April 27, 2020
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COVID-19 Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Best of the Blog Tweet of the Week They Said It

Re-opening Washington: AWB launches Rebound and Recovery Task Force

On Friday a new AWB committee met to plan how Washington can safely get back to business. Tim Schauer of Vancouver and Michelle Hege of Spokane will co-chair the Rebound and Recovery Task Force. This joins a variety other plans, including the state GOP plan, a bipartisan legislative plan and the governor's plan. Also on Friday, top state officials spoke with AWB members and the Grassroots Alliance, saying that re-opening Washington will be slow, steady and safe. And today, Gov. Inslee announced a partial re-opening of outdoor recreation on May 5.

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AWB joins West Coast employer associations in regional recovery group

Washington, Oregon and California employer groups announced a coalition today to assist in reopening economies. Business associations in the three states pledged support for the Western States Pact and offered to work with governors in the three states individually and collectively.

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Governor announces limited resumption of construction with safety measures

AWB was part of the press conference on Friday as Gov. Jay Inslee announced that some construction work can resume, with comprehensive safety measures in place. This is the first phase of a longer-range plan to safely ramp up construction work. AWB is at the table helping create the plan, with safety as the top concern.

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Employers: Get ready for round two of Paycheck Protection Program; funds expected to run out quickly

Lenders resumed accepting applications this morning for the next round of the Paycheck Protection Program, but demand is high and the funds are expected to go quickly. Officials recommend contacting your bank or credit union. Another source of federal money won't run out during the coronavirus crisis -- unemployment benefits. Many independent contractors and self-employed people are now eligible. Visit www.esd.wa.gov to learn more.

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'Cool head, warm heart, clean hands': AWB's weekly webinar has tips for employers

How can employers take good care of their employees while ensuring that the necessary workforce is in place as the economy gradually re-opens? A slate of experts spoke to key issues today during AWB's weekly COVID-19 webinar series. Listen to today's webinar on AWB's podcast or watch the video. Learn more about AWB's COVID-19 webinar series and register for next week's webinar here.

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'Creators Respond' campaign highlights ways manufacturers can and are helping

As manufacturers of all sizes lend a hand to the production effort for key materials, the National Association of Manufacturers is highlighting that work with a new campaign. The NAM is also helping connect production capacity with those who need the supplies and materials.

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New data shows more than one quarter of Washington child care providers have closed

Twenty-six percent of child care providers have closed, a new survey shows, in an industry already struggling with shortages. This is an especially big problem during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many front-line health care workers depend on child care providers to care for their children so they can care for the community.

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Costco will remove purchase limits for child care providers to buy key supplies

Child care providers and early childhood educators often must purchase large amounts of key supplies. To help ensure they have access to enough of these materials, Costco has offered to remove purchase limits for early childhood educators.

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Federal Issues

Congress passes, Trump signs $484 billion bill with additional $322 billion for small business support

The popular Paycheck Protection Program got a new burst of funding last week after Congress passed a bipartisan bill to add $322 billion to the small business protection program, as well as money to support hospitals and expand testing. The Senate will return to session next week, which could allow for action on more COVID-19 legislation, as well as action on the 2021 federal budget.

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USMCA to enter into force July 1 after U.S. takes final procedural steps for implementation

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will go into effect this summer after all nations have taken the final steps for implementation. The revised and updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement "is a landmark achievement," said America's top trade official.

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Wednesday webinar: AWB will host U.S. Reps. Kilmer and Herrera Beutler on new funding for small business

Legislation passed last week infused an additional $484 billion into the U.S. economy to combat the economic and health impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Democratic Congressman Derek Kilmer and Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler introduced bi-partisan legislation to increase funding to the Paycheck Protection Program. Join U.S. Reps. Kilmer and Herrera Beutler this Wednesday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. for a webinar covering their proposal to extend the program. Register here.

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Other News

National, state unemployment rates still sky-high

Nearly 1 million Washingtonians are likely out of work, according to the latest jobless reports and estimates from state officials.

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Applications open for Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders

Applications are now being accepted for the Don C. Brunell Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year. The scholarship of up to $1,000 is available for college, vocational, certificate or graduate programs. Applicants must be the child or grandchild of an AWB member or employee. The deadline is June 30.

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AWB Events & Resources

Spring Meeting will now be virtual -- and free!

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recommendations of state and federal officials, AWB has made the decision to postpone its annual Spring Meeting to June 3. In addition, Spring Meeting will shift to a virtual event that is free and open to all AWB members. AWB invites you to participate from the comfort of your home or office. Full details and registration for the virtual event is available online.

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HR & Employment Law Webinar on May 20: Performance evaluations

Learn the latest developments in laws about performance evaluations, disciplinary actions and terminations so that your organization can focus on compliance and avoid administrative claims during AWB's next HR & Employment Law webinar on May 20. There will be more relevant topics in the months ahead, including the latest on L&I, non-competition agreements, and more. Register online for this and other timely webinars!

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AWB weekly webinar will cover helpful tips for insurance claims next week

Every Monday from 10-11 a.m., the Employer Resources Webinar Series will give you real-time, expert insights on all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, our speakers will focus on helpful tips for insurance claims with experts from both insurance agencies and the state Department of Labor and Industries. Check our webinar landing page for who's on the agenda to connect you with the latest information, direct from top officials.

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Best of the Blog

Employers: Get ready for round two of Paycheck Protection Program

Small businesses interested in the Paycheck Protection Program are encouraged to contact their lender and gather documents to quickly apply for the second round. Over $300 billion in newly allocated funds could be gone within a week. Read the full blog post here.

Tweet of the Week

Thank a Trucker Today

They Said It

Gradual, Careful Reopening

"Every one of us wants some sense of normalcy. But I can tell you this: We'll never have it if our manufacturing workers can't do their jobs, if they can't get that personal protective equipment manufactured, so that everybody has access to it to go back out into public." ~ Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, saying that a quick push to reopen the economy will backfire, and make it harder for key manufacturing workers to stay healthy. Timmons noted a bit of family history that shows the risks of a rush back to normalcy: his great-grandfather died in the second infection wave of the Spanish flu, in October 1918.

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TVW Interview

AWB on The Impact

AWB President Kris Johnson appeared on TVW's "The Impact" last week to talk about how to safely re-open Washington's economy. Here was his conclusion:

"This is going to need a coordinated alignment of the public and private sector like we haven't done in a long time...

"I think people are hungry to get back to work, to do it safely, to help restart the economy and then get on to recovery. How does the state recover from the very difficult economic and job loss environment we've been in? That's going to require an all-of-the-above strategy, at throwing everything and the kitchen sink at rebuilding and recovery..."

Watch the full interview of AWB President Kris Johnson on TVW's The Impact
First, Do No Harm

10 reasons to say no to the job-killing Sawant tax

By Alex Pedersen and Matthew Gardner

As Seattle responds to the COVID-19 public-health crisis, we are already suffering from its fallout: An economic crisis the scale of which we haven't seen in our lifetimes. Seattle employers are laying off thousands of our neighbors. We believe that the public officials in charge of city finances should embrace the mantra of front-line medical professionals: Do no further harm. Unfortunately, Councilmember Kshama Sawant is revisiting and expanding a controversial tax proposal that we believe would further harm Seattle.

Until Seattle's economy fully recovers, the City Council should reject the Sawant Tax -- or Mayor Jenny Durkan should veto it.

Alex Pedersen is a Seattle City Councilmember representing District 4, which includes many Northeast Seattle neighborhoods and Eastlake.

Matthew Gardner serves on Gov. Jay Inslee's Council of Economic Advisers and is the chief economist for Windermere Real Estate.

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times