Labor

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

    

The Washington State Supreme Court is weighing changes to the way farmworkers get paid. At issue are rest breaks, just 10 or 20 minutes out of the workday. The verdict could have far-reaching impacts on the state’s fruit industry.

The border between the states of Washington and Idaho is like a petri dish for what the minimum wage does to the economy. That’s where two extremes meet. Idaho has the federal minimum wage: $7.25 an hour. While Washington’s? It’s nearly $2 more -- the highest in the nation.

You might expect that wage gap to send Washington border businesses fleeing over to Idaho. But that's not what's happening.

NW Wheat Growers Hope For Resolution At Grain Terminals

Dec 28, 2012

Northwest wheat growers are hoping for a swift resolution to a labor dispute that could keep their grain from reaching the world market. Grain terminals remain open in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle, even though the terminals' owners have implemented a contract offer unionized longshoremen rejected. Jessica Robinson has more.

Boeing

Two aerospace companies plan to expand their operations in Washington. Gov. Chris Gregoire made that announcement Monday from the Farnborough Air Show in London. But the news highlights a gap between the legions of unemployed and the skills they need for many new jobs.

With lingering high unemployment and the endless talk of the down economy – it’s hard to believe that there are some industries putting help-wanted signs out by the dozens. But that’s the case in Northwest orchard country where there appears to be a dwindling supply of migrant workers for cherry picking. Cherry season started this past week, and as correspondent Anna King reports, farmers and shop-keeps alike are anxiously waiting for more workers to arrive.

Northwest apple growers expect a bumper crop this year in combination with higher prices. But as correspondent Anna King reports, farmers are worried they won’t have enough workers to pick the apples at peak ripeness.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

FERNDALE, Wash. -- The United Steelworkers Union has reached a tentative deal with oil companies to avert a possible strike at dozens of refineries, including three important ones in the Northwest. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.