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Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Democratic legislators in Olympia are taking aim at the huge tax incentive package the state passed to win Boeing’s 777X production line. Those tax breaks extend existing preferential rates and amount to $8.7 billion over 15 years. 

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The Pacific Maritime Association says it won't have any vessels loaded or unloaded at 29 West Coast ports, including Seattle and Tacoma, this weekend.

The association, which represents port terminal operators, says it doesn’t make sense to keep paying workers engaged in what employers call a months-long work slowdown.

Birdy206 / Flickr

Employers could lock out West Coast dockworkers in as few as five days if the two sides do not reach a new contract.

That warning came Wednesday from the head of a maritime association who is negotiating a new deal with a union representing longshoremen at 29 ports that handle about $1 trillion in trade annually.

Courtesy of Marine Construction Technologies

A technology that emerged from University of Washington research has the potential to make undersea construction less of a headache for wildlife.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Amazon shares jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading on news that the company returned to profitability in the fourth quarter. Strength in the cloud-computing business was an especially bright spot.

Cloud computing means hiring a company such as Amazon to run your computer system remotely instead of managing all those machines and software in-house.

Amazon and rivals such as Microsoft have been spending a lot to build big computer server farms. In spite of that expense, IDC analyst Al Hilwa says it’s an attractive business for Amazon.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Investors are becoming more optimistic about Boeing’s ability to generate cash even as deferred costs continue to mount for the 787 Dreamliner program. 

Boeing shares climbed more than 5 percent after the company reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.47 billion, up 19 percent from a year ago.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Microsoft’s profit dropped 11 percent in the most recent quarter, partly due to expenses connected to layoffs after the company’s purchase of the Finnish cell phone maker Nokia. 

The steep drop in oil prices is helping to pad the bottom line of Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. But don't expect lower fares on the horizon.

Wikimedia Commons

Anheuser-Busch says it is buying Seattle-based craft brewer Elysian Brewing Co. for an undisclosed sum.

It is the latest in a string of craft brewery acquisitions by Anheuser-Busch as it tries to counter soft sales of its own brands, such as Budweiser. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Puget Sound region is a trade powerhouse, but it has lagged behind smaller cities like Portland in attracting foreign-owned businesses to set up shop here. Now King, Kitsap, Snohomish and Pierce counties are teaming up to win more foreign investment here, and China is their main target.

Gexydaf / Flickr

Note: PLU holds the license for KPLU, where on-air staff are represented by the union SAG-AFTRA.

Non-tenure track faculty members at Pacific Lutheran University have withdrawn their petition to vote on forming a union. That ends, for now, an election that has dragged on more than a year.

Ayda D / Wikimedia Commons

 

A popular gift now for Chinese New Year is a box of red apples from Washington. But Northwest shippers say a labor dispute at West Coast ports is jeopardizing that lucrative overseas market.

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Mention taxes and people either get irate or their eyes glaze over. But one well-known Seattle economist has spent a lot of time thinking about our state tax system and says it stinks. And, he says, it’s time we all paid attention.

Gexydaf / Flickr

Note: PLU holds the license for KPLU, where on-air staff are represented by the union SAG-AFTRA.

The National Labor Relations Board has released the result of a vote by adjunct and part-time faculty at Pacific Lutheran University on whether to unionize.

There were 30 votes for union representation, 54 votes against representation and 38 challenged ballots, the NLRB said.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing appears to have topped Airbus for a third year in a row in airplane deliveries, and the company has a new record backlog of more than 5,700 planes still to build. That's eight years' worth of production at the current rate.

B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure / Flickr

A federal mediator has been appointed to help facilitate collective bargaining between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, the group representing terminal operators up and down the West Coast.

The employers have been saying the longshoremen have deliberately slowed down work to gain leverage in contract talks. The workers say the slowdown is the result of other congestion problems, including a shortage of truck beds for carrying containers.

Starbucks

In news that will please Australians, New Zealanders and Brits living in the U.S., Starbucks says it will start selling a coffee drink known as the `flat white’ this week, and there’s one person in Seattle who’s particularly delighted. 

We first heard of the flat white last fall, when KPLU spoke with Aidan Lang, the new general director of the Seattle Opera.

Lang is from the U.K. but lived for years in New Zealand, and that’s where he first tasted what became his favorite coffee drink.

David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

 

According to researchers at Washington State University, shoppers may be more likely to accept bad customer service from a company if they know that company supports causes they agree with.

WSU social psychologist Jeff Joireman said tales of bad customer service spread fast these days — on Yelp, on YouTube, on Twitter.

Sharon Drummond - dolmansaxlil / Flickr

 

A trip across the border to Canada could have an added appeal right now with an exchange rate that has turned quite favorable for Americans.

But this cuts two ways. It might also lead to more Canadians staying home, which could hurt retailers in U.S. border counties.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing has announced a deal with Kuwait Airways that could allay some concerns about its ability to sell enough of its current 777 wide-body jet. 

The Kuwaiti airline has finalized an order for ten 777-300ERs, the current version of Boeing's popular twin-engine, long-haul jet.

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A Seattle biotechnology firm is making waves on Wall Street. Juno Therapeutics had a splashy initial public offering Friday, and shares climbed more than 45 percent in its first day of trading.

Nigel Pacquette / Wikimedia Commons

 

Northwest farmers and orchardists are among the potential beneficiaries if the U.S. and Cuba normalize their relationship and the trade embargo ends.

They're among many still trying to sort out what President Obama's announcement Wednesday of changes in Cuba policy could mean for them.

Anna King

 

A slowdown at western ports is now aggravating farmers across the Northwest.

Produce processors are laying off production line workers. Apples are backing up. And the summer’s premium hay is stacked in sheds and not moving.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle Housing Authority, which runs public housing in the city, has backed away from a proposed rental policy change that sparked protest, and now the agency says it won't put forth a new plan before 2016.

This past summer, SHA proposed a new policy called "Stepping Forward" in which it would no longer set rent at 30 percent of a tenant's income, and instead would charge rent based on the size of the unit.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The price of crude oil has dropped to its lowest level in about five years and has fallen about 40 percent this year. That’s great for people filling up their gas tanks, but perhaps not such good news for a company like Boeing that’s made fuel-efficiency of its new airplanes a big selling point.

Now the company is explaining why the drop in oil prices is not cause for concern. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Gerry Pollet's name. We've also removed a sentence that said last year's tax preference extension hasn't yet gone into effect. It took effect July 9, 2014. 

Last year, the Washington state legislature extended aerospace tax breaks worth an estimated $8.7 billion in an effort to persuade Boeing to build the 777x jet here.  

The company did commit to build the plane here, but at the same time, Boeing has announced plans to move thousands of other jobs away. And that has some lawmakers in Olympia ready to require companies to meet tougher criteria to qualify for lower tax rates.

Scott Sady / AP Photo

Business groups are cheering a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case brought by Amazon warehouse workers. The justices rejected the workers’ argument that they should be paid for the time spent waiting to go through security screenings.

Amazon.com.

 

A new letter from Amazon to the Federal Aviation Administration indicates the e-commerce giant is getting frustrated with the wait for approval to test package delivery drones.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

King County Metro Transit bus drivers are stepping up their pressure on officials to give them more bathroom breaks. On Monday, some workers picketed outside King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office to draw attention to what they say are unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

Jerry Meaden / Flickr

In the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008, some cities have started exploring the idea of bypassing commercial banks by creating public banks. This Wednesday, a forum will explore the idea of Seattle creating its own lending institution

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