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Risky business at West Coast ports

BY HBSDEALER Staff

There’s still no resolution to the ongoing contract talks affecting West Coast port workers.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to escalating tension between labor and West Coast port operators. The International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association are in the process of negotiating a new contract to replace one that expired on July 1. A work stoppage on the West Coast would disrupt the flow of goods through America’s busiest ports.

"A shutdown of America’s West Coast ports would strand cargo destined for stores and consumers across the United States affecting consumers and retailers while causing considerable harm to the economy at large. Given the enormous risk posed by a shutdown of the nation’s busiest ports, we urge all parties to quickly resolve these issues and ensure that the critical flow of commerce is not interrupted,” said RILA President Sandra Kennedy.

In a letter sent today, RILA joined 105 other associations and urged President Obama to step in to resolve a work stoppage in order to prevent the significant economic damage that will otherwise result.

Read the letter here.

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More than half of homeowners are putting off projects

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Black + Decker has examined the procrastination habits of homeowners across the country, and what it found will probably not shock you if you’ve ever had a perennially leaky gutter.

Its survey of 700 U.S. homeowners between the ages of 25 and 45 found that more than half (52%) are currently sitting on unfinished home improvement projects. Out of those people, 78.7% have to or more projects on the to-do list.

The biggest factor in this? Lack of time. However, the more acute the sense of "time running out," especially as far as approaching family events go, the more motivated homeowners become to wrap up their projects.

The second biggest reasons homeowners procrastinate? Insufficient finances, followed by lack of skills in third place.

Additionally, the most common types of unfinished projects were room improvements such as repairs, maintenance, updates and upgrades, followed by wall-related projects like plaster repair, painting and shelf installation.

Black + Decker is using this as campaign fodder in its Your Big Finish initiative, which gives contestants the chance to win weekly Black + Decker products and a grand prize of $10,000 for finishing their projects. Select projects will also be highlighted on the Your Big Finish website and a Times Square billboard. The contest runs through Dec. 28.

“We’ve all been there – the project is halfway done but life gets in the way," said Black + Decker president Allison Nicolaidis. "Walk one step away from a project and there’s a chance you’ll never go back. Your Big Finish is an exciting way to motivate homeowners to finish the undone projects, big or small."

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Dremel launches DIY-friendly butane torches

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Dremel has introduced the VersaFlame and VeraTip tools, two butane torches for multi-purpose DIY applications such as soldering and brazing. 

"The VersaFlame and VersaTip offer our consumers compact, multifunctional tools that are easy to use," said Ed Pchola, product director for Dremel. "With an extra-wide variety of applications in and around the house, these two new tools will help consumers complete projects and crafts with precision."

The Dremel VersaFlame’s main claim to fame is its flame control features for both torch and standard flame operation. It’s designed for use in area heating, pipe sweating, soldering, heat-shrinking wires and even culinary brazing. It boasts an integrated ignition switch, flame control slider and a butane tank capacity that’s good for up to 90 minutes of runtime.

Meanwhile, the VersaTip gets into nitty-gritty applications and can be used as a soldering iron and precision torch. The precision flame solders, heats, cuts, welds, shrinks and creates decorative flourishes.

Both tools will be available online at Amazon.com starting this month, as well as at Menard’s beginning in December.

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