Business news

Amazon is firing yet another shot at a competitor. This time it's a mega-artisanal shot, at Etsy — the popular craft site. The e-commerce giant on Thursday launched Handmade, a new marketplace for, well, handmade goods. This could be wonderful news for the artisan movement, or terrible news for Etsy, its staunchest supporter to date.

Valerie Nethery got a message out of the blue, from Amazon. "They emailed me directly. I'm not sure how they found me."

Patrick Rodriguez via Wikimedia Commons

Tacoma voters have less than a month to decide whether to raise the city’s minimum wage, and if so, how much. Thursday evening, debaters at Pacific Lutheran University will give their best arguments in favor and against a $15 minimum wage.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Washington aerospace businesses are meeting this week in Spokane for an annual statewide summit, where they are planning to talk about some of the industry’s most pressing issues, including reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. 

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

The recent New York Times feature about Amazon’s internal culture is still generating lots of discussion about work-life balance. At a recent tech summit sponsored by the technology publication Geekwire, two former Amazon executives told the crowded ballroom that they thought the article was too negative. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Amazon has been growing so fast in Seattle that the company has lately been blamed for everything from too few women in the dating pool to traffic gridlock and rising rents. Now, the company is trying to show how having its campus in Seattle is a benefit to the city. 

Library of Congress

The International Franchise Association has lost another round in its legal fight over Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance. The association sued Seattle arguing that the law is unfair to businesses that are part of a national franchise network. Seattle requires that franchisees be counted in the large employer category and pay the higher wage more quickly than small businesses. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

On the day that Chinese President Xi Jinping toured Boeing's wide-body jet factory in Everett, Boeing announced a deal to sell 300 airplanes to Chinese airlines and leasing companies and build a 737 completion and delivery center in China. 

SounderBruce / Flickr

The strong economic ties between China and Washington state are in the spotlight this week with the upcoming visit by China’s president. Real estate development has gotten a boost from Chinese investors in recent years, but one key program that facilitates that investment is set to expire this month. 

In a new expansion of commercial efforts to launch earthlings into space, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos plans to build rockets on Florida's Space Coast — in an area he calls "a gateway to humankind's greatest adventures."

Eino Sierpe / Flickr

Washington businesses that want to have a role in shaping minimum wage policies will get a chance to talk strategy this week. The Association of Washington Business is holding its annual policy summit, with one panel devoted to the hot-button issue of minimum wage hikes. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

There’s a new twist in the legal battle over the city of SeaTac’s $15 minimum wage ordinance. Alaska Airlines and other businesses are now asking the Washington Supreme Court to reverse its recent opinion, in which five of nine justices ruled that SeaTac’s minimum wage applies to workers at Sea-Tac International Airport.

The plaintiffs list a number of reasons why the court should reconsider, including their argument that SeaTac's minimum wage ordinance conflicts with federal labor law because the city law tries to do too much.

United Airlines says Jeff Smisek has stepped down as CEO, chairman and president effective immediately and has named Oscar Munoz as president and chief executive officer.

Chethan Shankar

Tourists visiting the Space Needle on Labor Day will see workers out picketing, as the unionized workforce at the Space Needle continues to put pressure on the private owners of Seattle’s iconic landmark. 

The labor dispute has been going on for years. The workers are represented by Unite Here Local 8, and their union has been pushing for a contract with protections against outsourcing of jobs.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The death of a dairy farm worker in February is prompting a push for tougher safety laws and labor groups are asking the milk cooperative, Darigold, to meet to talk about improvements that can be made to protect workers. 

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Rent prices in Seattle are increasingly out of reach for many people.

As Seattle grows, the city council and the mayor want to require funding for affordable housing units with all new developments.

Sound Transit Special Selection / Flickr

Tacoma’s municipal broadband service, Click Network, has long been a point of pride. But now city officials are wrestling with the future of Click because it’s losing cable TV customers and facing higher programming costs.

