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

The University of Washington

A towering figure in U.S. labor history will be honored with a statue in Tacoma. The sculpture will commemorate Harry Bridges, founder of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, known as the ILWU.

Bridges was born in 1901 in Australia. According to the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington, Bridges settled in San Francisco in 1920 and became a longshoreman.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As gamers roam the streets trying to catch Pokémon with their smart phones, we’re examining a counter-trend. These days, board games are also increasingly popular, and Seattle is a major epicenter for designers.

Many local board game designers have day jobs in the video game industry. Mike Elliott is one of the few who works full-time as a freelance board game designer. He’s created about 50 games, including the popular trading card game "Dice Masters" that he invented with his colleague Eric Lang.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The "Pokémon Go" craze has lots of people glued to their screens these days. But a low-tech form of entertainment – board games – has also been growing in popularity. Sales of what the industry calls hobby games grew about 20 percent last year, and the Seattle region is a major hub for board game design.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

This week, the big focus in aerospace is the Farnborough International Airshow, southwest of London. That’s where Airbus and Boeing normally announce new orders and showcase their aircraft. 

Analysts say that this year, there will likely be a lot of talk about whether Boeing plans to build a new jet.

Today is the deadline for groups to submit signatures for statewide ballot initiatives, and one initiative likely to appear on the November ballot is described as a measure to protect senior citizens from financial crimes.

But really it has more to do with a fight between a conservative think tank and a labor union.

Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine / Flickr

More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition saying Starbucks has been cutting workers’ hours, leading to low morale. 

The petition is the brainchild of Jaime Prater, an artist who’s worked for Starbucks off and on for a total of nine years. Right now he works as a barista at a Starbucks in Southern California. 

Lis Ferla / Flickr

Earlier this year, a crying, naked newborn baby was found in a trash compactor in Everett, about less than half a mile away from a fire station. Now two King County Council Members are pushing for a public information campaign to let people know about the state’s 'Safe Haven' law

THOMAS HAWK / FLICKR

A new program in Southwest Washington will offer job training and employment assistance to people in jail. It’s aimed at helping them land on their feet once they get out. 

Curtis Cronn / Flickr

When Washington state’s legislature voted to reduce college tuition last year, it presented some families with a dilemma because they had bought into the state’s prepaid tuition program, known as Guaranteed Education Tuition, on the assumption that tuition would keep increasing. So the state has been offering penalty-free refunds since last September. 

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.

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