Fast Facts

Monday, October 14

Kris Johnson selected as next president of AWB

Kris Johnson selected as next president of AWB

On Tuesday, AWB named Kris Johnson its next president, ending months of deliberation and a national search. Johnson will succeed Don Brunell on Jan. 1, 2014. Johnson has been AWB’s vice president of operations since 2010. He has 15 years of chamber leadership experience in St. Paul, Minn., the Tri-Cities and Spokane. AWB Board Chair Mel Russell, who led the Succession Committee, said Johnson understands the challenges and opportunities ahead for AWB. “Kris also understands the value and importance of a strong advocacy program, ensuring the right policies are in place to attract and retain private employers in our state who can create jobs and grow their businesses,” Russell said. Brunell praised the choice, saying Johnson “can step in immediately and lead AWB forward.” In a tweet, Johnson said he is honored to lead AWB, find new ways to create private jobs and to move the economy forward. Follow him on Twitter at @KrisJohnson_IOM.

With no budget deal in sight and default deadline looming, markets grow jittery

As the partial federal government shutdown enters its second week, the big deadline is this Thursday, the date when the U.S. Treasury predicts it will run out of money to pay its bills. Officials continued negotiations today as international observers warned that a U.S. debt default would be “utterly catastrophic.” In signs that the D.C. discord is hurting America abroad, China is capitalizing on the mayhem by calling for the world to “de-Americanize.” Back home, Starbucks is pushing for a deal by providing a “Come Together” petition in all their 11,000 stores urging stable funding to reopen the government. The company reported more than 1 million people have already signed the petition. Follow the campaign on Twitter at #ComeTogether.

Join AWB at fundraiser to support Jan Angel in crucial state senate race

The most significant state Senate race this year is in the 26th district. AWB strongly endorses businesswoman and state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, in this election to fill an unexpired state Senate term. Angel is one of the Legislature’s most consistent advocates for employers. Her victory would strengthen the bipartisan Senate Majority Coalition, which held the line against higher taxes and increased regulation this year. You are invited to a fundraiser for Angel at 6 p.m. this Wednesday in the Gig Harbor home of Larry and Jane Treleven of Sprague Pest Control. Please RSVP to Rebekah Johnson at 360.689.6432 or Help support her campaign with a donation at

Report: I-517 would turn aggressive petition peddlers into a protected class, even on private property

Initiative 517 would create a new legally protected class for paid signature gatherers, the Washington Research Council reports. Private property owners could not restrict them, even if they were hassling customers. I-517 would also allow signature gatherers in high school football stadiums and public libraries, just one reason the initiative would “create serious new problems,” The Olympian concludes. The Tri-City Herald agrees that I-517 is “a step in the wrong direction, adding costs without bringing benefits.” Learn more and help defeat this initiative at

SeaTac unions don’t live up to $15 minimum wage standards

The seven labor unions pushing for a $15 minimum wage for airport-related workers in SeaTac don’t measure up the standard they’re pushing for businesses. A new report shows that 26 percent of the people working for SeaTac unions aren’t paid $15 per hour full-time. Ironically, SeaTac Proposition 1 would exempt unions and unionized businesses from the $15 minimum wage. The Seattle Chamber of Commerce has announced its opposition to Proposition 1, saying it’s unsustainable and would hurt both new workers and small businesses. The Wenatchee World notes that workers pay the price when idealistic minimum wage ideas hit economic reality. Learn more at

New study shows that families would pay more for groceries under I-522

The Washington State Academy of Sciences has concluded that groceries will become more expensive if Initiative 522 passes. I-522 would require labels on some – but not all – foods that might contain genetically modified organisms, even though such foods have repeatedly been tested and found safe. Keeping “substantially equivalent” crops completely segregated, from the field to the table, would be the most costly new requirement, the scientists conclude. I-522 is listed at the top of Ballotpedia’s tally of the nation’s top five most important races in 2013.

Lawsuit filed over state’s fish consumption rates

As expected, environmental and fisheries groups have sued over Washington’s fish consumption rates. The lawsuit, filed Friday, argues that Washington should have a much higher estimate of how much fish Washington residents eat. A higher limit would trigger stricter water emissions standards under the Clean Water Act. “Health and human safety is of course the first priority,” said Jocelyn McCabe, AWB vice president, communications. “But there are competitiveness issues going forward. It's natural for us to look at new regulations that will affect industries' capability to keep their doors open and people employed.”

Hundreds turn out for hearing on Millennium coal export facility in Longview

A thousand people on both sides of the issue attended a hearing in Ridgefield last week about a proposed bulk export terminal in Longview. The redevelopment of a former aluminum smelter would generate more than 1,000 construction jobs and 135 permanent jobs when complete. Supporters at the hearing said the economy needs the jobs. The next hearing on the development will be this Thursday in Tacoma.

Push is on to lure Boeing’s 777X production to Washington

A bipartisan group of a dozen state legislators, plus business and labor representatives, met Friday to hash out a plan to convince Boeing to build the 777X in Washington, the Herald reported. The group is following a path similar to the 2003 effort that reformed Washington’s taxes, workers’ compensation and unemployment laws and brought the 787 program to Everett. Gov. Inslee has proposed extending to 2040 tax breaks now set to expire in 2024. The Seattle Times supports that move and others to improve our business climate, saying Boeing is “an irreplaceable industry” bringing in money from around to globe to support 130,000 jobs here – “jobs that can move.”

