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Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

U.S. Manufacturing Slows As Output, Hiring Weaken

March 2, 2015 11:09 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. factories expanded last month at their weakest pace in a year, with orders, hiring and production all growing more slowly. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index slipped...

Dearth Of Jobs A Barrier To Post-Bankruptcy Detroit's Growth

March 2, 2015 3:13 am | by Corey Williams, The Associated Press | News | Comments

When Alison Norris couldn't find work in Detroit, she searched past the city limits, ending up with a part-time restaurant job that's 20 miles away but takes at least two hours to get to via separate city and suburban bus systems. For many city residents...

Baton Rouge-Area Industries Expect To Maintain Employment

February 27, 2015 10:29 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A survey by the Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance finds most of the Baton Rouge area's major industrial employers expect spending and employment at the plants to remain the same or expand during the next six months...  

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TN GOP Leader Questions Incentives For Unionized GM Plant

February 26, 2015 7:14 pm | by Erik Schelzig, The Associated Press | News | Comments

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Thursday that it may have been "a mistake" for Tennessee to subsidize the development of the General Motors plant outside Nashville because it has a United Auto Workers union contract. The Blountville Republican's comments came as GOP...

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...

What's Going On With The Labor Unions Of Today?

February 26, 2015 9:48 am | by Maura Falk, Associate Editor, Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operations | Blogs | Comments

The pros and cons of labor unions throughout history.                                

TJ Maxx, Marshalls To Follow Wal-Mart In Raising Pay

February 25, 2015 1:18 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods stores said Wednesday that it will boost pay for its U.S. workers to at least $9 per hour. The announcement by TJX Cos. comes a week after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would increase wages for its employees and is a sign that more...

Will Wal-Mart Pay Raises Move The Needle On Wages?

February 24, 2015 1:29 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

As the world's largest retailer and the nation's largest private employer, Wal-Mart serves as a convenient punching bag for those decrying the growing prevalence of low-wage service industry jobs in the U.S. So, last week's announcement that the Bentonville, Arkansas company would...

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MS Auto Parts Workers In Union Drive Plan Protest

February 23, 2015 5:14 pm | by Jeff Amy, The Associated Press | News | Comments

Workers at an automotive seat factory in Mississippi are protesting what they say are low wages and poor working conditions as they attempt to unionize in what could become a new front for the United Auto Workers in the state. A group of workers and supporters at the...

UAW Chief Doesn’t Rule Out Work Stoppage

February 23, 2015 3:11 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

The head of the United Autoworkers union recognizes the need to ensure the long-term health of the U.S. auto industry. But as the UAW prepares to enter negotiations with the "Big Three" auto companies — General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — Dennis Williams says...

Ports Increasingly Bustling Again After Tentative Labor Deal

February 23, 2015 2:21 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The seaports of the West Coast went from lagging to bustling over the weekend, a process that is expected to accelerate Monday in the wake of a tentative agreement between employers and dockworkers. More than 1,000 dockworker assignments were filled Sunday at the...

Refinery Strike Expands Again

February 23, 2015 12:29 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

A strike by union members at oil refineries continues to expand with some 6,550 workers now off the job at 15 plants or refineries across the country. The strike began at the beginning of February with 3,800 members of the United Steelworkers union walking out at nine refineries after the...

NAM: Ports Agreement Staves Off Economic Disaster

February 23, 2015 9:36 am | by Jamie Hennigan, National Association of Manufacturers | Articles | Comments

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement on the contract agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union: “For months, the NAM has pressed the Obama Administration, Congress and the...

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Two Sides In Port Dispute Race Against Deadline

February 20, 2015 3:20 pm | by Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press | News | Comments

With a Friday deadline looming, negotiators labored to reach a deal in a contract dispute that has snarled international trade at seaports from Southern California to Seattle. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez told dockworkers and their employers that if they cannot find common ground in...

CA Refinery Unit Experienced Problems Before Blast

February 19, 2015 7:12 pm | by Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press | News | Comments

A California oil refinery unit that was damaged by an explosion was already offline for unplanned maintenance when the fire occurred, industry analysts said Thursday. The so-called fluid catalytic cracker unit refines gasoline and is critical to producing California-grade fuel. The unit had been offline for two days because of problems when a different piece...

Wal-Mart To Raise Pay For 500,000 Employees

February 19, 2015 3:18 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

Wal-Mart has announced it will give raises to 500,000 employees this year, representing about 40 percent of the 1.3 million workers at the country's largest private employer. The company said hourly workers would earn at least $9 per hour beginning in April, and that all current employees would earn at...

Labor Disputes Roil Canadian Rail Industry

February 19, 2015 10:23 am | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

The union representing thousands of Canadian National Railway Company employees says it is considering a strike vote as labor issues persist among the country's largest rail operators. The contract between the Unifor union—which represents about 4,800 mechanical, clerical and intermodal workers—and CN Rail, the country's largest rail company, expired...

Report: Solar Energy Jobs Up More Than 20 Percent In 2014

February 17, 2015 5:06 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

The U.S. solar energy sector employed nearly 174,000 workers in manufacturing, construction, engineering, sales and other industries as of November 2014, an increase of nearly 22 percent compared to the previous year. That's according to data compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Solar Foundation, which...

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...

VW Certifies UAW Alternative Group At TN Plant

February 17, 2015 3:05 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

Volkswagen has certified a group called the American Council of Employees to represent workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, setting the stage for the group's continued showdowns with the United Autoworkers union. The ACE formed at the plant as an alternative to the UAW, which had long sought...

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...

Why Refinery Strike Has Had Little Bite At Gas Pump

February 17, 2015 12:14 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

Gasoline prices can spike for all kinds of reasons that make skeptical drivers roll their eyes: "tension" in the Middle East, a refinery suddenly shuts down for maintenance, or the annual springtime switch to summer blends of gasoline. A refinery strike, however, would seem...

Japanese Automakers Adjust To Port Dispute

February 17, 2015 10:24 am | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

The ongoing labor dispute at ports along the West Coast has forced Japanese automakers to compensate for delayed parts shipments to its U.S. factories. Honda began curtailing production this week at three of its North American plants, saying "critical parts" arriving from Asia, including electronics...

NY Manufacturing Grows At Slower Pace In February

February 17, 2015 9:34 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Manufacturing activity in New York state expanded at a modest pace in February, held back by weaker orders and hiring. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday that its Empire State manufacturing index slipped to 7.8 this month from 10 in January. Any reading above zero indicates...

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...

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