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14 East St. Louis firefighters will keep their jobs after the Firefighters Union and city officials reached an agreement over past due wages.
Mayor Alvin Parks says the firefighters agreed to take a deal that cuts a quarter-million dollars from their back pay. 14 firefighters, or about 1/3 of the city's force, had been targeted for layoffs on September 30. Union and city officials delayed the cuts until October 15 while they worked on an agreement.
Parks says he will use the $250,000 in savings to keep the firefighters on staff.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Boeing Co. announced Wednesday that it will end production of its C-17 Globemaster III military cargo jet and close the final assembly plant in Long Beach in 2015, putting as many as 3,000 jobs at risk as orders plunged in the fragile world economy. That includes about 300 workers in St. Louis.
"Our customers around the world face very tough budget environments. While the desire for the C-17's capabilities is high, budgets cannot support additional purchases in the timing required to keep the production line open," Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said in a statement. "What's more, here in the United States the sequestration situation has created significant planning difficulties for our customers and the entire aerospace industry."
Last week, the Long Beach plant delivered the last of 223 C-17s produced for the U.S. Air Force. Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager, said the company will complete 22 final aircraft: seven for the Indian Air Force, two for an international customer that she declined to name, and 13 that have not yet been sold.
"Despite strong international interest, we did not receive sufficient orders" to continue production, she said.
Boeing said it expects the announcement to result in a charge of less than $100 million this quarter, and that will not impact financial guidance for the year.
The company will begin reducing the C-17 workforce in 2014 at plants in Long Beach; Macon, Ga.; Mesa, Ariz.; and St. Louis. However, Boeing will make efforts to provide jobs elsewhere with the company, Bouchard said, and had plans to continue a repair and spare parts program for the planes through 2017 at least, Bouchard said.
With modernization and upkeep, the big planes are expected to last for decades, she said.
The massive, four-engine C-17 made its first flight in 1991, and military deliveries began about two years later. The plane is used to airlift tanks, supplies and troops as well as performing medical evacuations. It quickly became a war and disaster workhorse, prized for its ability to operate from basic airstrips and cover intercontinental distances with a full load without refueling.
With a payload of 160,000 pounds, it is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and their equipment.
Design work on the plane began at the million-plus square-foot Long Beach facility in 1981, when it was a McDonnell Douglas facility. Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s. Boeing has so far delivered 257 planes worldwide, at a cost of about $311 million each when research, development and construction costs are included.
The Long Beach plant has about 2,000 employees.
"It will be sad that we're closing this last major production facility in Southern California but again, we're all very proud to be part of that heritage," Bouchard said.
Boeing has about 20,000 employees in California, working on a variety of projects. That includes commercial aircraft, new markets such as cyber security and the largest satellite design and manufacturing factory in the world, Boeing said.
Seventeen East St. Louis firefighters will lose their jobs at the end of the month. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that City Manager Deletra Hudson sent a letter to the firefighters saying the city "has been forced to make some difficult financial decisions to meet its budgetary obligations."
The firefighters had been hired with federal grant money. When the grant ran out in March, East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks said the city found some extra money to keep the firefighters on the job until the end of September.
Parks told the paper that he expects eight of the laid off firefighters to be called back when the new city budget kicks in January 1st.
East St. Louis currently employs 54 firefighters.
An important healthcare safety net in St. Louis is laying off more than half its staff.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis ConnectCare has issued 60 day layoff notices to 88 employees, including nurses and other medical personnel. The non-profit organization runs an outpatient clinic at the former St. Louis Regional Medical Center and provides outpatient specialty medical services for the poor.
ConnectCare CEO Melody Eskridge told the Post that about 60 percent of the patients they serve are uninsured and about 23 percent receive Medicaid. She says ConnectCare must reorganized because for financial reasons.
Both Eskridge and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay say the Missouri Legislatures failure to expand Medicaid is at least partly to blame for ConnectCare's bleak financial outlook.