labor

Millions more American workers will soon be eligible for overtime pay under a rule being finalized Wednesday by the Labor Department.

The rule says anyone who makes less than $47,476 per year must receive time-and-a-half pay for hours worked beyond 40 hours a week. That's roughly double the current threshold of $23,660.

The measure is one of the most sweeping moves the Obama administration has made so far in its efforts to boost slow-growing incomes. But it's sure to face opposition from some business owners.

In recent years, there's been a no-tipping movement within the restaurant industry.

The idea has been to rectify a basic pay unfairness to even out the pay between tipped and untipped employees. Dishwashers and cooks at the back of the house don't earn as much money as waiters because they don't get tips.

So, do away with tipping, raise menu prices a little bit, and pay everyone a higher wage.

It's been a good week for employees of Chobani. They learned that they could eventually own about 10 percent of the rapidly expanding Greek yogurt company. That could potentially make millionaires of some workers, if the privately held company is sold or goes public.

It's a grand gesture, and reflects a rising trend in employee ownership.

Half of the workplace deaths involved people over the age of 50 – not people who died of heart attacks, but people who fell or injured themselves on the job.
KUOW photo

Worker Memorial Day, the day Washington State honors people who lost their lives on the job, is this Thursday.

A flyer from the Northwest Accountability Project carries this awkward photo of Tom McCabe, CEO of the Freedom Foundation, which does work to undermine unions.
Flyer from Northwest Accountablity Project

Late last year, some Washington residents received a flyer that looked leftover from election season.

It featured unflattering photos of someone named Tom McCabe and accused him of embracing “right-wing extremism.” But he wasn’t running for office.

The unemployment rate in Washington state held steady at 5.8 percent for the fourth consecutive month in March. But in its latest jobs report out Wednesday, the state employment department reported steady hiring across most of the economy.

Nearly 40,000 workers at Verizon have gone on strike, objecting to, among other things, outsourcing and temporary location transfers.

The two unions representing Verizon workers say their employees have been without a contract since August. They call the walkout, which began at 6 a.m. ET Wednesday, "by far the largest work stoppage in the country in recent years."

NPR's Joel Rose tells our Newscast unit:

"The striking employees mostly work in Verizon's wireline business — landline phone, video and Internet — on the East Coast.

Boeing handout.

The Boeing Company is expected to cut 4,000 jobs by June, with further cuts possible later in the year. The company announced plans to trim the workforce about six weeks ago and the scope of those job cuts is now becoming clear. 

Richard Aboulafia is an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group. He said there are some pressures on Boeing's bottom line and that could explain their desire to cut jobs and cut costs.

File photo of tech computer
Flickr Photo/World Bank Photo Collection (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/eUtLoM

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement for Arjuna Capital, about activist investing and the firm's role in pressuring tech companies to close the gender pay gap.   

Many Americans tell pollsters and politicians that they're angry. Why?

At least part of the answer might be tucked inside the February jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department. Consider this:

It’s official: Oregon’s minimum wage will increase over the next six years after Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill Wednesday at a state Capitol ceremony. Brown called the measure her top priority for this year's legislative session.

A jet takes off from Sea-Tac airport.
Flickr Photo/Alan Turkus (CC BY 2.0)

Airport workers filed 14 class action lawsuits Wednesday, claiming wage theft against their employers.

They say they aren't being paid the $15 dollar minimum wage in SeaTac, which went into effect in 2014.

Their lawyers estimate the workers are owed, on average, $20,000 in back-pay and penalties.

Duncan Turner is the lead counsel on the lawsuits, filed in King County Superior Court.

He says that many of the plaintiffs are immigrants, and they work as baggage handlers, rental car staff, janitors, and plane refuelers at Sea-Tac Aiport.

The U.S. economy added just 151,000 jobs in January while unemployment dropped slightly, to 4.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists had expected to see about 190,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate, which has held steady at 5 percent the past few months, dropped slightly to 4.9 percent. It's the first time unemployment has fallen below 5 percent since the recession.

Bill Radke speaks with Darrion Sjoquist, a Starbucks barista and member of the labor group Working Washington, about why he and other workers are calling for Seattle City Council to regulate scheduling of shift work.

Once upon a time, the Northwest was home to ten massive aluminum smelters. As of today, just one still operates. And the Alcoa company plans to idle that smelter near Ferndale, Washington, indefinitely in June.

Is it the end for a one-time pillar of the Northwest economy or merely a pause?

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