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The state unemployment rate in Washington and Oregon was falling at a steady pace in recent years. But lately it's stuck.

Teachers and supporters march down First Avenue South on their way to the Seattle Public Schools headquarters south of downtown on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The strike appears to be over.

Seattle teachers union representatives and school district leaders announced Tuesday night the approval of a tentative agreement.

Teachers and supporters march down First Avenue South on their way to the Seattle Public Schools headquarters south of downtown on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The Seattle teachers union and the school district said Tuesday they have reached a tentative contract agreement to end a week-long strike.

The district said its 53,000 students could return to class as soon as Thursday if the deal goes through. Union officials were meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the proposal.

Teachers strike outside Orca K-12 in Columbia City on Wednesday. Seattle Public Schools remains closed Monday as negotiations continue.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The Seattle teachers' strike enters its fourth day Monday as teachers continue to negotiate their contract.

Seattle Public Schools issued a counter-proposal that spokeswoman Stacy Howard says would include pay for a longer school day. She did not specify how much pay.

Pasco Teachers Union Faces $2,000 Daily Fines For Strike

Sep 11, 2015

There were gasps in the Franklin County Courthouse Friday as a judge imposed daily fines against the teachers' union in Pasco, Washington.

Listener Sarah Johnson posted this picture from Green Lake Elementary with the message, 'We love our teachers.'
Courtesy of Sarah Johnson

David Hyde speaks with Richelle Dickerson, co-president of West Woodland Parent-Teacher Association, about why she and other parents have been supporting the Seattle teachers strike.

Emily McCann took this Whittier Elementary on the first day of the strike.
Courtesy of Emily McCann

David Hyde talks to Phil Dine, labor expert and author of "State of the Unions," about how Seattle's teacher strike compares to labor trends nationally.

Seattle teachers and supporters walked the picket line in front of Orca K-8 school in Columbia City.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Seattle teachers' strike is entering day three, and so far the tone has been pretty laid back, with teachers even singing. But when are things going to heat up?

They already are in Pasco, where the teachers' strike is leading to a contempt-of-court hearing Friday.

Employees of federal contractors must be allowed to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year, under a new executive order that President Obama signed on Labor Day. The leave includes paid time off for family care.

"This will give about 300,000 working Americans access to paid sick leave for the first time," Obama said after signing the order.

Rich Wood / Washington Education Association

Seattle Public Schools teachers have voted to strike beginning the first day of school, Sept. 9, if there's no new contract.

Teachers call the district's proposals "disrespectful."

Mount Rainier, or Tahoma, Tacobet, Ti'Swaq or Pooskaus.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Mount McKinley is reverting to its native Alaskan name, Denali. So how about renaming Mount Rainier? Plus, Seattle teachers, who might strike next week, are in a union – should Uber drivers be, too? And which words are too offensive for the college classroom?

Bill Radke discusses the week’s news with Eli Sanders, Knute Berger and Erica C. Barnett.

Teachers donned red shirts and picketed outside schools across Seattle on Wednesday. They will vote on whether to strike on Thursday evening.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Seattle teachers haven't gone on strike over a contract negotiation since 1985.

But Seattle Education Association Vice President Phyllis Campano says with school less than a week away, the district and union are far apart on too many issues.

Courtesy of Alicia Santos

Alicia Santos started picking strawberries when she was 7 years old. Her mother was working at Hayton Farms in Skagit County, so Alicia went along.

She stayed in the row for the whole day but didn't make much effort. "I feel like, why am I even picking? It's so hot!"

A Lyft for-hire car rolls down a street in San Francisco.
Flickr Photo/urbanists (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with financial journalist Felix Salmon about a bill headed to the Seattle City Council that would allow for-hire drivers to unionize. 

Principals decide how much recess kids get; teachers want to bargain a minimum amount into their contract. Here, kids play at Sandel Park in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Last year, a KUOW investigation found that recess has been cut back at many Seattle schools – especially in low-income neighborhoods.

As KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, now the teachers’ union is asking the district to require a minimum 45 minutes of recess in all elementary schools.

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

After a New York Times' expose on exacting worker conditions at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos said he was shocked -- and then asked for direct feedback from workers. 

Julia Cheiffetz, an executive editor at HarperCollins, took Bezos at his word. 

The ACLU placed a full-page ad in the Seattle TImes.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Friday's Seattle Times newspaper contains a full-page ad from the American Civil Liberties Union. It’s an open letter to Amazon employees, offering to help sue the company if they believe their rights have been violated.  

Liban Ahmed handles baggage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He says he'll use the extra money to buy a car, save for college and visit his mom in Mogadishu, who he has not seen in 15 years.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

About 4,700 workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are about to get a big raise. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the city of SeaTac’s $15 an hour minimum wage applies to airport employees.

The "steady upward climb" in job creation around the Northwest continues this summer.

Ross Reynolds talks with Kelly McBride, media ethicist at the Poynter Institute, about the backlash from the New York Times' story "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace." The paper's public editor Margaret Sullivan has weighed in, saying the story was "driven less by irrefutable proof than by generalization and anecdote." Was the story fair? 

Microsoft sign on the company's Redmond, Washington campus.
Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1NM853Z

Former and current employees are getting a letter from Microsoft this week.

It says no more Microsoft stock will be bought for the company’s 401k plan. The question is why.

Washington, Idaho and Oregon have all placed in the top ten nationally for job growth over the past year.

Oregon Governor To Sign Statewide Sick Leave Law

Jul 12, 2015

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will sign a set of bills Monday passed by the Legislature this session.

Madeline Warrington ultimately found a job as a car saleswoman after leaving the military. It wasn't what she envisioned after eight years in the Army.
Courtesy of Madeline Warrington

In the Army you don’t get a job, you get an MOS – a military occupational specialty.

Sergeant Madeline Warrington was a 35M human intelligence collector. That meant that while she was in Iraq and Afghanistan, she gathered information on possible enemy threats.

A farmworker in Western Washington.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Hundreds of farm workers from Mexico are now making their way to the Northwest after a major delay.

A computer glitch crippled the U.S. visa system, including a guest worker program that Northwest farmers increasingly rely on.

Northwest sweet cherry experts are reporting that some orchards are having a hard time getting their fruit picked this year.

Workers sort through strawberry roots on a planter pulled behind a tractor at Sakuma Brothers Farm in Burlington, Wash.,
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

BURLINGTON, Wash. – On a recent morning at Sakuma Brothers Farm, eight Latino workers sat on a bench seat behind a tractor, planting strawberry roots that will bear fruit in a few years. Dust masks and goggles covered their faces.

There’s a good chance these field workers have joined, or work side by side, with a group calling for a union contract here.

Los Angeles
Flickr Photo/Ron Reiring (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with David Rolf of Service Employee's International Union 775 about Los Angeles' move to become the latest and largest American city to bump its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

As Northwest states debate whether to raise the minimum wage as high as $15 per hour, some adults with developmental disabilities continue to be paid as little as 25 cents per hour.

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

Marcie Sillman speaks with Seattle journalist and The C is For Crank blogger Erica C. Barnett about a recent report on gender pay equity for City of Seattle employees.

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