how are unions and government oversight insuperable? and really, for you to use the slippery slope like that is just beneath you.

Mr. X, I understand Microecon just fine thank you. I don't quite understand what you're getting at though with rags to riches stories though. I'm against unions for the most part because i think they are way over idealized without looking at the actual cost and implications of them. Are they all bad? No. Are they all peaches and sunshine? No. I simply err on the side of them being mostly negative in the long run especially when their industry is given legal monopoly.

kalak, i actually hate mandated weekends because of the effect it has on stock markets.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 3, 2008 9:45 AM

and yeah, sure there are spillover benefits to unions, but why does there need to be a bureaucracy/racket for them to happen and who ultimately pays for it?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 3, 2008 10:00 AM


No, he's not. He's one of those middle class fools who believe they're going to make it rich some day, so fuck all of those middle class protections and safeguards. They ain't gonna need 'em.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 3, 2008 10:37 AM


Unions don't protect the middle class if they are uniformly uncompetitive against non union labor. Also, I support raising taxes on rich people on the principle they have more to lose in a society that doesn't have some semblance of function. The safeguard is providing access for low and middle class people with the means to improve their lives by building infrastructure and technological improvements.

You're terrible at trying to divine my opinions and stances on issues.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 3, 2008 11:16 AM

"cat(alina), you can not seriously be proposing that the cost of electricity for the end user is cheaper because of unionized labor instead of perhaps how our electricity is generated."

Oh dear, Bellevue - I thought you had higher reasoning skills than this. I can see where I was wrong.

Of course, I was not suggesting that a unionized labor force automatically led to lower prices. That would be silly, dear - almost as silly as supposing that the cost of generation is negligent, even when the source of generation is "renewable". You must not know much about regulation, being from Bellevue Avenue and all...

The idea I was trying to get across, dear "Belle", is that organized labor need not add unduly to the cost of an end product - especially when that end product is owned by the people, with no annoying stockholders to get in the way.

Perhaps it could be that they (the stockholders) are the real problem? No, of course not. It's always those pesky unions. Workers, after all, have no right to bargain: They should be happy with whatever they get.

Poor Belle - always going after that green light at the end of the dock....

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | July 3, 2008 10:21 PM

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