Fast Facts

Monday, June 24

Governor declares budget deal 'imminent' as government shutdown looms

Governor declares budget deal ‘imminent’ as government shutdown looms
Officials began sending out temporary layoff notices to thousands of state workers this afternoon after lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement over the weekend. Legislators from both parties said they remained hopeful that a deal would come together in time to head off a July 1 government shutdown, and Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters this afternoon that he believes a deal is imminent. House and Senate leaders appeared to be hung up over a proposed repeal of the landline phone tax exemption and workers’ compensation reform. The Legislature has come this close to a government shutdown just once before in 1991 when lawmakers approved a budget June 30 and Gov. Booth Gardner signed it shortly before midnight.

L&I reveals growing workers’ comp gap, highlighting need for reform bill
A program put into place in 2011 that was supposed to save the state millions of dollars has come up about $242 million short of expectations, officials from the state Department of Labor & Industries announced last week. News that fewer of Washington’s injured workers are participating in the voluntary settlement program than expected not only intensifies pressure to raise workers’ comp insurance rates as the state looks to cover a $2.132 billion gap, but it also strengthens the argument for Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5127. The bill, which remains a key part of the budget negotiations, would lower the age restriction for the settlement program, allowing for greater participation and helping lessen the need for rate increases. Contact your legislators today and ask them to pass ESSB 5127. For more information, contact AWB’s Kris Tefft.

Transportation package up in air as special session drags on
Gov. Jay Inslee’s office is hoping for a vote Tuesday in the House on a series of transportation bills, The News Tribune reported this morning (tiered subscription). On Sunday, House lawmakers moved a series of revenue bills (HB 1954, HB 1955, HB 1956) and reform bills (HB 1957, HB 1978, HB 1986, HB 1988) to the floor. The latest House plan includes a 10.5-cent increase in the gas tax and $9.7 billion in spending over 12 years. If the House approves it, it’s expected that the Senate will make some changes. For more information, contact AWB’s Mike Ennis.

Army Corps won’t do major study on coal train impacts, but scope of state review still looms large
The Army Corps of Engineers will not conduct a broad “area-wide” study of the regional or global effects of exporting coal through ports in Washington and other western states, the agency told a Congressional committee on Tuesday. That’s good news for the Northwest, which stands to gain from thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues from enhanced export terminals in Bellingham and Longview. Still, the Washington Department of Ecology has yet to announce the scope of its own environmental review, which could extend far beyond our shores to examine global impacts from coal use in Asia, The Seattle Times reports (tiered subscription). AWB President Don Brunell notes that strong environmental protections are already in place; adding new burdensome limits would create a chilling effect on the economy.

I-5 reopens with temporary bridge over the Skagit River
A temporary bridge over the Skagit River opened Wednesday on Interstate 5, 27 days after an oversize freight load destroyed one of its spans. Businesses along the alternate route rejoiced at the opening, saying their customer traffic fell as detour traffic increased. The temporary bridge has narrower lanes and a 40 mph speed limit, but it reopens a vital I-5freight corridor that carries 71,000 vehicles per day. A permanent fix for the missing span will be built near the bridge and rolled into place this fall. Work on the bridge has been efficient and effective, according to Gary Chandler, AWB vice president for government affairs. “The business community congratulates the Washington State Department of Transportation for its quick response, effective planning and professional work. Our state can be proud of how quickly we reopened this crucial international commerce corridor,” Chandler said.

Boeing posts $66 billion in orders during Paris Air Show
Boeing announced $66 billion in orders during the 50th annual Paris Air Show, including a $15.6 firm order from Ryanair for 175 737-800s, Boeing’s largest ever order from a European airline. As Boeing showed off its latest planes in France, its chief rival, Airbus, debuted its A350 XWB at the trade show. This news comes amid reports (Seattle Times/tiered subscription) that Boeing could build its newest and largest Dreamliner, the 787-10, in South Carolina, where factories are larger than existing Everett plants. Boeing is expected to make its decision within six months.

Airbus considers setting up engineering center in Washington
Boeing’s biggest competitor is eying Washington, with its highly educated talent pool, for one of two new engineering centers it plans to open in the U.S., an executive said. The company already has a presence in Kansas and has broken ground on a wide-body jet factory in Alabama. Although Airbus might consider an engineering center here, it likely wouldn’t manufacture planes in Washington, Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor said. He also said the European planemaker hopes to eventually have another shot at building tankers for the U.S. Air Force, despite losing a long and contentious competition with Boeing in 2011.

