Business news

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Some Boeing machinists angry at their union leaders plan to ask for help from the National Labor Relations Board.

They’re upset that local leaders from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers turned down Boeing’s best and final offer without putting it to members for a vote. The offer would have secured assembly of the next 777 jet in Washington state along with the carbon-fiber wing fabrication. 

Boeing machinists in Washington state are trying to figure out whether they'll have a chance to vote on an offer the company made Thursday that would guarantee production of the 777X wide-body jet in the Puget Sound region. 

The Boeing Co.

A machinists union is mulling the logistics of having its members in the Puget Sound vote on a proposed contract from Boeing Co., even after local union leaders said they couldn't recommend it to their members.

International Association of Machinists spokesman Frank Larkin said the union has been hearing from hundreds of members demanding an opportunity to vote on the contract to secure work on the 777X airplane.

Reed Saxon / Associated Press

Boeing says its research and technology workforce in Washington state will probably shrink by as many as 1,200 jobs as the company shifts work to other states including Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina.

The news comes on a day when many people in Washington are waiting to hear whether Boeing will accept a preliminary contract proposal from the machinists’ union. The union is seeking to reach an agreement with the company that would guarantee production of the next 777 jet in the Puget Sound region, securing thousands of jobs.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The machinists’ union has presented a labor proposal to the Boeing Company, local union leaders said late Wednesday afternoon. 

The details of the proposal have not been released. The union made the announcement after an hours-long meeting with Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner and other company executives Wednesday, raising hopes that the two sides may strike an agreement to build the next 777 wide-body jet in the Puget Sound region.

“We tried to craft a proposal that would meet the needs of our members, while also ensuring the long-term success of the Boeing Co. in Washington state,” said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, in a statement. The union said it expects a response from Boeing by Thursday.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As time runs out for Washington state to make its case to Boeing that it should build its next 777 wide-body jet here, the state’s Congressional delegation is weighing in with a letter to the company’s top executives.

The lawmakers touted their support and advocacy for important issues to Boeing and their pro-aerospace voting record.

“We are the aerospace industry’s strongest allies and loudest advocates in Congress,” the letter said.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Tuesday is the deadline is for states to submit their bids to Boeing in hopes of winning the 777X assembly line.

Washington is competing with more than a dozen other locations to build the next generation wide-body airliner. The competitors include Utah, California, Missouri and Alabama.  

Anna King

Northwest wine grape growers expect this week’s very cold weather to do some damage to their vineyards. But it’s not clear yet how much of next year’s fruit might be affected.

Deep cold on wine vines isn’t good, but several factors determine just how bad it is. There’s the cold itself, and how long it lasts. There’s the elevation, colder air tends to settle in lower valleys. Then, there’s the variety of grape—is it German-tough or less cold-hardy Mediterranean?

Reed Saxon / AP Photo

Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to incentives for Boeing to assemble to a new passenger airplane in the St. Louis area.

The House voted 127-20-2 Friday for the legislation that authorizes as much as $1.7 billion of incentives over more than two decades for Boeing to produce the 777X jetliner. The legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday by a 23-8 vote.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

How do you create jobs in Seattle and Alaska? By building fishing boats here and hiring workers who might otherwise only get jobs in fast-food restaurants.

That’s the message from a roundtable gathered for U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, in Seattle Thursday.

The problem is access to capital, according to the panel of representatives of the shipbuilding industry that builds and supports fishing boats for Seattle’s fleet.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The president of the St. Louis machinists union now says he’s “prepared and ready to sit down with Boeing” to discuss moving 777X production to Missouri. The union chief’s comments Thursday come one day after he said the work should remain in Washington.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Dozens of fast-food workers and activists took to the streets Thursday for a day-long march in support of $15 minimum wage.

The march began in SeaTac, where voters approved a $15 minimum wage this year, and headed for Seattle City Hall as a symbolic push for Seattle to follow SeaTac’s suit and adopt the higher wage.

The president of the machinists union in St. Louis says Boeing should build the 777X in Washington. And he’s angrily denying reports that his members would accept the Boeing contract recently rejected by Northwest machinists.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Kansas is assembling an economic incentive package geared at landing a new Boeing contract to build the aviation giant's 777X commercial aircraft.

Administration officials say Wednesday they can't divulge details of the Kansas package, citing a nondisclosure agreement signed with Boeing when talks began in recent weeks.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

A team at Washington’s Department of Commerce is working to complete a lengthy questionnaire for Boeing as part of a multi-state competition to land the 777X assembly line.

Meantime, state lawmakers in Missouri convened Monday in a special session aimed at improving that state’s chances.

Allison Moore

The coffee world has been abuzz lately with news of barista robots—machines that can custom-make a cappuccino or chai latte. Naturally, the question becomes whether the world’s largest coffee chain, Seattle-based Starbucks, would replace humans with automation. 

