July 8, 2019
Fast Facts
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Made in America

"I know food can bring nations and people together." ~ Augustine Guma, a survivor of genocide in Uganda, speaking at the recent Walmart Open Call for suppliers in Bentonville, Ark. Guma said he was waved through a firing line because of his cooking ability. After being rescued by the Red Cross and coming to America, Guma was washing dishes in a lobster restaurant when he began experimenting with different meat pie recipes. He now sells to restaurants and food trucks but wants to get his Guma meat pies into more mainstream retail. Walmart is ordering 100 cases of his chicken, veggie, beef and lamb pies to test the flavors in certain areas. "We have some things to do but we will work with Walmart to get what they need to make this happen and hatch this dream,' Guma said.

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Unintended Consequences

State's proposed overtime rule change goes too far, too fast

By AWB President Kris Johnson

If it's approved, any employer with salaried workers making less than that amount will be faced with the difficult decision to either raise their employees' salary to nearly $80,000 or convert the worker to hourly status. For employers who can't afford to give out big raises, they may have little or no choice but to switch employees to hourly status.

In theory, this could lead to increased pay for some workers, but that's only if their employer can afford to pay overtime. Small businesses, nonprofits and other employers that can't absorb the cost increase will likely cut services.

Even for workers who don't take a step backward financially, the change could feel like a demotion. Increasingly, employees value flexibility in work hours, particularly younger workers. Making the transition from a salaried job -- with the flexibility to duck out for a couple hours in the middle of the day to take care of family obligation -- to an hourly worker who is required to be in the office a full eight hours, without the option of working from home, will be jarring.

No one is disputing that Washington's overtime rule needs updating. But the state's proposal simply goes too far, too fast and risks harming the employees it's intended to help.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World