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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Aerospace
3:23 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Boeing Begins Process Of Building Its 777X Composite Wing Plant In Everett

Officials including Sen. Maria Cantwell (center) and Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner (second from right) get ready to begin demolition work.
Ashley Gross

Everett is a step closer to becoming the home of Boeing’s next wide-body jet assembly. The company has started demolition work on three buildings that will be torn down to make way for the new 777X composite wing center. 

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Labor Dispute
5:00 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Dozens Of Sakuma Berry Pickers Walk Out To Protest The Firing Of A Worker

Sakuma Brothers Farms workers walked out to protest the firing of an employee.
Ashley Gross

The ongoing labor dispute at a large Skagit Valley berry farm has flared up again. Workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms walked out on Monday to protest the firing of an employee who has been active in workplace organizing.

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Child Care Costs
3:54 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Sen. Murray Calls For Bigger Tax Credit For Child Care Costs

Sen. Patty Murray reads to children at a downtown Seattle daycare center.
Ashley Gross

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is pushing a plan to give parents a bigger tax credit for child care expenses. The high-ranking Democrat and former preschool teacher dropped in at a downtown Seattle daycare center Thursday to publicize the legislation, called the Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act.

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Emergency Shelters
4:00 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Seattle Faces Additional Shortage Of Homeless Shelter Space This Fall, Winter

Paul Sableman Flickr

More than 3,000 people were found sleeping outside in King County during the last one-night count of homeless people in January. And come fall and winter, the lack of emergency shelter space may worsen in Seattle. 

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Business
5:05 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Ferry Cancellation Coincides WIth Anacortes Arts Festival, Worrying Businesses

compdude787 Flickr

With four vessels out of service, users of Washington state’s ferry system are coping with disruptions all around Puget Sound. In Anacortes, the international ferry to Sidney, British Columbia is canceled through Friday, and business leaders in Anacortes say they’re concerned that hotels could be hurt on the town’s busiest weekend of the year.  

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Rail Safety
4:44 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

BNSF’s Proposal For One-Person Train Crews Concerns Rail Workers

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013, file photo, a BNSF Railway train hauls crude oil near Wolf Point, Montana.
Matthew Brown AP Photo

Railroad workers are speaking out against a proposal by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to have single-employee freight train crews. They say the idea is unsafe, especially in light of the increasing transportation of crude oil by rail.

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Business
9:26 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Seattle-Based Redfin May Get A Higher IPO Price After Zillow-Trulia Deal, Banker Says

Redfin

In the world of online real estate companies, Seattle-based Zillow has dominated headlines lately with its plans to purchase rival Trulia. Is that bad news for Redfin, another competitor based in Seattle?

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Business
10:38 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Engineers’ Union Files Charges Against Boeing, Alleges Age Discrimination

The Associated Press

The union representing Boeing engineers has filed age-discrimination charges against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

The move comes in the wake of a series of announcements by Boeing that said the company is shifting thousands of engineering jobs to other states.

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Business
3:34 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Seattle City Light Employee Raises Workplace Safety Concerns To City Council

Dana

On a morning when a fire at a Seattle City Light substation knocked out power to customers including the Monorail, the utility’s CEO happened to be in city council chambers answering questions about safety. 

Seattle City Council members brought CEO Jorge Carrasco into an energy committee meeting to discuss a string of recent embarrassing news stories, including Seattle City Light’s effort to suppress unflattering online search results.

But public testimony at the meeting steered toward the issue of employee safety.

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City Salary
5:04 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Seattle City Light CEO Apologizes For Mistakes, Admits He Did Ask For A Raise

Jorge Carrasco
Seattle.gov

The head of Seattle City Light wanted positive news stories and even hired a reputation-management firm to help achieve that. Instead, he’s been facing a flurry of negative news stories and on Thursday, CEO Jorge held a news conference to apologize for mistakes he’s made.

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Business
5:00 am
Wed June 25, 2014

How Changes To Role Of Export-Import Bank Could Affect Wash. State Businesses

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 29, 2013, a jet is parked in view of a giant bay door of the Boeing production facility in Everett, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington state businesses are following with growing anxiety a debate in the other Washington over the future of the Export-Import Bank. Today, members of a Congressional committee are holding a hearing on whether the obscure federal agency amounts to corporate welfare.

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Minimum Wage
3:52 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Port Of Seattle Proposes Lifting Airport Workers’ Minimum Wage To $13 By 2017

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 file photo, 16-year veteran skycap Fred Harris prepares multiple baggage tags for a traveler at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The Port of Seattle Commission has introduced a plan to set a higher minimum wage for workers at Sea-Tac International Airport.

The resolution would lift the minimum wage to $11.22 per hour this coming January, then increase the wage to $13 by 2017. The port would also require employers to provide paid days off to their workers.

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Minimum Wage
5:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Wash. High Court To Hear Appeal In SeaTac Minimum Wage Lawsuit

Supporters of SeaTac's $15 minimum wage packed a city council meeting last year
Ashley Gross KPLU

It’s been almost six months since some transportation and hospitality workers in the city of SeaTac got a raise to $15 an hour, but ground crew workers at the airport haven’t received that raise because of a county judge’s ruling.

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Workers' Rights
10:44 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Berry Pickers Battle Sakuma Bros. Farms In Court Over Housing Policy Change

Martin Barrera is hopeful that he'll be able to live in Sakuma's worker housing this summer along with his wife and three children
David Cravioto

Even as the summer berry season gets underway, some of the workers who pick those berries have been battling with a Skagit County farm in court. They’ve challenged Sakuma Brothers Farms over its new policy to no longer provide housing for workers’ family members. 

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Senior Thesis
5:00 am
Wed June 18, 2014

How A Former Top Boeing Manager Set Aside Fears And Smashed The Glass Ceiling

Carolyn Corvi in the 737 factory in Renton. After the Nisqually earthquake, Corvi spearheaded a redesign that moved engineers' offices closer to the factory floor.
Courtesy of Carolyn Corvi.

Editor's Note: “Senior Thesis” is a special week-long series that brings together venerable veterans in various fields with university students hoping to forge a career in the same field.

Jaime Katzer showed up at the studio in her best business attire, excited but a little nervous. The University of Washington senior was here to meet a woman who from the outside appears fearless.

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