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."

Pages

Business
3:17 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

King County launches web site for electronic property tax appeals

  People who are anxious about the possibility of their property taxes going up have a new resource to turn to. King County just launched a web site to allow homeowners to appeal their property valuations electronically. They can use the site to look up comparable sales and submit that information along with the appeal.

Read more
Business
5:00 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Washington aerospace companies celebrate Airbus test flight (quietly)

The Airbus A350 takes off sucesfully on its maiden flight.
Bob Edme The Associated Press

Each maiden voyage of a Boeing airplane has been cause for much celebration in Washington state. But now there’s a big chunk of the local aerospace industry that also supplies Boeing’s main rival, Airbus. So when a new Airbus plane takes to the skies – like the A350 earlier today – a large contingent of workers here in Boeing’s backyard watches with pride.

Read more
Politics
4:15 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Auditor: Record-keeping at Seattle Center parking garages is lax

The state auditor says the Seattle Center hasn't done a good job of making sure people pay at three city-owned parking garages. 

The three garages took in almost $5 million in revenue last year that went into the Seattle Center budget. State auditor Troy Kelley says he doesn’t have an estimate of how much money the Center may have lost out on, but he says his team found a lot of problems with record-keeping at the garages – one on Fifth Avenue North, one on Mercer Street and one on First Avenue North. 

Read more
Business
5:00 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Are fees eating away at your 401(k) retirement account?

Tax Credits

In the wake of the recession, many people are trying to rebuild their retirement accounts. That can be tough if investment companies charge high fees. A recent "Frontline" special called the Retirement Gamble investigated how fees can eat away at people’s savings.

Read more
Business
1:26 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Alaska Air reaches tentative deal with its pilots

Frank Kovalchek

Alaska Air has reached a tentative five-year contract with its nearly 1,500 pilots. It’s a bright note in an industry known for testy labor relations.

Read more
Business
3:18 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Amazon adds Dora the Explorer, other kids' shows with Viacom deal

Alan Alfaro

Amazon has signed a deal with Viacom for online rights to hundreds of TV shows. But the most important shows are ones geared toward kids.

Read more
Cafe Racer Anniversary
5:01 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Cafe Racer gunman's father : I 'should’ve kept coming back at it'

Walter Stawicki, center, talks with gun owners Brian Barnes, left, Rob Stratton, middle, and Eric Diesch, right, before the "StandUP Washington" rally and march Sunday Jan. 13, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

For Walt Stawicki, the past year has been one of grieving and what-ifs. Exactly one year ago, his 40-year-old son Ian Stawicki, killed himself in West Seattle after fatally shooting five people, including four at Café Racer.

Stawicki is pleased the Legislature passed a law making it easier to commit someone involuntarily for psychiatric care. He says he and his wife struggled to find the right care for their son, especially after they took a trip and noticed their son had deteriorated.  

Read more
paid sick-leave
5:00 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Tacoma group pushes paid sick leave ordinance

pixieclipx Flickr

A group in Tacoma is starting a campaign to get a paid sick leave ordinance passed. The supporters are taking a cue from the city of Seattle, which last year began mandating that businesses offer paid time off for illnesses. 

Healthy Tacoma is a coalition of nonprofits, labor unions, and religious groups pushing to get the sick-leave ordinance passed. They say about 40,000 workers in Tacoma can’t take a paid day off work when they or a family member is sick. Many of those people work in food service, increasing the chance that they’ll spread the illness to others. 

Read more
Business
2:39 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Amazon shareholders tell Bezos: Enough with the violent products

Associated Press

Once a year, Amazon shareholders have a chance to ask billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos anything they wish. At this year’s annual meeting, a number of them urged Bezos to stop selling brutal video games and other products that glorify violence. 

Read more
Alaska Air labor issues
6:04 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Workers stage protest at Alaska Air shareholders meeting

Alaska Air workers are seen protesting outside the annual shareholders meeting.

 (Editor's note May 23, 2013: Corrects to clarify that baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and other airport workers have signed cards to join unions but have not been recognized as unions by their employers. Until that happens, they don't have legal status as collective bargaining units.)

Dozens of protesters including flight attendants, baggage handlers, and religious leaders turned Alaska Air Group’s annual shareholders meeting into a raucous affair on Tuesday.

The protest began outside with chanting flight attendants who haven’t reached a new contract with the company after 18 months of negotiations.

Read more
public facilities
8:01 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Seattle wants to give free-standing public toilets another go

The so-called Portland Loo is seen in this photo.
City of Portland

Five years after Seattle had to get rid of its free-standing public toilet structures, Mayor Mike McGinn wants to give it another go, this time with a new design. 

Read more
Airport worker wage
5:01 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Sea-Tac workers aim for pay raise with ballot initiative

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Workers at Sea-Tac Airport are trying to get a big pay raise by way of a ballot initiative. If approved, the increase would put them 60 percent over the state’s minimum wage of $9.19 per hour.

Read more
digital culture
5:01 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Why I ditched my smartphone

Ashley Gross' "dumb phone" is seen next to her co-workers' smartphones in this photo.

By the end of this year, about one and a half billion people will have a smartphone. That’s one for every five people on the planet—and remember, that number includes babies.

But I'm one of the ones who longs for the good old days—you know, when phones were just used to call people. It's not that I'm a complete Luddite; I just have a hard time restraining myself with such a cool gadget and not letting it take over my life. That's why I decided to ditch my smartphone. 

Read more
Arts
4:25 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Seattle Symphony, Opera musicians approve contract

Jessie Hodge

Labor disputes have shut down performances across the country, but Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera fans don’t have to worry about cancelations anytime soon. The musicians have agreed to a new contract. 

Read more
Boeing in Washington
3:50 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Inslee begins effort to secure Boeing's next jet

FILE - In this June 14, 2012 photo, a worker on the Boeing 737 assembly line works under a wing in Renton, Wash.
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

  Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to streamline government permitting and review aerospace incentives in order to help convince Boeing Co. to build its 777X jetliner in the state.

Inslee said Thursday that other strategies that lawmakers need to implement include improving the state's transportation corridors and investing in education and workforce training programs. He added those efforts can help preserve thousands of jobs.

"Today what we are doing is starting for the competition not just for the 777x but for the replacement of the 737. We’re getting ready for that today. We’re thinking long-term," the governor said.

Read more

Pages