Congressional delegation honors retiring AWB president in D.C.
Longtime AWB President Don Brunell was honored last week by members of Washington state’s congressional delegation as Brunell and other members of AWB’s executive team visited the nation’s capital for a meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers. It was a bipartisan celebration for Brunell, who retires at the end of this year. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, read congratulatory remarks into the Congressional Record praising his “dedication to the cause of freedom and free enterprise.” Other lawmakers wishing him well were Reps. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco; Denny Heck, D-Olympia; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Jim McDermott, D-Seattle; and Susan DelBene, D-Medina.

Washington Business wins grand prize in national magazine contest
Washington Business, AWB’s quarterly magazine, won a Grand Award for Communications Excellence in the annual nationwide contest sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. The award will be presented in Oklahoma City in July. Greater Spokane Incorporated also won a Grand Award for its advertising. This month’s edition of Washington Business includes stories on immigration reform, mentoring the next generation of leaders, bridging the skills gap through meaningful workforce education, and a quick look at the winners of AWB’s community service and environmental excellence awards.

Immigration reform would cut deficit by nearly a trillion dollars over 20 years

A broad immigration reform bill that would bring illegal workers out of the shadow economy and into the taxpaying economy would cut the deficit by $197 billion over the next decade and another $700 billion in the decade after, the AP reports. Workers who were now legal would contribute income and payroll taxes far above any increases in federal spending that would come with them, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Immigration reform would be a structural economic reform boosting GDP, Quartz argues. Broader bipartisan support looked more likely in the Senate Thursday with reports of agreement on a “border surge” of 20,000 new agents, unmanned patrol drones and 700 miles of fencing, the AP reports.

Joint Land use, PSP Partnership committee meeting Thursday

A joint meeting of AWB’s Land Use Committee and Puget Sound Partnership sub-committee will be held Thursday at 9 a.m. at AWB’s office in Olympia. For more information, contact AWB’s Brandon Houskeeper.

Washington’s unemployment picture brightens, best in five years

The state’s jobless rate dropped last month to 6.8 percent, the lowest figure since November of 2008. The unemployment rate is down from 7 percent in April and 8.4 percent a year ago, according to the monthly Employment Security Department report. The state gained 4,100 jobs: 900 in private-second employment and 3,200 in government. The state added a net 60,800 jobs over the past year, led by 13,000 in retail trade and 9,900 in leisure and hospitality. Private-sector growth over the past year was up 2.6 percent; government growth was up just a net 0.2 percent.

NLRB requirement for pro-union poster again shot down by another appeals court

A second federal appeals court has ruled that employers should not be forced to put up posters informing workers of their right to form a union. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled that the National Labor Relations Board didn’t have the authority to issue such a regulation. That decision comes after a similar ruling in May by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. "This is a significant victory for employees in South Carolina, who should not be subject to overreaching by the National Labor Relations Board," said Otis Rawl, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, a plaintiff in the case.

Nominations now being accepted for the 2013 Manufacturing Excellence Awards
AWB and the AWB Institute are now accepting nominations for the 2013 Manufacturing Excellence Awards sponsored by UPS. Manufacturers are responsible for more than 70 percent of all private sector R&D, which ultimately benefits other manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities. Two-thirds of our nation’s total exports of goods and services are related to the manufacturing sector. The awards, sponsored by UPS, will be presented in October at the 2013 Manufacturing Summit: Manufacturing Matters Now! in October. Recipients will be featured in a video highlighting their accomplishments. Download the nomination form here. Applications are due by July 26.

AWB Institute needs your help; please take our five-question survey on distance training for employees
For the past two years, the AWB Institute has been collaborating with the Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board, the state’s community college system and select employers to bring distance learning into the workplace. We believe distance learning is a win for employers and employees alike. Employers benefit because workers receive job-relevant education that improves their quality of work. Employees benefit because they receive college-level education and training during working hours that they otherwise would not be able to access. Please take a few moments now to fill out our survey. For questions, please email Mike Hudson or call him at 360.943.1600. The survey closes June 28.

Gregoire named to Fred Hutchinson board of directors
Former Gov. Chris Gregoire has been named to the board of directors of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. It’s Gregoire’s first public position since leaving office, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Jim Sinegal, co-founder and former CEO of Costco, was named vice chair of the board.

At the Speed of Now: Crisis Communications in a 24/7 World webinar July 9
Between the 24/7 news cycle and the abundance of social media avenues, there has never been a more important time to review your company’s strategy for dealing with the unexpected. When and how should you respond to a reporter’s questions? What should you do when a television crew shows up at your facility? Find out answers to these questions and more during a July 9 webinar featuring strategic communication veterans Randy Pepple and Jennifer West. Members: $49. Non-members: $79. Register now. For more information, contact AWB’s Karlee Glasgow.

