labor

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman talks to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about his new Labor Standards Office and the city's  budget priorities.

Flickr Photo/ghindo

Rollout of Seattle's $15 minimum wage is still half a year away, and Seattle's auditor says the city is already learning lessons about how to enforce workplace laws.

The Secret Lives Of Teachers

Oct 20, 2014

So where do they go, all the teachers, when the bell rings at 3 o'clock?

When you're a kid, you don't really think they go anywhere. Except home, maybe, to grade papers and plan lessons and think up pop quizzes.

And when you find out otherwise, it's a strange experience. Many people remember it vividly: the disorienting feeling of encountering your teacher in the grocery store, or in the line at McDonald's, talking and acting just like other grownups. A jarring reminder that they have lives outside the classroom.

Job growth stalled during September in Oregon and Washington according to new numbers from the respective state employment departments.

Amazon To Hire 80,000 Holiday Workers

Oct 15, 2014

An increase in customer demand is spurring Amazon.com to create 80,000 seasonal positions at its network of distribution centers across the U.S.

That's a 14 percent increase over the number of temporary workers it hired last year at this time.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If today is a typical day in the United States, about 200 hospital patients will die with an infection they picked up while they were in the hospital.

Only one patient in the United States has ever died of Ebola, and many deadly diseases spread much more easily than Ebola.

Burnout at work seems like a fact of life, especially with employers cutting back on leave benefits.

But some companies are trying novel fixes. In addition to boosting morale, some employers say, eliminating burnout can increase productivity and profitability.

At Aptify, a Virginia software company, burnout was a problem a few years ago. Projects demanded long hours, which affected motivation and morale. It's a medium-size firm, with 200 workers, but at the time, procedures seemed overly corporate and cumbersome.

Washington state employees have not had a cost-of-living raise in six years. But that could change in the next budget cycle.

Ross Reynolds talks with Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of fraud prevention and labor standards at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, about how the state is working to address worker misclassification and other types of wage fraud.

The latest reading on unemployment in Washington state shows the rate holding steady in August at 5.6 percent. That's half a percentage point below the national rate according to a report from Washington's employment department Wednesday.

The Western Hockey League opens its regular season next weekend. The players you'll see on the ice are mostly teenagers. That fact has state labor investigators asking if the four Washington teams are breaking child labor laws.

The Politics Of Calling In Sick

Sep 2, 2014

Got the flu? Or a new baby? Perhaps a little one with chicken pox? In most countries, your employer must pay your wages if you stay home sick or to care for others. Not in America.

But a growing grass-roots movement aims to change that — starting with paid sick leave.

Already the movement has met some success. This past weekend, California became the second state in the country to mandate sick leave for employees.

Demonstrators in Seattle form a human chain around City Hall in support of a $15 minimum wage in April 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Marcie Sillman talks with Jason Alcorn, associate director of Investigate West, about their new report into wage theft in Washington state and Seattle.

KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds visited some of the workers who have participated in the strikes at Amazon fulfillment centers in Germany. The country is the second biggest market for the Seattle-based online retailer. While selling in Germany may be straightforward for Amazon, labor relations are not.

Since May last year, union employees at Amazon fulfillment centers in Germany have been gone on strike seven times for one to three days at a time.

Courtesy of Gordon Janz

The U.S. Department of Justice has closed its four-year criminal investigation into whether environmental and worker safety laws were broken leading up to the fatal Tesoro refinery blast.

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