Business

Northwest Farmers
4:03 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Upstream Of Damaged Dam, Farmers Can’t Reach Columbia River For Irrigation

Anna King

Thousands of acres of high-value cherry and apple orchards behind the damaged Wanapum Dam are at serious risk in eastern Washington.

It turns out farmers don't have long enough straws to pump out of the Columbia River now that the water has been lowered there to stabilize the dam.

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Minimum Wage
3:08 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Parking Lot Workers In SeaTac Say Their Boss Isn't Paying The $15 Minimum Wage

Last December, workers marched from SeaTac to Seattle in support of $15 minimum wage.
Ashley Gross

At the beginning of the year, the minimum wage in the city of SeaTac jumped to $15 an hour for workers at large hotels and parking lot companies. But employees at one parking lot business have complained to the city that they still haven’t gotten the raise almost three months later. 

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Labor Dispute
4:20 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Space Needle Owners Violated Federal Labor Law, Administrative Law Judge Finds

File image
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

The owners of Seattle’s most famous landmark, the Space Needle, violated federal labor law, according to an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board. 

The landmark that dominates Seattle's skyline is owned by Space Needle LLC, a private company owned by the descendants of the construction entrepreneur Howard S. Wright. The company he founded later built the Space Needle for the 1962 World's Fair. A spokesman says the company plans to appeal the judge's decision.

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Boeing Dreamliner
2:13 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Boeing Inspecting About 40 Undelivered Dreamliners For Possible Wing Cracks

Dreamliners in production at Boeing's Everett factory
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing says it is inspecting about 40 Dreamliners that may have hairline cracks in their wings. No planes in service are affected; the issue only affects some aircraft still in production.

Company spokesman Doug Alder says the wing manufacturer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, told Boeing that a change in their manufacturing process may have caused the cracks, which Alder says are very small.

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Business
3:06 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Boeing Shifts 26,000 Non-Union Workers In The Seattle Region Away From A Pension

Boeing plans to shift its non-union employees away from a defined benefit pension plan, including about 26,000 workers in the Puget Sound region. 

In January, machinists here narrowly accepted a similar pension freeze to win the 777X production line. Now, Boeing’s including non-union employees in the retirement plan change because the company says its pension obligation is unsustainable.

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Business
5:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

$15 Minimum Wage Forum Draws Heated Arguments On Both Sides

Workers and activists showed up to speak in favor of a $15/hour minimum wage
Ashley Gross KPLU

Business owners, union members, restaurant employees and activists each got two minutes Wednesday night to say their piece about a higher minimum wage in Seattle. The city council and a committee appointed by Mayor Ed Murray held the forum as they weigh possibly hiking the wage floor to $15 an hour. 

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Minimum Wage
5:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Regional Economist Dick Conway Says $15 Minimum Wage Is 'Not Outrageous’

File image
AP Photo

 (Editor's note: This has been updated to include Conway's analysis on the minimum wage that he presented in his March 2014 issue of The Puget Sound Economic Forecaster.)

For hours on Wednesday, people spoke up both for and against the proposal to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. At 60 percent higher than the state’s current minimum wage, it’s an eye-popping number. 

But well-known regional economist Dick Conway says the figure is not so crazy.

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Economy
1:33 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Washington Recoups Great Recession Job Losses, With Caveat

File image
Mary Altaffer AP Photo

It took four years, but Washington has now recovered more jobs than it lost during the Great Recession. But Wednesday’s announcement comes with a caveat.

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Minimum Wage
4:43 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Labor Secretary Mum On Whether Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage Idea Makes Sense

FILE - In this April 18, 2013, file photo, Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination.
Molly Riley AP Photo

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez says he supports the idea of a higher minimum wage, but he wouldn’t comment on whether Seattle’s proposed rate of $15 per hour makes sense. Perez made the comments during a visit to Boeing’s Renton factory Monday.

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Labor Unions
5:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

UW Professor Traces Growing Income Gap To The Collapse Of Organized Labor

Low-wage workers march from SeaTac to Seattle to advocate for a $15 per hour minimum wage.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Income inequality in the U.S. is at its highest point in 85 years, and politicians are debating ways to raise the living standard for low-wage workers. Globalization, technology and deregulation are often cited as factors behind the widening income gap. But Jake Rosenfeld at the University of Washington says there’s one cause that’s often overlooked: the decline of organized labor.

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Minimum Wage
4:28 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Seattle Business Owners: $15 Minimum Wage Could Prove 'Possibly Fatal'

Peter Aaron
Ashley Gross

Seattle businesses are increasingly voicing concerns over the possibility of the city hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour. On Thursday they brought those concerns to a mayor-appointed committee tasked with evaluating whether such a high minimum wage makes sense.

At $9.32 per hour, Washington state already has the highest minimum wage in the country, and $15 an hour represents a 60 percent increase.

“That kind of an immediate jump would have critical — and I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to say possibly fatal — consequences for our business,” said Peter Aaron, who owns Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

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Business
2:07 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Record Bonuses For Alaska Airlines Employees

Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees received an annual bonus Wednesday totaling $84 million.

Seattle-based Alaska Air Group says the incentive pay amounts to about 9 percent of annual pay or five weeks' pay for most workers.

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Business
5:07 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Wireless Expert: T-Mobile CEO's 'Renegade' Approach Appears To Be Paying Off

FILE - T-Mobile CEO John Legere speaks during a news conference Tuesday, March 26, 2013 in New York.
Mary Altaffer AP Photo

T-Mobile lost more money in the most recent quarter than it did a year earlier, but one longtime wireless expert says the Bellevue company’s bid to shake up the mobile-phone industry appears to be paying off. 

T-Mobile has long been considered an afterthought in the mobile world, much smaller than giants like Verizon and AT&T. But for the past year and a half, the company’s had a new CEO, John Legere, who’s used that underdog status as an advantage.

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Tax Refund
5:00 am
Mon February 24, 2014

TurboTax Offers Taxpayers Option Of Getting Refund In Amazon Gift Card

File image
Paul Sakuma AP Photo

From car dealers to appliance stores, businesses know tax refund season is an important time of year. The average tax refund so far this year is $3,200 and more than three-quarters of taxpayers get a refund. 

Seattle's Amazon.com undoubtedly gets a boost already from that influx of cash. But this year, the company is aiming for more.

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Affordable Housing
5:59 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

As Ballard Complex Residents Face 75 Percent Rent Hike, Licata Calls For Future City Action

Residents protest outside Ballard's Lockhaven Apartments on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.
Ashley Gross

Options are running out for tenants of an apartment complex in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood who are facing much higher rents once the new owner renovates their units. Seattle City Council members say more needs to be done to make sure other renters don’t face a similar plight.

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