Fast Facts

Monday, March 24

Employers invited to give feedback on $15 minimum wage at Seattle symposium

Employers invited to give feedback on $15 minimum wage at Seattle symposium

Seattle business leaders are invited to offer their feedback on the proposed $15 minimum wage during a symposium Thursday hosted by Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle University. The day-long Income Inequality Symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The event comes as new concern emerges about the unintended consequences of a $15 minimum wage. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told KPLU last week his company might not see a big effect from a wage hike, but small- and medium-sized businesses are right to be concerned. Meanwhile, Seattle’s socialist city council member, Kshama Sawant — the leading proponent of the $15 minimum wage — said last week she would support phasing it in over three years for small businesses and nonprofits like The Arc of King County, a supported-living provider that would need more than $28 million in additional public funding to support a $15 hourly minimum wage.

Red Cross: Cash donations needed to help those affected by Oso mudslide

Rescue workers continued searching today for possible survivors of a massive mudslide that killed eight people Saturday and left dozens more missing in Snohomish County. But Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots admitted the situation was “very grim.” One way you can help out is by contributing to the Red Cross, which is providing emergency shelters. According to KING 5 News, the Red Cross cannot accept donations of clothes and other items, but they are in need of cash donations. Donate by texting "RedCross" to "90999" or phone 1.800.REDCROSS1.800.REDCROSS1.800.REDCROSS1.800.REDCROSS or donate online to Northwest Response.

Potentially costly new water quality rule expected this spring

A draft rule regarding the state’s water quality cleanliness standard is expected by late April or early May, and the state could adopt a new standard by the end of the year, the Washington State Wire reported last week. Debate over the issue, known by the shorthand “fish consumption,” has been taking place for months amid fears that the new rule will cost employers and municipal ratepayers billions of dollars. That’s because Washington is considering following Oregon’s lead by increasing water cleanliness standards by 25-fold, a level unattainable by cleanup technology. AWB’s Brandon Houskeeper said Washington would be wise to wait to see how things shake out in Oregon, where complications from the new high standards are just beginning to emerge.

Kent-based Exotic Metals Forming Company announces new aerospace plant in Spokane

Exotic Metals Forming Co. LLC of Kent announced Thursday that it will build a 150,000-square-foot plant at the Spokane International Airport to manufacture commercial aviation parts. The factory is expected to employ up to 150 people when it opens in about a year. Exotic Metals, a family-owned company, already employs 900 people in Kent. Company officials worked with Spokane leaders, including Greater Spokane Inc, for six years to select a location for the plant as part of a global search, according to the Spokesman-Review.

New state ferry christened at Vigor Industrial shipyard

Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson broke a bottle of champagne on the hull of Washington’s newest ferry Thursday to dedicate the vessel during a ceremony at Vigor Industrial shipyard in Seattle. The newly christened Tokitae (a Salish word meaning “Nice day, beautiful colors”) will take over the Mukilteo-Clinton run this summer, the Associated Press reports. It’s the first of three new 144-car ferries, called the Olympic Class, which will replace 1950s-era Evergreen State class ships that carry 87 cars. Vigor, an AWB member company, is already at work building the second Olympic Class ferry, and the Legislature this year approved funding for Vigor to build the third.

Deadline approaching: It’s time to nominate members for AWB board

You only have a week left to nominate business leaders to serve on the AWB board of directors. Please send your nominee’s name and contact information to Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600360.943.1600360.943.1600360.943.1600 by March 31. The new board members will be selected at AWB’s Spring Board Meeting on May 14.

State’s ferry chief to resign

David Moseley, the head of Washington State Ferries since 2008, announced last week that he will step down on April 15 in what he calls a long-planned decision. A nationwide search will be conducted to replace him. Moseley said he leaves the nation’s largest public ferry system in stronger hands than when he took the job, but The Seattle Times notes that the ferry system has been plagued by money and staffing issues. The announcement also came three days after maintenance crews accidentally drilled a 2-inch hole into the hull of the Walla Walla, a 188-car ferry.

Washington’s jobless rate holds steady at 6.4 percent

The state’s unemployment rate is holding firm at 6.4 percent, the lowest point in more than five years. Washington continues to come in beneath the national rate of 6.7 percent and the number of jobs is increasing as the state remains in growth mode, The Associated Press reports. Still, much of the state outside the Puget Sound region is struggling, with nearly 13 percent unemployment in Ferry County and 11.6 percent in Grays Harbor.

Seattle ‘allows’ ride-sharing by enacting limits on innovative new service

The Seattle City Council protected an old industry by putting strict caps on a new one when it enacted new regulations last week on new ride-sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Council members claimed they “allowed” new entrants into the existing taxi cab industry, but journalists viewed it as Seattle leaders limiting options for consumers. Olympia Business Watch has more.

Under fire from attorney general, O’Reilly Auto Parts agrees to same-sex marriage benefits

O’Reilly Automotive Inc. announced Wednesday that it will provide health care coverage to same-sex spouses of workers in Washington and other states recognizing same-sex marriage. The decision came two days after Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson went to court to seek documents regarding the company’s policy on health care benefits. O’Reilly employs 2,194 people at its 147 stores in Washington, according to The Seattle Times.

Election Watch: University Place school board president to seek House seat

Christine Kilduff, president of the University Place School Board, has joined a crowd of candidates to fill the open state House seat in the 28th District, which runs from Tacoma to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Steilacoom. The incumbent, Democrat Tami Green, is running for Senate. The Olympian has more.

Election Watch: Two Democrats join race for 4th District congressional position

The crowded field of Republicans running to replace Doc Hastings in the U.S. House of Representatives now faces two Democrats on the primary ballot, as well. Gary Downing, a Kennewick artist and photographer, and Tony Williams, a 2003 candidate for Yakima City Council, are both running on the Democratic ticket, The Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

Ride the wave of changes with ‘Economic Disruption in Healthcare’ seminar

There is 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. The April 3 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. Parking will be free. Please RSVP by April 3.

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. Learn more and register here.

Last Chance: Learn how to survive and recover from disaster

Would your business be safe from a zombie attack? Maybe not, but how about an earthquake, flood, fire or other natural disaster? This is your last chance to register for Wednesday’s class, “Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse... And Other Disasters.” Emergency preparedness expert Joe Teeples will give you the ideas and tools you need to organize your emergency management system. He’ll help you prepare a continuity of operations plan and a recovery template for getting back to work when the worst is over. You’ll leave with some practical ideas and a 295-page book on disaster preparedness. Sign up now.

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 every one of our Seattle City Council people, and our mayor, needs to run a business to figure out what makes sense. They are talking out of their consciousness and not out of reality.” ~ Tom Douglas, owner of the Palace Kitchen restaurant, about the proposed $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

BUSINESS #TRENDING: Discretion needed in push for minimum wage, by Bruce Finnie and Linda Gibson, professors at Pacific Lutheran University

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