Ashley Gross

Business and Labor Reporter

Ashley Gross is KPLU's business and labor reporter, covering everything from Amazon.com and Boeing to garbage strikes. She joined the station in May 2012 after working for five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

She studied history at Brown University and earned a master's in international affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two sons.

One of Ashley's most memorable moments in radio happened several years ago in Northwest Alaska: "I was visiting an alcohol and drug rehab program in the tiny village of Selawik. It helps Alaska Natives recover by helping them get back in touch with their subsistence lifestyle. It was spring, which meant the river was still frozen - barely. We went out on snowmachines to go ice-fishing, but late in the day, as we headed back, the river had melted to the consistency of a Slurpee. It was a harrowing ride and a good lesson in trust - I rode with my eyes closed, clinging for dear life to the woman driving. A week later, three people drowned trying to ride a snowmachine over that river, and that's when I realized just how dangerous life in rural Alaska can be."

Ways to Connect

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing has topped Airbus in airplane deliveries so far this year in spite of the Dreamliner grounding that forced Boeing to stop delivering 787s for several months. 

The 787 grounding lasted three months, but it seems to have had little effect. Boeing kept producing new Dreamliners in Everett and in South Carolina during that time, then started handing them over to customers as soon as regulators gave the OK, with the newly-modified battery, of course.

Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia says it was a bold and risky move to keep the Dreamliner assembly lines humming.

jpellgen / Flickr

Washington state House Democrats removed funds for a fish-consumption study from the final budget. That went against the wishes of one of the state's biggest business interests, Boeing.

The state Department of Ecology currently assumes that people in Washington eat about one meal of fish a month. But the state acknowledges the standard is out of date; many people eat a lot more fish than that.

Tribes and environmental groups have been urging the state to update its standard and require stricter regulation of water pollution. But that has been met with resistance from businesses, including Boeing.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

A team of professors with the University of Puget Sound wants to know how happy—or unhappy—Boeing workers are. The professors are surveying the company's employees about their attitudes toward work with the goal of turning the research into a book. 

Ronald Tan

If all goes according to plan, Tully’s will have a new celebrity owner come Monday. That’s when actor Patrick Dempsey’s investment group is set to complete its purchase of the struggling coffee chain out of bankruptcy. 

Buildings full of so-called micro-dwellings have been going up in parts of Seattle, but not without controversy. Now the Seattle City Council is getting ready to consider changes to the code to provide more oversight. 

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Many people in Washington state are reacting with excitement to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and reinstated the right for gays and lesbians in California to marry. 

City of Pacific

Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday in the recall election of Mayor Cy Sun in the tiny town of Pacific. It’s a story that almost sounds like a sitcom about small-town politics gone awry. 

Oracle PR

 (Update: Corrects to say Ellison hired investigators to comb through trash of groups sympathetic to Microsoft, not Microsoft's own trash.)

A seismic shift in technology is pushing two longtime archrivals to work together. Oracle and Microsoft are announcing a cloud-computing partnership later Monday.

JBLM PAO

Seattle is stepping up its police presence for tomorrow’s Rock and Roll Marathon in the wake of the Boston bombings two months ago. Twenty-thousand runners are expected along a course that snakes through downtown, south along Lake Washington and over to Mercer Island and back.

Renee Witt is a Seattle Police Department detective. She says there will be bomb-sniffing dogs and police on bicycles. And the police department requests that spectators take certain precautions.

Laurent Jegou

Airbus is reportedly considering expanding its presence in Washington state. Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton says, if it happens, that kind of investment here by Boeing’s archrival would help the state solidify its status as an aerospace mecca.

Francois Mori / Associated Press

Washington’s delegation to the Paris Air Show is trying to persuade more European aerospace companies to do business here. They're finding that European companies are receptive, in part because they want to do business in dollars.

  People who are anxious about the possibility of their property taxes going up have a new resource to turn to. King County just launched a web site to allow homeowners to appeal their property valuations electronically. They can use the site to look up comparable sales and submit that information along with the appeal.

Bob Edme / The Associated Press

Each maiden voyage of a Boeing airplane has been cause for much celebration in Washington state. But now there’s a big chunk of the local aerospace industry that also supplies Boeing’s main rival, Airbus. So when a new Airbus plane takes to the skies – like the A350 earlier today – a large contingent of workers here in Boeing’s backyard watches with pride.

The state auditor says the Seattle Center hasn't done a good job of making sure people pay at three city-owned parking garages. 

