June 3, 2019
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Top Stories

Evening of Excellence and Manufacturing Excellence award nominations due by June 30

It's time to nominate Washington's top employers for AWB's annual awards. The Evening of Excellence and Manufacturing Excellence awards are a chance to showcase excellence and best practices. From entrepreneurship to green manufacturing, it's time to shine. Learn more and nominate your company or another outstanding employer today.

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Process to ratify USMCA officially begins as White House submits letter of request to Congress

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to congressional leaders last Thursday, kicking off the process of approving the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal. However, a threat by the president to impose new tariffs on Mexico unless it cuts down on illegal immigration is seen as a potential hindrance to the USMCA's passage through Congress.

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Where does the legislative plan to 'fix our tax code' stand?

After a legislative session that saw a variety of new and higher taxes, it's worth reviewing which proposed taxes made it into law, which did not, and what is ahead. One possibility -- a renewed push for a capital gains tax, which has one fewer Senate opponent after the resignation of moderate Democratic Sen. Guy Palumbo.

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Housing Forum announced for July 8, with focus on affordable workforce housing solutions

In an unprecedented collaboration, AWB and nine other diverse business and statewide advocacy groups are joining forces to host a forum on housing availability and affordability July 8 in Bellevue. The forum will bring together problem-solvers from across the state and political spectrum to make headway on ensuring affordable housing for workforce and families in all the state's communities. Register today!

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Other News

Alaska Airlines again ranked No. 1 for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power

For the 12th year in a row, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has won the top ranking for passenger satisfaction among traditional carriers. Flyers rated Alaska highest in nearly all key categories, including costs and flight crew.

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Spokane's 'Hacking Washington' campaign draws attention

A creative advertising campaign that encourages Seattle residents to quit the big city life and move to Spokane continues to attract attention.

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'We were wrong': Bipartisan duo end attempt to push for new independent-minded centrist party

The Washington Independents political action committee is closing down after 18 months in business. A national partner, Unite America, is bowing out of competitive races after nearly all independent candidates lost in the 2018 election cycle.

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Leaders highlight better broadband access, economic opportunity in rural Washington

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA, and Gov. Jay Inslee highlighted their work to expand broadband in Washington's rural areas last week. Kilmer's federal Broadband for All Act would create tax credits to enable last mile connections for small towns and businesses. Rural broadband has been a major priority of AWB's Rural Jobs Task Force.

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Exclusive AWB offer still available: 5,000 bonus miles from Alaska Airline's EasyBiz program

Alaska Airlines is offering 5,000 bonus miles for AWB members that sign up with its new EasyBiz loyalty program. The deadline to sign up and book a qualifying flight is June 7.

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Applications open for Don C. Brunell Scholarships

There is still time for the children or grandchildren of AWB members to apply for the 2019 Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders. The scholarship, in honor of AWB's longtime former president, can fund up to $2,000 for students attending undergraduate, graduate or career/vocational programs.

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AWB Events & Resources

Employment law basics for your business with AWB's popular webinar series

AWB's popular Human Resources and Employment Law Webinar Series continues on Wednesday, June 12, with a talk on non-competes, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitations and intellectual property protection with Amy Mensik and William Symmes, Witherspoon Kelley. The series concludes July 10 with a talk on accident prevention and accident investigation plans.

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Protect your business by learning more about cybersecurity at special event June 19

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AWB are sponsoring a special event in Seattle on June 19 that will focus on how you can protect your business or nonprofit from increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.

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Webinar: Anti-Harassment Training in the #MeToo Era

Whether this is your first or 21st anti-harassment training, this webinar will provide you with key take-aways for conducting workplace investigations and preventing and responding to harassment. The webinar will be held Wednesday, June 26. Learn more and register online.

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Tweet of the Week


They Said It

Employers Improving Lives

"Dick's is what really helped launch my adulthood. Their scholarships gave me opportunities I didn't have and opened a lot of doors." ~ former Dick's Drive-In burger flipper and manager Sean Antioquia, a newly hired avionics engineer with spaceflight company Blue Origin, describing how his life changed thanks to the extensive scholarship program that Dick's offers to its employees. All employees of the Seattle-based burger restaurants who work 20 hours a week for six months and at least 20 hours a week while going to school can access $25,000 in scholarships over four years, to be used for any college, vocational or self-improvement program. Further scholarships can bring that total up to $50,000. Dick's President Jasmine Donovan said the program, dating back to the 1990s, has paid for coding boot camp, nursing, law degrees and more. "Our employees don't have to work for us forever," Donovan said. "If we can help them work toward and accomplish their longer term goals, that makes them fabulous employees. We are excited for them and whatever they are passionate about."

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Housing Forum
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My Fellow Democrats Are Skeptical About the USMCA. They Shouldn't Be

By Gary Locke, former governor, ambassador and secretary of commerce

Congress will soon vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a landmark trade pact finalized by all three nations last November. This deal -- which includes 34 chapters on trade issues ranging from intellectual property and digital trade to rules of origin and technical barriers -- is a historic victory for workers. It would guarantee fairer pay through wage requirements, ensure safe working environments, and strengthen workers' rights to unionize for better benefits.

Despite these labor-friendly provisions, my fellow Democrats have been slow to endorse the USMCA but their hesitation -- mostly over enforceability measures for North American laborers -- is unwarranted. Ratifying the agreement is the surest way to improve the lives of workers across North America...

By swiftly ratifying the USMCA, the lives of workers both at home and abroad can be improved. While the U.S. already has some of the strongest worker protections in the world, the USMCA makes these strong protections a North American standard.

Read the full column in Fortune
A Hit on WA Biz

Sales-tax exemption removal requires close eye

By The Columbia

After the Legislature eliminated Washington's sales-tax exemption for Oregon residents -- Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill May 21 -- many local merchants fear that won't be enough.

With Oregon having no sales tax, there is little incentive for our neighbors from the south to cross the Columbia River and purchase a couch or a lawn mower or a new pair of shoes. Not when they have to pay Washington's 6.5 percent state sales tax. Removing the exemption, some retailers say, will turn that river into a wall in the minds of Oregon consumers.

That, obviously, is a concern for border areas such as Clark County. And while the change has been made -- it takes effect July 1 -- we urge lawmakers to keep a close watch on its impact. If businesses in border counties see a drop in sales that can be traced to a decline in Oregon shoppers, the exemption should be reinstated as quickly as possible.

Read the full editorial in The Columbian
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