July 27, 2020
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Top Stories

Final week: Washington Excellence Awards and Manufacturing Excellence Awards close Friday

This is your last week! Help AWB tell the many stories of Washington employers making a positive difference in their communities and our world. With three new categories for 2020, there are even more opportunities for your company to get recognition, and self-nominations are encouraged. The deadline to enter is this Friday, July 31!

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Gov. Inslee tightens rules on bars, restaurants and gatherings

Rules will be tightened on some public-facing businesses to reduce COVID-19 exposure, Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced last week. The rules are related to weddings and funerals, restaurants, bars, and fitness and entertainment centers.

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Washington employers promote mask-wearing to protect public health, economy

A coalition of leading Washington employer groups, including AWB, continues to promote the "Stay Safe, Stay Open" campaign that encourages everyone to wear masks in public.

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Prep for upcoming school year with webinars from AWB and U.S. Chamber

How the new school year will look and function is still up in the air. State and federal agencies are providing some guidance, but local districts are making most of the decisions. As parents and employers consider balancing back-to-school or home learning with child care, webinars from AWB and the U.S. Chamber will offer help and insight.

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AWB's Elections/Endorsements page highlights candidates who support employers

AWB's elections page is live, just in time for the 2020 primary election. The page lists legislators who have shown consistent support for employers and for making Washington a good place to do business.

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Washington Research Council policy brief: Delaying budget action would deepen the pain

The longer the wait, the worse the hurt. That's the essence of a new policy brief from the Washington Research Council. Unofficial state budget figures show that cuts made this summer of 2.9% to 9.4% -- while painful -- would be much lower than equivalent cuts of 8.8% to 28.2% that would be required to balance the budget if lawmakers wait until the coming legislative session.

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Holiday Kids' Tree project ramps up for 2020

Take a break from the heat of summer by joining AWB's Holiday Kids' Tree Project to support rural communities during the Christmas and holiday season. We're already planning for this year's event and soliciting donations for this heartwarming project.

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Housing Forum webinar series runs this fall, voice of employers critical

AWB invites you to join us for a monthly webinar series starting Aug. 25 that will address the issue of housing availability and affordability across Washington. The economic competitiveness of our state depends on being able to deliver a high quality-of-living for all Washington workers, and the voice of Washington employers is critical to the discussion. Register now!

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Three new members of Congress confirmed for AWB's virtual Federal Affairs Summit Aug. 11

Don't miss AWB's Federal Affairs Summit, this year being held as a virtual event. Join us for a day of exclusive access to engage with your federal representatives online Tuesday, Aug. 11. Register now.

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Federal Issues

Coronavirus relief bill a work in progress

The next federal coronavirus relief package could include another round of $1,200 stimulus payments for many adults, plus payments for dependents. But the broader package hit a roadblock last week when the White House and Senate Republicans were unable to reach agreement on a variety of issues. That means major issues around unemployment benefits and liability reform remains undecided.

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Employer groups sue over Trump administration limits on H-1B and other worker visas

New rules by the Trump administration on foreign workers affect hundreds of thousands of people seeking to work in the U.S. Several large employer advocates have sued to overturn the new immigration restrictions.

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President Trump signs orders aiming to lower prescription drug prices

President Donald Trump signed four executive orders last week, saying the changes will lower the cost of prescription drugs.

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Other News

Employment Security Department offers advice to employers on issuing formal job offers

How should employers offer to bring employees back to work? It's important for employers to make detailed, formal offers, rather than an informal text message. Being specific about the rate of pay, hours, start date, schedule and other details will make it easier if a claim ends up in adjudication over unemployment benefits.

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State to release millions to expand broadband

Local governments, nonprofits and incorporated businesses can apply for $18 million in grants and loans to expand broadband service.

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AWB wins two platinum awards for creative public outreach

An international awards program for creative work has recognized two AWB outreach initiatives with its highest award. The Hermes Creative Awards gave a platinum award in crisis communication plans for AWB's coronavirus communications, and another platinum award for the public relations campaign during the 2019 Manufacturing Week bus tour.

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Walmart offers Open Call to American manufacturers

Continuing its longtime support for Made-in-the-USA products, Walmart has issued its 7th annual Open Call. It's an invitation for American entrepreneurs and manufacturers and to meet with Walmart buyers.

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AWB Events & Resources

Find help reopening safely with the AWB Rebound and Recovery website

Employers in towns large and small can find ideas, insights and equipment to reopen safely with AWB's Rebound and Recovery website. The site's PPE Connect directory and Business Tool Kit are helping employers equip their employees to safely operate. A new resources page has a variety of useful, constantly updated links.

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Tweet of the Week

#MaskUpWA



They Said It

Small Businesses Are Hurting

"If a small- or medium-sized business becomes insolvent because the economy recovers too slowly, we lose more than just that business. These businesses are the heart of our economy and often embody the work of generations." ~ Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, discussing the heavy impact of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees account for almost half of private-sector employment. However, small businesses are especially vulnerable now and will account for most of the businesses that close for good due to the impacts of COVID-19.




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Stay Safe Washington
Prepare for Post-Pandemic Life


When the mills close, what's next?

By Mac Alexander Macdonald

What do communities do when their chief sources of income evaporate?

"Re-galvanize and reinvent," says Marc Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce. But what can we do as citizens to contribute to making this a place where industry wants to locate? What will people in the future want to purchase or acquire, and then how do we attract those companies, while nurturing the businesses we currently have? Complacency is not an option, and neither is hope alone.

For a company to partner with an area, it needs a ready and ample workforce. Are people being trained for the skills needed? Will enough housing be available? Will company executives and workers feel comfortable having their medical needs met? Will all employees feel comfortable having their kids educated in the local schools?

Robert Duvall's second famous line in the movie "Apocalypse Now" was, "Someday this war is going to end." Someday this pandemic will be over, so we need to prepare now. Communities like mine need to lay aside rivalries and attract passengers to their future train. It has been well quoted: When the time for action arrives, the time for preparation has passed.

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times