Business

Business news

A high-level whistleblower from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is meeting with members of Congress this week. The topic: the safety culture at Hanford’s $12 billion waste treatment plant. A new report backs up his claim that the Department of Energy and its contractors discourage workers from raising safety concerns.

The Seattle Department of Transportation writes in its blog that sure enough, a number of on-street parking pay stations “recently experienced some technical problems.”

SDOT says a cell tower lost signal strength intermittently and that caused all the trouble.

Boeing

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and state officials have joined hundreds of Boeing workers in North Charleston to cut the ribbon opening the company's 787 jetliner assembly plant at the center of a National Labor Relations Board dispute.

Haley on Friday called Boeing a great American company said its workers make all South Carolinians proud.

epSos.de / Flickr

June is one of the most popular months of the year to get married. That means brides-to-be are preparing for their long-awaited - and probably highly expensive - wedding day. While there are no guarantees for a successful marriage, a new type of business can guarantee the special day goes as planned.

Associated Press

The Supreme Court says Microsoft Corp. must pay a $290 million patent infringement judgment awarded to a small Toronto software company in a patent lawsuit.

The high court on Thursday refused to throw out the judgment against the world's largest software maker.

Toronto-based i4i sued Microsoft in 2007, saying it owned the technology behind a tool used in Microsoft Word. The technology in question gave Word 2003 and Word 2007 users an improved way to edit XML, which is computer code that tells the program how to interpret and display a document's contents.

Associated Press

The Machinists Union says it's surprised and disappointed to hear of plans by Congress to hold a hearing next week over the federal labor lawsuit against Boeing. 

The National Labor Relations Board has filed suit against the aerospace giant claiming the company moved manufacturing facilities to South Carolina to avoid unionized workers.  A hearing on that issue starts Tuesday morning in Seattle.  Now the NLRB's attorney is being summoned to a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government later in the week.

About 50 workers from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation complained about health and safety issues at a meeting in Richland on Tuesday night. The conference was organized by Hanford Challenge, a watchdog group.

Most who attended the meeting complained they aren’t being compensated adequately for their health problems. They also said Hanford contractors and the federal government aren’t keeping workers safe in places like the nuclear waste tank farms.

Cheuk-man Kong / Flikr

Amazon.com has been thriving, despite the economic downturn. Shares in the company are now worth more than five times a much as they were five years ago, thanks in part to innovations such as its electronic book reader, the Kindle, or its move into data storage of all kinds of things "in the cloud."

But it's just these futuristic lines of business that have some shareholders worried. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. – JP Morgan Chase, the second largest bank in the country, is lobbying Gov. Chris Gregoire to line-item veto a requirement that the bank alert Washington cash assistance clients of an ATM fee the bank charges.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Your car may be your most-prized personal possession, but the vast majority of the time it's parked not doing anything. Now, several startup companies propose to help you capitalize on your car's downtime by renting it to perfect strangers.

Following the example set by California last year, the Oregon Legislature is set to tweak its insurance rules to smooth the road for person-to-person car rentals. One company already has hundreds of registered users across the Pacific Northwest, even though the service has not officially launched in that region. And, another company plans to include Washington state this summer.

Shawn McClung / Flickr

New air services connecting Seattle to Iceland and Asia have helped Washington state lead the nation in attracting visitors from overseas, according to the U.S. Commerce Department and Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tying with Nevada for the highest percentage growth in foreign visitors from 2009 to 2010, Washington state visits increased by 32 percent compared with an 11-percent growth nationally.

Among top U.S. cities, Seattle and Los Angeles led with a 33-percent increase in attracting foreign visitors. Other cities with double-digit increases were Las Vegas with 31 percent; Atlanta, 25 percent, and San Diego, 24 percent.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is trying to make its work more conspicuous.  That’s one explanation the billionaire couple gave for its new campus during a grand-opening event Thursday night.

About a thousand people packed into the campus' new grand atrium, which has a wall of glass four stories tall. 

Bill Gates spoke briefly, thanking his parents for setting an example of civic volunteerism. He quickly turned the microphone to his wife, saying, "The person who really had responsibility was Melinda, and let me thank her as I invite her to the stage."

Tom Paulson / KPLU-Humanosphere

More than a thousand workers at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have moved into their new campus across the street from Seattle Center. Celebrations are planned tonight (Thursday) and this weekend. Foundation leaders say they want to be more visible to the public.

