April 13, 2020
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Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
COVID-19

Employers continue to stand up to support their communities



Employers are stepping up to help during this difficult time.

Premera Blue Cross will offer up to $100 million in advanced payments of claims to medical, dental and behavioral health providers facing financial pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both from the increased cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) and decreased revenue from a halt on non-emergency procedures. Premera is also going to infuse more than $250,000 into the local economy by purchasing $75 gift cards for local restaurants for its more than 3,300 employees.

Fluke's facilities in Everett have begun producing 1,000 face shields a day for donation to front-line workers at local hospitals and senior care facilities. The goal is to ramp up to producing 10,000 a week.

"Fluke is used to pivoting to meet customers’ needs, and we recently put those skills to work to make protective face shields," Fluke wrote in announcing the work.

Boeing has activated its additive manufacturing network around the nation to 3D print face shields for health care workers. Boeing has also donated more than 25,000 units of personal protective equipment, including Tyvek bodysuits, gloves and other items. Boeing employees, with a company match, have donated more than $400,000 for local families and food banks in Washington.

Blue Origin is also 3D printing face shields at its Kent aerospace facility. Workers from its BE-4 rocket engine team are volunteering to make plastic pieces needed for face shields. The rocket company has about 38 different types of plastics that it can 3D print in house, with printers working day and night to make the parts.

Bechtel delivered 1,000 N95 masks from its inventory to Tri-Cities emergency responders and health care providers last week to help in the global fight to protect communities against the coronavirus pandemic, in cooperation with the Tri-City Economic Development Council. The Tri-Cities donation is part of a larger effort for Bechtel, which has delivered more than 16,500 masks and other PPE to local communities around the country where its employees work at projects and corporate offices. Workers delivered the donated masks to the Franklin County Emergency Management facility in Pasco.

The Mariners and Bloodworks Northwest will host an ongoing blood drive at T-Mobile Field. The “Pop-up Blood Drive Experience” will be open three times a week. The size of the facility will allow proper social distancing. Mariners fans are encouraged to wear their team gear, and all donors will receive two game tickets for whenever the season resumes. The blood drive was eventually scheduled to end on May 2, but so many people signed up in just the first few days that the drive has already been extended to the end of May. "The community came through in the clutch," the Mariners tweeted this afternoon.

Small businesses are also stepping up.

FabLab in Tacoma has also been using 3-D printing, making "Montana masks" with replaceable HEPA filter inserts and face shields using sheet protectors.

And in Moses Lake, UPS Store owners Lisa and Amador Castro are picking up the shipping costs for about 150 packages of homemade masks being sent across the nation. "There is no greater joy then giving in this time," said Lisa Castro, the daughter of AWB Vice President, Government Affairs, Gary Chandler.

Read more about businesses stepping up at AWB's manufacturing response page.



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Bait and Switch


False advertising: They call it the 'Amazon tax,' but it's so much more

By Danny Westneat

Whatever one may think of the policies of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, she is as savvy as they come at making a sales pitch.

Take her "Amazon tax" proposal, formally introduced last week. It's by far the biggest tax increase in Seattle history, making it a huge political lift at any time, not to mention during an economic meltdown.

So she never misses a beat to stress that you won't pay the $500 million yearly tax. Amazon will.

"We're in a pandemic. Tax Amazon now," reads the bumper-sticker slogan on her council webpage.

It's a powerful message. The problem -- just as with the last head tax that eventually failed -- is that it's a bait and switch.

Her proposal doesn't just tax "Amazon," or the company's amorphous cousin, "big business." The way it's structured, it would tax almost any for-profit business in the city with 100 to 150 employees on up (it exempts nonprofits). That's based on it being a 1.3% payroll tax on labor costs of $7 million annually or more (so a business paying the per capita Seattle salary of $56,000 would pay the tax if it had 125 or more employees).

This means it could hit, say, some nursing homes and senior assisted living facilities...

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
More Authentic, More Intentional


Gen. Stanley McChrystal's crisis leadership lessons for employers

By Gen. Stanley McChrystal

People have a natural inclination in a time of crisis to work "shoulder to shoulder" to solve problems, retired four-star General Stan McChrystal said during an April 7 webinar hosted by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.

But when the crisis is the coronavirus pandemic, it requires a new approach, the retired four-star general and Green Beret said in a recent webinar.

"The kind of challenge that should pull us together instead requires us to work in a new way and to be more effective than ever before," he said.

Leading in a time of crisis is hard enough, McChrystal said. But the current situation presents business leaders with the unique task of guiding teams remotely.

"Because our interactions are mostly digital, we have to be more authentic, we have to be more intentional, we have to be more demonstrative, and we have to be more of ourselves," he said.

That means giving your undivided attention to the person talking on screen and not looking at paperwork or your phone.

"Focus on the camera, respond, and ask questions," McChrystal explained. "You have to be on all the time."

And be genuine.

"When you're leading virtually all the time, you have to be who you are," he said.

"You have to be willing to be open, transparent, humble, and willing to admit your shortcomings."

Read the full story from the Connecticut Business & Industry Association