May 7, 2018
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Top Stories

Seattle business leaders, construction workers speak out on Seattle's 'head tax' proposal

The Seattle City Councils proposal to tax large employers $75 million through a new "head tax" hit opposition last week. Pending the outcome of a vote on the new tax, Amazon announced it would stop work on an office building that would employ as many as 8,000 workers. The following day, construction workers voiced their concern that as building projects are stalled, so are good-paying construction jobs. On Monday, council members said they would delay a key committee vote from Wednesday to Friday.

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Don't miss next week's Spring Meeting and keynote by Captain 'Sully' Sullenberger

Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger, the "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot, will give the evening keynote address at the 2018 Spring Meeting. Tickets are now available for this May 15-16 event, which is being held this year for the first time in the Davenport Grand Hotel on the Spokane River waterfront. Also new this year: the May 15 dinner and Sullenberger's keynote address will be open to non-members.

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Strength in Members: AWB's 2017 Annual Report is on its way

From a new logo to new events highlighting the importance of manufacturers and the need for rural jobs, AWB was stronger and more focused than ever in 2017. The newly released 2017 AWB Annual Report, "Strength in Members," details the work of Washington's oldest and largest business organization, and what lies ahead.

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Spring edition of Washington Business highlights manufacturing, employer excellence and apprenticeships

The latest edition of AWB's print magazine has rolled off the presses and is also online. The spring edition of Washington Business includes a cover story on AWB's Manufacturing Week bus tour and an interview with U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, along with stories on rural jobs, Evening of Excellence award winners and a remarkable new waste-wheat-to-pulp factory.

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Federal Issues

Puget Sound Energy customers receive nearly $100 million in tax savings

More than a million electric and 790,000 natural gas customers will receive a break thanks to Puget Sound Energy and the recent federal tax cut. The savings total $96.5 million for Washingtonians.

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NAFTA talks enter a critical phase

This could be a make-or-break week for negotiations on renewing the North American Free Trade Agreement. The United States is taking a hard line on key areas of debate with Canada and Mexico.

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Reserve a spot at AWB's Federal Affairs Summit

Hear from members of Congress and help shape the debate by attending AWB's second-annual Federal Affairs Summit. This year's event will be held Aug. 14 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. Join employers, thought leaders and members of the state's congressional delegation at this timely gathering.

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Other News

NAM files amicus brief in Millennium Bulk Terminals case

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is adding a legal statement of support for Millennium Bulk Terminals and its proposed export terminal in Longview. The amicus brief, filed last week by the NAM's Manufacturers' Center for Legal Action, supports Millennium's lawsuit against the state for permit denials.

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State K-12 school chief asks for public input on budget priorities

For the first time, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is asking the public to help it plan its budget requests to the governor and the Legislature. An online survey is available.

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PNNL opens new $9.8 million Discovery Hall

Richland is home to a new collaborative space for scientists and the public after Pacific Northwest National Laboratory opened its new $9.8 million Discovery Hall.

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Railroad companies desperate for workers offer hiring bonuses up to $25,000

Need a job? How about a raise? Time to hit the rails. A tight labor market and more work hauling freight means railroad companies are looking for workers and offering bonuses up to $25,000 to entice them.

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First-ever Washington STEM Signing Day honors students who commit to math, science and engineering

High school seniors from across the state gathered at Seattle's Museum of Flight recently as Boeing and education officials celebrated their commitment to STEM education.

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Starbucks, Nestle agree to $7 billion global deal

Nestle will have the rights to market, sell and distribute Starbucks coffee and tea around the world, according to a $7 billion deal announced this morning.

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Boeing will purchase airline parts supplier KLX Inc. for $4.25 billion

Boeing plans to buy supplier KLX Inc. in an all cash deal expected to close later this year. Regulators must approve the purchase before it's final.

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Port of Seattle, airlines working together to expand access to sustainable aviation fuel

The Port of Seattle has announced that 13 airlines will collaborate on a work plan to provide all airlines at Sea-Tac International Airport with access to sustainable aviation fuels as a way to reduce carbon emissions.

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L&I offers labor law training to agricultural bosses and supervisors

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries will offer state and federal labor law training in Spanish and English at forums in Yakima on Tuesday and in Wenatchee this Thursday.

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Rep. Cary Condotta to retire from the Legislature

Another incumbent lawmaker will be retiring this year. Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, announced last week that he will not be running for reelection this year.

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AWB Events & Resources

THIS WEDNESDAY: AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series continues with talk on performance evaluations

AWB's popular employment law webinar series continues on May 9 with a talk on performance evaluations, disciplinary action and termination with Britenae Pierce of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland. Over the coming months, other legal experts will look at the many facets of increasingly complex labor laws, offering up-to-date information to keep your workplace in compliance with the latest legal changes.

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Rescheduled: Labor relations for beginners -- for union and non-union workplaces

Whether or not your employees are represented by a union, recent changes in federal labor law impact your workplace. The event has been rescheduled for May 22. Join us to learn more about employers' rights and obligations under key federal labor law principles.

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Tweet of the Week

New Leader on the Job



They Said It

Taxing Job Creators

"At some point in time there's going to be a gag reflex for companies." ~ Michael Schutzler, CEO of the Washington Technology Industry Association, about Seattle's proposed head tax on employers.




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A Compromise

Instead of a jobs tax, credit business for helping the homeless

By Jasmine Donovan, H.S. Wright III and Rachel Marshall

If the City Council insists on passing a misguided tax on jobs in order to throw more money at a significant problem without a plan, we propose a compromise: Let businesses deduct donations directly to charities serving the homeless or building low-income housing from their proposed jobs-tax burden, rather than have the money be processed through government bureaucracy with the inevitable waste that entails.

Seattle businesses have shown repeatedly that we are committed to helping the homeless in our community, some of us for decades. Allowing businesses to donate their share of the jobs tax, through cash or in-kind donations, directly to charities combating homelessness successfully in our community would be the most efficient and effective way to spend it...

We think a jobs tax is a bad idea and will hurt job creation in Seattle.

We would become the only jurisdiction in the country with a jobs tax and a B & O tax. However, if the Seattle City Council insists on moving forward, all new spending should be as efficient and effective as possible. Giving local business credit for their donations to measurably successful local charities will do exactly that.

Jasmine Donovan is executive vice president of Dick's Drive-In Restaurants. Howard S. Wright III is chairman & founder of Seattle Hospitality Group. Rachel Marshall is owner and CEO of Rachel's Ginger Beer.

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Will Our Leaders Learn?

Amazon's hard schooling of Seattle may not penetrate the civic skull

By Danny Westneat

Phew, that was a rough week for the ol' Emerald City. Below are three lessons we could learn from it -- but based on recent history, probably won't.

Lesson number one: We are far more emotionally attached to Amazon than Amazon is to us.

This may seem counterintuitive, as Seattleites are supposedly filled with angst about the megalith in our midst. But the company's dramatic threat to cancel up to 7,000 new jobs if the city passes a big business tax revealed the truth: People like that Amazon is from here. We think it says something special about Seattle, about our creativity and smarts...

Speaking of our leaders: Thank you, Amazon, for highlighting that Seattle doesn't have any right now. The most revealing part about this story is that City Hall was startled to learn the town's largest employer doesn't like a policy proposal that was a year in the works.

That's governing negligence. This City Council is barely a governing body anymore, so much as an activist group. A normal council would have insisted that Amazon be part of the crafting of such a big tax plan, or at least launched an intelligence operation to find out what they thought. But all that's tough to do when you're shouting at them through bullhorns...

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
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