The three garages took in almost $5 million in revenue last year that went into the Seattle Center budget. State auditor Troy Kelley says he doesn’t have an estimate of how much money the Center may have lost out on, but he says his team found a lot of problems with record-keeping at the garages – one on Fifth Avenue North, one on Mercer Street and one on First Avenue North. 

Tax Credits

In the wake of the recession, many people are trying to rebuild their retirement accounts. That can be tough if investment companies charge high fees. A recent "Frontline" special called the Retirement Gamble investigated how fees can eat away at people’s savings.

Frank Kovalchek

Alaska Air has reached a tentative five-year contract with its nearly 1,500 pilots. It’s a bright note in an industry known for testy labor relations.

Alan Alfaro

Amazon has signed a deal with Viacom for online rights to hundreds of TV shows. But the most important shows are ones geared toward kids.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

For Walt Stawicki, the past year has been one of grieving and what-ifs. Exactly one year ago, his 40-year-old son Ian Stawicki, killed himself in West Seattle after fatally shooting five people, including four at Café Racer.

Stawicki is pleased the Legislature passed a law making it easier to commit someone involuntarily for psychiatric care. He says he and his wife struggled to find the right care for their son, especially after they took a trip and noticed their son had deteriorated.  

pixieclipx / Flickr

A group in Tacoma is starting a campaign to get a paid sick leave ordinance passed. The supporters are taking a cue from the city of Seattle, which last year began mandating that businesses offer paid time off for illnesses. 

Healthy Tacoma is a coalition of nonprofits, labor unions, and religious groups pushing to get the sick-leave ordinance passed. They say about 40,000 workers in Tacoma can’t take a paid day off work when they or a family member is sick. Many of those people work in food service, increasing the chance that they’ll spread the illness to others. 

Associated Press

Once a year, Amazon shareholders have a chance to ask billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos anything they wish. At this year’s annual meeting, a number of them urged Bezos to stop selling brutal video games and other products that glorify violence. 

 (Editor's note May 23, 2013: Corrects to clarify that baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and other airport workers have signed cards to join unions but have not been recognized as unions by their employers. Until that happens, they don't have legal status as collective bargaining units.)

Dozens of protesters including flight attendants, baggage handlers, and religious leaders turned Alaska Air Group’s annual shareholders meeting into a raucous affair on Tuesday.

The protest began outside with chanting flight attendants who haven’t reached a new contract with the company after 18 months of negotiations.

City of Portland

Five years after Seattle had to get rid of its free-standing public toilet structures, Mayor Mike McGinn wants to give it another go, this time with a new design. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Workers at Sea-Tac Airport are trying to get a big pay raise by way of a ballot initiative. If approved, the increase would put them 60 percent over the state’s minimum wage of $9.19 per hour.

By the end of this year, about one and a half billion people will have a smartphone. That’s one for every five people on the planet—and remember, that number includes babies.

But I'm one of the ones who longs for the good old days—you know, when phones were just used to call people. It's not that I'm a complete Luddite; I just have a hard time restraining myself with such a cool gadget and not letting it take over my life. That's why I decided to ditch my smartphone. 

Jessie Hodge

Labor disputes have shut down performances across the country, but Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera fans don’t have to worry about cancelations anytime soon. The musicians have agreed to a new contract. 

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

  Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to streamline government permitting and review aerospace incentives in order to help convince Boeing Co. to build its 777X jetliner in the state.

Inslee said Thursday that other strategies that lawmakers need to implement include improving the state's transportation corridors and investing in education and workforce training programs. He added those efforts can help preserve thousands of jobs.

"Today what we are doing is starting for the competition not just for the 777x but for the replacement of the 737. We’re getting ready for that today. We’re thinking long-term," the governor said.

Andre Mondou / Flickr

Washington state seems to be a safer place for workers than most other places in the country. A new report says the state has the third lowest workplace fatality rate in the nation. 

New Hampshire had the lowest workplace death rate, followed by Rhode Island, then Washington. The three states with the highest on-the-job death rates were North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Business owners are assessing the damage after some anti-capitalist protesters broke windows in Seattle last night. Only a handful sustained property damage, but many more businesses were affected financially.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Amazon has released an app that makes it easier for the blind to read Kindle electronic books on iPhones. Advocates for blind people say it’s a significant step for a company that’s lagged other technology companies in making accessible products.

Justin Steyer

A planned rally and march for workers and immigration reform progressed without interruptions by anarchists Wednesday, easing fears of another violent May Day.

Thousands of people gathered at Judkins Park, behind St. Mary's Church, for the Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights at 1 p.m. Several unions were present, as were some representatives of the Occupy movement. Many people were displaying the flags of U.S. and Mexico, as well as signs urging comprehensive immigration reform. 

Pages