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Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle's waterfront tunnel project is huge. At its height, it's supposed to create almost 3,900 jobs. In a move that shows how important each one of those jobs is, longshoremen headed out to a picket line to protect four of them. 

And that labor dispute over those four jobs has caused some work on the project to grind to a halt. 

Mr T in DC

Washington’s senators say they want to change the tax that applies to cargo coming into U.S. ports. They say the tax, as it stands right now, is pushing shipping companies to divert containers to Canada and Mexico. 

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The Occupy Wall Street movement has faded from the news, but the Seattle City Council invoked its memory Monday with the passing of a banking ordinance. 

The city council wants the bank where it deposits money to reinvest back into the community. 

Center for Wooden Boats

Another new building is coming to South Lake Union, but this one will not be a workspace for Amazon techies—unless, that is, they like to build wooden boats.

The Center for Wooden Boats plans to start constructing its new education center in Lake Union Park this winter.  

It’s been the go-to music store in Seattle since the 1870s. But Sherman Clay is packing up its grand pianos and shutting down its iconic downtown store on Fourth Avenue.

In the 1980s, anyone in search of a used or new Steinway grand piano could turn to the  Seattle store as well as some 60 other Sherman Clay stores around the country. 

Miller Hull Partnership

The city of Seattle and Pike Place Market are planning a new building and walkway that will snake down to the waterfront. They’re hoping to begin construction as soon as next summer and have it done before the viaduct comes down.

Right now, if you’re down at the Ferris wheel and you want to get up to Pike Place Market, you have to find the elevator or go up a long set of stairs. It’s confusing.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Home prices in the Seattle metro area in May showed their biggest monthly gain in more than 20 years, as a tight supply of homes and low interest rates drive values higher.

Until recently, interest rates were at record lows, and that’s been spurring people to jump back into the housing market after the 2008 crash. Home prices in the Seattle metro area climbed more than 3 percent in May compared with April. That’s according to the Standard and Poor’s Case Shiller Home Price Index. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing’s chief project engineer for the 787 Dreamliner, Mike Sinnett, has been reassigned to a new job. Sinnett shepherded the Dreamliner through the battery crisis earlier this year.

He will become a vice president of product development, in charge of preliminary airplane design. He will also head research and development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 

Bob Whittington is shifting from his current position as chief project engineer of the 777 to replace Sinnett on the 787. Larry Schneider will replace Whittington on the 777 program.

Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press

Amazon.com is reporting a loss in the second quarter as higher revenue was not enough to make up for rising operating expenses.

Amazon.com Inc. said Thursday that its loss was $7 million, or 2 cents per share, in the April-June quarter. That's down from earnings of $7 million, or 1 cent per share, a year ago.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing raised its earnings and revenue forecasts for this year, reflecting strong demand in both the commercial airplane and defense businesses. But company executives say they plan to continue cutting costs. 

Boeing has announced a series of layoffs in Washington state this year, and its local headcount has shrunk by more than a thousand since the end of January. CEO Jim McNerney says the company is operating in a “more-for-less world,” and that’s what’s driving the focus on reducing costs.

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

For the second time this month, about 200 berry pickers at a Skagit Valley farm have walked off the job.

The workers are striking over pay for the boxes of blueberries and strawberries they harvest at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington. Many of those berries are sold to Haagen-Dazs for ice cream. The workers in question have been earning $3.50 per a flat of blueberries, which is about 12 pints. They say they can’t pick them fast enough to earn a fair wage.

Powerful business interests and unions are staging a showdown in the small town of SeaTac. Tuesday night, the SeaTac City Council is supposed to vote on whether to put a living wage initiative on the November ballot.  

Airport workers affiliated with unions like the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters collected signatures to put the measure on the ballot. It would set a minimum wage of $15 an hour for hospitality and transportation workers including people like baggage handlers at the airport.

Jason Howie

Microsoft sales and profit rose less than analysts expected in the most recent quarter as the company continues to struggle with slow adoption of its latest operating system.

Microsoft launched Windows 8 last year, but it was a radical makeover and sales have been disappointing. The company also rolled out its own tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad but that hasn’t sold well and Microsoft wrote off almost a billion dollars in the recent quarter related to tablet inventory. 

