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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Business
4:19 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Report says Theo Chocolate tried to quash union effort

dierken Flickr

Seattle-based Theo Chocolate is known for its focus on sustainability and fair trade. But a new report says the company doesn’t deserve its "Fair for Life" certification because it tried to prevent workers from unionizing a couple of years ago.

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Business
3:51 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Boeing's Dreamliner woes will likely dominate aerospace conference

The problems surrounding Boeing’s flagship 787 Dreamliner are likely to dominate an annual aerospace conference taking place north of Seattle this week.

The conference will draw about 400 people from airplane manufacturers, suppliers and airlines. Conference topics include biofuels, airplane interiors and the health of the airline industry.

But the issue looming over the entire meeting will be how long it will take to fix the Dreamliner’s batteries and get the plane back in the air for passengers.

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Business
3:47 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

How can Boeing make the 787's lithium-ion batteries safer?

Airbus may back away from using lithium-ion batteries on its next generation plane. Does that mean Boeing needs to do the same on its Dreamliner? Not necessarily, according to an expert at MIT.

Boeing has hundreds of people working overtime to figure out why the lithium-ion batteries on its Dreamliner are more prone to smoke or fire than the company had thought.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel says the company has used lithium-ion batteries in satellites for almost a decade and that they made the most sense for the fuel-efficient, light-weight 787.

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Boeing
10:45 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Do Boeing engineers have enough leverage to strike?

A Boeing 787 under construction in the Everett plant last September.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Listen to the story

  Boeing engineers in the Pacific Northwest are voting on whether to authorize a strike. The labor dispute is playing out against a dramatic backdrop.

The engineers are needed now more than ever to help fix the batteries on Boeing's flagship 787 Dreamliner.

Business
1:25 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Seattle Housing Authority warns applicants of fraudulent web sites

Fraudulent web sites are popping up on Google searches targeting applicants for low-income housing vouchers
Seattle Housing Authority

The Seattle Housing Authority says some people applying for low-income housing vouchers have fallen victim to fraudulent web sites.

The agency just this week opened its lottery for people trying to get on the waitlist for housing choice vouchers. Those are federally funded subsidies that help low-income people pay rent.

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Business
1:36 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

New apartment building for homeless people opens in South Lake Union

Plymouth Housing's new building for homeless people recovering from addictions
Plymouth Housing

King County has been working to reduce homelessness, but the need for housing and shelter is still large. In Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, 81 homeless people will soon move into a brand-new building called the Pat Williams Apartments.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Need housing? Rare opportunity for low-income vouchers opens up

Anyone in need of subsidized housing has a rare opportunity this month. For the first time in five years, the Seattle Housing Authority is opening its waitlist for low-income housing vouchers

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Business
2:20 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Boeing engineers and technicians to vote on strike authorization

'No nerds, no birds' is one of the slogans of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace
Ashley Gross KPLU

About 21,000 Boeing engineers and technicians will vote on whether to authorize a strike. The threat of a walkout comes at a bad time for Boeing as the company tries to fix its 787 Dreamliner.

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Business
9:05 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Boeing CEO pledges to keep boosting 787 production even amid FAA grounding

Boeing aims to double 787 Dreamliner production by the end of the year
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney says the company plans to keep boosting 787 Dreamliner production even while the planes are grounded for a battery investigation.

The grounding of the 787 Dreamliner worldwide after two battery failures dominated Boeing’s 2012 earnings conference call. McNerney says the company still plans to produce 10 Dreamliners a month by the end of this year – twice its current rate.

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Boeing
8:51 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Boeing Contract Offer Could Prompt Engineers Strike

A Boeing 787 under construction inside a production facility at a Boeing plant in Everett, Wash., last year.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:18 am

Boeing is scrambling to figure out why batteries malfunctioned on its 787, prompting officials to ground the airplane this month. And at a time when Boeing most needs its skilled engineers, they're weighing a possible strike. Union leaders are considering the company's final contract offer.

The standoff between Boeing and about 23,000 engineers and technicians — mostly in the Seattle region — has been brewing for months. Dozens of them recently packed a union hall south of Seattle for training in how to run a picket line.

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Business
8:26 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Boeing's 787 woes highlight deep ties to Japan

All Nippon Airways was the launch customer of the Boeing 787
Luke Lai

The grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has been a big blow to Japan – both its airlines and its aerospace industry. It’s a reflection of the strong ties between Boeing and Japan.

Japanese airlines have been very loyal to Boeing for decades. They have almost half of the 787 Dreamliners delivered so far. All Nippon Airways was the launch customer.

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Business
9:10 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Starbucks profit, sales rise, boosted by Asian demand

Workers at a Starbucks in Wuhan, China
Scott Le Duc

Starbucks says profit in its most recent quarter climbed 13 percent as the coffee giant benefits from a big push into Asia.

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Business
9:00 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Microsoft quarterly sales rose, but PC makers still waiting for a boost

People in line in New York for the Windows 8 launch in October 2012
Dell's Official Flickr Page

Microsoft says sales rose about 3 percent in its most recent quarter. But analysts say the company still has to contend with a slowing market for personal computers.

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Business
8:41 am
Fri January 25, 2013

NTSB says investigation of burned Boeing 787 battery may take a while

The burned auxiliary power unit battery on the JAL 787 that is being investigated by the NTSB
NTSB

The head of the National Transportation Safety Board says the investigation into what went wrong with two batteries on Boeing 787s will still take a while to finish. 

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Business
5:00 am
Fri January 18, 2013

How are employers observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

President Lyndon Johnson shakes hands with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., after handing him one of the pens used in signing the Civil Rights Act of July 2, 1964 at the White House in Washington.
U.S. Embassy New Delhi

If you’re looking forward to a long weekend, you’re in the minority. The number of employers closing for business on Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been inching up in recent years, but it’s still only 32 percent.

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