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Monday, November 18

Machinists reject Boeing contract, throwing 777X race open to the world

Machinists reject Boeing contract, throwing 777X race open to the world

Boeing has begun looking at sites in California, South Carolina, Utah, Texas and Alabama after the 31,000-member aerospace union local rejected a contract extension last week that would have guaranteed construction of the 777X in Washington. Gov. Jay Inslee immediately pledged to fight for the estimated 56,000 jobs that the 777X program would ensure, but admitted that the vote made it “a tough night” for the state. Still, Washington has a “better than even chance” of manufacturing the 777X or its composite wing, Crosscut writes. Sen Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, says we could improve those odds by making Washington a right-to-work state. Meanwhile, dissention within the District 751 union rank-and-file about the contract could mean the ouster of leaders and possibly even a split with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, The Herald reported. Boeing has no plans to revisit the contract until it expires in 2016, but the company said it will make a siting decision within three months. The scope of what Washington stands to lose became clear over the weekend at the Dubai Airshow, when the 777X set a record with $100 billion in pre-orders.

Senate unveils $12.3 billion transportation package

The state Senate Majority Coalition Caucus unveiled a $12.3 billion transportation plan that would pay for big highway projects around the state with an 11.5 cent per gallon gas tax. The Seattle Times reports the plan includes $1.66 billion for extensions of highways 509 and 167 between Seattle and Tacoma, a key freight route. There is also $1.3 billion for the Highway 520 floating bridge, $1.3 billion to widen I-405, $750 million for the North Spokane freeway and other projects. The Seattle Times notes “thoughtful improvements” in this Republican-backed version and urges approval. Support for the proposal might hinge on a pullback from Gov. Jay Inslee’s goal of limiting carbon emissions, Crosscut reports.

Kreidler: State will not allow renewal of policies that don’t meet Obamacare standards

President Obama reversed course Thursday and announced that his administration would give insurance companies the option of re-enrolling consumers in plans that had been cancelled. Insurance companies were dismayed by the announcement, as was Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. Kreidler, who said his jaw dropped at the president’s surprise announcement, quickly nixed the idea here, saying consumers would not benefit and the overall insurance market could be destabilized by the last-minute reversal. The Washington, D.C. insurance commissioner made a similar statement and was fired the next day.

Democrats break ranks to support Republican-led plan to fix Obamacare

Thirty-nine House Democrats, including Washington Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, broke ranks Friday and voted to support a bill from Republican Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan that would fix one of the flaws in President Obama’s health care law. The bill, which passed 261-157, would allow insurers to continue selling canceled health care plans. DelBene was the only House Democrat from Washington to support the measure. AWB President Don Brunell thanked DelBene for her vote on the bill, saying it would provide a temporary but important fix for the many Americans who have received cancellation notices. Brunell also disputed claims that canceled plans are substandard, and said he hopes Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has a change of heart and follows Oregon and California in allowing current policies to be preserved.

Survey: Health care reform leading businesses to cut hours, keep staff below 50

Businesses have an extra year – until 2015 – to comply with the Affordable Care Act, but many are already cutting hours, hiring part-timers or making other changes to stay below the mandate’s 50-worker cutoff, according to the Business Journals. The survey of businesses with 40 to 500 workers — the size that employs a quarter of Americans — said 28 percent of businesses plan to drop health care coverage because of the ACA. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce say the law’s definition of “full-time” should be increased from 30 hours a week to 40.

Today is the deadline to comment on Millennium terminal in Longview

Today is the last day to submit scoping comments about the renovation of an old Alcoa site in Longview into a modern export terminal. The Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview project would create 2,950 direct and indirect jobs and contribute a new export site for businesses in Washington, the nation’s most trade-dependent state, AWB President Don Brunell said in a letter submitted today. In urging a fair review, AWB notes that permitting already takes years, plus time for appeals. This study should stick to a traditional project-specific review, Brunell said, rather than an unprecedented global cradle-to-grave review that would “create a dangerous new precedent that could harm businesses, manufacturers and exports.”

Comment period extended for Tesoro-Savage oil terminal in Vancouver

Businesses and the public have another month, and one more public meeting, to weigh in on the Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal in Vancouver. The state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Committee (EFSEC) will take comments on the rail-to-ship crude oil handling facility until Dec. 18 and will hold another public scoping comment meeting on Dec. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Center Place Regional Event Center. Comments can also be submitted by email to

Late-arriving ballots see $15 minimum wage proposal tighten

As King County continues to slowly count ballots, the proposal to increase the minimum wage for transportation and hospitality jobs in SeaTac was passing by 46 votes, or 50.39 to 49.61 percent, as of Saturday. Win or lose, the initiative is headed to court, The Seattle Times reports. The idea of a $15 minimum wage is being floated elsewhere, but Seattle Times columnist Sharon Pian Chan argues that this is a poor way to address income inequality.

