Business news

John Amis / Associated Press

From fast food worker strikes to the SeaTac minimum wage initiative, stagnant wages and rising income inequality have grabbed headlines this year. But getting to the heart of why the middle class is struggling while the top 1 percent continues to prosper is complicated.

Former New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith sets out to provide answers in his book, "Who Stole the American Dream." He’s speaking Thursday evening at the University of Washington Tacoma.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

With 67 percent of the votes, Boeing machinists rejected an eight-year contract proposal that would have ensured the assembly of Boeing's 777X and carbon-fiber wing in Washington state. 

Machinists booed union officials off the stage as they prepared to announce the decision made by the 31,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 751 Wednesday night. Local 751 District President Tom Wroblewski later released a statement with the decision.

"We preserved something sacred by rejecting the Boeing proposal. We've held onto our pensions, and that's big," the statement said.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

It's decision day for some 30,000 Boeing machinists who are voting on a controversial eight-year labor proposal.

Boeing told the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 751 its members need to accept the contract extension in order to ensure the next wide-body 777X jet is built in Washington state.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

The voter initiative to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour for airport and hotel workers in SeaTac is still undecided.

The initiative was passing by just 43 votes on Tuesday afternoon. And activists say they don’t expect a clear outcome before Thanksgiving due to hundreds of contested ballots in a relatively small electorate. 

Ashley Gross

Dozens of machinists gathered outside Boeing’s Everett facility on Monday, chanting “Vote no! Vote no!” in protest of the company’s latest labor offer.

More than 100 workers, some carrying signs of protest and wearing T-shirts with the same message, rallied to voice their rejection of Boeing’s eight-year offer, which calls for the freezing of workers’ pensions starting in 2016.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

It’s official: Boeing will get nearly $9 billion in tax incentives from the state of Washington in a deal aimed to guarantee Boeing will build its 777X and carbon-fiber wings in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed his name to the tax breaks Monday morning after legislators approved the deal over the weekend. Inslee told reporters that the state has a lot to gain.

AP Photo

Amazon says it is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays.

The Seattle company says Sunday delivery will be available to customers in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas at first. Amazon and the Postal Service plan to roll out service to "a large portion of the U.S. population" next year, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The brinkmanship at play between Boeing and its 30,000 machinists over an eight-year contract proposal is a dramatic new chapter in the broader labor movement, says Leon Grunberg, a professor of sociology at the University of Puget Sound.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

You may be surprised to know that under federal law, employers may not have to pay minimum wage if the worker is disabled. Now, disability rights activists in Seattle are joining a national movement to change that law, which dates back to 1938.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Anger has reached a fever pitch among Boeing’s 30,000 machinists in the Puget Sound region over the company’s latest labor proposal.

Boeing has said the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers must approve the eight-year contract by Wednesday in order to ensure that the next 777 jet is build in western Washington. Because the machinists still have nearly three years left on their current contract, they have no strike authority.

Stephen Brashear / Associated Press

Boeing wants its machinists’ union to accept big concessions on retirement and health benefits in exchange for winning the assembly of the 777X wide-body jet in the Puget Sound region. But machinists are also worried the contract casts doubt on the future of the 737MAX in Renton. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As Washington lawmakers convene in an effort to win production of the next Boeing 777x, there’s already a dispute over whether one of the must-haves is a gas tax package for transportation improvements.

Gov. Jay Inslee insists the time is now, but some lawmakers say road funding can wait.

Ashley Gross


Boeing Co. has proposed an eight-year labor agreement that would guarantee construction of the new 777X in the Puget Sound.

In response, Gov. Jay Inslee said he would call a special legislative session on Thursday in hopes of swiftly approving a package of bills to appease Boeing.

Ashley Gross

Some 21,000 local grocery workers have overwhelmingly approved a tentative deal with their employers.

“They tried to turn us into Walmart, and they did not succeed," said Dave Schmitz, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21.

AP Photo

Starbucks says its profit rose 34 percent in its fiscal fourth-quarter, as the coffee chain attracted more customers around the world.

The Seattle-based company said global sales rose 7 percent at cafes open at least a year, including an 8 percent rise in both the U.S. and Asia.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

In a blow to Boeing's traditional base in the Puget Sound region, the company says it will do "much of the detailed design" for its next 777 wide-body jet in other states and Russia. 

