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photo courtesy of Alyssa Menes

People who love games – everything from ones on the computer to board games – will dominate downtown Seattle this weekend attending the convention known as PAX Prime. People there can try out brand new games, learn how to make their own, or attend panels, including one about writing music for video games.

Alyssa Menes, a young woman composer from New Jersey, is one of the panelists.   

She grew up playing classic Nintendo games from the 1980s, games such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Kid Icarus, and fell in love with those tunes.

Boeing is moving to settle a lawsuit accusing it of mishandling its 401(k) plan for thousands of workers. The case is part of a legal assault by a consumer rights attorney to stop companies from offering employees high-cost, bad retirement plans.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

In a long anticipated decision, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled the $15-an-hour minimum wage law narrowly approved by voters in the city of SeaTac in fall 2013 applies at Sea-Tac International Airport.

The court's 5-4 decision means that about 4,700 workers ranging from restaurant employees to baggage handlers should now be paid $15.24 an hour.

Nick Ut / AP Photo

A class-action lawsuit focused on the retirement accounts for about 190,000 Boeing employees and retirees heads to trial next week. The lawsuit, which was first filed nearly nine years ago, accuses Boeing of offering employees 401(k) retirement plans that charged excessive fees. 

AP Images

After a big public outcry, Seattle has scrapped a plan to allow a wider variety of housing types in areas zoned for single family homes.  But the idea is still alive in Tacoma, as the city considers changes to its comprehensive plan.

The proposal from Tacoma's Planning Commission would result in a mixture of lot sizes and home sizes, with some smaller houses such as cottages and detached mother-in-law units allowed.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing shares are up 8 percent this year and revenue has been climbing but the company still faces some big challenges. One of them is how to build 787s more cheaply.

Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told investors at a conference in New York the company is working hard on that.

AP Photo

Seattle had a starring role in the corruption scandal that engulfed the Teamsters union in the late 1950s. That’s when it became clear that Dave Beck, the Seattle-based Teamster president, was stealing money from the organization.

Notorious labor leader Jimmy Hoffa, known for his close ties to mobsters, rose to power after Beck, even after coming under federal scrutiny himself. Robert F. Kennedy, chief counsel for a Senate investigating committee, led the charge to bring him to justice.

Microsoft

Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 10, includes a feature they hope people will find particularly useful – a virtual kind of butler ready to help you manage your life.

The digital personal assistant is named Cortana and has already been available on Windows Phones. She takes her name from the artificial intelligence character in the video game Halo.

NASA / Flickr

Boeing says it’s confident the company will still be able to deliver 18 tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force two years from now in spite of problems that emerged in the most recent quarter. 

The KC-46 tanker program was the focus of a big fight between Boeing and Airbus for years before the contract finally went to Boeing. Now, the first tankers are being built in Everett.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Microsoft shares slumped more than 3 percent after the company reported a net loss of $3.2 billion in the most recent quarter as it wrote down much of the value of its Nokia acquisition.

Total revenue fell 5 percent in the June quarter, with a 13 percent drop in Microsoft's Devices and Consumer division, which included a steep drop in revenue from Windows due to declining personal computer sales. Revenue in the commercial side of the business was little changed from a year earlier.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing violated labor law by not giving information to its engineers’ union regarding plans for moving jobs out of the Puget Sound region, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge has ruled.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the company disagrees with the ruling and expects to appeal the decision.

I-5 Design and Manufacture / Flickr

Tacoma is ground zero for the state's next big minimum wage battle.

The city council voted 7-1 to put an initiative on the November ballot to hike the minimum wage in phases over the next three years, reaching $12 an hour in January 2018. After that, the minimum wage would rise every year at the rate of inflation.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he will contribute $30 million toward a nationwide program to hire low income 16-to-24-year olds. 

Phossil / Flickr

It’s been just over a year since Microsoft bought Nokia’s phone business, and now the software company is admitting it hasn’t gone according to plan. Microsoft will cut 7,800 jobs – mostly in that phone division – and take an impairment charge of $7.6 billion, almost as much as it spent to buy Nokia. 

Microsoft wouldn’t disclose how many jobs in the Puget Sound region will be lost, but a spokesman says most of the layoffs will happen outside the U.S. Overall, the job cuts amount to more than 6 percent of Microsoft’s workforce.

Washington Attorney General's Office

Here are some words that might give you a flashback to the darkest days of the mortgage meltdown: no-doc loans, teaser rates, robo-signing.

But long before abuses in the mortgage industry became dinner-table conversation, one quiet assistant attorney general in Washington state was already targeting predatory lending. That man is David Huey, and he's now retiring after a string of high-profile successes.

NASA

Two holographic devices made by Microsoft and NASA are scheduled to lift off in a spacecraft from Cape Canaveral this Sunday on a resupply mission headed for the International Space Station. Astronauts on board the space station, including Scott Kelly, will test out the high-tech headsets.

Here's one way they could be used: Say something breaks on the space station and you need to fix it. You're orbiting 200 miles away from earth and need to reach an expert at Mission Control in Houston.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The fast-track bill that passed in the U.S. Senate clears the way for President Obama to finish negotiating a new Pacific Rim trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

That’s welcome news to Washington businesses ranging from dairy farmers to potato growers to aerospace suppliers, as well as Northwest Door, a Puyallup-based maker of garage doors. 

