The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 25, 1998 · Page 21
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March 25, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 21

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, March 25, 1998
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The Palm Beach Post PAGE 5B WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1998 Small businesses may get bigger voice from county By Sanjay Bhatt Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH Small businesses in Palm Beach County that feel neglected by chambers of commerce and other membership groups would have a new advocate under a plan presented Tuesday to the county commission. The county's Minority Women Business Enterprise office intends to commit about half its eight-employee staff to helping licensed small businesses in the county, Assistant County Administrator Bill Wilkins said at a commission workshop. The office would help small businesses those with 10 or fewer employees and averaging less than $7 million in revenue over three years get county contracts and act as a clearinghouse for business information and referrals. In August,, commissioners asked Wilkins, who oversees the county's minority business office, to draft a plan to help small businesses. A study commissioned by the office recently concluded that businesses with eight or fewer workers employ 94 percent of the county's work force. "We're not duplicating what the Business Development Board is doing or any other agency," Wilkins said. 'There is not a place in the county where small businesses can go, where they can get all their information in one location." For example, the county plans to market to small businesses a seminar offered by the Port of Palm Beach and the Business Development Board on international trade. The seminar, scheduled for late April, will not only educate par chambers and giving it to (small businesses) for free," McCarty said. "I think the Business Development Board should be the central clearinghouse." Charles Collins, director of the renamed Small, MinorityWomen Business Enterprise Assistance office, responded, "There are a lot of small businesses that fall through the cracks of the groups you alluded to." Commissioners will get the final say on the scope of the small-business program, which won't increase the renamed office's $571,000 annual budget. ticipants about how to trade overseas, but will take them to the Bahamas for meetings with potential trade partners. Commissioners generally support helping locally based small businesses get county contracts. But Commissioner Mary McCarty criticized the scope of Wilkins' proposal which includes developing a "corporate procurement assistance program" and publishing a business start-up guide for Palm Beach County. "I don't know why Palm Beach County should be competing with the GAO could stall Pratt's F-22 contract i .... .Ml afr&A. ' r 3 Palm Beach Post staff and wire reports WASHINGTON The U.S. Defense Department should hold off buying the first production F-22s from Lockheed Martin Corp. because testing of the jet fighter is well behind schedule, the General Accounting Office said Tuesday. The GAO said the Pentagon should delay for a year its $595 million request to procure the first two F-22s, the radar-evading, air-supremacy plane for the Air Force. The Air Force wants the F-22 to replace its aging Boeing F-15s. It plans to award the first production contract in December, followed by a second one in December 1999 for the next six aircraft. Each F-22 is powered by two Pratt Fl 19 engines, designed by engineers at the company's operation in northwestern Palm Beach County. Withholding F-22 money from the federal government's next fiscal budget, which starts Oct.. 1, could deal a blow to Pratt and Lockheed, which already is fighting a government lawsuit to block its $8.3 billion deal for Northrop Grumman Corp. While the $62.5 billion, 338-airplane F-22 program generally received good marks for overall management since its launch in April 1991, it's been dogged recently by electronics and manufacturing and engine difficulties. An F119 engine failed during testing this month. Pratt officials haven't returned calls about the failure, which was caused by a faulty seal, officials told the Defense Daily newspaper. If the F-22's problems aren't fixed during tests, taxpayers could spend more on costly modifications and wind up with "substandard systems" once pro . a . - . " Northrop extends plant's pact The company reached an agreement with Boeing, which translates to job security for the 425 workers at the Stuart plant. By Kris Hudson Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART Northrop Grumman Corp. announced a plan Tuesday to extend the primary production contract at the company's Stuart plant through 2006, bringing job security to a facility that was nearly closed early last year. Northrop officials told the company's Stuart employees the company has reached a long-awaited agreement with Boeing Co. to extend its contract to produce wing boxes for Boeing 767 airliners for six years. Northrop's current contract to produce the parts which connect a plane's wings at its midsection expires in late 1999. Los Angeles-based Northrop (NYSE: NOC, $106.94) handles all production of the 16- by 24-foot wing boxes at its Stuart plant. The plant also produces wing flaps and engine housings, but the wing box contract represents most of its work. Top Northrop officials declined to reveal the number of wing boxes the company will produce, but local managers and employees said the contract extension calls for about 300. Aerospace analyst Paul Nisbet of Newport, R!.-based JSA Research estimated Tuesday that Boeing may pay Northrop up to $3 million for each box. The contract extension will not produce any new jobs in Stuart. But it should offer some security to the local plant, which Northrop nearly closed in early 1997 as part of a move to eliminate excess space nationwide. "This contract that you've won ... is a result of the past performance that you've had, but it's also a promise to the future," Jim Hoover, deputy general manager of Northrop's commercial aircraft division, told the plant's 425 employees. Employees and Martin County commissioners then sat down to a barbecue lunch served by the plant's managers. A few workers were disappointed that no new jobs will be created, but all welcomed the job security. Northrop had pursued the extension for more than two years. "It's been a long time coming," said Tom Na- r? a? a JASON NUTTLEStaff Photographer Northrop workers Rene6 Nolte and Brian Kelly serve their co-workers hamburgers for lunch. duction starts, the GAO said. A year's delay could increase overall