Immigration bill appears dead for the year, but lifeline remains

House Speaker John Boehner will not hold formal compromise talks with about the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform plan, he said Wednesday. That appears to end the chance of movement this year, the AP reports, as the House focuses on a piecemeal approach. But don’t say reform is dead, USA Today writes. Boehner has asked Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., the first Republican to co-sponsor a Democratic bill giving a pathway to citizenship for 12 million undocumented immigrants, to gauge interest among House Republicans in taking up the issue. The issue matters, former Washington Speaker of the House Dale Foreman co-writes in the Wenatchee World. Each month of delay costs small businesses in Washington 833 jobs and $78 million in economic activity in industries ranging from agriculture to high-tech, he writes.

AWB Health Care and Education committees have new leaders

Two key AWB committees have new leaders. Don Conant, general manager with Valley Nut & Bolt, is the new chair of the Health Care Committee and DeLee Shoemaker, senior director of Washington state government affairs with Microsoft, is the new Education Committee Chair. AWB regularly changes committee chairs to give other members the opportunity to lead. Gary Chandler, AWB vice president for government affairs, thanked Steve Neighbors with Terra Staffing for his work on the Health Care Committee and Natalie McNair-Huff of True Blue for her service on the Education Committee.

Panel: Hiring veterans is smart for business and good for society

Not only is hiring a veteran good for the community, it’s also good business. That was the message from a series of panel discussions last week in Tacoma. Military service members have learned how to work in austere environments, improvising solutions with limited resources. Does that sound like your business in a still-fragile economy? Veterans not only come with training and leadership skills, they also can trigger grants to cover half of their first three months of paychecks. Learn more at Olympia Business Watch.

Tree lighting ceremony bringing cheer to the Capitol on Dec. 6

AWB and the state will celebrate 25 years of holiday cheer and service to the community with the lighting of the 25- to 30-foot-tall Capitol Holiday Tree at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. The tradition, which began in 1989, includes fundraising and collection of gifts for families in seven counties across the state. To learn more about the 2013 AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project, including how to donate, visit our web page or contact AWB’s Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600 or

Save the date: Legislative Summit set for Feb. 5-6 at Red Lion Hotel, Olympia

In response to member feedback, a new format for this year’s Legislative Summit will allow more time for participation in the Legislative Reception, issue panels and board meeting. The legislative reception the evening of Feb. 6 will allow attendees to get to know their legislators in an informal setting. The next morning the event kicks off with an AWB board meeting followed by legislative issue panels and policy analysis by AWB’s government affairs experts. The summit concludes the afternoon of Feb. 5 with the Better Workplace Awards. Gov. Jay Inslee has been invited to give the keynote luncheon address. Registration opens soon, but you can reserve a room now at the Red Lion Hotel. For event sponsorship information, contact Anne Haller at or 800.521.9325.

It’s nomination time for the Better Workplace Awards

AWB is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Better Workplace Awards. This 18th annual competition is open to AWB members of any size. We want to recognize companies for innovation, uniqueness, creativity and quantifiable results in programs that result in higher employee morale and well-being, increased productivity and reduced turnover. The awards, sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine, will be presented during our Legislative Day luncheon Feb. 6. Take a look at this year’s winners, then download the nomination form and help us pick the best workplaces of 2014!

‘Train the Trainer’ forklift safety workshop coming Jan. 8

Without realizing it, many companies fail to fully comply with the increasingly stringent safety laws for forklifts and other power industrial trucks. Proper forklift safety training will make your company a safer place to work — and keep you in compliance with the law. This seminar, from 8 a.m. to noon on Jan. 18 at the AWB office in Olympia, will teach current operators how to conduct safety training for their employees. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion, a CD with a PowerPoint presentation and a PDF manual they can reproduce to train their own employees on proper forklift safety. Contact Karlee Keith by email or at 800.521.9325 to register.


“As of today, we are actively engaged in pursuing all options. Everything is back on the table.” ~ Boeing spokesman Doug Alder, the day after machinists rejected the company’s proposal to build the 777X in Washington.

This Week's President's Perspective: When Boeing Speaks, We Should Listen

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