Business

Minimum Wage
4:51 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Starbucks CEO Schultz: $15 Minimum Wage Would Be Hard For Small Businesses

Howard Schultz, left, chairman and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, stands with Oprah Winfrey, right, after they announced their partnership to offer Teavana Oprah Chai tea, Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says a $15 per hour minimum wage in Seattle may not have such a big effect on his company, but he’s concerned it would hit small- and medium-sized businesses hard.

The issue of raising the minimum wage has dominated headlines in Seattle ever since Kshama Sawant, who has been pushing for the increase, won a city council seat last fall.

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Jobless Rate
4:08 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady In Washington, Dips In Oregon

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.4 percent, according to February’s numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek says an economy in growth mode is luring discouraged jobseekers off the sidelines and swelling the labor pool.

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Cannabis Industry
12:02 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Coming To Tacoma Dome: CannaCon, 'Home And Garden Show, But With Cannabis'

File image
AP Photo

Move over, Hempfest; there’s a new show in town, and on the same weekend.

CannaCon is coming to the Tacoma Dome, and organizers hope to make it the biggest cannabis expo in the country.

“Picture the Seattle Home and Garden Show, but with cannabis,” said Bob Smart, a medical marijuana retailer who is organizing the event with the help of the Marijuana Business Association.

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Boeing Dreamliner
9:41 am
Wed March 19, 2014

FAA: Boeing 787's Design, Manufacture Safe

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AP Photo

Federal aviation officials say Boeing's design and manufacture of its cutting-edge 787 jetliner is safe despite the many plane's many problems since its rollout.

A report issued jointly by the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing on Wednesday says the plane was soundly designed, and that the government had effective processes in place to identify and correct issues that emerged before and after certification. The report makes seven recommendations for further improvements by Boeing and FAA.

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Taxis vs. Rideshare Services
3:51 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Seattle City Council Approves Driver Cap For Rideshare Companies

Wessen Darge, a taxi driver of more than 20 years, says his income is down about 35 percent in the past year as a result of exploding competition from rideshare companies.
Ashley Gross

After working on new regulations for about a year, the Seattle City Council on Monday voted unanimously to limit the number of rideshare drivers who can be active at any one time.

Companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar will be able to each have 150 drivers active on the dispatch system at a given time. Those so-called "transportation network companies" let drivers use their personal vehicles and connect with passengers via smartphone applications.

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Labor Dispute
12:21 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Mental Health Clinicians In Thurston, Mason And Grays Harbor Counties Go On Strike

Clinicians are on strike in Olympia, Wash.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

More than 150 case managers, therapists and other employees of Behavioral Health Resources have walked off the job for a three-day strike. The agency provides mental-health and substance-abuse services in Thurston, Mason and Grays Harbor counties, mostly to Medicaid recipients.

The agency is in deep financial straits and had to take out a line of credit to make payroll in December.

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Northwest Farmers
4:03 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Upstream Of Damaged Dam, Farmers Can’t Reach Columbia River For Irrigation

Anna King

Thousands of acres of high-value cherry and apple orchards behind the damaged Wanapum Dam are at serious risk in eastern Washington.

It turns out farmers don't have long enough straws to pump out of the Columbia River now that the water has been lowered there to stabilize the dam.

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Minimum Wage
3:08 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Parking Lot Workers In SeaTac Say Their Boss Isn't Paying The $15 Minimum Wage

Last December, workers marched from SeaTac to Seattle in support of $15 minimum wage.
Ashley Gross

At the beginning of the year, the minimum wage in the city of SeaTac jumped to $15 an hour for workers at large hotels and parking lot companies. But employees at one parking lot business have complained to the city that they still haven’t gotten the raise almost three months later. 

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Labor Dispute
4:20 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Space Needle Owners Violated Federal Labor Law, Administrative Law Judge Finds

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Ted S. Warren AP Photo

The owners of Seattle’s most famous landmark, the Space Needle, violated federal labor law, according to an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board. 

The landmark that dominates Seattle's skyline is owned by Space Needle LLC, a private company owned by the descendants of the construction entrepreneur Howard S. Wright. The company he founded later built the Space Needle for the 1962 World's Fair. A spokesman says the company plans to appeal the judge's decision.

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Boeing Dreamliner
2:13 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Boeing Inspecting About 40 Undelivered Dreamliners For Possible Wing Cracks

Dreamliners in production at Boeing's Everett factory
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing says it is inspecting about 40 Dreamliners that may have hairline cracks in their wings. No planes in service are affected; the issue only affects some aircraft still in production.

Company spokesman Doug Alder says the wing manufacturer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, told Boeing that a change in their manufacturing process may have caused the cracks, which Alder says are very small.

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Business
3:06 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Boeing Shifts 26,000 Non-Union Workers In The Seattle Region Away From A Pension

Boeing plans to shift its non-union employees away from a defined benefit pension plan, including about 26,000 workers in the Puget Sound region. 

In January, machinists here narrowly accepted a similar pension freeze to win the 777X production line. Now, Boeing’s including non-union employees in the retirement plan change because the company says its pension obligation is unsustainable.

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Business
5:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

$15 Minimum Wage Forum Draws Heated Arguments On Both Sides

Workers and activists showed up to speak in favor of a $15/hour minimum wage
Ashley Gross KPLU

Business owners, union members, restaurant employees and activists each got two minutes Wednesday night to say their piece about a higher minimum wage in Seattle. The city council and a committee appointed by Mayor Ed Murray held the forum as they weigh possibly hiking the wage floor to $15 an hour. 

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Minimum Wage
5:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Regional Economist Dick Conway Says $15 Minimum Wage Is 'Not Outrageous’

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AP Photo

 (Editor's note: This has been updated to include Conway's analysis on the minimum wage that he presented in his March 2014 issue of The Puget Sound Economic Forecaster.)

For hours on Wednesday, people spoke up both for and against the proposal to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. At 60 percent higher than the state’s current minimum wage, it’s an eye-popping number. 

But well-known regional economist Dick Conway says the figure is not so crazy.

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Economy
1:33 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Washington Recoups Great Recession Job Losses, With Caveat

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Mary Altaffer AP Photo

It took four years, but Washington has now recovered more jobs than it lost during the Great Recession. But Wednesday’s announcement comes with a caveat.

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Minimum Wage
4:43 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Labor Secretary Mum On Whether Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage Idea Makes Sense

FILE - In this April 18, 2013, file photo, Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination.
Molly Riley AP Photo

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez says he supports the idea of a higher minimum wage, but he wouldn’t comment on whether Seattle’s proposed rate of $15 per hour makes sense. Perez made the comments during a visit to Boeing’s Renton factory Monday.

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