AWB’s Human Resources Forum will address the impending “talent war” July 16
Seven in 10 employees have mentally “checked out” or are “actively disengaged” at work, according to a new Gallup poll. The bottom 20 percent, who actively hate their jobs, cost the economy $550 billion a year. Fortunately, there are ways to engage these low-performing employees while helping retain your best workers, who might be looking to make a move as the economy improves. Join AWB and special guests for a high-energy discussion on creating a better workplace through innovative initiatives, creative benefits and cultural shifts. Learn from award winning companies as they share their success stories (and challenges) in transforming their workplace environment. The event has been approved for 4.75 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

Presenters include:

  • Top Threats Facing Employers Today,Reid Bates, franchise owner, Express Employment Professionals
  • Your People Are Your Brand, Where Science and Comedy Meet to Increase Employee Engagement and Performance: Ken Grant, president, Motivated Branding and Dr. Patrick Hopp, senior consultant, Leadership Development Worldwide
  • Ingredients For an Innovative Workplace: Panel of past AWB Better Workplace Awards for Innovation moderated by Ken Grant
  • Implementing Innovative Initiatives Successfully, Real World Experience in Making Significant Cultural Changes: Delta Emerson, executive vice president and chief of staff, Ryan, LLC.

The forum is from 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. July 16 at the Seattle Airport Marriott. There is a limited group room block at the Seattle Airport Marriott so make your reservation early; call 800.228.9290. Questions contact Karlee Glasgow, 800.521.9325, or register here.

‘Morning Joe’ duo and Time magazine’s economy editor to headline Fall Policy Summit
The line-up for AWB’s 24th annual Policy Summit, sponsored by AT&T, in September will feature a powerful lineup of speakers addressing national politics and economic issues. MSNBC’s morning show team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will speak at the keynote dinner. We will also hear from:

  • Rana Foroohar, Time Magazine columnist and economy editor
  • A CEO panel featuring Scott Morris, chairman of the board, president and CEO, Avista Corporation, Spokane, and Colin Moseley, chairman, Green Diamond Resource Company, Seattle.
  • Health Care at a Crossroad … What’s Next? featuring Don Conant, an active AWB member and a member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board; Jeff Rowe, executive vice president, Premera Blue Cross of Washington; and Hadley Heath, a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women's Forum and an expert on the Affordable Care Act
  • Skills Gap Threatens Washington’s Economy: What is the Solution? Panel of educators and business leaders moderated by Doug Bayne, Walla Walla Community College Foundation

The Policy Summit will be held Sept. 17-19 at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. Register online. Go here for Suncadia room reservations.

Policy Summit debuts new mobile app
Sponsorships are available now for AWB’s new Policy Summit mobile app. Later next month, attendees can download the new app onto smartphones, providing digital access to all of the summit materials, including event updates, social media integration, and the power to connect directly with speakers and guests. Email Anne Haller, AWB’s director of member relations and events, or contact her by phone at 360.943.1600 for complete sponsor details.

Annual golf tournament set for Rope Rider Golf Course Sept. 17
AWB Institute is excited to be hosting the annual fundraising tournament, sponsored by Altria, for Washington Business Week — an educational program that offers students a chance to experience simulated career challenges in a general business setting or in the career-focused pathways of health care, energy, manufacturing and agriculture. The shotgun start at Rope Rider Golf Course is 10:30 a.m. sharp on Tuesday, Sept. 17, during AWB’s Policy Summit. Golfers will enjoy playing on this spectacular course designed by Jacobsen Hardy Design, one of the nation's most respected course architecture firms. Registration is $140 and opens online June 10. Golf sponsorships are available here.

AWB offers simple 401(k) plan for members
Members can take advantage of an exciting retirement program – MyFuture 401(k) – an easier, more cost-effective plan for your company. Each adopting employer retains control of the vesting, eligibility requirements, matching contributions, profit sharing, and general plan design while decreasing the administrative burden and fiduciary liability. On-site education and enrollment services are provided to your employees by Integrity Financial, a local investment advisor, along with institutional grade investment options and professionally managed risk-based portfolios. For more information, please contact AWB at 1.800.521.9325 or visit

“We should look at Boeing as a bellwether, a gauge of not just the state’s aerospace industry, but our broader business climate.” ~ Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, in a guest column (tiered subscription) calling for creating an environment where business thrives – including making needed reforms to workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance – in response to news that Boeing will be moving some engineering jobs out of state.

This Week's President's Perspective: What About the Rest of Us?

If you would like to unsubscribe to Fast Facts, please contact

Back To News