In the late 1990s, Tacoma invested heavily to create Click with the hope of spurring economic development, but it’s struggled in recent years.

photo courtesy of Nubia Guajardo

Labor groups are planning a protest on Wednesday outside the Seattle headquarters of Darigold. They say the milk-processing company's parent, the dairy farm cooperative known as the Northwest Dairy Association, needs to do more to improve employee safety after a young worker’s death earlier this year. 

photo courtesy of Alyssa Menes

People who love games – everything from ones on the computer to board games – will dominate downtown Seattle this weekend attending the convention known as PAX Prime. People there can try out brand new games, learn how to make their own, or attend panels, including one about writing music for video games.

Alyssa Menes, a young woman composer from New Jersey, is one of the panelists.   

She grew up playing classic Nintendo games from the 1980s, games such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Kid Icarus, and fell in love with those tunes.

Boeing is moving to settle a lawsuit accusing it of mishandling its 401(k) plan for thousands of workers. The case is part of a legal assault by a consumer rights attorney to stop companies from offering employees high-cost, bad retirement plans.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

In a long anticipated decision, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled the $15-an-hour minimum wage law narrowly approved by voters in the city of SeaTac in fall 2013 applies at Sea-Tac International Airport.

The court's 5-4 decision means that about 4,700 workers ranging from restaurant employees to baggage handlers should now be paid $15.24 an hour.

Nick Ut / AP Photo

A class-action lawsuit focused on the retirement accounts for about 190,000 Boeing employees and retirees heads to trial next week. The lawsuit, which was first filed nearly nine years ago, accuses Boeing of offering employees 401(k) retirement plans that charged excessive fees. 

AP Images

After a big public outcry, Seattle has scrapped a plan to allow a wider variety of housing types in areas zoned for single family homes.  But the idea is still alive in Tacoma, as the city considers changes to its comprehensive plan.

The proposal from Tacoma's Planning Commission would result in a mixture of lot sizes and home sizes, with some smaller houses such as cottages and detached mother-in-law units allowed.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing shares are up 8 percent this year and revenue has been climbing but the company still faces some big challenges. One of them is how to build 787s more cheaply.

Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told investors at a conference in New York the company is working hard on that.

AP Photo

Seattle had a starring role in the corruption scandal that engulfed the Teamsters union in the late 1950s. That’s when it became clear that Dave Beck, the Seattle-based Teamster president, was stealing money from the organization.

Notorious labor leader Jimmy Hoffa, known for his close ties to mobsters, rose to power after Beck, even after coming under federal scrutiny himself. Robert F. Kennedy, chief counsel for a Senate investigating committee, led the charge to bring him to justice.


Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 10, includes a feature they hope people will find particularly useful – a virtual kind of butler ready to help you manage your life.

The digital personal assistant is named Cortana and has already been available on Windows Phones. She takes her name from the artificial intelligence character in the video game Halo.

NASA / Flickr

Boeing says it’s confident the company will still be able to deliver 18 tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force two years from now in spite of problems that emerged in the most recent quarter. 

The KC-46 tanker program was the focus of a big fight between Boeing and Airbus for years before the contract finally went to Boeing. Now, the first tankers are being built in Everett.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Microsoft shares slumped more than 3 percent after the company reported a net loss of $3.2 billion in the most recent quarter as it wrote down much of the value of its Nokia acquisition.

Total revenue fell 5 percent in the June quarter, with a 13 percent drop in Microsoft's Devices and Consumer division, which included a steep drop in revenue from Windows due to declining personal computer sales. Revenue in the commercial side of the business was little changed from a year earlier.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing violated labor law by not giving information to its engineers’ union regarding plans for moving jobs out of the Puget Sound region, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge has ruled.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the company disagrees with the ruling and expects to appeal the decision.

I-5 Design and Manufacture / Flickr

Tacoma is ground zero for the state's next big minimum wage battle.

The city council voted 7-1 to put an initiative on the November ballot to hike the minimum wage in phases over the next three years, reaching $12 an hour in January 2018. After that, the minimum wage would rise every year at the rate of inflation.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he will contribute $30 million toward a nationwide program to hire low income 16-to-24-year olds.