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."

Ways to Connect

MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital

Nurses at Tacoma General Hospital held an informational picket on Monday before heading back to the bargaining table with MultiCare this week. The union, the Washington State Nurses Association, said one of its big issues is ensuring adequate care for patients while nurses take rest breaks.

Ed Andrieski / AP Photo

Congress has moved a step closer to allowing injured veterans access to in vitro fertilization services after the House of Representatives passed a Veterans Affairs bill that includes a provision aimed at helping injured veterans start families. 

Kdt.via Compfight bit.ly/28YyChl

Contentious labor negotiations at the television station KING 5 have now gotten the attention of Seattle’s City Council. A council committee has passed a resolution supporting the unionized news staff who say their jobs are threatened by the corporate owner’s business model. 

Richard Drew / AP Photo

(Correction, June 21, 2016: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the name of Dick Costolo's fitness startup.)

Zillow Chief Executive Spencer Rascoff is getting in on the podcast boom. He's launching a monthly downloadable show called "Office Hours," featuring conversations with other top executives about dilemmas they’ve faced as managers.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Amid Seattle’s growing numbers of homeless people, there’s a group that can sometimes be overlooked – senior citizens. A volunteer for the nonprofit group Mary’s Place has created a resource book to help that population find information on just about anything they might need. 

Patrick Rodriguez via Wikimedia Commons

After working to defeat a plan for a giant methanol plant, the grassroots environmental group RedLine Tacoma has turned a critical eye to another big energy project, Puget Sound Energy's plan to build a facility at the Port of Tacoma to store liquefied natural gas and sell it as a marine fuel.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle’s City Council has been working on possible ways to help employees who struggle with erratic work schedules. Tonight, the labor group Working Washington and the news and politics blog Seattleish are hosting a storytelling event with performances from a barista, a retail worker and writers. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A Puget Sound-area firm that worked for Northwest Innovation Works, the Chinese-backed company that wanted to build a methanol plant in Tacoma, is facing criticism. The consulting firm is called EnviroIssues and it does work for private- and public-sector clients that want to engage with the community on proposed projects.

A new report from the environmental think tank Sightline Institute raises questions about the firm’s potential conflicts of interest. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

An attorney for the grassroots organization Save Tacoma Water decried the Port of Tacoma, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber,  the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County and the city of Tacoma for asking a court to block two measures the group wants to get on the ballot.

David Lee / Flickr

Just a year ago, "kayaktivists" took to the water to protest Royal Dutch Shell’s enormous drilling rig at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5. Of course, that rig is long gone and the port is now in the environmental review process for a plan to upgrade the facility.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

People living in their recreational vehicles and cars at a temporary parking zone set up by the city of Seattle in the Interbay neighborhood will soon have to move. The city plans to close that site because construction is set to start next door.

The city will set up another so-called "safe zone" in SoDo that will accommodate fewer vehicles, and that means some people will soon have to go back to parking on the street and moving every 72 hours. 

SounderBruce / Flickr

Tacoma has a message for all the technology companies competing for space in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood: Look south.

On Wednesday, Tacoma will hold an economic showcase to sell the city as a good place for locating a business or developing property, and the man whose job it is to attract developers and executives to the city is Ricardo Noguera, community and economic development director for Tacoma. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Single women in Washington state own homes that are worth less, on average, than ones owned by single men, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

Homes owned by single women in Washington are worth about $9,000 less than homes owned by single men. Nationally, the gap is even bigger – about $26,000. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Faculty members at Green River College, which has campuses in Auburn, Kent and Enumclaw, are on strike through Wednesday protesting proposed cuts to 11 programs, including criminal justice, French and occupational therapy.

In response, the college’s board of trustees said it will file a request for an injunction to halt the walkout. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien is proposing code changes to encourage more homeowners in Seattle to build backyard cottages, saying he'd like to see as many as 10,000 mother-in-law units and cottages get built over the next decade.

Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

Every year, Amazon’s shareholders meeting offers activists a chance to get the ear of one of the world’s richest, most powerful executives, Jeff Bezos.

Everett Public Library / Flickr

If you mention anarchists, people these days probably think of May Day protests, but anarchism has deep roots here. On Saturday, folk singer John O’Connor will tell the story of the anarchist labor union Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies, and perform songs from that time. 

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Injured veterans who struggle to conceive children may get some help from the federal government. Washington Sen. Patty Murray says the Senate may vote next week on an appropriations bill that includes an amendment to cover their fertility treatments

For the past few years, labor activists have staged protests at Alaska Air Group’s annual shareholders meeting, but this year, the company will conduct the meeting online instead of in person. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

About 400 union machinists at Triumph Composite Systems, an aerospace supplier in Spokane, are preparing to go on strike tonight after their contract expires.

Lynne Warne, a spokeswoman for Triumph, said the facility will keep operating by using a combination of salaried employees and contractors. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Just a few years ago, the idea of a $15 minimum wage seemed outlandish, but now two of the biggest states in the country – New York and California – have approved plans to gradually raise their wage floors to that amount.

The Tacoma Public School District has been scrambling to make sure its water is safe to drink after some schools showed high levels of lead, but water isn’t the only potential source of lead exposure – contaminated soil is also a risk. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

All around us, people are quietly taking care of disabled relatives, day in and day out. The stress, sacrifice and rewards of that life are the focus of a new documentary called "Undersung," which is a collaboration of retired University of Washington poet Heather McHugh and filmmaker Adam Larsen. The film premieres this Sunday at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, B.C.

100,000 Opportunities Initiative

If you’re between the ages of 16 and 24 and looking for a job, head to Seattle’s Centurylink Field on Thursday to meet with hiring managers from companies including Microsoft, T-Mobile and Starbucks.

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

At a luncheon hosted by the Technology Alliance in Seattle, Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella weighed in on whether computers will one day put a lot of us out of work, and his take is that people are right to be concerned.

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said the county needs to pass a special sales tax increase to pay for mental health services and that a lack of treatment options for people with mental health problems is contributing to rising homelessness. 

supafly / Flickr

Employees in the Puget Sound area working for grocery chains such as QFC, Safeway and Fred Meyer have approved new contracts that protect their health coverage and improve wages, according to a statement from their unions, Locals 21 and 367 of the United Food and Commercial Workers and Teamsters 38. The contracts cover about 30,000 workers in the region.

“Legislative Building and Temple of Justice” by Dan Ox is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/1rnzFOw

Tens of thousands of state workers in Washington are the target of unusual public records requests  from an anti-union group asking for their birth dates. 

The requests came from the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Olympia that’s targeting public sector unions. On its web site, the group says it wants to “reverse the stranglehold public-sector unions have on our government.” 

fredlet / Flickr

Grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region came very close to going on strike in late 2013, but recent contract negotiations have gone more smoothly and workers are voting this week on a tentative agreement, with results expected tomorrow.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Boeing says it’s doing all it can to meet a big deadline in August of next year, when the company is supposed to deliver the first 18 KC-46 aerial refueling tankers to the Air Force, but cost overruns on the program have been mounting.

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