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

Law
4:56 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Police monitor to present plan to judge, police unions ask for an injunction

The Seattle Police Department needs to hire more sergeants to work closely with rank-and-file officers. That’s the view of an independent monitor, Merrick Bobb, who's looking into excessive use of force. He'll present his monitoring plan to a federal judge tomorrow for approval.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Next REI leader will have to confront the Amazon.com threat

Steve Cyr

REI may soon need a new leader if CEO Sally Jewell is confirmed as Interior Secretary. The next person to lead the outdoor gear retailer will confront a threat from another Northwest company – Amazon.com.

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Business
4:46 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Former FAA chief explains FAA and NTSB relationship

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

Federal safety investigators so far have been unable to pinpoint the root cause of a 787 Dreamliner battery fire. At the same time, the Federal Aviation Administration is weighing whether to let Boeing move ahead with tests of a new battery design. Does the FAA have to wait for the safety investigation to finish? The short answer is, no.

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Business
4:23 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Longshoremen to appeal judge's ruling tossing out their arena lawsuit

Longshoremen in Seattle plan to appeal a recent judge’s ruling that threw out their challenge to a new Sonics basketball arena.

The longshoremen’s union argued that the city of Seattle, King County and investor Chris Hansen violated state environmental laws when they signed an agreement for the arena. They said that memorandum of understanding focuses too much on the site Hansen prefers – in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. And that’s before an environmental review is finished.

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Business
8:35 am
Mon March 4, 2013

More case workers needed to help tackle homelessness, group advises

A homeless woman at 3rd Avenue and Union in downtown Seattle
Alex O'Neal

More case workers are needed in Seattle to help move people out of emergency shelters into other kinds of housing. That’s one of the messages the Seattle City Council will hear today as they get an update on ways to tackle homelessness.

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Business
5:00 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Boeing's latest move confirms nationwide trend to end pensions

Members of Boeing's engineering union tally contract votes. The company asked engineers and technicians to give up the pension for new hires
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing has been – until recently – one of the last remaining places in the corporate world where you could still get a pension in retirement. Now Boeing’s technical workers are being asked to drop the pension for new employees – it’s part of a broader strategy at the company.

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Business
4:16 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Judge frees two activists who refused to testify about anarchism

Two activists released say they had nothing to do with the May Day violence, but they were subpoenaed to testify to a grand jury
Erin Hennessey KPLU

Two young people who refused to testify to a grand jury about their ties to anarchists are getting out of prison today. They spent more than five months confined to a federal detention center in SeaTac until a judge ordered them released.

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Business
4:55 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Analyst calls SPEEA decision on Boeing contract 'total capitulation'

Boeing’s refusing to make any improvements in the contract it has offered technical workers. The union says it will now put that same offer out for another vote, a move that an analyst characterizes as giving up.

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Business
9:10 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Space Needle workers say labor dispute is escalating

Chethan Shankar

A labor dispute is heating up between workers at the Space Needle and the private owners of Seattle’s most famous landmark.

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Business
4:53 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Judge throws out lawsuit against Sonics arena

Investor Chris Hansen is trying to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle
Marie Young-Cain

A King County judge has thrown out a lawsuit aimed at blocking a deal to build a new basketball arena in Seattle. That removes one obstacle to bringing back the Sonics NBA team.

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Business
2:58 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Boeing plans more defense cuts as U.S. budget shrinks

A C-17 Globemaster III airlifter
David Shane

Boeing executives say they’re cutting costs out of the defense side of their business to cope with shrinking U.S. military spending.

Here in the Puget Sound region, we associate Boeing with commercial jets. But the company has a massive defense business making everything from radar systems to fighter jets. That side of the business has trimmed billions of dollars in recent years because of declining U.S. military spending.

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Business
5:00 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Boeing engineers' union to tally strike authorization vote

Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing is facing the specter of a possible engineers’ strike even as the company races to get the 787 Dreamliner back in the air. Tonight, the engineers’ union will tally votes to see whether members have rejected the contract and authorized a strike.

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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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