June 1, 2020
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Top Stories

New 'Modified Phase 1' could allow some manufacturing to reopen in King, Snohomish Counties

Washington's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, in place since March, expired at midnight last night. Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday that it would be replaced with his "Safe Start" plan on a county-by-county level. There is good news for manufacturers: counties in Phase 1 can apply for manufacturing sites to safely reopen even before moving to Phase 2.

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Thousands access key resources with AWB's new Rebound and Recovery website

More than 2,500 people visited AWB's new Rebound and Recovery website within its first three days after the COVID-19 resource page opened last week. The site offers important resources for businesses as they reopen. The PPE Connect directory is an online portal to help employers buy key personal protective equipment. The Business Tool Kit has resources to guide businesses to safely welcome back employees and customers.

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First-ever virtual Spring Meeting brings leading voices together on Wednesday

Join us Wednesday for the first-ever Spring Meeting virtual event. The day will cover many relevant issues for employers across the state, including updates on rebound and recovery efforts from the coronavirus pandemic. Content will also help employers stay up to date on the state policy issues that impact their company and employees. Plus, attendees will get many opportunities to engage with us and win prizes! Start your day off right with a coupon code redeemable for a free coffee at your favorite local coffee stand through the Joe Coffee App, and answer Washington trivia for a chance to win some fabulous prizes. Full agenda details and registration for the virtual event are available online.

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A new look of the Washington Excellence Awards

Among the annual highlights of the year for AWB is the chance to recognize and celebrate Washington employers. Our annual awards program allows us to showcase all that Washington employers have to offer. Starting in 2020, our annual awards have a new look and a new name: the Washington Excellence Awards. We invite all AWB members to participate by submitting a nomination online for a company that exemplifies excellence in business. The extended deadline is July 31.

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AWB names Sen. Mark Mullet as Legislator of the Year

Sen Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, is AWB's Legislator of the Year. Mullet, the House Democratic Whip, has been a strong advocate for employers in the Legislature. As a small business owner himself, Mullet brings a valuable voice both to the Legislature and to Senate Democratic leadership.

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COVID-19 webinar series resumes June 10

The COVID-19 Employer Resources Webinar Series is now held on Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m. This week the series will take a break to make time for AWB's virtual Spring Meeting. The webinars resume next Wednesday. They're free and open to all! Check our webinar landing page for who's on the agenda to connect you with the latest information, direct from trusted sources.

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Federal Issues

McConnell: Next coronavirus stimulus bill will be the 'final' one

Last week, the leader of the Republican-led Senate said that his chamber will decide whether to pass a "final" coronavirus relief package in about a month. Democrats in the House have already passed another package, a $3 billion relief plan, which has not been acted on by the Senate.

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House overwhelmingly passes bill to ease PPP requirements

By a lopsided 417-1 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to ease requirements on employers who took emergency Paycheck Protection Program loans. The bill still must pass the Senate.

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Other News

Boeing restarts production of the 737 MAX

Renton workers "started to warm up the factory's central production line" on the 737 MAX last Wednesday. While the MAX is still not cleared for takeoff, resumption of production is an important step and a big deal for Washington communities where the jet is produced.

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Seahawks announce $500,000 grants from 'Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund'

The Seattle Seahawks said today that they will give $500,000 from their equality and justice fund "to advance conversations related to reformation in our nation's current policies regarding hiring and training within law enforcement, judiciary protections and accountability, and for advanced education related to the history of race in America."

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Former Gov. Gary Locke chosen as interim president of Bellevue Community College

The Bellevue College Board of Trustees voted unanimously last week to select former Gov. Gary Locke as the college's interim president. Locke will begin his new position on June 15.

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Reopening guide available for manufacturing and retail companies

AWB's CompWise program has created free reopening guides available even for employers who are not part of the retrospective rating program. The first guides available are for manufacturers and retail establishments.

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Webinar on COVID-19 liability and risk mitigation

K&L Gates is hosting a virtual roundtable this Thursday on employer liability and risk mitigation. The topic is relevant to many employers as they begin to reopen.

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Free lifetime Manufacturers Marketplace membership being offered

What would normally cost $2,500 a year will be offered for free to Washington employers who sign up with the Manufacturers Marketplace by June 30.

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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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Employee Assistance Programs are more important than ever

AWB's HealthChoice coverage includes a free employee assistance program, giving your employees someone to talk with 24 hours a day.

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AWB Events & Resources

HR & Employment Law Webinar on June 10: Non-competes, confidentiality and intellectual property

Learn the latest developments in laws about non-competes, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitations and intellectual property protection during AWB's next HR & Employment Law webinar on June 10. There will be more relevant topics in the following July webinar on L&I compliance and accident prevention/investigation. Register online for this and other timely webinars!

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Nomination deadline extended through July for Washington Excellence Awards

Among the annual highlights of the year for AWB is the chance to recognize and celebrate Washington employers. Our annual awards program allows us to showcase all that Washington employers have to offer. The nomination deadline for the Washington Excellence Awards has been extended to Friday, July 31. Take time now to nominate a business you know online!

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Tweet of the Week

Rebound and Recovery



They Said It

Safety First

"We're pleased counties will have more flexibility and more manufacturers will have the ability to resume operations soon, even if they're located in places that have not been approved for Phase 2." ~ AWB President Kris Johnson, noting the importance of a decision by Gov. Jay Inslee to allow manufacturing operations to resume, with safety precautions in place, in counties that are not yet able to move into Phase 2 of reopening.




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Child Care in Crisis


Operating an essential business during the coronavirus pandemic

By Shannon Burkhalter, owner/operator of Braithburn Academy, a preschool and child care center in Duvall

There have been many highs and lows in my 35-year child care career, but no previous challenge can compare with being a center owner during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been the toughest test I have faced, one that threatens my center's long-term survival...

Many factors will determine our financial survival beyond the pandemic. Most of our families chose to withdraw from the center, some temporarily and a few permanently. Many couldn't come up with a plan for more than a couple of weeks ahead, so I was operating based on a budget that could be off by tens of thousands of dollars.

Some parents were willing to continue paying tuition while absent, and I'm so grateful. Others either couldn't afford to pay or chose not to. We made the difficult decision to not enroll new families, even though we could use the income, to try to limit COVID-19 exposure...

We could close the center. But I don't want our families to lose their jobs due to a lack of child care. We want our parents who are working in essential services to still be able to serve the community. I want our children to have some consistency in their new pandemic world. I want my hardworking, dedicated staff to have employment. And I definitely want the business that I've worked at for decades to keep afloat...

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times