The best of business and technology news from The Seattle Times.
December 4, 2013 at 4:54 PM
The Good Jobs Seattle group, which seeks a $15-an-hour minimum wage for fast-food workers, is staging an eight-hour march Thursday from the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center to Seattle’s City Hall.
The 14-mile march begins at 9 a.m. at 17620 International Blvd. in SeaTac.
Participants better dress warm.
The National Weather Service says that although it will be partly sunny, a high temperature of only 35 degrees is expected.
The route will go from International Boulevard to the Boeing Access Road, then onto Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, Rainier Avenue South and South Jackson Street, and will end at City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) says it expects about 100 people and that Seattle police will escort the group in Seattle, using the right-curb lane most of the way. SDOT suggests drivers plan for possible delays. Tukwila police say they will provide traffic control and assist the marchers in that city.
At about 1 p.m., the marchers will pause for lunch at Brighton Field, 6000 39th Ave. S.
The group plans to have a rally at City Hall at 4:30 p.m.
November 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM
For more than a decade, the Friday after Thanksgiving has marked the official start of the holiday shopping season.
Each year, stores such as Macy’s and Target opened earlier and earlier — even at the stroke of midnight — to get a jump on the competition. But increasingly, the kickoff is happening on Thanksgiving evening, just as most people are finishing their turkey feast.
This year, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Staples will open on Thanksgiving for the first time. Best Buy, Kohl’s, Sears, Sports Authority, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart also will open on Thanksgiving evening.
Kmart will open on Thanksgiving morning and remain open for 41 hours, until 11 p.m. Friday. Gap Inc., which owns Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, plans to have about 1,300 stores open at various hours on Thanksgiving day.
What about you? We’d like to hear from you on our Facebook page about whether you plan to shop on Thanksgiving and why.
November 13, 2013 at 1:13 PM
By Dee Riggs
The Wenatchee World / (MCT)
EPHRATA — A photograph of a message that appeared briefly on a Burger King sign last summer in Ephrata is causing a stir on the Internet.
But the message — “Now Hiring Must Be Mexican” — was not authorized by management and was put up by a Burger King employee, according to Burger King Corp.
Management “took immediate actions to terminate the employee responsible,” Burger King officials said in an email to The Wenatchee World.
InfoWars.com, the site of talk-show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, posted the photograph on Tuesday.
The InfoWars.com photograph linked to the same image on Yakima radio station KFFM where officials invited readers to comment on the image. Many commenters were irate, calling the message racist and attacking Burger King.
Rick Mikals, operations manager at the radio station, said Tuesday that he did not know where the image came from or who took it. He said it was posted on the radio station’s website by the station’s digital-media employee.
The station’s website this morning posted a statement from Burger King that explained the message’s brief life on the sign and noted the firing of the employee who put up and photographed the message.
Infowars.com is a site run by Jones, a Texas conspiracy theorist who claims 9/11 and other domestic terror attacks were engineered by the U.S. government. Infowars received about 20 million page views last February from 2.14 million unique visitors.
October 24, 2013 at 9:11 PM
Ratification votes are scheduled next week on a tentative contract agreement that averted a strike by 21,000 grocery workers at four major grocery chains in the Puget Sound region.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 spokesman Tom Geiger said Thursday that voting opportunities are scheduled Oct. 29 at five locations around the sound and Oct. 30 at three other locations.
He says workers will be able to review the offer and have questions answered.
Geiger says results should be available Oct. 31.
No details have been released on the tentative pact reached at 5 p.m. Monday. It averted a walkout that had been due to start at 7 p.m. Monday at QFC, Albertsons, Fred Meyer and Safeway stores in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Mason and Thurston counties.
Geiger says the union bargaining team is recommending approval.
October 23, 2013 at 9:32 PM
A used-car company has agreed to forfeit $1.5 million and pay a $250,000 fine over the way it handled cash transactions.
Zein Automobiles pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday to a charge of failing to file a monetary transaction report.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents said the company, which runs Independence Auto Sales and Best Bet Auto Sales in Lynnwood and Everett, intentionally failed to report cash transactions of more than $10,000 to the IRS. They alleged that allowed drug traffickers to launder their profits by buying cars.
Agents raided the dealerships last month.
Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a written statement the case should serve as a warning to other businesses. As part of the plea deal, Zein is entering into a corporate-integrity plan to ensure similar violations don’t happen again.
October 18, 2013 at 8:08 PM
Thousands of Puget Sound area grocery workers gave notice late Friday that they will strike if a new labor deal is not reached by a Monday 7 p.m. deadline.
About 21,000 workers for Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Safeway and QFC stores in King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Mason counties would take part. If the strike goes into effect, workers in those counties will picket outside stores and ask community members to honor their work and shop at alternative stores, United Food and Commercial Workers union spokesman Tom Geiger said.
Union workers called their employers’ current proposal “the worst proposal they had ever seen” and said they hope the strike notice will speed up what they said had been “slow” negotiations with the corporations for a new deal. They stood in Westlake Park at a Friday night news conference in front of a big, white, makeshift clock that is to tick off the hours until the deadline.
The local chapter of UFCW must give employers 72 hours’ notice before walking out. That still leaves an opening for both sides to return to the bargaining table and reach a resolution.
Last month, 98 percent of union members in the four-county region voted to authorize a strike. Their contracts expired in May. Since then, the union and grocery chains have been battling over a new three-year contract.
