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Fast Facts

Monday, March 31

Activists dominate symposium on $15 minimum wage in Seattle

Activists dominate symposium on $15 minimum wage in Seattle                    

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage
dominated a Seattle symposium last week, drowning out consideration of opposing viewpoints. Even so, many activists were angered when keynote speaker and “living wage” supporter Nick Hanauer stepped away from the party line to discuss the importance of delayed implementation and credit for “total compensation” – including tips and benefits – when calculating whether an employer pays $15 an hour. Washington is one of only seven states without a tip credit, notes Jonathan Martin of The Seattle Times, quoting a business owner whose employees bring in at least $12,000 a year in tips on top of their wages, bringing them to at least $15.50 an hour. Overall, big differences remain between business and labor activists, where “hard bargaining has begun” and a committee has only one more month to finalize recommendations to Mayor Ed Murray.

Businesses, mayors continue to press for immigration reform
America isn’t producing workers able – or willing – to work in high-demand jobs that don’t require advanced skills, according to a
new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy. Businesses depend on immigrants to fill in a 7.3-million worker labor gap, but the nation’s immigration system isn’t allowing enough workers in to meet the demand, the report concludes. As a result, “if Congress does not act to overhaul the country’s immigration system, the future could be bleak for businesses who depend on lower-skilled workers,” according to U.S. News & World Report.

Boeing to begin demolition and site prep for 777X wing plant in Everett
Boeing will begin demolishing four buildings on May 1 to make room for its massive 777X wing plant in Everett, the
Puget Sound Business Journal reports. The building will include three 120-foot-long ovens to cure the high-tech carbon fiber wings. The 1.2 million-square-foot building should be ready for operations by May 2016, according to plans the company unveiled last week.

Twenty-three AWB members make list of World’s Most Ethical Companies

A number of Washington-born companies, as well as firms with a major presence in our state, made this year’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list compiled by Ethisphere. Twenty-three AWB members made the list of the 144 companies that promote ethical business standards, exceed legal compliance minimums and “shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today.” Congratulations to these ethical companies and AWB members: Aramark, Fluor Corporation, Ford Motor Co., General Electric, Google, Granite Construction, Holland America, International Paper, Intel, Marriott International, Microsoft, Parsons Engineering, Paychex, PepsiCo, Petco Stores, Safeway, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Time Warner, UPS, Waste Management, Weyerhaeuser, and XEROX.

List of nation’s most trustworthy companies includes 11 AWB members

Eleven of the 100 most trusted companies in America – businesses that are honest, consistent and transparent – are AWB members. The Forbes magazine list of the most trustworthy companies in America, released last week, includes these AWB members: Bemis, Buffalo Wild Wings, CINTAS, Greenbrier, Kelly Services, James Hardie Building Products, Regal Entertainment Group, Sonoco Products Co., TruBlue, Inc., TW Telecom and Tyson Foods.

Senate increases its own per diem payments by 33 percent                                                   

Members of the Senate will be able to collect $30 more per day for their service in Olympia under a rule approved by a 4-3 vote of the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee during a hastily called meeting on Tuesday. Senators will now be eligible for $120 in per diem (daily) reimbursements for food, lodging and other costs, up from $90 per day. This is on top of their regular salaries. Their staff can now collect $40, up from $30. The move follows a similar raise the House of Representatives approved for itself in January. Newspaper editorial boards called the increase unseemly and a bad idea.

Election watch: Puyallup Republican Melanie Stambaugh challenging Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell      

Republican Melanie Stambaugh, a 23-year-old “confidence coach,” is challenging Rep. Dawn Morrell, D-Puyallup, for a seat in the state House representing the 25th District. The 25th is a swing district, with two seats already held by Republicans. Both lawmakers have endorsed Stambaugh, The News Tribune reports. Morrell was first elected in 2002, narrowly lost in 2010, but was reelected in 2012.

Election watch: Rep. Roger Freeman running again for House, won’t vie for Senate       

Rep. Roger Freeman, D-Federal Way, will run for a second term in the House rather than jumping into the race to fill retiring Democrat Tracey Eide’s seat in the Senate. That’s good news for Republicans, The News Tribune reports, since it means Democrats still have no candidate to run against Mark Miloscia, the former legislator and Democrat who will run for the 30th District’s Senate seat as a Republican.

