March 4, 2019
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Boeing nominates former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to board of directors

Nikki Haley, former ambassador and South Carolina governor, has been nominated to Boeing's board of directors. Haley's appointment faces approval at the company's annual shareholder meeting in April.

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Groundbreaking research from PNNL earns national recognition

The Federal Laboratory Consortium has recognized national lab researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for their innovations in gunshot detection, creating jet fuel from waste, optical sensors and new ways to detect underground nuclear tests.

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Passenger flights kick off today at Paine Field

Air travel in the greater Seattle area became easier today as commercial flights began for the first time at Paine Field in Everett. Alaska Airlines began flights today. United Airlines begins its flights at the end of the month. Together, the two carriers are offering a combined 24 daily departures from Everett.

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Avista Corporation installs first smart meters in Spokane

Energy company Avista kicked off its smart electric and gas meter program in Spokane last week. More than 400,000 customers will get the new meters as part of a $165 million investment in new technology and energy efficiency.

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

A new report highlights the overall health of Washington's infants and toddlers, with comparisons to other states and national averages. Washington scored high marks in most categories.

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AWB's Mike Ennis to join 'Networking Toward Prosperity' economic development conference

The Washington Economic Development Association's 2019 winter conference, "Networking Toward Prosperity," will be held this Tuesday and Wednesday in Olympia. AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis is a featured speaker.

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Nominations now open for AWB's board of directors

AWB is looking for dynamic business leaders from employers of all sizes and regions of the state to serve on the AWB Board of Directors. We're accepting nominations for board membership until March 22. Nominations should be sent to Bonnie Millikan at

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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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