March 4, 2019
Fast Facts
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New round of Grow Here commercials begin today, featuring MOD Pizza, Lampson and Alaffia

AWB is kicking off its third set of Grow Here ads, highlighting a few of Washington's remarkable employers and the need to protect the state's competitiveness. This year's employer image campaign features MOD Pizza, Lampson International and a renewed version of the popular Alaffia feature. Ads kick off today on television, radio, digital and social media.

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Gov. Jay Inslee officially announces presidential run

Speaking in south Seattle, Gov. Jay Inslee formally launched his bid for the 2020 presidential race last week. In a campaign video released Friday morning, he said fighting climate change will be the cornerstone of his campaign. Inslee becomes the first governor to join an already crowded Democratic field.

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THIS WEEK: Learn how to attract and retain the best talent at the 2019 Workforce Summit in Bellevue

Workplace culture is the focus of AWB's third-annual Workforce Summit this Wednesday in Bellevue. Join workplace law experts, human resource professionals and other cutting-edge employment innovators for practical solutions to modern workplace issues like financial and mental wellness -- and learn how to build a culture that will help you attract and retain the best talent. Register now.

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Raising the B&O tax on service sector employers would hurt medical professionals, patients

AWB takes a closer look at the proposal to raise the business and occupation tax on many employers in the service sector in the ongoing video series AWB Amplified. The new video shines a light on a proposal that would raise taxes on service-related businesses by 67 percent. Doctors and salon owners speak out in this edition, and say the move would hurt their businesses and low-income patients in need of care.

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Legislative update: midpoint of session approaches as school funding takes the spotlight

School districts are facing big funding shortfalls, in part because of unsustainable increases in spending last year. Pressure is coming to the Legislature to cover those financial gaps or roll back its McCleary plan. Meanwhile, lawmakers are looking to increase taxes on employers, despite having $4 billion more to spend this biennium.

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State auditor shines light on local government finances

During her Lobby Lunch visit last week, State Auditor Pat McCarthy highlighted a new tool her office developed that helps the public better understand the finances and operations of state and local government. This week's Lobby Lunch features Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson.

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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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