(A public open-house is this Saturday, from 10am-4pm. Advance registration is required, here.)

Investors in Bellevue-based drugstore.com gather Thursday for their annual shareholder meeting. It's likely the last time they'll meet there. 

The online-retailer is being acquired by its biggest brick and mortar competitor: Illinois-based Walgreens. 

seattebeernews.com

At the beginning of the year Poulsbo had no breweries. Now it has four.

The breweries produce small batches in kegs. None are bottling yet, but they hope to grow.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Home prices in major markets around the U.S. dropped to their lowest levels since 2006 in March. But not in Seattle.

After falling almost two percent in February, Seattle home prices were up a modest 0.1 percent in March, but still down 7.5 percent compared to March 2010.

NBBJ Architects

Everything about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is looking big these days.

Photo by MïK / Flickr

Grays Harbor Paper has shut down its mill in Hoquiam, putting a dour end to what had been a success story for 18 years. 

240 workers are losing their jobs. Many were shocked by the announcement, according to King-5 news.

“I thought this place was going to be in for the long haul,” said Tony Harris, who had worked for Grays Harbor Paper for two years.

Charla Bear / KPLU

A new effort could make internet speeds 100 times faster for some small businesses and residential customers in Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn announced a plan to bring fiber optic broadband to Pioneer Square as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the neighborhood.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Washington's jobless rate is down to 9.1 percent after the state added an estimated 5,800 jobs in April.

The potential for new electronic billboards has brought an overwhelming negative response from Tacoma residents. So, the Tacoma City Council has approved a six-month moratorium on all billboards in the city, while a new policy is worked out.  

That reverses a legal settlement with Clear Channel. The company negotiated an agreement to put up new digital billboards in exchange for removing hundreds of traditional ones. Now, that agreement is on hold and the company is threatening to return to litigation.

Image courtesy of voipnovatos.es

Microsoft's biggest acquisition ever might have people in the region worrying about layoffs. Often when companies merge, redundant workers get pink slips.

But it sounds like employees of the Redmond tech giant don't have much cause for concern with Microsoft's $8.5-billion purchase of Skype.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

One of the most prominent demolition jobs since the Kingdome imploded is underway in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. This time, there will be no explosion, and the building is private instead of public. 

The 25-story McGuire Apartments saga is a sad one, says Doug Lo, a Belltown resident who was snapping photos with his phone, from across the street, at 2nd Ave. and Vine St.

"It's a nice building, and in this modern age, you'd think they would have built it correctly, from the get-go," he said.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

A gigantic bridge-shaped piñata spewed more than four hundred pounds of candy last night in south Seattle. It was part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration going on in the city's South Park neighborhood. 

Earlier in the day, officials broke ground on a new $130-million-dollar bridge that's going to re-connect that community to major highways.

Justin Shearer / flickr.com

Remember the bidding wars over Seattle area homes before the housing bubble burst? Well, we're not returning to those crazy days just yet, but the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) says there are signs that the market may be warming up a bit. Home sellers in some neighborhoods are seeing multiple offers again. But it's not a boom; overall, the latest numbers show fewer sales and lower prices than a year ago.

Seeking Opportunities Developing Occupations (SODO, Inc.)

The recession has been tough on workers in the trades. The latest state unemployment report showed construction had a particularly bad month between February and March. That’s not stopping a job fair aimed at attracting more women to building and repair industries.

AP

Boeing’s CEO says it was likely sloppy work, not a design flaw, that resulted in a hole in a Southwest Airlines jet. On April 1st, a Boeing 737 developed a 5-foot tear in the roof while in flight.

Ben Margot / AP

"Initial Public Offering," or I-P-O, is a buzz term that was talked about a lot in the boom years of the late 1990s – especially in Seattle, where lots of high-tech startup companies were thriving at that time.  They've been pretty scarce lately.  But they may be coming back.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Some industries are slowly creating jobs again, but construction isn’t really one of them. The state lost about 2,400 construction jobs just last month, according to state employment economists. But in Seattle, hope could be on the horizon.

The clanking and pounding sounds of construction are starting to return to the city. Some builders who work on high-rise projects have been able to dust off their nail guns, thanks to a growing demand for apartments.

Paula Wissel/KPLU

U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell say Wall Street speculation in the oil and gas market is directly affecting small business in Washington. 

At a news conference held at Local Roots Organic in Seattle they were joined by several business owners who said high gas prices are taking a toll on their bottom line.

Pages