Two top executives in Boeing's Commercial Airplanes division, Mike Delaney and Scott Fancher, told employees in a memo today that engineering teams in Charleston, South Carolina; Huntsville, Alabama; Long Beach, California; Philadelphia; and St. Louis. Engineers in Moscow will also help. 

AP Photo

Amazon has launched a new website for its online store that will donate a fraction of shoppers' purchase amounts to charity. Inc. launched the site,, on Wednesday. The world's largest online retailer says people will find the same items and the same prices that they would on its regular site or mobile app, with some exceptions.

Do the little alerts from your phone make you twitch? Is Facebook leaving you more depressed than satisfied? If you’re feeling tired of being constantly connected to the Internet, you’re not alone.

University of Washington researchers say there’s a new phenomenon on the rise. Called “pushback", it refers to people who are choosing to unplug. 

Tom Banse

It’s a phrase typically used to discuss a messy relationship: "It's complicated."

Those are the words the president of Alaska and Horizon airlines used Thursday to describe the state of the alliance between the Seattle-based carriers and Delta Air Lines. You might also call these airlines "frenemies."

AP Photo says that its fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed as revenue grew 24 percent to more than $17 billion.

The Seattle-based online retailer also said Thursday that it expects growth in its fourth-quarter revenue, indicating confidence as it enters the key holiday shopping season.

Robert Scoble / Flickr

Microsoft says its net income rose 17 percent in its fiscal first quarter despite a decline in Windows revenue from manufacturing partners as its enterprise software business grew.

Net income in the three months to Sept. 30 grew to $5.24 billion, or 62 cents per share, from $4.47 billion, or 53 cents per share, a year ago.

Northwest entrepreneurs will soon have another way to raise money for small and new businesses. The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday put out long-delayed draft rules for something called "equity crowdfunding."

So far, crowdfunding has been a vehicle mostly for artists, charities, and startups to solicit donors online. Supporters usually get a modest reward of some sort. Now, the SEC has detailed how crowdfunding could expand. Proposed new rules would allow startup companies to sell actual stock over the Internet to small-time investors. 

Associated Press

Boeing says it will speed up production of its new 787 as it tries to catch up on a huge backlog of orders for the plane.

The company has orders for 890 of those planes that it has yet to build.

Bob B. Brown / Flickr

About 21,000 grocery workers at QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway, and Albertsons in the Puget Sound region have given notice that they plan to go on strike in 72 hours. 

That shows the two sides failed to reach agreement on a new contract, in spite of renewed negotiations this past week. Union officials have said the companies want to restrict health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more, in addition to essentially freezing wages. 

Nick Ut / Associated Press

All you have to do is turn on your TV lately to see evidence of the grocery wars. 

One recent Walmart ad states: "With Fred Meyer fuel points, you could save $1.30 at the pump. At Walmart, you could have saved a total of $17.92." 

"Wow, that's awesome!" the woman shopper in the commercial exclaims. 

Danny Choo

You can already buy gigantic packages of toilet paper and toothpaste at Costco stores everywhere from Misato City, Japan, to Lidcombe, Australia. Those are just two of Costco's 634 stores worldwide. 

But now, Costco is planning a more aggressive expansion in the coming 12 months. The wholesale retailer says it aims to open as many as 36 more stores, 10 more than in the fiscal year that ended at the beginning of September. Half of those stores will be outside the U.S.


Many of us are connected to the Internet almost all the time. But there are still lots of people who have no way to get online and for them, it can be hard to find a job in this increasingly digital world. It can also be hard for employers to find those workers.

Now, one startup in Kirkland aims to help people apply for jobs using nothing more than an ordinary flip phone. 

Michael Dwyer / AP Photo

Japan Airlines is buying its first-ever jets from Airbus in a deal with a list value of 950 billion yen ($9.5 billion) with a purchase of 31 A350 planes.

JAL's fleet has been dominated by Boeing Co. offerings, partly because of the ties between Japan and the U.S. that span decades and include security arrangements.

The old Kimberly-Clark pulp mill site in Everett is getting a new lease on life. Foss Maritime plans to relocate its shipbuilding facility from Seattle to the 66-acre property on the Everett waterfront.

Foss's parent company Saltchuk has signed a purchase and sales agreement with Kimberly-Clark.  

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was awarded 79 percent of his target bonus for the year through June as the software giant cited falling profits for its Windows division and sluggish sales of the Surface tablet.