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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.

In a statement released this afternoon, ESD noted:

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.

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

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