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Business news and features from the Puget Sound region. Stay up-to-date with the latest business news and more.

Ben & Jerry's to stop sales in West Bank, east Jerusalem

Jul 19, 2021
Ice cream moves along the production line at Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream in Waterbury, Vt., in March 2010.
Toby Talbot / The Associated Press file

Ben & Jerry’s said Monday it was going to stop selling its ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem, saying the sales in the territories sought by the Palestinians are “inconsistent with our values.”

The French-style inspired main building of the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery is seen in Woodinville in 2019.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press file

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has been sold by its parent company, the tobacco company Altria, to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm based in New York, for about $1.2 billion in an all-cash deal.

uber car
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Uber is paying $3.4 million to resolve claims for back wages and unpaid sick leave from more than 15,000 drivers in Seattle. The company reached the settlement after the city’s Office of Labor Standards investigated allegations of inconsistencies with Seattle’s paid sick-leave ordinance.

Job seekers at a 2009 employment fair. Some people expecting to receive unemployment checks from the state's Employment Security office may find them delayed by a couple of days due to computer work that's taken longer than expected.
The Associated Press file

State officials say people in Washington collecting unemployment benefits will again be required to actively search for work to keep those benefits, starting July 4.

orca card
Paula Wissel / KNKX

Restaurants are having a hard time finding workers. Seattle is trying to help out by providing free transit to 2,000 people willing to take the jobs in certain parts of the city.

Amazon begins rollout of pay-by-palm at Whole Foods near Seattle HQ

Apr 21, 2021
Amazon said Wednesday, April 21, 2021 that it is rolling out its pay-by-palm technology to some Whole Foods supermarkets. The technology, called Amazon One, lets shoppers scan the palm of their hand and connect it to their credit card or Amazon account.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Amazon is rolling out pay-by-palm technology at some Whole Foods grocery stores near its Seattle headquarters to make paying quicker and more convenient.

The Microsoft logo is displayed outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond on July 3, 2014.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Microsoft will begin bringing workers back to its global headquarters in Redmond on March 29 as the tech giant starts to reopen more facilities it largely shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

A “Now Hiring” sign hangs at a Safeway store on Thursday in Seattle. A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block a $4-an-hour pay increase for Seattle grocery workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed an industry lawsuit that sought to block a $4-an-hour pay boost for Seattle grocery workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Airlines have the go-ahead from federal regulators to start using the Boeing 737-MAX again. The plane, which is made in Renton, has been grounded nearly two years following a pair of deadly crashes.

Jack McQuade, center, the owner of The Swiss Restaurant and Pub in Tacoma, Wash., walks behind his bar on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. The restaurant announced in September that it was closing permanently.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The governor’s new ban on indoor dining in restaurants will mean a financial toll for many businesses, and it’s a particular blow for new restaurants. Gov. Jay Inslee announced the new restrictions on Sunday as coronavirus cases have hit a new peak in the state.

Seattle Municipal Archives

In 1890, Seattle was a city of about 42,000 people trying to recover from a destructive fire the year before. That’s when a 21-year-old man from Kansas named George H. Bartell, Sr., bought a pharmacy in Seattle’s Central District and launched his eponymous company, Bartell Drugs.

Windows at Seattle's Lost Lake Cafe are boarded up as many businesses remain close amid the coronavirus pandemic. Local officials worry some businesses won't be able to make property tax payments.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With so many people out of work and so many businesses closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, local governments and school districts are bracing for lower tax revenue.

A long ramp leads passengers to the rest of the airport, while offering views of plants and trees outside. Construction manager Tyler Symbol says it's to evoke the sense of coming out of the sky and landing among the Northwest's greenery.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Before the pandemic brought daily life to a standstill in Washington state, KNKX toured a massive construction project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Lance Lyttle, the airport's director, said even if an economic slowdown were to arrive — which did not seem imminent in mid-February — it would still be important to continue growing. 

This week, the Port of Seattle said that's exactly what it will do, at least at the airport. 

Signs like this one reading "Temporarily Closed," in a storefront in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, are common sights around the country right now.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

From shuttered businesses to record unemployment, the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are all around us.

Businesses themselves — whether small neighborhood stores or huge global corporations — face tough decisions. And that got us wondering about ethics: Will the way businesses behave now, even if they’re closed or doing limited business, affect the decisions consumers make later?