Allied Employers Vice President Scott Powers is the employers’ lead negotiator. In a statement, he said “the only way to work through the remaining issues is at the bargaining table.” He said the companies remain committed to reaching an agreement that is good for both sides.
Geiger said that the companies want to reduce holiday pay, hold wages at current rates, and cut paid sick days and health-care plans. He said the workers had no single “sticking point” but rather a “long list” of issues they’re concerned about.
A week ago, the companies withdrew a proposal to cut off employee health-care benefits if they work fewer than 30 hours a week, signaling some progress toward avoiding a strike, Geiger said.
Local grocery-store workers last went on strike in 1989. That strike went for 81 days, he said.
“We can’t afford to go on strike, but we can’t afford these proposed cuts,” said Ricke Egtvet, who has worked as a Safeway meat cutter for more than 20 years. “We have to stand up for those in the future.”
A strike would be “devastating” to the workers, said Kyong Barry, a checker at Albertson’s in Renton. “But there are some points where we have to stand up,” she said.
Geiger said the union doesn’t want a strike, and he hopes the threat will be enough to put pressure on the stores and force them to “fairly compensate” their employees.
He said it boils down to a simple question: “Do they want to spend the money on workers … or on the CEOs?”
October 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Microsoft is selling 63 acres in the partially developed commercial center of Issaquah Highlands.
Company spokesman Lou Gellos said today that Microsoft signed paperwork for the sale this morning because, “We no longer had requirements for office developments in Issaquah.”
The buyer, Issaquah Highlands Investment Fund LLC, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The investment fund’s Bellevue address, registered with the state Secretary of State last month, is the same as homebuilder Polygon Northwest’s address.
Issaquah city Economic Development Director Keith Niven and Tim Diller, vice president of Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities, said the buyer plans a mixed-use project, but they declined to provide additional details.
Microsoft optioned 150 acres in Issaquah Highlands in the late 1990s, but exercised its option to buy only 63 acres. The land is near Swedish Medical Center’s 2-year-old hospital and offices, and Grand Ridge Plaza, a new Regency Centers retail development anchored by Safeway, a Regal Cinemas multiplex, Marshalls and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
October 18, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Software engineers in the Seattle area earn an average annual base salary of $103,196, according to a new survey by Glassdoor.com. That is the second highest in the U.S. behind the San Francisco Bay area, and well above the national average of $92,790.
Seattle also ranked No. 2 in last year’s Glassdoor report.
Glassdoor found that there are 1,418 companies hiring software engineers in our region–the sixth-highest number of companies behind, in order, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston and Los Angeles.
Three of the 25 best-paying companies for software engineers are based in the Seattle metropolitan area: Amazon at No. 14, Microsoft at No. 18, and Expedia at No. 21. Other companies among the top-25 that, while not based in Seattle, maintain offices here, include Google, Twitter, Apple, Facebook and Ebay.
The best-paying company is not the best known: Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper Networks, which manufactures networking equipment.
September 30, 2013 at 3:55 PM
Kathy Best, a longtime Seattle journalist and a Seattle Times editor for six years, has been named the newspaper’s editor, Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen announced Monday.
Best, who most recently has been one of The Times’ two managing editors, begins the new job immediately, Blethen said. She replaces David Boardman, who resigned after 30 years at The Times in August to become dean of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication in Philadelphia.
Before joining The Seattle Times, Best was the assistant managing editor for Sunday and national news at The Baltimore Sun. She had also been assistant managing editor/metro at the St. Louis Post–Dispatch and at the Seattle Post–Intelligencer.
Also Monday, Blethen appointed Suki Dardarian, who has been the newspaper’s other managing editor, to the newly created position of director of audience development and innovation. She will report directly to the publisher, and indirectly to Alan Fisco, executive vice president for revenue and new products, on ways to build the newspaper’s print and digital audiences.
Blethen said the newspaper’s newsroom leadership team “will continue our remarkable story of stewardship and perseverance (and) lead us the rest of the way into a vibrant, sustainable 21st-century model for a journalism/public service organization.”
At Monday’s announcement, Best told the paper’s news staff that with the uncertain future facing the industry, “all of us in this room need to stay laser-focused on our mission: producing useful, meaningful, kick-ass journalism that readers can’t get anywhere else.”
Dardarian, who has been at the newspaper since 2000, said, “I’m excited to remain based in the newsroom, but to extend my reach to work with other departments . . . Chief among my jobs will be to continue to identify how we can bring more value to our community and also help this company thrive.”
Other newsroom leadership positions announced:
Jim Simon, who has been assistant managing editor for local news, becomes deputy managing editor, focusing on Sunday content and enterprise and bringing the newspaper’s hard-news efforts in metro, business and investigative journalism under one umbrella.
September 19, 2013 at 8:05 PM
BREMERTON — Puget Sound Naval Shipyard says it’s hiring more than 1,000 helper trainees in all trades.
The Kitsap Sun says starting pay is $15.11 an hour.
Shipyard spokeswoman Mary Ann Mascianica says the new helpers will boost the workforce to more than 11,500.
Major projects are under way on the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky and fast attack subs USS Jimmy Carter and USS Connecticut.
The newspaper says helpers work full time at the shipyard and can attend classes on their own time to get ahead.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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