Business

Business
9:45 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Council Member Sawant Criticizes Murray’s Affordable Housing Committee

File image
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant is criticizing Mayor Ed Murray’s newly created affordable housing committee, saying the group is skewed toward developers with not enough low-income housing advocates.

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Labor Dispute
4:54 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Hyatt Hotel Workers Renew Call For Boycott, Rally For Fairness

A hotel housekeeper cleans a room.
Zachary Long Flickr

Hotel workers and their supporters planned to picket outside the Grand Hyatt in downtown Seattle Thursday evening, renewing a call for a boycott of the two Hyatt hotels in the city. 

The housekeepers at the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt at Olive 8 say they want a fair process to form a union. The hotels' owner, R.C. Hedreen Company, has declined to enter into a national agreement the workers say would protect their labor rights.

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Legal Marijuana
5:39 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Wash. Marijuana Tax Collections Starting To Roll In, Millions More Expected

This July 1, 2014, photo shows packets of a variety of recreational marijuana named "Space Needle" during packaging operations at Sea of Green Farms in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

In a manner of speaking, millions of dollars of "drug money" are starting to flow into Washington state coffers.

The state's chief economic forecaster updated budget writers Thursday on how much tax money they can expect from recreational marijuana now that the first state licensed stores have opened.

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Charitable Giving
5:01 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Seattle Nonprofit Veteran Says Push To Cut 'Overhead' Starves Charities

File image
401(K) 2012 Flickr

If you’re a shareholder in a company, you probably want that business to run as efficiently as possible. Lately it’s gotten easier to apply that mentality to nonprofit charities, too, with online rating sites that score charities on how much of your gift goes directly to the mission, and, in some cases, call out organizations with high overhead.

It sounds like a smart way to give, but Eric Walker says it’s a troubling trend.

“Wouldn’t that be a good thing if 99 cents of my dollar went to the soup in the soup kitchen?” Walker asked. “The problem is there's a whole bunch of work to put that soup in the pot and get it to the soup kitchen that there’s nobody to pay for.”

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Space Travel
3:10 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Bezos' Company Blue Origin Chosen To Build NASA's Rocket

FILE - This photo released by Blue Origin shows the development vehicle Goddard being moved back into the barn in remote Culberson County in West Texas, after a test flight on Nov. 13, 2006.
AP Photo/Blue Origin

The U.S. has been wanting to ferry astronauts from U.S. soil to the International Space Station, but for now, American astronauts rely on Russia to get to space. That’s about to change, now that Boeing and Blue Origin, another Northwest company, are on board to build the rocket.

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Unemployment
12:08 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

With Jobless Rate Holding Steady, 2014 On Track To Be 'Best Statewide Since 2005'

FILE - In this March 1, 2011 photo, Mariam Bario, recently relocated to Seattle from Kenya, fills out an application with others at a job fair, in SeaTac, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington state’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.6 percent in August — a half-percentage point below the national rate, according to a report released Wednesday by the state’s Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek said improving economic conditions bode well for job seekers going into fall.

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Business
4:59 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

How Seattle's Mayor Plans To Enforce The Minimum Wage

A supporter of Seattle's increased minimum wage carries a sign outside city hall.

With the passage of a complicated minimum wage law in Seattle, officials want to ensure the law is easily understood.  The mayor is proposing a new office called the Office of Labor Standards, that would serve as a clearinghouse for information and enforcement.

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Microsoft
3:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

With Minecraft, Microsoft Buys A Doorway To Millions Of Players

Two youngsters play in a Minecraft tournament Aug. 9 in Ascot, England.
Miles Willis Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Originally published on Sun October 5, 2014 6:52 am

The video game world saw a massive acquisition Monday when Microsoft confirmed it was buying Mojang, the company behind the immense world-building game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion.

Now let's be clear: While the ink on the deal might say Microsoft bought Mojang, they really just bought the game franchise Minecraft. The company has created and published a few other small games, but nothing in its portfolio is on the level of Minecraft.

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Business & Labor
4:27 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Railroad Workers Reject BNSF Plan To Have Single-Employee Train Crews

Loco Steve Flickr

A union representing railroad conductors and switchmen has rejected a plan from BNSF Railway to operate some freight trains with a single employee. Many union members said the proposal raised serious safety concerns. 

BNSF runs important routes throughout the Pacific Northwest, from British Columbia to Portland and across the country.

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Business & Labor
4:33 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Sequim, Shelton Reject Initiatives That Would Limit The Power Of Public Employee Unions

Battles over labor law are usually the stuff of Congress or state legislatures. But a conservative group says people who want to reduce the power of public employee unions should take matters into their own hands and change laws, city by city.

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Labor Dispute
3:47 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Tentative Contract For Home Care Workers Would Give Them $14 Per Hour In Two Years

The union that represents about 33,000 independent home care workers in Washington says it has reached a tentative contract with the state that would boost their average hourly pay to more than $14 by the beginning of 2017. 

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Northwest Wine
12:22 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Small Tract Of Northwest Wine-Growing Soil Attracting Big Outside Investment

Gewurztraminer grapes are seen at Kiona Vineyards on Red Mountain.
JJ Williams Kiona Vineyards

Wine harvest is underway in a small growing region in southeast Washington called Red Mountain. The dusty wedge of earth has been attracting an increasing amount of investment from winemakers from Napa, Canada and even Italy.

In the late-1970s, Red Mountain was mostly sagebrush. A primitive road slashed through the desert. Today, there are only small islands of desert peeking out from a sea of green grape vines.

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Business
5:00 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Has Microsoft’s Tax Policy Hurt Washington State’s Ability To Pay For Schools?

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify the timeline of when Microsoft opened its Nevada office and when the state lowered its royalty tax. The updated version also adds that Microsoft declined to say how much state royalty tax the company has paid.

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Labor Union
6:04 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Lawsuit Challenges Automatic Deduction Of Union Dues For Home Care Workers In Wash.

The Service Employees International Union Healthcare 775 Northwest represents about 33,000 independent home care workers in Washington state. Their union dues are automatically deducted by the state of Washington, which pays the workers using public money, including Medicaid funds.

But a lawsuit is challenging that arrangement, drawing on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (Harris v. Quinn), and that potentially threatens the union's financial strength. 

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