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Monday, August 24, 2009

Busy Weekend...

From The Outdoor Wire
Busy Weekend
Machinists Union members in Fond du Lack, Wisconsin have voted "overwhelmingly" to reject Mercury Marine's latest wage and employment offer. Mercury, reeling from two years of tough industry times, has already cut operations across all their manufacturing by fifty percent, and says the latest round of wage concessions was their last attempt to keep their facilities in Fond du Lack. Instead, officials said after the vote yesterday they would immediately start their relocation to MerCruiser manufacturing facilities in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Stillwater facility is non-union.

"This has been a very difficult and stressful process for all involved," Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine, said in a statement. "We will work closely with our team in Fond du Lac to develop and communicate a transition plan for this 24-36 month process."

Meanwhile, officials in Fond du Lack and the state capitol are encouraging Mercury and the union to come back to the bargaining table. Governor Jim Doyle says he's hopeful, but Mercury says their final offer is, indeed, their final offer.

There are between 1,900 and 2,000 people working for Mercury in the manufacturing and corporate headquarters in Fond du Lack. The company has been headquartered in the area for seven decades.

Should the company relocate both the 850 manufacturing and 1,100 corporate positions, the local economic development corporation says the impact would be more than $350-million annually, with as many as an additional 5,900 jobs lost because of the impact on suppliers, government and area businesses.

Meanwhile, the union says the concessions, which included wage freezes for the next seven years and reduced insurance and retirement benefits for current workers, and would mean a wage reduction of nearly thirty percent for new or recalled workers made retirement "unaffordable".


Meanwhile, Seattle gun owners are saying they delivered a clear message to whomever will be their next mayor: don't mess with firearms rights. The message was delivered by the defeat of two-term incumbent Seattle mayor Greg Nickles. Nickles finished third in a "best two" primary election, meaning he has no chance at returning for a third term.

Nickles has been firmly anti-firearms, and irked all gun owners when he announced he would ban legally-carried firearms from city property. That would have defied Washington's preemption statute, forbidding local laws to preempt a state statute.

Rather than go to court on the position, Nickles instead included gun prohibitions in use contracts for the Seattle City Center and other venues.

Nickles said in his concession speech that he'd gotten the message that Seattle voters wanted to head "in a new direction."


In Arizona, genuine concern that a growing mountain lion population is hammering attempts to restore the Kofa bighorn sheep herds. New research presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Department showed that a single mountain lion was averaging killing one bighorn sheep every ten days.

By comparison, the annual recruitment of Kofa bighorns from the National Wildlife Refuge herd is only thirty-nine animals.

Biologists the predation is an even larger problem than water availability, disease and human disturbance.

The Kofa bighorn sheep herd was once one of the nation's most robust. Surveys estimated the populations at 600-800 animals prior to 2006. That year's survey showed a historic low of only 391 animals. The latest surveys showed an estimated 460 in 2007 and 436 in 2008.

A new survey is scheduled for October.

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