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Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

Wisconsin Moves Closer To 'Right-To-Work' Status

February 26, 2015 3:15 pm | by Andy Szal, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The Wisconsin state Senate passed "right-to-work" legislation late Wednesday, which moves the state one step closer to prohibiting membership in a union as a condition of employment. The bill passed by a 17-15 margin with just one Republican breaking ranks to vote against...

#ThanksMichelleObama: How U.S. School Meals Compare To Those Around The World

February 26, 2015 10:06 am | by Kari Imberg, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

Students unhappy with school meals have been taking it out on first lady Michelle Obama by sharing images on social media of lunches sarcastically tagged #ThanksMichelleObama. The first lady has become a symbol of healthier school meals as she has pushed standards implemented in 2012 that require more...

CA's Plastic Bag Ban Suspended By Ballot Referendum

February 24, 2015 7:13 pm | by Judy Lin, The Associated Press | News | Comments

California's first-in-the-nation statewide ban on plastic shopping bags was put on hold Tuesday when a trade group turned in enough signatures to place the issue before voters in 2016. The American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents bag manufacturers, had about...

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Keystone XL Pipeline Bill Arrives At White House, Obama To Veto

February 24, 2015 2:46 pm | by Josh Lederman, The Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama will veto a Republican-backed bill on Tuesday that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the White House said, putting a freeze on a top GOP priority — at least for now. The contentious legislation arrived at the White House on Tuesday morning...

MO Bill Would Stop Cities From Banning Plastic Bags

February 24, 2015 9:59 am | by Summer Ballentine, The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Missouri lawmaker who also leads an association of grocery stores is trying to stop cities and towns in the state from restricting the use of plastic bags, bucking a national trend toward banning their use to help the environment. The move comes as the city of Columbia, the home of the...

Obama: DHS Shutdown Would Hurt State Economies

February 23, 2015 3:02 pm | by Jill Colvin, The Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama says a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security would have a direct impact on state economies and the nation's security. Obama is speaking Monday to the nation's governors, who are gathered at the White House for a meeting with the president and...

WI Lawmakers To Vote On Right-To-Work Bill

February 20, 2015 2:59 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

The Wisconsin Legislature is planning to vote on a bill that would make it the country's 25th "right-to-work" state. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald had previously said lawmakers would take up right-to-work -- which prohibits requiring employees to join a union -- early in the current session after...

Company Whose Train Exploded Spent Millions On Lobbying, Campaign Contributions

February 20, 2015 9:28 am | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

The railroad company whose train triggered a massive explosion Monday in West Virginia had spent millions lobbying against rail oversight legislation in Congress, according to a report. Numbers from the Washington, D.C. research group Center for Responsive Politics indicated Florida-based CSX Corp. had spent more than $56 million lobbying members of Congress since 1998, with its largest...

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Is Your State Considering Changes In Chemical Regulations?

February 19, 2015 5:28 pm | by Andrew Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

An environmental health coalition expects a majority of U.S. states to consider legislation to alter their chemical regulations this year. A recent analysis by Safer States said lawmakers in 28 states will propose such changes, headlined by efforts to identify, disclose or — in some cases — phase out chemicals identified...

Study: EPA Labels Don't Reflect Total Savings For Hybrid, Electric Cars

February 19, 2015 9:20 am | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's labels for vehicle fuel efficiency do not show a complete picture of the ownership costs for hybrid and electric cars and are likely ineffective in affecting consumer choices, according to a recently released study. The EPA's redesigned labels currently include statistics...

White House Considering Oil Train Safety Upgrades

February 18, 2015 12:16 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The oil train that exploded in West Virginia met the industry's voluntary 2011 safety standards, but a growing number of accidents has the Obama administration considering tougher rules for tank cars. A look at what's rolling on U.S. rails...  

Did NSA Plant Spyware In Computers Shipped Abroad?

February 17, 2015 6:30 pm | by Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Did the National Security Agency plant spyware deep in the hard drives of thousands of computers used by foreign governments, banks and other targets under surveillance abroad? A new report from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said its researchers identified malicious programs or worms...

Obama Administration May Double Salary Threshold For Overtime Exemption

February 17, 2015 3:07 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

Policy experts expect forthcoming rules from the Obama administration to potentially double the salary threshold for exemptions to overtime pay requirements. Under current guidelines, employers may exempt salaried workers earning at least $23,660 annually from requirements that they pay overtime rates for more...

