Business

Workers' Rights
4:43 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Judge: Sakuma Brothers Farms Must Provide Housing For Migrant Workers' Families

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.
Ashley Gross

A Skagit County Superior Court judge sided with migrant berry pickers on Thursday by ordering their employer, Sakuma Brothers Farms, to provide housing for the workers' family members. 

The workers took the farm owners to court over a new policy to no longer provide housing for workers’ family members. They argued the policy was intended as punishment for workers who went on strike last year.

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Growing Marijuana
8:49 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Legal Wash. State Pot Stores Opening Soon, But Production Lags

Eric and Katey Cooper stand amid their flowering marijuana.
Anna King

Eric Cooper has a sort of "The Dude" vibe: Hawaiian shirt, leather brown sandals and a bushy silver goatee. He smoked weed for the first time when he was about 14. He’s a former contractor and registered nurse. Cooper grew medical marijuana, and now he’s one of the owners of Monkey Grass Farms in Wenatchee, Washington.

Monkey Grass Farms is one of the big boys: a tier-3 Washington state-licensed indoor pot grow. That means they can nurture about 21,000-square-feet of marijuana plants.

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Minimum Wage
7:32 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Washington Supreme Court To Hear Sea-Tac Airport Minimum Wage Fight

File image
AP Photo

Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 per hour minimum wage apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question today.

The case pits airport vendors, Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle against supporters of the higher wage.

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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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Jobless Rate
1:34 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Wash. Job Growth Slowed, But Unemployment Rate Holding Steady

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

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.1 percent, according to the latest numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek says the pace of job gains slowed down in the month of May, but Washington is still on course to record the strongest year of employment growth since the Great Recession.

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State Licensure
4:03 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

African Hair Braider Sues Wash. Department Of Licensing, Seeks Clarity On Regulations

Salamata Sylla braids her daughter's hair at a press conference announcing her lawsuit.
Ashley Gross KPLU

The owner of an African hair-braiding salon has filed a suit against the state Department of Licensing in the latest move by a cottage industry that has fought to limit what they call unnecessary regulations.

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Business
10:27 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Delta's New Seattle Hub Could Lead To Lower Airfares

Port of Seattle fire trucks salute a Delta Airbus A330 as it departs for Hong Kong on Monday.
Courtesy of Port of Seattle

Can two airlines be partners and rivals at the same time? Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are long-term contractual allies. But now the relationship is being tested.

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Cyber-Currency
10:16 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Expedia Begins Accepting Bitcoin For Hotel Bookings

FILE - This April 3, 2013 file photo shows bitcoin tokens in Sandy, Utah.
Rick Bowmer AP Photo

Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia just announced it will start accepting bitcoin for hotel bookings. The online travel site is embracing the volatile, virtual currency on what it calls a "test-and-learn" basis.

Effective as of Wednesday, the digital currency will be a payment option, but only for hotel bookings on the company's U.S. site. 

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Workers' Rights
4:50 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Sakuma Brothers Farms To Pay $500,000 To Berry Pickers

File image of berry pickers at work at Sakuma Brothers Farms.
Bellamy Pailthorp

Sakuma Brothers Farms, one of Washington state’s largest berry farms, has agreed to pay $850,000 to settle a lawsuit filed its workers.

The berry pickers sued last year, alleging they were denied rest breaks and weren’t paid for all the hours they worked. The lawyers representing the pickers said this is the state's largest settlement involving farmworker wages and hours on record.

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Business
3:47 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Following Seattle's Minimum Wage Increase, Home Care Workers Push For $15 An Hour

Ubah Aden, a home care worker in Seattle, at a rally calling for a new state contract that phases in a $15/hour minimum wage for independent home care workers
Ashley Gross KPLU

The union that represents home care workers across Washington state is calling for a new contract that phases in a $15-an-hour minimum wage. They’re hoping Seattle’s recent vote to gradually hike the wage floor will help bolster their argument. 

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Housing Development
4:20 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

HUD: Seattle APodment Developer Must Make Units Accessible For Disabled People

A Seattle apartment development company that has been building so-called aPodments will have to retrofit one of its complexes to make the building accessible for people with disabilities following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

APodments are micro-housing developments that have been springing up around Seattle in the past couple of years. They consist of a number of small apartments with shared kitchens and common areas. 

Centro LLC is the owner and developer of the building in question, a 56-unit Capitol Hill property managed by Calhoun Property Management.

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