Election watch: Five Democrats now eyeing run for Doc Hastings’ congressional seat      

The field of Democrats considering a run to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, has grown to five: Estakio Beltran, Joe Buchanan, Gary Downing, Dr. Mohammad Said and Tony Williams. Of the five, former congressional staffer Beltran may be the best groomed for entry into politics, the Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

Capital Medical Center signs deal with UW Medicine for specialized care

Patients at Capital Medical Center in Olympia will have access to more health care options starting tomorrow thanks to a new collaboration with UW Medicine. Capital patients can get specialized care for such needs as open-heart surgery, neonatal intensive care for sick infants, services for high-risk pregnancies and specialized eye surgery, The Olympian reports. Capital already has had arrangements with specialty care centers, but this new agreement streamlines the process and allows seamless electronic records sharing.

AWB’s Kris Tefft takes top job at Washington Self-Insurers’ Association

After 10 years as a lobbyist at AWB, Kris Tefft will now lead the Washington Self-Insurers’ Association as executive director and general counsel. The WSIA represents 400 public and private employers that collectively employ more than one third of the state’s workforce. It also pushes for policies to improve the state’s overall business climate and limit the costs of workers’ compensation. Tefft succeeds Dave Kaplan, who is leaving to become the executive director of the National Council of Self Insurers. A search for Tefft’s replacement at AWB is underway.

Prepare to thrive in the new era of ‘Economic Disruption in Healthcare’

There’s still time to register for “Economic Disruption in Healthcare II,” the second annual symposium produced by the UW Foster School of Business and Premera Blue Cross. Last year’s inaugural symposium brought 350 business leaders to Seattle. This Thursday’s event will highlight disruptive trends in health care, including winners and losers, along with implications for health and costs. Learn more here.

‘Small Business – Big Opportunity’ offers tips and solutions

Join AWB and the Travelers Institute in Seattle on April 10 for a breakfast and panel discussion on the challenges facing small businesses. “Small Business – Big Opportunity” will discuss risk management, regulations, cyber security, access to capital and many other issues affecting small business growth and job creation. Speakers will include Washington Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender; AWB Government Affairs Vice President Gary Chandler; and Gregor Hodgson, vice president, account executive, Parker Smith & Feek. Joan Woodward, president of the Travelers Institute and executive vice president for public policy at The Travelers Companies, will moderate. The event will be held in McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center. Attendance and parking will be free. Please RSVP.

Hear from legislative leaders, up-and-coming candidates at AWB’s Spring Meeting

What impacts will the 2014 legislative session have on your business? Who are the future leaders who will bring the perspective of employers to Olympia? Find out at AWB’s Spring Meeting May 13-14 in Spokane. You’ll hear from top legislative leaders and meet newly announced candidates. Sign up now to also hear from Attorney General Bob Ferguson and former Gov. Gary Locke. They’ll be joined by Tom Malone, president and CEO of MicroGREEN Polymers, who will talk about his fast-growing high-tech cup company. Doug Krapas, environmental manager for Inland Empire Paper Co., will speak about his company’s innovative water treatment projects. You’ll also meet the winners of the 2014 Environmental Excellence and Community Service awards. Reserve your room at The Davenport Hotel before the group rate expires on April 16th. Learn more and register here.

Apps, Bitcoin, the Cloud and more: Learn the ABCs of licensing, buying and selling technology

As the importance of technology grows in your business, so does the need to understand the legal issues behind tech transactions. Garry Fujita and Rick Leitner, partners at Eisenhower Carlson, are experts in technology and intellectual property transactions. They’ll lead an April 22 AWB webinar that explains the tax issues, licensing laws and latest developments related to smartphone apps and digital currencies. Details and registration are available online.

Health Care Reform: Do you play — or do you pay? Webinar

In the new “pay or play” world of health care regulations, you need the latest information. You’ll get just that from Howard Bye-Torre of Stoel Rives during AWB’s May 7 webinar, “Health Care Reform:  Next Steps for Employers.” Bye-Torre, an author and attorney who specializes in health care law, will detail:

  • Delay of pay-or-play penalties for certain small employers
  • Pay-or-play penalty transition relief for all employers
  • Mandates for coverage of dependents
  • Changes in the definitions of “full-time” and “seasonal” employees
  • Developments in 90-day waiting period rule
  • Reporting rules for plans and employers

Learn more here.


“I think this decision seems to reflect a disconnect between some senators and the people they say they represent. We haven’t observed a teacher COLA (cost of living adjustment) increase in years. We haven’t given COLAs to other public servants. We’re closing down parks and yet, we can pay ourselves more?” ~ Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, after a Senate panel narrowly approved a 33 percent increase to daily cost reimbursements for senators and their staff.

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