Archive of: Work Force

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Blog Watch: banks and buyers remorse

Lacey-based biz blogger Ken Balsley made note of the number of banks located in the county at a time when banks are reportedly struggling and a new one is entering the market. Welcome, Golf Bank. Balsley notes that the county has 76 bank or credit union branches, with 28 different names.

The AWB has an item on the planned repeal of the well-supported but not-funded paid family leave plan. The issue is being revisited as the state faces a slump and dollars aren't as available for government programs as they were just a few months ago.

January 2009

COFFEE BREAK: Legislative issues

With the state Legislature set to tackle some tough issues with a down economy and a record budget shortfall, the Business Examiner would like to know what business issue do you think law makers should focus on to right the economy.

To reply to the poll, send an e-mail to news@BusinessExaminer.com. Poll results will be published in Friday's BE Daily. 

January 2009

Countrywide faces class action suit by state homeowners

A group of Washington homeowners filed a class action lawsuit this week against Countrywide, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America and the nation's largest mortgage company, claiming the mortgage giant illegally rigged the appraisal process in a scheme to boost profits at the expense of homeowners and independent appraisers.

Filed under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act, the suit claims that Countrywide forces homeowners to use its subsidiary LandSafe, for appraisals. The company then would allegedly turn around and subcontract the work to independent appraisers while charging homeowners as much as 200 percent of the actual cost of the appraisal.

January 2009

Change in corporate law about to take effect

Under a state law taking effect this year, Washington corporations must decide by Jan. 15 whether to exempt corporate officers from unemployment insurance.

The old law meant corporate officers were exempt from unemployment insurance unless their employer elected to cover them and paid unemployment taxes for those individuals. But as of this year, corporate officers who provide services in Washington are automatically covered for unemployment insurance unless their employer specifically exempts them.

January 2009

KeyBank call center set to close

Some 200 workers at KeyBank's call center in Tacoma are set to lose their jobs after the bank announced plans to close the facility later this year.

The center is located in the city's Hilltop neighborhood. The consolidation will take place in stages this year and will be transparent to banking customers.

"Like every business in challenging economic times, we continually evaluate and adjust the way we work," said Tom Spilman, president of KeyBank's South Puget Sound District. "This was a difficult decision and one made carefully."

January 2009

BCRA lands federal projects

Local design, engineering and planning firm BCRA was recently notified of the award of two new Federal design-build projects totaling $20 million.
 
Out of its office in Virginia, the Tacoma-based firm will provide architecture, civil and structural engineering, interior design, LEED design and air barrier testing for a 46,992-square-foot addition that will house an Air Force and Navy Culinary School located at Fort Lee. Project cost is $14 million. 

January 2009

Retail sales continue decline

Taxable retail sales in the state declined 4.2 percent, to $29.8 billion, during the third quarter of 2008, the Washington State Department of Revenue reported today.

Retail trade was down 6.2 percent to $12.4 billion. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales that excludes construction, services and other non-retail businesses. Retail trade is a better measure of consumer purchases.

January 2009

Future takes shape for job training effort

A "beam-signing" ceremony at the Milgard Work Opportunity Center will mark the halfway point of construction on the project. Work on the 63,000 square foot, four-level facility began in June and it is scheduled to be completed in fall 2009.
 
The event, for Tacoma Goodwill employees, will take place Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at the new building, located at South 27th Street and Tacoma Avenue. For the past several weeks, staff members have had the opportunity to sign the final beam that will be placed on the building.
 
"The building represents our future, but it's the partnerships we've created and what goes on inside the facility that's the real story," said Bob Bruback, president of the Tacoma Goodwill Board of Directors. "It will support our efforts to train and place people in jobs."

January 2009

Local wages inch up as average national wages drop

Wages for workers in the greater Puget Sound rose by 1.7 percent, to $1,056 a week, compared to average wages a year ago, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The increase came at a time when employment declined in more than half of the largest U.S. counties.

The national average wage stands at $841 a week, down 0.3 percent from 2007.

January 2009
People on the move

People on the move

A solitary billboard overlooks a Pacific Avenue parking lot in the shadow of Russell Investments' A Street headquarters. It speaks a message all of Tacoma had been thinking: "Russell - Don't love me and leave me!"

When people in Tacoma heard international finance giant Russell was considering moving its headquarters, and its 3,000 employees, 30 miles north to Seattle, there was pandemonium. LeRoy Jewelers, known for the unique jewelry created by owner Steph Farber and his unique billboard ads created by JayRay, a Tacoma communications consultancy, took the thought of Russell leaving town to heart. It put up its billboard. The Russell billboard snagged their attention. In addition to being the topic of media attention people stopped in to LeRoy just to say they'd seen the billboard.

January 2009
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