Mike Groll / Associated Press

Washington state’s economy is recovering, but a growing percentage of workers can only find part-time jobs, and that is shutting many of them out of employer-based health insurance.

Frank Kovalchek

Alaska Air Group is trying to quash a ballot initiative in the city of SeaTac that would hike wages for airport ground crew and other workers. 

The initiative would set a $15 per-hour minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac—people at the airport like baggage handlers and folks who push wheelchairs, as well as hotel workers and employees at rental car companies.

The AAA auto club reports the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Washington is $3.88.

That's up 9 cents in a week, and it's 27 cents higher than the national average.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

State and local leaders have promised Boeing expedited permitting to build its next 777 wide-body jet, as well as the plane’s carbon-fiber wing, in Washington. Still, the Puget Sound region faces competition for wing assembly not only from elsewhere in the U.S., but also from Japan.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

In an industry known for intense labor disputes and protracted negotiations, there seems to be a departure. Alaska Airlines and its pilots agreed on a new contract on their own—with no mediation, no arbitrators.  

RealtyTrac

The number of foreclosures in Washington state has jumped so far this year compared with last year, counter to the national trend. 

Bank repossessions climbed 78 percent in the first half of this year, according to the foreclosure-data firm RealtyTrac. New foreclosure filings have risen as well even though, nationally, they’re dropping.

pixieclipx / Flickr

University of Washington researchers say Seattle needs to do more to let businesses know about its paid-sick leave ordinance. They found almost half of business owners didn’t know about it as the law was taking effect last year. 

Seattle began requiring businesses with more than four employees to offer paid sick leave last Sept. 1. The city auditor hired UW researchers to conduct a survey right around that time. They found that four out of 10 employers knew nothing about it.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing has sent a technical team to assist in the investigation of the Asiana Airlines 777 crash in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the company is on the brink of making major business decisions about where the newest 777 will be built. Some aerospace observers, speaking off the record, say Washington state's recent legislative session may have damaged our chances of landing the assembly here. They say lawmakers failed to show Boeing the state is serious about competing with lower-wage states like South Carolina. 

Bari Bookout

The ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, B.C., are working together to dramatically reduce emissions. And they’re trying to do that without scaring away any cargo companies. 

Most of the diesel air pollution at the ports comes from ocean-going ships, but also from tug boats, cranes, trucks and trains. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing has topped Airbus in airplane deliveries so far this year in spite of the Dreamliner grounding that forced Boeing to stop delivering 787s for several months. 

The 787 grounding lasted three months, but it seems to have had little effect. Boeing kept producing new Dreamliners in Everett and in South Carolina during that time, then started handing them over to customers as soon as regulators gave the OK, with the newly-modified battery, of course.

Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia says it was a bold and risky move to keep the Dreamliner assembly lines humming.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

A team of professors with the University of Puget Sound wants to know how happy—or unhappy—Boeing workers are. The professors are surveying the company's employees about their attitudes toward work with the goal of turning the research into a book. 

Ronald Tan

If all goes according to plan, Tully’s will have a new celebrity owner come Monday. That’s when actor Patrick Dempsey’s investment group is set to complete its purchase of the struggling coffee chain out of bankruptcy. 

Buildings full of so-called micro-dwellings have been going up in parts of Seattle, but not without controversy. Now the Seattle City Council is getting ready to consider changes to the code to provide more oversight. 

Oracle PR

 (Update: Corrects to say Ellison hired investigators to comb through trash of groups sympathetic to Microsoft, not Microsoft's own trash.)

A seismic shift in technology is pushing two longtime archrivals to work together. Oracle and Microsoft are announcing a cloud-computing partnership later Monday.

Laurent Jegou

Airbus is reportedly considering expanding its presence in Washington state. Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton says, if it happens, that kind of investment here by Boeing’s archrival would help the state solidify its status as an aerospace mecca.

Francois Mori / Associated Press

Washington’s delegation to the Paris Air Show is trying to persuade more European aerospace companies to do business here. They're finding that European companies are receptive, in part because they want to do business in dollars.

  People who are anxious about the possibility of their property taxes going up have a new resource to turn to. King County just launched a web site to allow homeowners to appeal their property valuations electronically. They can use the site to look up comparable sales and submit that information along with the appeal.

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