Simone Alicea | KNKX

Simone Alicea

Business & Labor Reporter

A Seattle native and former knkx intern, Simone Alicea has returned to the Pacific Northwest from covering breaking news at the Chicago Sun-Times. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times. 

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Services Employees International Union 775, a driving force for policy change throughout Washington state, has a new leader. Sterling Harders takes over as president of the local union Monday.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

King County has released a new report outlining how it plans to eventually stop locking up kids when they get in trouble. Officials have also announced a proposed $4 million investment in making that happen.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

This story was updated at 4:24 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, to reflect that teachers have approved a salary agreement.

A bitter labor dispute that delayed the start of school in Tacoma by more than a week  has now come to an end.

The Tacoma Education Association, which represents more than 2,400 teachers, librarians, office professionals and other school staff, has approved an agreement with the school district over salaries. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Longtime leader David Rolf is leaving his position as president of Service Employees International Union 775. First elected in 2003, he was the founding president of the local chapter.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Tempers have flared in the past few months over Seattle's response to homelessness. 

Much of that started online. Many people share their frustrations about tents or crime on Facebook groups or websites like Nextdoor. 

Real Change reporter Ashley Archibald looked into how that online speech manifests in the real world

Simone Alicea / KNKX

If you walk around Seattle's Central District this summer, you may see some official-looking signs about new developments in neighborhood parks. But look a little closer, and you'll find they're not what they seem.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

In a dramatic reversal, the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to repeal a "head tax" on businesses that it unanimously passed less than a month earlier after pressure from companies like Amazon and Starbucks and a mounting referendum campaign.

 Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue heading into Victoria Harbor for a training exercise Wednesday evening.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Separated by a ferry ride and an international boundary, Port Angeles and Victoria have a few things in common.

Both are port cities oriented around the water. Both cities have stunning views and a quirky vibe that attract many visitors. 

Both cities are also Coast Guard outposts in their countries. That's likely a comfort for those who spend time diving or boating in the straits separating Port Angeles and Victoria. But in practice, it looks a little different.

When the sun comes out, many of us in the Pacific Northwest get the same idea: Time to go on a hike.

But enjoying the natural beauty of the region is sometimes easier said than. You might need to get special passes; traffic could be bad; or maybe you don't even have a car to get out of town.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The debate over the proposed "head tax" on large Seattle businesses is heating up.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Amazon is pausing development on two buildings in downtown Seattle as the City Council considers a "head tax" on large businesses.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Local May Day marches have sparked some tension in recent years, but labor groups want to emphasize the day's historical roots. May 1 is International Workers Day. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is poised to enact a so-called "head tax" on businesses. 

The latest proposal would only apply to businesses grossing $20 million or more. It would start as a per-employee tax before changing to a tax on total payroll in 2021. It's expected to raise $75 million per year for the city's efforts to combat homelessness.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Taxi drivers at Sea-Tac Airport are upset over what they're calling a "pay-to-play scam." The company they contract with, Eastside For Hire, has asked drivers to subsidize voluntary buyouts to try and reduce the airport fleet.

Ron Todt / AP Photo

Starbucks is planning to close 8,000 of its U.S. stores for an afternoon next month to conduct racial-bias training.

University of Washington

Post-doctoral researchers occupy sort of a gray area on many university campuses. They're no longer students, but they aren't ready to be professors either. You see postdocs a lot in the sciences, where that extra lab time is virtually required before having a university lab of one's own.

Russel A. Daniels / AP Photo

Post-doctoral researchers at the University of Washington are trying to form a union to negotiate better wages and working conditions. 

Cacophony / WIKIMEDIA - TINYURL.COM/J5O48E3

There is a big debate, locally and nationally, about whether public-sector workers should be required to pay dues or fees to the unions that represent them.

Seattle leaders are hoping changes to some parking policies might help address big issues like affordable housing and climate change. 

To that end, the City Council voted Monday to adjust several off-street parking regulations.

Damien Dovarganes / AP Photo

"The most vocal activist you've never heard of." That's how one news report describes Dolores Huerta in a new documentary about her life.

Seattle Ethics and Elections Comission

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission says the city's democracy voucher program is working. That conclusion is based on a recent analysis from the agency that oversees city elections.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is reconsidering a "head tax" on businesses to pay for housing and homeless services after council members failed to pass such a tax last year.

Elaine Thompson / AP

As the legislative session came to a close last week, state lawmakers passed a bill to make it easier to prosecute police officers who use deadly force and require more officer training.

The bill was an initiative to the legislature, Initiative 940. The last-minute compromise means voters won't see I-940 on the ballot in November.

"Amazon headquarters sphere domes" by Kiewic is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://bitly.com/

Business leaders in King and Pierce counties took stock of the local economy at two separate summits Thursday, as they sought ways to harness the region's record job growth to solve pervasive problems.

Ed Ronco / KNKX

Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Washington are one step closer to forming a union after the university challenged their efforts last fall.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Millions of people rode ferries last year in Washington state, but there are serious concerns about staffing ferries as the workforce ages and people retire. One way to attract younger workers is making sure training is up-to-date.

KNKX

A Seattle organization known for conserving forest and farmland has achieved a milestone in its urban efforts.

Forterra has raised $10.25 million in investments into its "Strong Communities Fund." It's one avenue service providers and community groups can use to have more say in what gets developed in their neighborhoods.

Robb Car / Pool Photo via AP

Since the election of President Donald Trump, question after question has emerged about presidential power and the potential checks on those powers. There were so many questions that the University of Washington law school quickly put together a class on the subject last winter.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case later this month that could deal a blow to unions representing public sector employees.

It asks whether government workers should be required to pay union dues if they disagree with the union's politics. It builds on another case involving home health care workers paid through Medicaid.

These issues are also playing out in Washington state.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Monday in two lawsuits against Seattle's law allowing drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to unionize.

The lawsuits were dismissed by a District Court judge in August. But both groups are appealing to let the lawsuits proceed. 

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