Ashley Gross

Ashley Gross is KPLU's business and labor reporter, covering everything from 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."

Ellen McLain had a long career as an opera singer. But now her voice is most famous for something entirely different: video games. McLain is the voice of GLaDOS, the passive-aggressive computer in the games Portal and Portal 2.

The mood at the Seattle union hall was quiet, almost funereal on the night Boeing workers narrowly approved an offer to build the company's new airliner, the 777X.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers who had gathered had wanted to reject the offer. But they were in a tight spot. They risked losing the bid to one of the 21 states hoping to step in.



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Boeing machinists have voted to accept a new contract. That means construction of Boeing's next generation long-haul jet will stay in Seattle. Ashley Gross of member station KPLU reports.

In recent years, companies ranging from JPMorgan Chase to Walmart to Boeing have announced special hiring programs for veterans. Seattle coffee giant Starbucks is the latest.

All of these companies are trying to bring down a stubbornly high unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But to succeed, companies have to take the time to understand the skills of service members.



And from a strike that's ended to one that has been averted. Grocery workers in the Seattle metro area were on the verge of walking out over proposed cuts in health insurance. They have now reached a deal with their employers, as Ashley Gross of member station KPLU reports.

Currently, only offers food delivery in Seattle, where the company is based. Food goes bad fast and it's hard to make a profit. But slim profit margins are what have made Amazon a juggernaut.

The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle recently said they will start charging readers for online content, joining big papers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Some large papers have made it work because they offer a lot of unique content.



Boeing has won a partial victory in a contract dispute with its engineering union, and that reduces the odds of a strike, as Ashley Gross of member station KPLU in Seattle reports.

ASHLEY GROSS, BYLINE: The engineering union covers two sets of workers - salaried engineers and hourly technical workers. The engineers voted to accept Boeing's final offer. The technical workers rejected it and authorized a strike.

They'll negotiate again before a walkout, but that split vote puts union leaders like Tom McCarty in a tough position.



Boeing engineers in the Pacific Northwest are voting on whether to authorize a strike. The labor dispute is playing out against a dramatic backdrop. Here, the engineers are needed, now more than ever, to help fix the batteries on Boeing's flagship 787 Dreamliner.

As Ashley Gross of member station KPLU reports, that's given the engineers something that is rare for unions, these days - leverage.

Boeing is scrambling to figure out why batteries malfunctioned on its 787, prompting officials to ground the airplane this month. And at a time when Boeing most needs its skilled engineers, they're weighing a possible strike. Union leaders are considering the company's final contract offer.

The standoff between Boeing and about 23,000 engineers and technicians — mostly in the Seattle region — has been brewing for months. Dozens of them recently packed a union hall south of Seattle for training in how to run a picket line.