Business

Business news

Amazon.com says it is hiring 70,000 full-time seasonal workers around the U.S. to fill orders during the holiday season.

The world's largest online retailer says the hires are an increase of 40 percent over last year's 50,000 workers. Seasonal employees at Amazon.com Inc. order fulfillment centers are eligible for health care benefits and, on average, earn 94 percent of the wages of regular employees.

Czarek Sokolowski / AP Photo

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner, operated by Poland's LOT airline, has made an unscheduled landing in Reykjavik, Iceland, because of a malfunctioning antenna.

The antenna is used to transmit airplane identification information. LOT sent parts and personnel to Iceland to fix the problem, a Boeing spokesman said in an emailed statement. The airplane maker was ready to help if needed, he said.

Bob B. Brown

With 98 percent of the votes, grocery store workers in the Puget Sound area authorized a strike on Thursday.

The union members said they're upset in part over cuts to health care in the latest offer from their employers. The workers added that a strike isn’t imminent; they hope to return to the bargaining table and reach an agreement that addresses their concerns.

Cloud Peak Energy

 

This year, falling coal prices have raised questions about whether the controversial coal export terminals proposed in the Pacific Northwest would pencil out. Now, an analysis of one major coal company's finances shows it could be more profitable to bet against coal than to actually export it.

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a budget that holds the line on county services after years of cuts in the wake of the recession.

Constantine said the county has reduced costs by measures ranging from updating equipment to urging employees to use generic medicines. He said his agencies are also trying to limit red tape and speed up things like license renewals.

"We have saved a cumulative $111 million in the General Fund alone, and that money is today preserving services for the public," Constantine said.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

 (Update 9/25/13: Adds comment from Subway franchise owner Hasan Zeer.)

A worker fired from a Subway sandwich shop in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood has filed charges saying it was illegal retaliation for going on strike. But experts say fighting that kind of legal battle can take years.

Bob B. Brown

About 30,000 grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region will be voting next week on whether to authorize a strike. That’s after the bargaining team decided to recommend a strike vote, saying they made no progress in bargaining earlier this week.

Roadsidepictures

Seattle’s big dairy cooperative, Darigold, is once again facing worker unrest. The Teamsters have filed an unfair labor practice charge, saying the company walked out of negotiations with a mediator. 

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Starbucks says guns are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban on firearms.

The fine line that the retailer is walking to address the concerns of both gun rights and gun control advocates reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent mass shootings.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

The first addition to the Boeing 787 family has taken to the skies.

The 787-9 took off Tuesday morning from Paine Field, near the Everett factory where the plane was assembled.

WSDOT

The tunnel-boring machine known as Big Bertha will resume digging after longshoremen agreed to remove their picket line which had been in place since Aug. 20.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday said the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 agreed to let the project resume despite an unresolved labor dispute with the project contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, over four jobs.

Tom Banse

Legislators in Washington state are showing enthusiasm for a federal immigration program that gives green cards to wealthy foreign investors. But state officials discovered during a workshop on Friday that the options for expanding foreign investment in this way are largely outside their control. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into both sides of a heated controversy over a proposed minimum wage hike in the city of SeaTac. 

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday denied an appeal by Alaska Airlines and other business groups seeking to keep the living-wage ordinance off the November ballot.

Don Ryan, File / AP Photos

A Cornell University law professor recommends that Seattle consider using its power of eminent domain to stem the foreclosure crisis. But that idea is controversial, and a California city that said it planned to try using eminent domain for that purpose is now being challenged in court. 

Nati Harnik / Associated Press

The nation’s largest charitable foundation has a job opening. CEO Jeff Raikes announced Tuesday morning that he’ll be stepping down after five years of running the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Raikes started out as a Nebraska farm boy, and built a long career at Microsoft before transitioning to the Gates Foundation in 2008. He took over an organization ballooning in size, and he said one of his legacies is helping organize the foundation to support its enormous ambitions.

First there was Craigslist. Then more specialized websites arrived to make it easier to rent out your spare bedroom, vacation home, or even your car.

