May 14, 2018
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Top Stories

Furor continues over Seattle employment head tax as council vote set for this afternoon

Employers and a growing chorus of community members are pushing back against a proposed jobs tax in the city of Seattle. King County Executive Dow Constantine has come out against the $75 million tax proposal. Mayor Jenny Durkan offered her own smaller tax, which the City Council Finance Committee rejected on Friday. The original $500 per employee tax now moves to a full council vote that's expected this afternoon.

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It's time! This week's Spring Meeting will feature keynote by Captain 'Sully' Sullenberger and much more

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

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AWB and Ontario unite in support of free trade and NAFTA

Cross-border trade supports jobs in Washington state, building good careers, healthy economies and thriving communities. That was the message in a rare joint press release between AWB and the chamber of commerce for the Canadian province of Ontario last week, as both chambers voiced support for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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Happy Infrastructure Week: Let's invest in the networks that support our economy and communities

This week is the sixth annual Infrastructure Week, a time to focus on ways to invest in America's backbone -- its roads, bridges, telecom and energy systems, and the other crucial pieces of infrastructure that underly every successful community and business. AWB issued a joint infrastructure report -- Building the Economy -- last year in support of these vital investments.

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Federal Issues

Energy and water bill released by U.S. House Appropriations Committee includes limits on Columbia River system dam spills

A draft 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations bill released on Friday includes provisions to protect operations of the Columbia and Snake River dams.

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Other News

Six states join lawsuit in support of Millennium Bulk Terminals

Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Kansas and Nebraska are the latest to join a case against Washington state and in support of the Millennium Bulk Terminals export project.

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Gov. Inslee picks former ambassador Suzan LeVine as new Employment Security Department commissioner

Jay Inslee has appointed Suzan "Suzi" LeVine as the new commissioner of the state Employment Security Department. LeVine most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2014-17. She also co-chaired the recent workforce study mission to Switzerland.

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Department of Licensing Director Pat Kohler resigns

The Washington Department of Licensing's director, Pat Kohler, has resigned effective June 30. Gov. Jay Inslee thanked her for her service and a search for a new director is underway. Kohler cited personal reasons in her resignation letter, and local media outlets highlighted a recent controversy.

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Alaffia founder Tchala named finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Alaffia's founder and CEO, Olowo-n'djo Tchala, is a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Pacific Northwest. The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs with strong innovation, financial performance and commitment to their companies and communities. Tchala and his Tumwater-based international business were featured in AWB's recent Grow Here campaign.

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WGU Washington leader wants to double enrollment at popular online college

The new chancellor of Western Governors University's Washington branch wants to double student enrollment in five years. WGU Washington has already enrolled more students than any other state this year. Flexible, online courses at an affordable price have proven to be attractive to students studying healthcare, business and education.

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Washington Hospitality Association and Gov. Inslee celebrate 2018 Hospitality Month

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared May 2018 as the second annual Hospitality Month, and the state Employment Security Department is partnering with the Washington Hospitality Association to host three hiring fairs around the state during the month.

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AWB Events & Resources

AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series continues with talk on non-competes, confidentiality agreements and more

AWB's popular employment law webinar series continues in June with a talk on Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Solicitations & Intellectual Property Protection with Clemencia Castro-Woolery and Chrystina Solum of Ledger Square Law, P.S. This is part of an ongoing series as legal experts walk employers through 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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Venue change: 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, and will be held in SeaTac. Join us to learn more about employers' rights and obligations under key federal labor law principles.

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Tweet of the Week

Trade Matters

They Said It

Don't Punish Job Creators

"These companies are doing what we want them to do, hiring people, creating jobs, paying wages and benefits, and creating opportunity in the city. A lot of eyes are on Seattle right now. I worry about the long-term consequences to the city's economic brand." ~ Jon Scholes, president of the Downtown Seattle Association, about the city's proposed employee head tax.

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Progress Together

Council should partner on job growth, not a job-killing head tax

By Jenne Oxford, Shannon Sheron and Diane Holliday Germain

As the Seattle City Council moves quickly to pass a tax on jobs, it is critical that we all consider the long- and short-term consequences of establishing a tax that, by its very nature, will hurt job growth.

Everyone in Seattle agrees that we need to end homelessness, but the importance of encouraging, not discouraging, job creation has been left out of the discussion. A study released this week by ECONorthwest shows that job loss is the leading cause of homelessness in our region and that a tax on jobs is likely to undermine entry-level positions the most.

As hospitality industry employers, we are proud to be able to provide a wide range of jobs from management and sales positions to low-barrier, entry-level jobs that offer hard-to-come-by opportunity to people with limited skills or education and to those who need a second chance in life. We invest in training, we promote from our own ranks and a first job in hospitality can turn into a rewarding, lifelong career.

A tax on jobs will hurt our ability to provide these opportunities...

Shannon Sheron, president of the Seattle Hotel Association, is managing director at Hotel Sorrento.

Diane Holliday Germain, vice president of the Seattle Hotel Association, is general manager at The Westin Seattle.

Jenne Oxford, secretary of the Seattle Hotel Association, is director of operations Seattle at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Early Childhood Learning

Why businesses should care about little kids

By Mary Sisson, a toy store owner in Vancouver

From birth to 3 years old, a child's brain forms more than one million new neural connections every second. That's the most explosive time of a person's growth. The foundations for language development are laid. Skills that enable us to plan, focus, remember instructions and juggle tasks begin to develop.

So, why should this matter to the business community?

Two reasons: One, these little people of today are the work force of 2040, and what happens in those early years affects all the years to come. And two, their parents are in the workforce today, with parents facing a childcare crisis.

The issue is statewide. Ross Hunter, secretary of the new Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families, has heard this from parents all over Washington.

"I couldn't afford to work and I couldn't afford not to work. You can get a job, but you can't if you can't afford it," he told the audience at an institute focused on early childhood learning, convened last month by the Association of Washington Business.

And what business wouldn't want to make an investment that promises a 16 percent return? According to economists such as Nobel Laureate James Heckman of the University of Chicago, that's the return society gets on every dollar invested in early childhood...

Read the full column in The Vancouver Business Journal
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