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

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Apprenticeships are common in sectors like building and manufacturing, but now Washington state is trying to apply the model to the tech industry.

The first cohort of 41 apprentices were pinned by Governor Jay Inslee in a ceremony Friday honoring the state's only registered tech apprenticeship program called Apprenti.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Amazon hosted a ceremonial tree planting Thursday as work continued on the large glass domes at the center of the company's downtown Seattle campus.

The Australian tree fern is the first plant to call the spheres home. The spheres will house a kind of indoor park for Amazon employees with hundreds of different species of plants from around the world.

"This is an opportunity to link nature to today's office space," said John Schoettler, Amazon's vice president of global real estate and facilities.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Two security officers who work on the Amazon campus in Seattle say their hours were cut after they marched to the company's headquarters on May Day.

The Service Employees International Union filed a complaint Wednesday to the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Abdinasir Elmi and Betiel Desta.

Elmi and Desta are employed by Security Industry Specialists, a California-based company that contracts with Amazon.

"This problem has been going on for a long, long time. This is not the first time," Elmi said.

President Trump recently went on a small rampage against Canada for blocking imports of one particular type of milk from the United States.

With unemployment low and economic growth expected to bounce back from a slow first quarter, consumers are not in bad shape. But it has been an especially terrible year so far for retailers.

Nine U.S. chains have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Store closures are accelerating, and almost 90,000 retail workers have lost their jobs since October.

Experts say the industry's troubles are just beginning.

Unionized pilots at Alaska Airlines and recently acquired Virgin America pulled off a virtual barrel roll Wednesday to get management's attention. The union complains that talks to combine both pilot groups under what they hope will be a more generous joint contract aren't moving fast enough.

A few weeks ago, my husband brought home a bottle of chilled beverage that wasn't on the grocery list I had sent him out with. It was a bottle of pre-packaged sugarcane juice – a novelty in a market flooded with bottled soda and mango drinks. But one sip of the drink and I was transported back to my childhood summers.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Boeing is reporting an increase in profits from the same time last year even though there has been a decrease in plane sales.

The Chicago-based aerospace company did see an uptick in deliveries on its 787 Dreamliner and expects good prospects as it rolls out the 737 Max.

But Boeing is cutting output of the 777 jet, which has consequences for workers in Washington state.

Reporters and on-air personalities are among the roughly 100 ESPN employees who are expected to lose their jobs this week, in a cost-cutting move at the network that has lost millions of subscribers in recent years.

Under pressure from worker advocates and growing consumer awareness, Tyson Foods on Wednesday promised better conditions for employees at its meat-processing plants.

In forcing out its top-rated star, Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News Channel sought to contain the damage inflicted by a spreading sexual harassment scandal less than a year after the network's chairman was ousted in the face of similar accusations.

Sometimes, it's the Internet of stings.

Juicero, a startup that sells a pricey juice press, found that out firsthand. The company's Wi-Fi-enabled machine produces cold-pressed juice out of packets sold exclusively to owners via subscription.

This Tax Day, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer launched a new tool designed to make government spending and revenue more accessible to the average citizen.

The website — USAFacts.org — has been slow and buggy for users on Tuesday, apparently due to the level of traffic. It offers interactive graphics showing data on revenue, spending, demographics and program missions.

A century ago, it was one of the biggest names in retail. Now, even Sears officials say its future could be in doubt — though they say they have plans to make sure the retail icon survives.

Nancy Koehn with the Harvard Business School says that in its early days, Sears Roebuck and Co. was like Amazon is today — a retailer of great disruption.

For Sears, it meant a path-breaking strategy of offering all sorts of merchandise in catalogs and building department stores in remote places with ample parking.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Boeing will issue hundreds of layoff notices to engineers in Washington state this week.

The Daily Herald reported Monday that a memo from the company's vice president of engineering for Boeing Commercial Airplanes John Hamilton says the cuts are necessary to stay competitive.

Courtesy of Bunker Labs

A national nonprofit to help military veterans become entrepreneurs has recently opened up a Seattle chapter.

Bunker Labs aims to help veterans start their own businesses by connecting them to the resources they need to do so.

