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Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney says he understands that shifting engineering work away from Washington state may be controversial, but he says these moves “strengthen our company, strengthen our engineering capability.”

Over the past year, the Chicago-based aerospace giant has announced several transfers of engineering jobs that affect thousands of Puget Sound-area employees. Most recently, the company said earlier this month that it will move 1,000 engineering positions to southern California as it makes that region the center of customer support for airplanes currently in service.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Business owners in Seattle and around the state are lining up to tap the expertise of an unusual group of consultants: undergraduates at the University of Washington.

That may sound surprising, since the students mostly just have a few internships on their resumes. But their consulting class pushes them to dive deep into their clients’ business problems and deliver tangible, practical advice.

For one local chef, it’s a partnership that has yielded results.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

This may be the year that Seattle adopts one of the highest minimum wages in the country. But labor advocates and Seattle City Council member Nick Licata say without tough enforcement, a new wage law will be toothless. 

 

Many Northwest alfalfa growers had a rough year with bad weather last summer. Rain can leach nutrients out of drying hay and rot away any profits. 

But this year, hay markets are primed if growers can duck the storm clouds. Drought in California and parts of the Midwest means hay buyers are focusing in on Northwest crops. 

Tom Banse

Thanks to late-season snow that fell in many areas, some Cascade ski areas will welcome skiers and snowboarders well past Easter.

There will be end-of-season parties at at least nine Northwest ski resorts this weekend. Timing means everything for the bottom line of these resort companies. But a strong finish doesn't necessarily make up for a late start like we saw this season.

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

The union that has been trying to organize T-Mobile workers says a recent action by the federal government will boost its efforts.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered the various labor complaints against the telecom giant to be consolidated into one case.

AP Photo

Boeing is moving about 1,000 of its customer support jobs out of Washington and into Southern California.

The company said Thursday that it is centralizing its customer support to its engineering design center in Southern California. It already employs 1,800 people at its Long Beach and Seal Beach sites there.

Mary Ann Chastain / AP Photo

If you’re a restaurant server in Texas or Mississippi, you probably earn $2.13 an hour from your employer. That’s the federal minimum wage for people who earn tips.

But here, servers earn at least $9.32 an hour, and then earn tips on top of that. Washington is one of seven states that require that tipped workers get the same minimum wage as everyone else. But with talk of a $15 an hour minimum wage, restaurant owners are pushing back.

Eric Risberg / AP Photo

Since San Francisco set a higher minimum wage for its airport workers back in 2000, the city has seen a positive effect, officials from San Francisco International Airport told Port of Seattle commissioners Tuesday.

Tom Banse

Here's a surprising fact: the largest bitcoin mine in North America is located on the outskirts of Wenatchee, Washington.

It's not a mine in the traditional sense. In these mines, you won't have helmets, lamps or pickaxes, and there's no danger of cave in. In this case, the mine consists of two warehouses that have been converted into a data center.

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco. The green points are the first crop harvested in spring.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Editor's Note: The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a union of about 333,000 dues-paying members across the country, has not had a contested election for its top posts since 1961. People have tried to get through the nomination and endorsement process in the past to challenge the union's leadership, but they haven't succeeded, until now. Machinists are voting throughout the month of April, and the results will be known next month.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Boeing machinists in the Puget Sound region have a rare chance to head to the polls Thursday and vote on who should run their union’s national headquarters. It’s the first contested election for the top leadership posts in more than 50 years, and lingering anger over the recent Boeing contract extension vote is fueling an effort to oust the union leaders.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Editor's Note: Tom Buffenbarger has held the top job of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers since 1997. He’s been in the public eye in the Pacific Northwest ever since the contentious Boeing contract-extension votes that took place last November and in January.

Shannon Kringen

Ever since Seattle Mayor Ed Murray set up a committee to study how to hike Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, there’s been the faint sound of a clock ticking. Now that clock is getting louder. 

AP Photo

Seattle is getting serious about the possibility of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A symposium on income inequality called by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray honed in on the option as a key policy question.  

Several hundred people gathered at Seattle University for Thursday's symposium, which is part of the work of the mayor’s Advisory Committee on Income Inequality.

AP Photo

One of the 13 workers who filed complaints with the city of SeaTac alleging their employer was illegally failing to pay the new $15-an-hour minimum wage has now filed a lawsuit against the company. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Even hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour may not be enough to allow low-wage workers to afford rent in Seattle, according to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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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