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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.

Too Many Apples, Too Few Hands In Washington

Aug 12, 2014
Flickr Photo/Andrea Parrish-Geyer (CC-BY-NC-ND)

 

Ross Reynolds talks with Karen Lewis, who is trying to come up with a better way to harvest apples when there's not enough people to pick them. Lewis is a tree fruit specialist at the Washington State University.

Voters in SeaTac, Washington, narrowly approved a $15 per hour minimum wage. Now, the state Supreme Court will decide whether that law should stand, and if so, whether it should apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Currently it does not.

Courtesy of Microsoft

Following the announcement by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella that the company would undergo a 14 percent reduction in its workforce, conference rooms at the Redmond campus were reserved by the human resources.

Discrimination against female workers who might get pregnant in the future, or have been pregnant in the past, is against the law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said this week. For the first time in 30 years, the agency has updated its rules against pregnancy discrimination.

The agency clarified several policies, including one that spells out when businesses may have to provide pregnant workers light duty and another that bans employers from forcing a pregnant worker to take leave even in cases when she's able to continue on the job.

Legal experts in Washington state are still assessing Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding labor unions. At issue is whether unions can require home health care workers to pay certain dues and fees. And, as KUOW’s Liz Jones reports, Washington is one of a handful of states where this ruling could apply.

TRANSCRIPT

One of the last two Supreme Court decisions of this term was billed as a potential "final destruction" or "kill shot" for public sector unions. They seem to have been merely nicked by a bullet.

The federal minimum wage for tipped workers has been $2.13 since 1991. That pay rate tends to get lost in the larger debate over whether to raise the national minimum wage for nontipped workers, which is $7.25 an hour.

In theory, the money from tips should make up the difference in pay — and then some. But according to a White House report, tipped workers are more than twice as likely as other workers to experience poverty.

Living On Tips

Marcie Sillman interviews Anna Steffeney, founder and CEO of LeaveLogic, about President Obama's working families summit and the current state of family leave policies at the federal, state and local levels.

Flickr Photo/John Boren (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Lisa Brooks talks with Port of Seattle co-president Courtney Gregoire about a proposal to raise the minimum wage for SeaTac airport employees to $13 by 2017.

Marcie Sillman talks with Heather Weiner, spokeswoman for the group YES! for SeaTac, about the Port of Seattle Commission's proposal to raise wages for some airport workers, but not others.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle’s new $15 an hour minimum wage is scheduled to start phasing in next April. But it first must survive several challenges, both in court and at the ballot box.

Franchisees are challenging the law in court, and two separate groups are collecting signatures to put the law to a popular vote on this November’s ballot.

David Hyde interviews Carl Adrian, president of the Tri-City Development Council. He has a message to Seattle entrepreneurs that want to relocate due to the hike in the minimum wage here: "We're open for business."

American Apparel Ousts Its Controversial Founder, Dov Charney

Jun 19, 2014

The board of clothing chain American Apparel voted Wednesday to replace founder Dov Charney in the wake of allegations of misconduct against him.

In a statement on its website, the board said that it notified Charney of its intent to terminate his employment as president and CEO. He is expected to be fired following a 30-day period, the statement added.

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.1 percent according to the latest numbers out Wednesday from the state Employment Security Department.

Benefit Corporations Look Beyond The Profit Motive

Jun 18, 2014

A corporation has one core obligation: to make money. But some companies are signing a deal, promising to create not only profit but also a tangible benefit to society and the environment. They're called benefit corporations, and their movement has caught the ear of lawmakers across the country.

In the tiny town of Gilsum, N.H., you'll find the headquarters of W.S. Badger Co. Inc. The company makes all-natural cosmetics marketed under the name Badger Balm. When CEO Bill Whyte founded the company two decades ago, the staff was lean.

Seattle Education Association's Facebook page.

Marcie Sillman talks with Politico's senior education reporter Stephanie Simon about the challenges facing teachers unions.

Photo SPD Blotter

In March 2012, the Seattle Police Department made an unorthodox hire: Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, a former cops reporter who had worked at The Stranger and was writing a blog, seattlecrime.com.

Flickr Photo/jonathan donavan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks with Professor Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work and Family, about the importance of paternity leave for working fathers and their families.

Marcie Sillman talks with Inside Higher Ed reporter Colleen Flaherty about the push by the Service Employees International Union to unionize adjunct faculty members.

Marcie Sillman speaks with Medina Mayor Michael Luis, author of "Century 21 City: Seattle's Fifty Year Journey from World's Fair to World Stage," who says that Seattle -- WTO riots and the $15 minimum wage notwithstanding -- has a pattern of indulging radicals and then returning to business as usual.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

David Hyde gets the scoop from KUOW's Deborah Wang about what happened at the city council meeting Monday night when a historical $15 minimum wage was unanimously passed.

Then, Marcie Sillman speaks with Steve Caldiera, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, about his plans to sue Seattle to overturn the minimum wage ordinance.

Last, David Hyde talks with the advocacy group 15 Now about whether they will move forward with their own ballot measure to raise the city's minimum wage faster.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant meets with reporters after the vote to phase-in a $15 minimum wage June 3, 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

In a unanimous vote, to a standing ovation, the Seattle City Council approved a bill to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The crowd cheered “We made 15 possible!” after the reading of the vote tally in a meeting marked with passionate pleas for its passage from the public as well as council members.

Failed Amendments

The packed crowd of vocal proponents for the passage of the bill, many of whom gave their personal stories during the section of public comment, booed the failure of four amendments to the City Council’s plan.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

When I returned from maternity leave earlier this month, my boss Jenna showed me to the lactation room.

From DESC's Facebook page.

David Hyde talks with Bill Hobson, executive director of Downtown Emergency Service Center, about how his organization would implement the $15 minimum wage and why he's advocating that the city help.

Ross Reynolds talks to Giovanni Peri, an economics professor at U.C. Davis, about how foreign-born workers in science and technology might affect the health of economies. Peri argues that the federal government should increase the cap on H-1B worker visas, which would ultimately encourage economic growth and innovation.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Steve Scher talks with David Meinert, Seattle nightlife entrepreneur and restaurantuer about his experience on the mayor's income inequality advisory committee. Marcie Sillman gets more on the story with Q13 Political Analyst C.R. Douglas.

Jean Godden's Facebook page

City of Seattle employees who are women earn on average 9.5 percent less than men.

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