News Briefs – June 4, 2018


In rare win, Boeing worker unit unionizes in South Carolina

Flight-line employees at Boeing’s South Carolina plant have voted to unionize in a rare victory for organized labor in the South.
News outlets report 104 of the 169 workers who cast ballots May 31 voted to have the International Association of Machinists represent them in collective bargaining. The same union failed to attract enough support to represent all of the plant’s hourly workers last year.
The aerospace giant campaigned against the organizers, losing a last-minute request to delay the election after an anti-union social media campaign. Company spokesman Victor Scott says Boeing believes the “micro-unit” is illegal, and will appeal.
IAM lead organizer commended the workers for standing up to “Goliath” amid a “nasty campaign.” AP

Navy marks Triton arrival at Point Mugu

Two of the Navy’s large unmanned surveillance and patrol aircraft are now housed at a repurposed hangar at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu in Southern California.
Rear Adm. William W. Wheeler said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 31 that the MQ-4C Triton will provide fleet commanders an unprecedented awareness of maritime battle space.
The first MQ-4C Triton arrived at Point Mugu last November and the second arrived in April. They are controlled from a Navy base in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Triton has a wingspan of 130.9 feet, is 47.6 feet long and can fly at altitudes up to 56,500 feet. Builder Northrop Grumman said the single-engine jet can stay aloft for more than 24 hours. AP

U.S.-led NATO exercise starts in Baltics, Poland

A major U.S.-led military exercise with 18,000 soldiers from 19 primarily NATO countries has kicked off in the alliance’s eastern flank involving Poland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
The U.S. Army Europe said June 3 the Saber Strike 18 drill is spread around the region until June 15 as “a demonstration of the commitment and solidarity of the Alliance” at the time when Russia’s military maneuvers are increasingly worrying nearby NATO members.
It stressed, however, that Saber Strike “is not a provocation of Russia.”
NATO has deployed some 6,000 troops in the Baltics and Poland.
Lithuania’s defense ministry also announced the start of the country’s largest-ever national drill, “Thunder Storm,” with some 9,000 troops.
Non-NATO member Israel will be taking part in Saber Strike for the first time. AP

Qatar won’t be part of any military action against Iran

A senior Qatari official says his country will not be dragged into any conflict with Iran.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Khalid Al Attiyah told an international security conference in Singapore that Qatar has “a lot of differences” with Iran but it does not mean “we go and fuel a war” in the region.
He says, “Is it wise to call the United States and to call Israel to go and fight Iran? … Whether any third party is trying to push the region or some country in the region to start a war in Iran, this will be very dangerous.”
He did not name any party but could be referring to Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia, which has also led a blockade of Qatar since June last year. AP

Raytheon to invest $100 million to expand Mississippi radar plant

A defense contractor plans to invest $100 million in Mississippi to test and make military radars.
Raytheon of Waltham, Massachusetts, says it will expand its 660-worker facility in the Mississippi town of Forest, adding a 50,000 square-foot building.
Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman Tammy Craft says the expansion will initially create 30 jobs, potentially adding 45 over the next five years.
The state is giving Raytheon $3 million to prepare the site and upgrade infrastructure, plus $1 million to train workers.
Scott County officials will provide a property tax break cutting property taxes by two thirds. Annually. Raytheon could get more than $400,000 over 10 years. AP