costs by as much as $4 billion and prove "catastrophic," said Brig. Gen. Bruce Carlson, the Air Force director of fighter programs. The aircraft has strong political support from House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Georgia Republican whose district is home to many Lockheed workers. Saxby Chambliss, another Georgia Republican, sits on the House National Security Committee. The support convinces some analysts that the GAO won't succeed in further delaying the program. "I think Lockheed is strong enough to keep it from happening," said Paul Nisbet, an analyst for JSA Research Inc. Staff writer Stephen Pounds and Bloomberg News contributed to this story. beack, a 24-year employee. "We've had so much bad news over the years that it's nice to hear some good news for once." "I think it's positive," said Nabeack's wife, Kathy, a 17-year employee. "And it's going to change a lot of attitudes around here. We needed that." Northrop officials said the company's effort to merge with Lockheed Martin Corp., which the federal government is fighting, will not affect the contract extension. Northrop Grumman had net sales last year of $9.2 billion, of which the company attributed $222 million to Boeing work. The company's 1997 net earnings were $407 million. PGA resort's massage therapists may join Teamsters What places give senior discounts? Does your business offer discounts to senior citizens? The Palm Beach Post is preparing a report on marketing to seniors and wants to hear from you. Tell us about your discounts by faxing information to 820-4578. Be sure to include your business name, address, phone number, how much the discount is and which day or days it's available. instatement Ecclestone Organization officials said they've done nothing wrong, but declined further comment. Evers had worked at the PGA resort for nearly two years, but decided to look into union representation after a dispute over pay. "I was hired at 30 percent commission, and then they came in and said I should be getting 15 percent commission and 15 percent gratuity. They basically cut my pay," Evers said. Ilease see PGA 10B proper based on its composition," said NLRB lawyer Jennifer Burgess-Solomon. Resort management believes the proposed bargaining unit should include hairstylists, facialists, manicurists and "other individuals who they believe do similar work," Burgess-Solomon said. The NLRB also is investigating allegations the resort fired massage therapist Karen Evers because she was involved in the organizing effort. Evers, now unemployed, was fired on Nov. 22, according to documents filed with the NLRB. She is seeking back pay and re By Stephen Pounds Palm Beack Post Staff Writer PALM BEACH GARDENS Massages at the PGA National Resort & Spa from the hands of Teamsters union members? It could happen depending on the result of a union election the resort is fighting. The Teamsters best known as the rough-and-tumble truck drivers' union of Jimmy Hoffa are trying to organize the resort's 42 licensed massage therapists, the National Labor Relations Board disclosed this week. The therapists voted Jan. 16 on whether to form a collective bargaining unit and affiliate with the Teamsters. But the resort owned by developer E. Ll-wyd Ecclestone Jr.'s Ecclestone Organization already had appealed the union organizing effort to the NLRB. The ballots have been sealed and are being held by the NLRB until the agency's board can rule on the resort's appeal. There is no timetable for a decision. If the union campaign is successful, the therapists, including four men, will be represented by Teamsters Local 769 in Vero Beach. "The employer claims the unit is im 1 Unions in Palm Beach County seem Union membership .,iNation Market closed at: 8,904.44, up 88.19 Minute by minute to be bucking declines nationwide 8920! 11 1 1 I I.I I III Ia-AI I i 16.5 Union membership totals declined nationally and statewide last year while increasing in Palm Beach County, where 9 percent of the work force is organized. IMS 16U I I l I I L 91 '92 "93 W "95 "96 97 Florida Palm Beach County a9io f yy- 8900 -k-J 8890 8880 J 8860 V 8850 i, , 1 1 1 1 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 m. p.m. Dow: week by week 9000 1 1 1 J . 1 r-j 8800 8600 8400 8200 J 8000 -1 J 7400 INI, II. , 1 1, i 500i , J3r son. "We don't really know from samples this small." Hirsch and MacPherson surveyed 435 county workers to prepare their estimate. The BNA report does not survey smaller areas such as the Treasure Coast A more absolute measure of union success the percentage of the national and statewide work forces represented by unions also continued to fall last year. Labor economists generally attribute the decline to rapid growth of traditionally nonunion professions and weak national organizing efforts that only recently have been bolstered. The national decline has been consistent for at least 25 years. "Just the new rate of organizing is not enough to replace the normal rate of attrition," said Hirsch. "(The decline) is not going to bottom out for a while." Michelle Nemo, an AFL-CIO representative in West Palm Beach, said figures kept by her By Kris Hudson Palm Beack Post Staff Writer Union membership on the national and state levels continued its long decline last year, but Palm Beach County seems to be going against the trend depending on how you look at it Nationally, union membership totaled 16,109,900 in 1997, a net loss of nearly 160,000 members from a year earlier, according to the annual report of the Bureau of National Affairs. Florida's union ranks lost 26.800 members to end 1997 at 403,000, the BNA report says. Locally, the situation is slightly more difficult to assess. The BNA report credits Palm Beach County with 34,100 union members in 1997, an increase of 4,700 from 1996. But the report's authors caution that the samples used to gather union membership data on the county level are small, and therefore result in wide margins of error. "That's just a little misleading," said Barry Hirsch, a Florida State University professor who compiles the BNA union membership report each year with his colleague, David Mael'her- -- J i 20 J - J- J - J J - - 4 A 2 S Si 3 S ! 450! 24 1-7 1-21 2-4 2-18 2-4 2-18 12 I I l I HtrD4 , I ! I ! LY J '. 400 "91 92 "93 94 "95 9 97 Sreafcs rrxtxaie mrtff hoMayt Ocnng pnc doe nc have to mci the cton(( once from tne 0 brw Openvf, pnc can fed fading and npw that occurs stim ttw mamrt close Hover market change i measurd trom close to cuse. 91 "92 "93 94 95 "96 "97 Source Bu'eau o Nation Vais Union Metnoershic and Earnings Data Boc lUv see VMOHS10B ii ir-rri----fr - a..a a. k. a, .. f. a. ft . ti t-i riha k Hi tnn ft I I - M II ilH t iT - i .T .T-a

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