Laura Schneider is one of the owners of Meeples Games in West Seattle.
Ashley Gross / KNKX

UPDATE, March 10: Adds information about Amazon's fund to help nearby small businesses and Gov. Jay Inslee's announcement about additional support for businesses and workers.

For the Seattle region, the novel coronavirus presents a significant public health challenge — and also a threat to people’s livelihoods.

The economic impact is already being felt. Hotels face cancellations, restaurants have empty tables, and a major economic driver for Seattle, the Emerald City Comic Con, which was set to start this week, has been postponed. Large employers including Microsoft and Amazon have asked employees to work from home, limiting commerce near their campuses.

An Alaska Airlines jet taxis beneath an enormous pedestrian bridge, still under construction at Sea-Tac Airport. It will link the south satellite with the new International Arrivals Facility.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Lance Lyttle’s office offers a view across most of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He’s the managing director for the aviation division for the Port of Seattle. In short, he manages the airport. And from his corner windows you can see planes taking off and landing, and taxiing around the airfield.

But these jets are tiny in comparison to a new bridge that connects the airport’s South Satellite to a new International Arrivals Facility, where passengers will retrieve luggage and go through customs.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Boeing plans to temporarily halt production of the 737 MAX in Renton beginning in January, but the company said there will not be any layoffs or furloughs at this time.

Shoppers walk outside the Nordstrom in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2009. The store is closing in September, after 44 years in business.
Al Grillo / AP

Seattle-based Nordstrom is closing stores as it – and other brick-and-mortar retailers – face big challenges in a world that’s turning more to online shopping.

The store at Northgate Mall is shutting down on Aug. 9. And in Anchorage, Alaska, the company will close a 97,000-square-foot store at the city’s Fifth Avenue Mall by September.

But in Alaska’s largest city, where Nordstrom arrived 44 years ago, the news hit particularly hard.

Several years ago, Union Wine Company of Tualatin, Oregon, put some wine in cans for a food festival. It was such a hit, says owner Ryan Harms, he decided to do it as his main business.  

“I think there are a lot of indicators that are helping us feel confident about our continued investment and what we’re doing,” Harms says.

Now, Union ships its Underwood-branded cans to 49 states and 11 countries. Other big wineries have noticed.

Drivers for Uber and Lyft, organized by Teamsters 117 and the App-Based Drivers Association, gather Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at the ride-hailing waiting lot at Sea-Tac Airport to protest low pay by the platforms.
Simone Alicea / KNKX

A few dozen drivers for Uber and Lyft gathered Wednesday morning at Sea-Tac Airport to talk about low pay in advance of Uber's highly anticipated initial public offering later this week.

Amazon spheres
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Amazon's plans to relocate one of its critical teams to Bellevue have prompted questions about the company's relationship with Seattle.

"Airbnb" is licensed by CC
Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner / flickr

New short-term rental regulations are in effect in Seattle. Property owners, including those using online platforms such as Airbnb, now face limits on how many units they can rent and require an extra license to operate.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs the state's paid family leave law on July 5, 2017, in Olympia, Wash.
Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

Workers might see a little more coming out of their paychecks starting Jan. 1, as employers begin collecting premiums for Washington's new paid family and medical leave program.

In this file photo, an American Medical Response ambulance can be seen center responding to the Sept. 24, 2015, Ride The Ducks crash in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Negotiations between the union representing emergency medical technicians in Seattle and their employer resumed Thursday afternoon, prompting the union to suspend an upcoming strike.

Construction begins soon in eastern Oregon for the first commercial-scale "torrefaction" facility in the country. If you don't know what that word means, you're in good company. 

But the process itself isn't all that exotic. 

You're forgiven if you missed the fact that Congress failed to renew the federal Farm Bill before the September 30 deadline. But people in farm country around the Pacific Northwest noticed.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

Amazon will pay all of its U.S. employees a minimum of $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The retail giant, run by the world's richest man, was criticized earlier this year after revealing its workers' median pay was $28,446.

Amazon says the new rate will go into effect on Nov. 1, covering all of its full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees in the U.S.

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.

Retaliatory tariffs levied by China on U.S. goods are taking a toll on Pacific Northwest farm exports. Details about cancelled orders came out Wednesday at a state Senate committee hearing in Seattle.

Uber is paying $148 million to settle claims over the ride-hailing company's cover-up of a data breach in 2016, when hackers stole personal information of some 25 million customers and drivers in the U.S.