Tonight’s Seattle transportation hearing moved to bigger venue

With big crowds expected, tonight’s transportation hearing in Seattle has been moved to the spacious First Presbyterian Church. The meeting kicks off at 6 p.m. Hearings last week in Vancouver and Tacoma (News Tribune/tiered paywall) drew hundreds of people offering thoughts on a statewide transportation package. The final hearing will be tomorrow night in Bellingham. You can also give feedback online. Share your real-life stories about the need to maintain and upgrade our roads and highways through reforms and a revenue package. Contact Mike Ennis, AWB’s government affairs director for transportation, to learn more.

First Climate Workgroup public hearings to be held this week in Spokane

Washington hopes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent under 1990 levels by 2020. The impact on business of this aggressive goal will be considerable. The Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup, created by law this year, will hold three public hearings over the coming months, starting Wednesday in Spokane. To learn more, contact AWB’s Brandon Houskeeper at 360.943.1600.

Tickets now on sale for Washington Business Week breakfast fundraiser at CenturyLink Field

There is a new way to support Washington Business Week: attending its first-ever fundraiser breakfast at 7 a.m. Oct. 23 in the Root Sports Lounge at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. KOMO-TV news anchor and business reporter Brad Goode will MC the event. Students and alumni will share stories of how Business Week changed their lives. Register online now for “Takin’ Care of Business: Breakfast Benefit for Washington Business Week.”

Snap-on CEO Nicholas Pinchuk will show America’s way forward at Manufacturing Summit

Nicholas Pinchuk, the chairman and CEO of Snap-on Incorporated, will present the keynote address at AWB’s 2013 Manufacturing Summit Oct. 25. Pinchuk is an enthusiastic speaker about the importance of manufacturing to the economy. The summit, sponsored by McGladrey, includes our ninth-annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards, sponsored by UPS. Sessions include:

  • Developing Local Relationships That Build Your Workforce,” Alisha Benson, director of education and workforce, Greater Spokane Incorporated; Annette Herup, human resources manager, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC; Jim Lucey, controller, Linear Technology Corporation; Jeremy Rife, vice president, Genie; moderated by Kris Johnson, AWB vice president, operations;
  • Challenges to Growth & Expansion: A National Perspective,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers;
  • Breaking Down Barriers for Competitiveness,” Scarlett Foster-Moss, director of government relations, western U.S., Coca-Cola Refreshments; Pat Ortiz, director of engineering, environmental, safety at KapStone Kraft Paper Corp.; Steve Swanson, vice president, operations, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC; moderator Jay Timmons, president and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers;
  • Manufacturing: The American Way Forward,” Nicholas Pinchuk, chairman and CEO, Snap-on Incorporated;
  • McGladrey 2013 Monitor Results, presented by Wendy Sancewich, CPA, CFE, national manufacturing team director, McGladrey;
  • Manufacturing Excellence Awards Luncheon sponsored by Boeing and UPS.
Lodging is available at Cedarbrook Lodge. Contact Karlee Keith for more information or register today!

AWB members get a discount on employment law seminar (bring your therapy horse, if needed)

What do guns, therapy horses and tattoos have in common? They’re part of the discussion at the half-day Breakfast Briefing Oct. 30 in Seattle hosted by Littler Mendelson. AWB members will receive a 25 percent discount in this talk on practical workplace accommodations/accessibility and independent contractors. Contact Cheri Devlin at for information, or learn more here.

Making sense of health care reform at AWB 2013 Health Care Forum, Nov. 6

Learn about the rapid changes coming with the Affordable Care Act at the AWB 2013 Health Care Forum Nov. 6 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel. “Health Care Changes: Employer Options, Incentives & Perspectives” will feature John Goodman, president & CEO, National Center for Policy Analysis. Goodman, widely known as the father of health savings accounts, will have copies available of his new book, “Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.” Dr. Goodman cuts through the politics and proposes dozens of bold reforms to free patients and caregivers to be empowered to chart their own lives with low-cost, high-quality healthcare.

Additional sessions to include:

  • A Conversation with Richard Onizuka, Ph.D., CEO, Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board“Impact of the Affordable Care Act: Fact or Fiction,” Joel White, president, Council for Affordable Health Care Coverage
  • Affordable Care Act Impact on Employers: What do employers need to be ready for and what’s next?
  • Employer Incentives: Can my company really reduce health care costs? Panelists: Machelle Johnson, director of human resources, Pearson Packaging Systems; Laura Pierron, senior benefits consultant, Premera Blue Cross; Candy Young, wellness director, BNSF (invited).

Register today. Group rate lodging for $179 until this Friday.

‘Standing Shoulder to Shoulder’ seminar details the business case for hiring veterans

Patriotism aside, there is a strong business case for hiring veterans. Learn more at “Standing Should to Shoulder With Our Military Veterans” on Nov. 13 in Tacoma. Topics include “The Legal Ins and Outs of Hiring a Veteran,” “I Want to Hire a Veteran – How Do I Find the Right Match for my Business Needs?” and “Hiring Veterans Makes Good Business Sense – a Company’s Perspective.” The seminar at TrueBlue, Inc., 1015 A St, Tacoma, runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact Anne Haller for information or learn more here.


“Excited to continue to work with Kris in his new role. He truly cares about business and is a great listener and innovator. Proud of our partnership with the Association of Washington Business. They are our voice in Olympia!” ~ The Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, commenting on the announcement that Kris Johnson will take over as president of AWB on Jan. 1

This Week's President's Perspective: Regulatory Overreach: The New Normal

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