Business

Housing Development
4:20 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

HUD: Seattle APodment Developer Must Make Units Accessible For Disabled People

A Seattle apartment development company that has been building so-called aPodments will have to retrofit one of its complexes to make the building accessible for people with disabilities following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

APodments are micro-housing developments that have been springing up around Seattle in the past couple of years. They consist of a number of small apartments with shared kitchens and common areas. 

Centro LLC is the owner and developer of the building in question, a 56-unit Capitol Hill property managed by Calhoun Property Management.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

What Is The Farm Guest Worker Program And Why Is It Controversial In Wash. State?

Berry pickers showed up in a Skagit County court as they brought a lawsuit against Sakuma Brothers Farms. They said the farm was trying to exclude them from work and instead bring in foreign guest workers under the H-2A program.
Ashley Gross KPLU

People in Seattle are familiar with the H-1B visa program that brings high-tech employees from abroad, but another, more obscure foreign worker program has churned up a lot of controversy in the state recently.

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Business
4:41 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Governor-Appointed Group To Tackle Farm Labor Issues In Wash. State

FILE - Workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms are seen at work.
Bellamy Pailthorp

After a tumultuous year in which berry pickers at a Skagit County farm went on repeated strikes, a new group appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee is set to start tackling farm labor issues. 

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Minimum Wage
3:39 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Seattle City Council Unanimously Approves $15 Minimum Wage — Highest In Nation

File image
AP Photo

The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest in the nation.

Starting on April 1, 2015, the clock will begin ticking for Seattle-based employers to boost their minimum wage workforce up to $15 per hour. Raises will be phased in over the next three to seven years, depending on how large the business is and what other benefits it offers. 

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Workers' Rights
1:59 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Sakuma Brothers Farms Withdraws Application For H-2A Guest Workers

Steve Sakuma in front of newly renovated worker cabins at Sakuma Brothers Farms
Brett Davis Washington Farm Bureau

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Business
4:59 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Sawant Declares Victory As Seattle Moves Closer To A $15/Hour Minimum Wage

Kshama Sawant and members of 15 Now cheer the vote by the city council committee to approve raising the minimum wage.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Seattle’s low-wage workers are closer to getting a raise. A city council committee unanimously voted to pass Mayor Ed Murray’s minimum wage plan, with some amendments.

Even Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant, who’s criticized the measure as too watered down, said it’s a victory for workers. 

The plan phases in a $15-an-hour minimum wage over a period of three to seven years, depending on how big the business is. City council members considered a number of amendments, including one to push the initial start date to April 1st next year instead of January 1st. That measure passed.

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Workers' Rights
11:36 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Security Guard Asks Amazon's Bezos: What Can Your Code Of Conduct Do For Me?

Daivon Young joined other security guards and members of the Service Employees International Union after the Amazon annual shareholders meeting Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
Rae Ellen Bichell KPLU

Amazon's latest innovations weren't the draw for security guards who attended the company's annual shareholders' meeting Wednesday to address CEO Jeff Bezos directly about workers' rights. 

Among those gathered was security officer Daivon Young, who works for a company called Security Industry Specialists and is hired to guard Amazon headquarters. 

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Boeing Dreamliner
10:05 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Report: FAA Too Reliant On Boeing For Battery Test

This slide shown on a video screen during a news conference at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, shows a comparison of an exemplar battery with the Japan Airlines Boeing 787 battery.
Ann Heisenfelt AP Photo

A new report says the government failed to properly test the lithium-ion batteries on the Boeing 787 and relied too much on the company for technical expertise.

The National Transportation Safety Board Thursday criticized the process used by the Federal Aviation Administration to certify the new jet in 2007. It also recommends that FAA look outside the aviation industry for independent technical expertise.

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The Lives Of Migrant Workers
5:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

5 Things One Anthropologist Learned While Working As A Migrant Berry Picker In Wash.

Courtesy of Seth Holmes

Seth Holmes is a doctor and anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley who did something that wouldn’t occur to most white, middle-class, highly-educated Americans.

About a decade ago, he spent a year and a half traveling, living with and working alongside migrant indigenous Mexican farmworkers from the state of Oaxaca. His stint included two seasons picking strawberries and blueberries on a large farm in Skagit County.

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Business
5:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Seattle Group To Hold Its First Investment Forum Solely For Women Entrepreneurs

Getting your startup company funded can be tough no matter what, but women entrepreneurs may face the additional challenge of overcoming gender bias.

A Seattle-based angel investing group called ZINO Society is holding its first-ever investment forum dedicated solely to women business owners. 

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Labor Dispute
5:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Berry Pickers Sue Sakuma Brothers Farms, Allege Retaliation After Last Year’s Strikes

FILE - Workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms are seen at work.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

Editor's note: The story has been updated to clarify that the berry pickers formed a workers' association. They did not form a union by holding an election under the National Labor Relations Act.

Berry pickers who went on strike at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Skagit County several times last year have filed a suit against the company, alleging retaliation. The workers say Sakuma has blacklisted many of them from working this summer as payback for their walkouts.

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Housing Market
4:36 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Northwest Mirrors National Shift Away From Single-Family Homes

Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP Photo

New housing starts are a key economic indicator, but not all new houses are created the same. A new report issued Friday shows Washington and Oregon are following a national shift away from single-family homes toward more apartment complexes.

Multi-family buildings, defined as those with five housing units or more, make up more than one-third of new residential construction in both states. The number has nearly doubled over the past decade.

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Labor Practices
5:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Janitors At UW Tacoma Rally Over Lack Of Benefits And Low Pay

Labor activists plan to rally today at the University of Washington Tacoma campus on behalf of the school’s janitorial workers. They’re drawing attention to the cleaning staff’s lack of benefits and low pay.

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Jobless Rate
12:19 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Steady Job Gains Chip Away At Jobless Rate In Wash. State

Steady job gains are chipping away at the unemployment rate in Washington state. New numbers released by the Employment Department Wednesday show the statewide jobless rate dropped to 6.1 percent in April, down from 6.3 percent in March. 

The vast majority of new jobs are being created in the Seattle metro area. In the last reporting month, the jobless rate in 87 percent of Washington counties was higher than the national average.

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Northwest Farmers
2:35 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Washington Farmers Expecting Third Largest Cherry Crop Ever This Season

Northwest sweet cherry growers say they'll likely pick 20 million boxes full — their third largest haul ever — this season. But there’s plenty that can happen to cherries before then, even on the day of harvest.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah grow about two-thirds of the nation’s sweet cherries. And this year, demand should be even higher for those candy-like fruit as a result of the dismal cherry growing weather in California. The continuing drought in that state and poor pollination has thinned out their crops. 

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