Ashley Gross

Business and Labor Reporter

Ashley Gross is KPLU's business and labor reporter, covering everything from Amazon.com and Boeing to garbage strikes. She joined the station in May 2012 after working for five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

She studied history at Brown University and earned a master's in international affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two sons.

One of Ashley's most memorable moments in radio happened several years ago in Northwest Alaska: "I was visiting an alcohol and drug rehab program in the tiny village of Selawik. It helps Alaska Natives recover by helping them get back in touch with their subsistence lifestyle. It was spring, which meant the river was still frozen - barely. We went out on snowmachines to go ice-fishing, but late in the day, as we headed back, the river had melted to the consistency of a Slurpee. It was a harrowing ride and a good lesson in trust - I rode with my eyes closed, clinging for dear life to the woman driving. A week later, three people drowned trying to ride a snowmachine over that river, and that's when I realized just how dangerous life in rural Alaska can be."

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Election 2014
5:00 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Why Do Unions Want To Run Child Care Teacher Training In Seattle?

SEIU Local 925 and American Federation of Teachers are sponsoring Proposition 1A, one of two competing preschool ballot measures
seiuhealthcare775NW Flickr

Seattle voters will have to choose between two ballot measures that both aim to help improve education for preschoolers, but in different ways.

The city’s plan, Proposition 1B, would set up a pilot program of subsidized preschool using a property tax levy.

The competing measure, Proposition 1A, is sponsored by two unions, Service Employees International Union Local 925 and American Federation of Teachers, a national teachers’ union affiliated with AFL-CIO.

Prop. 1A calls for a quicker path to a minimum wage of $15 an hour for child care teachers and would set a city policy that states no family should have to spend more than 10 percent of the household income on child care.

One other provision that’s drawn less attention is a plan to set up a system of training in which the unions would play a bigger role. 

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Aerospace
2:45 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Analyst Says Falling Oil Prices Could Dampen Demand For Boeing's New Aircraft

A Boeing 787-9 taxis before taking off on a first flight of the new aircraft Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Boeing reported that earnings and revenue climbed in its most recent quarter. But the stock fell on worries about when the 787 Dreamliner program will become profitable. One analyst says there’s another concern for investors: the recent drop in oil prices.

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Homelessness
1:08 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Listen: The Moment That Inspired A Seattle Man To Sideline His Business And Help The Homeless

Rex Hohlbein
Courtesy of Rex Hohlbein

Seattle architect Rex Hohlbein had been designing luxury homes for decades when his focus suddenly turned to the homeless.

Hohlbein says it all started during his morning bike ride to the office. He met a man named Chiaka. This encounter would change his life. 

Take 87 seconds to hear Hohlbein tell his story:

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Inner Lives
5:00 am
Wed October 22, 2014

How One Theologian Managed To Keep Her Faith Through Struggles With Depression

courtesy of Dr. Monica Coleman

Monica Coleman has an impressive resume (bachelor’s degree from Harvard, master’s of divinity from Vanderbilt, Ph.D. from Claremont School of Theology), and she doesn’t shy away from talking about tough or deeply personal things.

She’s spoken out about her own trauma of having been raped and her disappointment with the inept and sometimes callous response from church leaders to victims of sexual violence.

But as open as Coleman has been about her experience as a victim of sexual assault, there was another part of herself she kept hidden for years — her struggle with debilitating depression.

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Life After The Military
5:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Joint Base Lewis-McChord To Hold Its Largest-Ever Jobs Summit

This photo was taken at a Joint Base Lewis-McChord jobs fair in 2013.
JBLM PAO Flickr

More than 8,000 service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be leaving the military in each of the next few years as the military draws down its force levels. The base is aiming to help them find work, and this week it’s holding its biggest ever jobs summit

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Business
3:20 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Former Boeing Executive Alan Mulally’s Advice On Labor: 'Working Together Works’

Alan Mulally
Thomas Hawk Flickr

Against a backdrop of Boeing labor relations that one analyst described as the worst he’s ever seen, former Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Alan Mulally delivered some advice on how to boost morale: work together and include everyone.

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Economy
4:29 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Wash. State Has Highest Cellphone Tax Rates In U.S., Says Report

401(k) 2012 Flickr

Washingtonians pay the highest cellphone bill tax rates in the country while Oregonians enjoy the lowest tax burden, according to a new report.

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Business
8:33 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Ports Of Seattle And Tacoma Form Alliance To Better Compete Against Canadian Rivals

The Port of Tacoma
Tender Young Pony of Insomnia Flickr

After years of stealing each other’s customers, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are going to work together. They’re not merging into one entity, but they’ve formed what they’re calling a seaport alliance to jointly run the marine cargo terminals and market to customers together. 

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Business
10:09 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Seattle City Council Sets New Rules For 'Micro-Housing' Development

J Flickr

Seattle City Council members have moved to regulate so-called micro-housing developments, saying they’ve struck a compromise between allowing these tiny apartments to get built while at the same time allowing more community input on design.  

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Workers' Rights
5:00 am
Mon October 6, 2014

U.S. High Court To Hear Amazon Warehouse Workers’ Case Over Security Screenings

FILE - An Amazon.com employee pulls a pallet of empty boxes past the book storage area at their Fernley, Nevada warehouse.
Scott Sady AP Photo

Amazon warehouse workers will have their moment before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday when the justices will hear arguments in a case over whether the workers should be paid for time spent waiting to go through security screenings. 

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Aerospace
4:18 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Unions Want Tougher Tax Breaks That Make It Harder For Boeing To Move Jobs

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 29, 2013, a Boeing 777 jet is partially surrounded by scaffolding while being assembled at the company's production plant in Everett, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Unions representing Boeing engineers and machinists are pushing Washington state lawmakers to toughen a package of aerospace tax breaks passed last year. They’re aiming to make it harder for Boeing to move work out of state.

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Business
10:58 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Protesters Disrupt Seattle Housing Authority Hearing With Chants Of `Rent Hikes — No!'

Ashley Gross KPLU

Protesters broke out in chants and disrupted a public hearing held by the Seattle Housing Authority on Monday night. They were protesting the agency’s plan to raise rents for tenants who are deemed able to work. 

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Aerospace
5:11 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Boeing Plans Major Shift Of Defense Work Out Of Washington, Affecting 2,000 People

Two Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor's fly over the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race before the green flag at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Talladega, Alabama.
Dan Lighton AP Photo

Boeing plans to move a large portion of its defense-related business out of Washington state, affecting about 2,000 people.

The company is shifting defense services and support work to Oklahoma City and St. Louis, as well as some additional work to Florida and Maryland. The programs affected include support work for Airborne Warning and Control Systems, Airborne Early Warning and Control as well as the F-22 Raptor.

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Business
9:45 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Council Member Sawant Criticizes Murray’s Affordable Housing Committee

File image
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant is criticizing Mayor Ed Murray’s newly created affordable housing committee, saying the group is skewed toward developers with not enough low-income housing advocates.

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