Business

Business news

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Unionized grocery workers in the region say they're glad they didn't have to go on strike.  But they say the threat of a massive walk out was what helped them get a new contract they could accept.  Votes tallied over the weekend show a resounding 95% approval.   

Richards Studio, Tacoma via Tacoma Public Library Archives

Tacoma is losing one of its landmark businesses.  Nalley Foods will close its local plant some time next year. 

Nalley’s has been well known for its brand of potato chips, pickles, and mayonnaise.  The chips were ubiquitous across the Northwest for decades, but that line was sold-off 15 years ago. 

Ted Warren / AP Photo

Washington’s sales tax on candy, soda and bottled water goes away today. Some candy and chocolate stores are bracing for a surge in business from corporate gift purchases that have been delayed until now to avoid the tax.

Flickr/Chris Guillebeau

How should we measure societal progress and success?  What is the economy really for?  Is the measure of Gross National Happiness, championed by the tiny south Asian nation of Bhutan, superior to our Gross Domestic Product?  How has Seattle become one of the centers in the U. S. pursuing such alternative measures?

Flickr, by aflcio/ Bernard Pollack

Organized labor flexed its muscles recently in our region, showing their influence behind the scenes. There won’t be any protests on the evening news.  But the threat of large-scale demonstrations this week by the Machinists Union and its supporters culminated in the cancellation of a conference meant to lure aerospace manufacturing to Mexico. It was scheduled to take place tomorrow in Seattle.  

A big tobacco company is using images of Seattle to convince people to light up.  It’s one of 10 cities featured in an ad campaign that follows the Camel cigarettes mascot to “hip” locations.  This month, the company plans to start selling limited edition packs with Seattle icons on it.

Flickr, by khalilshah

Nearly 100,000 people in Washington will get letters this week, letting them know how soon their unemployment benefits will run out.  Emergency assistance for the long-term jobless has expired.  

Boeing 787 Dreamliner
AP

Boeing's damaged Dreamliner No. 2 is back in the air – but not for test flights.  It's not clear when the new jet's test flight program will resume or how long the latest 787 delay will end up being. 

But Boeing says the Dreamliner that was badly damaged by an in-flight fire in Texas three weeks ago took off from Laredo at 12:06 p.m. Pacific Time and was expected to land at Boeing Field at 4:18 this afternoon.  

Gary Davis/KPLU

 Grocery workers and their employers have reached a tentative agreement after lengthy contract talks over the weekend.  This means shoppers no longer have to worry about a pre-Thanksgiving strike at the four big chains: QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons.

Puget  Sound grocery workers gathered for a strike authorization vote
Courtesy UFCW 21

With just a week to go before Thanksgiving, there's new hope in the grocery workers contract dispute.  Negotiators are back at the table today  after a resounding majority of union members threatened to go on strike.

The latest figures are out, and the state's unemployment rate is unchanged from last month: 9.1%.


About 1,900  private sector jobs were added last month. That makes five consecutive months of job growth in private industry, according to the Employment Security Department. 


The public sector added 4,000 positions, largely due to education-related hiring in September.

Boeing has cut the ribbon on a new production facility in south Seattle.  It's where a version of its best-selling 737 aircraft will be transformed into one of the US navy's most advanced surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. 


 

Photo by Gary Davis/KPLU

Just two years ago, Starbucks was laying off staff and closing hundreds of US stores in its efforts to slash costs and restore the chain to profitability. Now it's reporting record earnings for the fourth quarter, with profits up 86% compared to a year ago.

Starbucks says its turnaround has ushered in a new phase of growth. Sales in the US and abroad increased by 8% during the quarter.

Russell Investments

What was once the WaMu Tower is now the Russell Investment Center. The financial services company that was downtown Tacoma's largest employer has now formally opened its new headquarters in downtown Seattle.

Seattle's civic leaders turned out in full force to welcome the company famous for its stock market indexes. 900 well-paid employees now occupy five floors of the skyscraper at 2nd and Union, next door to the Seattle Art Museum.

A followup to a story we brought to you two weeks ago: the ACLU issues a report Monday that condemns the practice of jailing people in legal trouble because of their debts. Washington is cited in the report because its attorneys can seek arrest warrants for people who ignore orders to show up in court to face their creditors. KPLU's Doug Nadvornick reports.

Full Story
The ACLU decries what it calls the "Rise of America's New Debtors' Prisons."

Pages