In a world where robots build cars, fulfill orders in Amazon warehouses and paint the wings on Boeing’s 777 jet, making a latte by machine isn’t that much of a leap.

Abbie Blumberg / Our Walmart

Protesters are descending on some 1,500 Walmart locations, including the store at Bellevue’s Factoria Mall, on this Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Joining them is a man who has been battling Walmart in Federal Way for several years over safety concerns. And now Gerardo Paladan says he was illegally terminated.

The Bellevue protest is just the latest stop for Paladan. Earlier this week, he made his seventh trip to Bentonville, Arkansas to protest at Walmart headquarters.  

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Contrary to rumors that have been circulating among Boeing machinists in Washington state, there's been no new contract offer from the company, according to Tom Wroblewski, president of Local 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. 

Wroblewski, in a post published on the local's website, wrote he's had routine meetings with his counterparts at the company, but hasn't been involved in any talks that would lead to a new offer. He said he has also met with Gov. Jay Inslee and other elected officials. 

Seattle Children's Hospital

Three Seattle-area organizations will split a massive charitable gift of $187.6 million, thanks to one generous donor. Seattle Children’s Hospital, the University of Washington School of Law and the Salvation Army call it the biggest gift given in the state this year, and the sixth largest nationwide.

The donor is Jack MacDonald, who died in September at age 98. He inherited a fortune built by his father’s MacDonald Meats company. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Voters in the city of SeaTac have approved a $15 minimum wage, but opponents have already requested a recount. 

Proposition 1 passed by a slim margin of 77 votes out of 6,003 votes cast. But even before the ballots were certified Tuesday, the group Common Sense SeaTac called for a recount in the hotly-contested initiative. The group is supported by Alaska Airlines, rental car companies and airport baggage-handling businesses.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing Co. is soliciting bids from more than a dozen locations that want to build the new 777X airplane.

Company spokesman Doug Alder said Saturday that requests for bids began going out Friday. Boeing wants the proposals returned in a few weeks, and the company hopes to make a final decision early next year.

Associated Press

A federal judge has granted the request from Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association and a small business owner at Sea-Tac International Airport to send their case back to a Washington state court. The businesses want SeaTac's Proposition 1, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for some workers, to be ruled illegal. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Workers at Sea-Tac International Airport are still not sure whether they’ll get a wage bump to $15 per hour come January. With SeaTac’s Proposition 1 still passing by a narrow margin, Alaska Airlines and other business interests are challenging the measure in court.

Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association and a small business owner at the airport have been trying since July to block the minimum wage initiative in court. They’ve tried to keep the measure off the ballot and failed.

Now the issue is which court should hear the case. The business interests would like a King County judge to rule the initiative unconstitutional. But sponsors of the initiative, who are backed by unions like the Service Employees International Union, said the case should be heard in federal court.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

State and local leaders are working to lure a Boeing Co. aircraft assembly plant to the Huntsville area.

Gov. Robert Bentley, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and economic developers met Tuesday in Birmingham with representatives of the aircraft manufacturer.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates choked up while reading from prepared remarks during Steve Ballmer's final shareholders meeting as chief executive.

The co-founder of the software giant said progress was being made to find Ballmer's replacement and he thanked him for serving as CEO for the last 13 years. Only Gates and Ballmer have led Microsoft Corp. since its founding 38 years ago. Ballmer announced in August that he’ll step down within the year. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Ever since Boeing machinists voted last week to reject the company’s contract extension offer, people in the Puget Sound region have been trying to imagine a future without the aerospace giant here. But against the backdrop of those fears, labor supporters rallied Monday to show they think the machinists did the right thing.

Bruce Smith / Associated Press

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she feels bad for the governor of Washington after this week's union vote on the Boeing 777X.

Haley, who has long opposed unions, says it's terrible when a company like Boeing is trying to work in a state and the union, as she put it, "comes in and kills it."

Zulily's stock is surging 75 percent in its first day as a publicly traded company.

The initial public offering of 11.5 million shares priced at $22 each, above the projected price range of $18 to $20.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing Co. leaders have reached out to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert about the state's interest in bringing the production line of 777X airplanes to the state.

Michael Sullivan, a spokesman for the Governor's Office of Economic Development, says Herbert received the call Thursday afternoon and has begun preliminary discussions with Boeing leaders.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing shot down hopes that a sweetened offer might clinch a deal with its 31,000 machinists in the Seattle area to build its next 777 wide-body jet in Washington state. 

"The contract expires in September 2016. There are no plans to re-engage with the union regarding contract negotiations until prior to contract expiration," Boeing said in a question-and-answer section on its website regarding the contract extension offer it unveiled last week.