Not everyone who reaches so-called retirement age is ready to retire. But they may be ready for a change. That's one of the reasons that the tech giant Intel pays longtime employees a stipend while they try out new careers at nonprofit organizations.

It's been lean times for some of YouTube's most popular video producers. In the last two weeks ad rates have gone down as much as 75 percent. The producers are caught up in a struggle between advertisers and YouTube over ad placement.

In recent weeks, reports showed ads from major brands placed with extremist and anti-Semitic videos. Companies such as General Motors, Audi and McDonald's pulled out of YouTube. That means there's less money for everyone.

Now YouTube is trying to convince these companies to come back. And that's meant adjusting the algorithm that places ads.

Doug / Flickr

About a dozen juniors and seniors from Tacoma high schools are helping build airplanes as part of the state's first youth apprenticeship in aerospace and manufacturing.

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee launched the program last week with several manufacturers in Pierce County.

It's daunting to think about the number of products Apple has created that have transformed how most people use technology: the original Mac with the first mass-produced mouse, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad.

But fast-forward to 2017, and it appears that a lot of innovation is coming from other companies. Amazon has a hit with its Echo, a speaker device that responds to voice commands. Reviewers say Microsoft's Surface competes with the Mac. And now, Samsung's Galaxy S8 smartphone is getting raves because of its battery life and high-end screen.

In telecom circles, Comcast's plans and efforts to wade into the mobile market go back years. On Thursday, the company finally revealed the specifics of what its new service will look like.

Comcast is calling its cellphone program Xfinity Mobile, expected to launch in the next few weeks. Its target audience is existing Comcast customers — the company hopes they'll be drawn by the savings from adding mobile service to a home Internet service or bigger bundles.

It was about unity, Pepsi explained. But the company's new ad, set at a protest march, was quickly called out for being tone-deaf, offensive, and perhaps worst of all for the brand: not "woke."

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a law that would allow for-hire drivers, including drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft, to unionize in Seattle.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik's granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday stopping continued implementation of the law until two lawsuits make their way through court.

YouTube is launching a streaming TV service Wednesday. It's one of many — Sling, PlayStation Vue and local cable companies among them. But Google-owned YouTube TV offers several features the others don't.

They include a cloud-based DVR with no storage limits, allowing users to record as many shows as they want for later playback. Membership also gives access to original series and movies featured on its other subscription streaming service, YouTube Red. And customers can create up to six accounts on one membership, with up to three streams running at once.

The investment firm that owns Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee and other enterprises, is purchasing the Panera Bread Co. for $315 per share in cash — a premium of roughly 30 percent over its recent average trading price.

The deal with JAB Holding Co. is valued at around $7.5 billion, Panera said Wednesday.

If the transaction is finalized in the third quarter of 2017 as planned, Panera would be privately held.

There's a new brand on the Internet that's taking over some old ones — or at least old in Internet years. Yahoo and AOL are now under an umbrella company called Oath. The new brand has sparked more than a few jokes on Twitter and elsewhere.

One critic pointed out it sounded a lot like Oaf — and another asked if "Oof" was already taken. But with more than a billion customers, the combination has potential.

AOL CEO — soon to be Oath CEO — Tim Armstrong says consumers aren't really going to hear that name very much.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka laid out his vision for organized labor Tuesday, taking on both political parties for catering to moneyed interests instead of focusing on the plight of American workers — the hallmark of the presidential campaign.

U.S. nuclear energy company Westinghouse Electric has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing massive cost overruns in the construction of four nuclear power reactors in the U.S.

Westinghouse, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, says it has secured $800 million in financing as it goes through a "strategic restructuring." But that's just a fraction of the billions in losses it's expected to rack up this year.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Starbucks has long taken on the mantle of socially conscious retailer. The Seattle-based coffee chain pledged commitment to those endeavors at Wednesday's annual shareholders meeting at McCaw Hall.

Peter Morrison / AP

To get a first-class room on the RMS Titanic in 1912, it might have cost upwards of $4,300. In 2017 dollars, it's roughly $105,000.

Incidentally, that's how much it costs to get on the private submarine that will take dozens of people to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, where the Titanic now lies.

Everett-based OceanGate is building that sub here in the Puget Sound. The company will take 54 people along with their crew next spring to comb over the wreck.

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