Business

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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Business
5:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

What Is The Farm Guest Worker Program And Why Is It Controversial In Wash. State?

Berry pickers showed up in a Skagit County court as they brought a lawsuit against Sakuma Brothers Farms. They said the farm was trying to exclude them from work and instead bring in foreign guest workers under the H-2A program.
Ashley Gross KPLU

People in Seattle are familiar with the H-1B visa program that brings high-tech employees from abroad, but another, more obscure foreign worker program has churned up a lot of controversy in the state recently.

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Business
4:41 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Governor-Appointed Group To Tackle Farm Labor Issues In Wash. State

FILE - Workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms are seen at work.
Bellamy Pailthorp

After a tumultuous year in which berry pickers at a Skagit County farm went on repeated strikes, a new group appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee is set to start tackling farm labor issues. 

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Minimum Wage
3:39 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Seattle City Council Unanimously Approves $15 Minimum Wage — Highest In Nation

File image
AP Photo

The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest in the nation.

Starting on April 1, 2015, the clock will begin ticking for Seattle-based employers to boost their minimum wage workforce up to $15 per hour. Raises will be phased in over the next three to seven years, depending on how large the business is and what other benefits it offers. 

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Workers' Rights
1:59 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Sakuma Brothers Farms Withdraws Application For H-2A Guest Workers

Steve Sakuma in front of newly renovated worker cabins at Sakuma Brothers Farms
Brett Davis Washington Farm Bureau

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Business
4:59 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Sawant Declares Victory As Seattle Moves Closer To A $15/Hour Minimum Wage

Kshama Sawant and members of 15 Now cheer the vote by the city council committee to approve raising the minimum wage.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Seattle’s low-wage workers are closer to getting a raise. A city council committee unanimously voted to pass Mayor Ed Murray’s minimum wage plan, with some amendments.

Even Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant, who’s criticized the measure as too watered down, said it’s a victory for workers. 

The plan phases in a $15-an-hour minimum wage over a period of three to seven years, depending on how big the business is. City council members considered a number of amendments, including one to push the initial start date to April 1st next year instead of January 1st. That measure passed.

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