AP Images

Labor groups, including ones in Washington state, have suffered a big defeat. The U.S. Senate has voted to move ahead with the so-called fast-track trade bill, paving the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which union leaders say ultimately could result in lost jobs.

For the Washington State Labor Council, blocking this fast-track bill has been high priority for the past 18 months, according to the group’s president, Jeff Johnson.

File Photo

(Corrected spelling of Muilenburg's name.)

Boeing says Chief Executive Jim McNerney will turn over the reins to Dennis Muilenburg, who has served as the aerospace company’s president and chief operating officer since 2013. Muilenburg will take over on July 1st.

McNerney will stay on as chairman of the board and will work at the company to help with the transition until he retires at the end of February 2016, the company said in a statement. Muilenburg has been elected a member of the board.

Muilenburg is 51 and has worked for Boeing for 30 years. He joined Boeing as an engineering intern in Seattle in 1985 and centered his career in the company’s defense business. He headed Boeing’s Defense Space and Security business from 2009 until 2013.  

But the commercial airplane side of the company is where Muilenburg faces a number of decisions to make soon, said aviation analyst Scott Hamilton. 

Decisions To Make

"The more pressing issues for Dennis are going to be what to do about the 747 production rate and whether or not to even continue the program," Hamilton said. Muilenburg will also have to decide "whether or not to acknowledge what everybody else already believes is going to happen and that is a rate reduction on the 777 classic in advance of the 777X."

Doug / Flickr

Boeing says it’s exploring the idea of building a new mid-sized jet, and Washington state officials say they’re already lobbying the company to build it here. 

The company says customers have been asking for something bigger than the 757, which is a single-aisle plane that was built in Renton from 1982 to 2005. Spokespeople for Boeing say the company is evaluating “low-risk solutions.” 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The vote in the U.S. House last Friday that effectively stalled President Obama’s push for a big Asia-Pacific trade deal has brought attention to a little known worker assistance program called Trade Adjustment Assistance. That program’s been around since the 1960s to help Americans who lose their jobs due to global trade.  

Under the President’s trade bill it would have been retooled and extended, but Democrats in the U.S. House torpedoed that idea as a way to put the brakes on the larger trade legislation. But in Washington state, thousands of workers have benefited from the assistance program over the years.

One town that’s felt the downsides of global trade is Aberdeen, Washington.

JSSWA Washington National Guard / Flickr

 (Updates to add that Rep. Adam Smith says he'll vote no.)

The U.S. House is expected to vote this week on a trade bill that’s drawn criticism from labor and environmental groups. It's known as the Trade Promotion Authority bill, and most of Washington state's Congressional delegation supports it. 

But now Democratic Reps. Denny Heck and Adam Smith say they'll join Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott in voting no. In doing so, they're standing up to President Barack Obama, who has urged passage of the bill.

BTC Keychain / Flickr

There’s long been a mystery surrounding the creation of Bitcoin, the anonymous, digital currency that emerged online in early 2009. The person who wrote the original code used the name Satoshi Nakamoto. He created a way to send a new kind of cash online without any intermediary, such as a bank.

But who is Satoshi Nakamoto? He communicated with other digital currency enthusiasts only by email – never in person or by phone. And then, in 2011, he stopped communicating altogether.

Ashley Gross / KPLu

A top Boeing executive says the airline industry is enjoying record profits because of increasing demand for air travel and a decline in oil prices.

Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of marketing, sounded optimistic when he spoke with reporters in a briefing ahead of the Paris Air Show, which begins June 15th. Tinseth says air passenger traffic grew six percent last year, above the historical rate of five percent, and should grow six percent again this year.

The court battle over wait times for Washington jail inmates to get mental health competency exams is not over.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

It’s coming down to the wire for the Export-Import Bank, the federal agency that offers financing and loan guarantees to help U.S. businesses export goods. Some Republicans want to let the bank’s charter expire at the end of this month. 

Washington state businesses are paying close attention to this fight because Boeing is the biggest beneficiary of the Export-Import Bank. Reuters recently reported that Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said the company might have to shift engineering and manufacturing jobs overseas if the bank disappears. 

Tim VanReenen / Flickr

Forty percent of jobs in Washington state are tied to trade, but the issue of creating new free trade agreements is divisive.

The U.S. House is expected to vote this month on so-called fast-track trade authority, which would give the president the power to negotiate trade agreements and send them to Congress for an up or down vote. Lawmakers wouldn’t be able to amend those trade deals. The fast-track bill also spells out certain labor and environmental standards Congress wants.

U.S. Labor Department

 

The Seattle office charged with enforcing the $15 minimum wage law has hired Dylan Orr to be its new director. Before taking the job Orr was the first openly transgender person appointed by the Obama Administration, or any presidential administration.

 

For the past five years Orr has worked under two Labor Secretaries. He’s is a West Seattle native and University of Washington Law School graduate.

 

“Seattle is my home. It’s my heart,” says Orr.

Port of Tacoma / Flickr

The cargo shipping industry is in the midst of big changes and that’s prompting the ports of Seattle and Tacoma to forge an alliance.

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero, the top regulator of the nation's ports, says the alliance is a "great idea."

Robert Karma / Flickr

The port of Seattle and airlines agree – improvements at the airport are needed to handle growing numbers of international passengers. But a central question remains:  who pays for the expansion? 

Traffic at Sea-Tac International Airport has been booming and is expected to keep climbing. But there’s dispute among airlines about how to pay for a new international arrivals facility, which would be a spot for people go through customs and pick up their baggage.

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