March 4, 2019
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New 'State of Babies Yearbook' compares state, national data on well-being of infants and toddlers

The newly-released “State of Babies Yearbook: 2019” shows how kids in America are doing in broad categories like good health, strong families and positive early learning experiences. The report also provides impressive details about the social and economic conditions that allow kids and families to thrive, or not. And for the first time, the report compares state and national data.

Washington earned top grades of “working effectively” in three of the four major categories: Overall, good health and strong families. Washington scored a “reaching forward” grade in the positive learning experiences category.

“The current state of babies tells an important story about what it is like to be a very young child in this country, and where we are headed as a nation,” a report summary notes. “Far too many babies face persistent hardships—such as food insecurity, unstable housing and exposure to violence—that undermine their ability to grow and thrive.

To create a brighter future for all, we must implement policies based on science and budgets that make babies a priority.”

AWB is active in supporting better early learning solutions for Washington families, and supporting workforce development in addition to other policy priorities. To learn more or get involved, contact Amy Anderson at AmyA@awb.org.



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Workforce Summit This Week
Limiting Worker Choice


Flexible schedules are vital to hospitality industry

By Larry Freshler, a hotel industry professional for 30-plus years

I chose to make my career with hotels because I believe that schedule flexibility is an important benefit of the industry. Scheduling flexibility allows employees to decide when they want to work. Through this option, employees have the opportunity to make the best decisions for their health and the well-being of their families.

As an HR professional, we want to encourage positive working relationships and foster healthy conversations among employees and their employer. Creating a statewide mandate of how employees and employers must interact does not create a good environment or culture. In my experience, no matter where you are in the hotel, as an employee, you have input into your schedule and always have the chance to pick up more shifts if you want them, or vice versa.

A scheduling policy as complex as the one proposed in Olympia would be a logistical nightmare. If this policy were adopted, we would likely need to add staff just to manage the new scheduling demands. Currently we act as a team and schedule our employees taking into considering their schedules and requests. In all my time in HR, I've seen some interesting proposals, but this one limiting the scheduling abilities of employers might be the most burdensome yet...

Read the full guest column in The Spokesman-Review
Attack on Agriculture


Is there slavery in the domestic food supply chain?

By The Capital Press Editorial Board

If the Washington Senate Labor and Commerce Committee has its way, farmers and ranchers who supply large retailers doing business in the Evergreen State could find themselves certifying to those customers that they are not slavers.

Introduced by Seattle Democrat Rebecca Saldana, Senate Bill 5693 mandates that retailers with worldwide sales of more than $200 million require farmers and ranchers to report any incidents of slavery, peonage and human trafficking. Furthermore, the law would require any violation of labor laws to be reported...

No one denies that human trafficking, particularly in the sex trade, is a real problem. While there's probably little doubt that forced labor is a problem in the third world, there is no evidence that slavery or peonage is practiced on U.S. farms in general or Washington farms in particular.

Washington farm groups were rightly enraged by the suggestion.

Washington Potato and Onion Association lobbyist Jim Jesernig, said potato and onion growers were angry, and so was he.

"The supply chain that feeds you and your constituents are our farmers, ranchers and food processors. This accuses them of slavery and human trafficking."

Read the full editorial in The Capital Press
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