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MI Governor Puts Renewed Emphasis On Blue-Collar Jobs

February 17, 2015 1:31 pm | by David Eggert, The Associated Press | News | Comments

Only a few short years ago, Michigan leaders talked excitedly about diversifying the state's economy beyond the auto industry, envisioning a Silicon Valley-style workforce that would be less dependent on manufacturing and more invested in technology and green...

Drones Rule: Proposed Rules For Commercial Unmanned Aircraft

February 17, 2015 10:27 am | by Joan Lowy, The Associated Press | News | Comments

Drone on, the government says. Just not through the night sky. Or close to an airport. Or out of the operator's sight. And probably not winging its way with a pizza or package, any time soon. Long-anticipated rules proposed Sunday will open an era in which small (under 55 pounds) commercial unmanned...

Proposal Tries To Help Wean WA Off Coal-Fired Power

February 17, 2015 10:20 am | by Phuong Le, The Associated Press | News | Comments

Lawmakers hoping to wean Washington state off coal power are trying to ease the way for the state's utilities to end the electricity it gets from coal. Bills in the House and Senate set up certain favorable conditions for three private utilities, should they decide in the future to shut down a massive coal-fired power plant...

Apples Modified To Resist Browning Receive Federal Approval

February 14, 2015 12:55 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Don't expect to see them too soon, but they could be coming to your local grocery store — two types of apples genetically modified to resist turning brown after they're bruised or sliced. The development could boost sales of apples for snacks, salads and other uses. Arctic Golden and Arctic...

Navy Debuts Robot That Can Fight Fires Aboard Ships

February 14, 2015 10:57 am | by Brock Vergakis, The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Navy has developed a prototype of a man-sized robot to do one of the most dangerous jobs aboard any ship: fighting a fire. The Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot was developed by researchers at Virginia Tech and made its public debut during a Navy science and technology expo in...

FDA Panel To Review Application For 'Modified Risk' Tobacco

February 13, 2015 3:10 pm | by Michael Felberbaum, AP Tobacco Writer | News | Comments

A Food and Drug Administration panel is planning to review smokeless tobacco maker Swedish Match's request to certify its General-branded pouches of tobacco as less harmful than cigarettes. The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee has scheduled a two-day meeting beginning...

Chemical Safety Board Under Fire

February 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

The federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents has come under increasing fire on a number of fronts in recent days, with former employees, members of Congress and even the Obama administration calling its activities into question. Criticism of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is nothing...

Obama To Focus On Cybersecurity In Heart Of Silicon Valley

February 13, 2015 2:16 pm | by Darlene Superville and Martha Mendoza, The Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama, responding to unprecedented data breaches and cyberattacks, is trying to spark alliances between policymakers who want to regulate the online world and tech innovators who traditionally shun federal government bureaucracies. In California's Silicon Valley on Friday, Obama was slated to...

Congress Seeks To Undo Union Election Standard

February 13, 2015 12:29 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

Republican lawmakers who now control both houses of Congress are taking steps to counter federal agency decisions they believe favor unions. Their targets include a policy adopted late last year by the National Labor Relations Board that would close the gap between a petition for a union election and the start of voting, as...

The Relationship Between Workplace Safety And Product Safety

February 13, 2015 12:13 pm | by Kenneth Ross | Articles | Comments

One of the most intractable problems facing manufacturers is where the product is used in a workplace environment.  Many times, it is the employer that created an unsafe work condition that contributed to the accident.  And, because the employer is usually not a party to the lawsuit, such cases can be very...

U.S. Appeals To Japanese Business To Help Push For Trade Pact

February 13, 2015 10:31 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Japan and the U.S. are moving closer to reaching agreement on market opening measures needed to conclude a Pacific Rim trade pact, a top U.S. envoy said Friday, urging Japanese business leaders to help bridge the last, difficult disagreements. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken urged members of...

Congress To Postpone Sending Keystone-Pipeline Bill To Obama

February 13, 2015 10:18 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Congressional leaders are delaying sending a bill authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline to the White House for a likely veto until after the recess break. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, the chief Republican sponsor, told reporters Thursday it would be better if Congress was in town when...

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