Labor

Workers' Rights
10:44 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Berry Pickers Battle Sakuma Bros. Farms In Court Over Housing Policy Change

Martin Barrera is hopeful that he'll be able to live in Sakuma's worker housing this summer along with his wife and three children
David Cravioto

Even as the summer berry season gets underway, some of the workers who pick those berries have been battling with a Skagit County farm in court. They’ve challenged Sakuma Brothers Farms over its new policy to no longer provide housing for workers’ family members. 

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Business
3:47 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Following Seattle's Minimum Wage Increase, Home Care Workers Push For $15 An Hour

Ubah Aden, a home care worker in Seattle, at a rally calling for a new state contract that phases in a $15/hour minimum wage for independent home care workers
Ashley Gross KPLU

The union that represents home care workers across Washington state is calling for a new contract that phases in a $15-an-hour minimum wage. They’re hoping Seattle’s recent vote to gradually hike the wage floor will help bolster their argument. 

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Business
4:41 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Governor-Appointed Group To Tackle Farm Labor Issues In Wash. State

FILE - Workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms are seen at work.
Bellamy Pailthorp

After a tumultuous year in which berry pickers at a Skagit County farm went on repeated strikes, a new group appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee is set to start tackling farm labor issues. 

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The Lives Of Migrant Workers
5:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

5 Things One Anthropologist Learned While Working As A Migrant Berry Picker In Wash.

Courtesy of Seth Holmes

Seth Holmes is a doctor and anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley who did something that wouldn’t occur to most white, middle-class, highly-educated Americans.

About a decade ago, he spent a year and a half traveling, living with and working alongside migrant indigenous Mexican farmworkers from the state of Oaxaca. His stint included two seasons picking strawberries and blueberries on a large farm in Skagit County.

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Machinists Union
12:08 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Machinists Union Leaders Keep Their Posts After Rare Contested Election

FILE - Tom Buffenbarger speaks to Boeing Co. workers Wednesday, July 16, 2008, at a strike sanction rally in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

After a rare contested election, the incumbents have retained their posts at the top of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

International President Tom Buffenbarger kept the position he’s held since 1997 by a margin of two-to-one, according to preliminary results. About 23,500 members voted for Buffenbarger, and about 11,200 voted for IAM Reform candidate, Jay Cronk.

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Labor Unions
3:04 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Longtime Union Organizer Says Machinists' Reform Push Is A Hopeful Sign For Labor

Machinists and supporters rally against a contract vote in January 2014
Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

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Business
10:47 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Boeing CEO: Moving Engineering Jobs Out Of Wash. Will 'Strengthen Our Company'

A 777 being assembled in Boeing's Everett plant
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.

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Labor Dispute
4:20 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

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

File image
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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Labor Unions
5:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Volkswagen Vote Won't Stop Machinists From Continuing Boeing South Carolina Effort

FILE - In an Friday, April 27, 2012 photo, Boeing workers work gather around the first 787 manufactured at the company's assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C.
Bruce Smith AP Photo

The vote by Volkswagen workers in Tennessee to reject the United Auto Workers union has sent shock waves throughout the world of organized labor. And that setback is an example of why the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers faces an uphill battle organizing Boeing workers in South Carolina. 

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Machinists Union
5:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Reform Candidates Try To Dislodge Top Leaders Of The Machinists Union

Machinists are seen rallying against Boeing's contract extension offer.
Ashley Gross KPLU

The contentious Boeing contract extension offer that machinists narrowly passed earlier this month left many workers unhappy with their union leaders. This Saturday, they’ll have a chance to nominate new candidates for top positions in the union’s national headquarters. 

But the reform candidates face an uphill battle in their effort to dislodge the top leaders. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers hasn’t had a contested election for its highest jobs in more than half a century.

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Business
4:26 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Alaska Air Challenges SeaTac Minimum Wage Initiative

Frank Kovalchek

Alaska Air Group is trying to quash a ballot initiative in the city of SeaTac that would hike wages for airport ground crew and other workers. 

The initiative would set a $15 per-hour minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac—people at the airport like baggage handlers and folks who push wheelchairs, as well as hotel workers and employees at rental car companies.

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Airport worker wage
5:01 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Sea-Tac workers aim for pay raise with ballot initiative

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Workers at Sea-Tac Airport are trying to get a big pay raise by way of a ballot initiative. If approved, the increase would put them 60 percent over the state’s minimum wage of $9.19 per hour.

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Arts
4:25 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Seattle Symphony, Opera musicians approve contract

Jessie Hodge

Labor disputes have shut down performances across the country, but Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera fans don’t have to worry about cancelations anytime soon. The musicians have agreed to a new contract. 

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Business
5:00 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Boeing engineers' union to tally strike authorization vote

Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing is facing the specter of a possible engineers’ strike even as the company races to get the 787 Dreamliner back in the air. Tonight, the engineers’ union will tally votes to see whether members have rejected the contract and authorized a strike.

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Business
4:19 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Report says Theo Chocolate tried to quash union effort

dierken Flickr

Seattle-based Theo Chocolate is known for its focus on sustainability and fair trade. But a new report says the company doesn’t deserve its "Fair for Life" certification because it tried to prevent workers from unionizing a couple of years ago.

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