Now, a new category catching on the Northwest allows drivers to reserve a parking spot in someone else's driveway.

sonicsarena.com

A state appeals court ruled against the longshoremen’s union in its attempt to block a new NBA arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. 

Washington state’s biggest private company is heading to mediation today with workers in Seattle, Issaquah and Tukwila. The negotiations between Darigold and its workers have gotten tense, and some staged an informational picket last week. 

Darigold’s butter and other dairy products are familiar to many shoppers in this area. It is a cooperative of more than 500 dairy farmers in the Pacific Northwest. In fiscal 2012, Darigold took in almost $2.5 billion in revenue.

Photo courtesy of the designer.

A group of local businesspeople wants to turn Renton into a fashion manufacturing hub.

The Seattle area has the fourth highest concentration of fashion designers in the U.S. behind New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It also has a long history in retail, what with Filson, Nordstrom, and Eddie Bauer based here, just to name a few. 

What's seriously missing, though, is a concentrated supply chain. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

After a legal tug-of-war, supporters of a $15 per hour minimum wage for some workers in SeaTac have gotten their initiative on the November ballot.

Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association and an airport restaurant owner had challenged the validity of some of the petition signatures, but a panel of appeals judges ruled that those signatures should be counted and the measure will head to the voters.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The long-awaited redevelopment of Seattle’s oldest public housing complex is finally underway. 

The Seattle Housing Authority had hoped to break ground on Yesler Terrace months ago, but tighter scrutiny by funders in this post-recession world delayed the project, says Seattle Housing Authority's Director of Development Stephanie Van Dyke. 

The city, the federal government, and J.P. Morgan Chase are funding the project. 

"Everyone really is doing, I would say, extra, extra due diligence on financing," Van Dyke said. 

Jonathan Cooper

It appears the going is good for the working man in the Puget Sound area. 

The Seattle metro area saw the most new jobs last month, and the second largest wage growth in recent years in spite of the financial crisis, according to new reports.

Lehtikuva, Mikko Stig / AP Photo

Microsoft’s plan to buy Nokia’s cellphone business shows the company is serious about competing in the smartphone world. But developers of smartphone apps say Microsoft should focus on getting businesses to buy Windows Phones for their employees.

Microsoft says it is buying Nokia's devices and services business, and getting access to the company's patents, for a total of 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in an effort to expand its share of the smartphone market.

Tom Banse

A startup company based in Vancouver, Washington is looking to upend the sewage treatment business.

There are literally dozens of small Northwest cities wringing their hands, trying to figure out how to add treatment capacity for growth, or simply update aging and failing infrastructure. This startup, named Blue Array, proposes to give interested cities and their ratepayers a treatment system for free with a service contract.

Grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region are stepping up pressure on their employers as they try to reach a contract deal. They’re staging informational pickets everywhere from Bremerton to Seattle, to Lynnwood this afternoon to get their message out to customers. 

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

A group urging more restrictive gun laws is calling for a national boycott of Starbucks Saturday. The group is upset over Starbucks’ policy of letting customers bring firearms into stores in states that allow it. 

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who succeeded founder Bill Gates as CEO, will retire within the next 12 months. The world's biggest software company did not name a successor, but one long-time Microsoft watcher says he expects the company to hire its next chief from within.

Microsoft Corp.'s stock rose more than 7 percent after the news. 

Just last month, Ballmer reorganized the company to emphasize hardware devices and services, rather than just software.

Chris Grygiel / Associated Press

Container volume is down more than 8 percent at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma in July, most likely a reflection of the weak economy. But the ports also face longer-term challenges.

Competition from Canadian ports is fierce. Then there’s the widening of the Panama Canal, set to be done in 2015, which some people say could divert ships away from the Pacific Northwest. And then there’s the Chinese economy to think about.

AP Photo

Seattle’s online retail giant Amazon has built its reputation on low prices. But now an analyst says Amazon is no longer the thriftiest retailer out there. 

Amazon offers more stuff than most big-box retailers, but if you want a food processor or a knife set, Bed Bath & Beyond is now cheaper, according to a new report by Anthony Chukumba, an analyst with BB&T Capital Markets.

Pages