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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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. 

"edge of belltown" by Jeff Wilcox is licensed under CC by 2.0

King County residents may experience some sticker shock when they see their property tax bills this year because of the state's plan to fund education.

Washington state lawmakers are trying to figure out how to make benefits such as health insurance and retirement funds more accessible to people in the gig economy. 

There is a bill in the state House of Representatives that would introduce a system of "portable benefits" that follow workers from job to job.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The three large glass domes at the heart of Amazon's downtown Seattle headquarters officially opened Monday. The spheres function as both another workspace for Amazon employees and an indoor rainforest.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Amazon Go opened to the public Monday. The downtown Seattle convenience store uses cameras and sensors to track shoppers' purchases, eliminating the need for cashiers and check-out lines.

love by Johnny Lai is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2DhYaD7

The #MeToo movement has sparked near-daily conversations about sexual harassment and assault. One of the central issues in those conversations is consent.

Will James / KNKX

With crowds of more than 100,000 people, last year's Womxn's March On Seattle was dubbed the largest protest march in city history. Organizers hope to do it again this weekend.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle transportation planners have dubbed the next three years as the "period of maximum constraint." It's a time when several transportation and construction projects converge to make getting around an already congested city even harder.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Trump administration's decision not to renew temporary protections for some immigrants from El Salvador has been reverberating across the country, including in Washington state.

Rob via Flickr / Creative Commons

The turkey sandwiches tasted like Thanksgiving leftovers - succulent meat, tangy cranberry sauce, and a heap of shredded lettuce. We say "tasted" because Bakeman's  last day is Friday, December 22. The owner, Jason Wang, is retiring after 47 years, and the place - iconic among those who frequent the King County Courthouse - is shutting down. KNKX stopped by this Seattle institution to talk to Wang and some of his loyal customers. Here's our  audio postcard of the place that has been loved by so many for so long. 

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