October 5, 2015
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

L&I Director Joel Sacks discusses proposed workers' compensation rate increases with AWB members

The director of the Department of Labor & Industries met with AWB members from around the state Friday to explain the reasoning behind his agency's proposed aggregate 2 percent workers' comp rate increase -- and take questions on why Washington is raising rates when other states are lowering them.

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Effort to renew Ex-Im Bank shows hopeful signs; meanwhile, jobs begin moving overseas after bank's closure

As employers begin preserving jobs by moving them to Canada and other nations with export credit agencies, there are hopeful signs in Congress as the push to renew the Export-Import Bank continues. A Republican bloc, with support from the House Democratic caucus, is moving to push an Ex-Im bill directly to the floor.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership deal reached; stakeholders, Congress begin review

After nearly eight years of negotiations, the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations have agreed to a framework trade deal. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would cover 40 percent of the global economy. With a deal now public for review, exporters and other stakeholders have begun digging down into the details.

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No increase in Washington's minimum wage in 2016

With no inflation at the national level, Washington will not increase its minimum wage next year. Although the Consumer Price Index actually fell, the state said it cannot lower the minimum wage to match.

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New 2016 edition of Redbook details Washington's competitive landscape

Washington employers know that costs and competitiveness matter. Washington is a great place to live, but is it a great place to do business? The new edition of the Redbook looks at nearly 60 key metrics that show where Washington shines -- and where it falls behind -- in comparison with other states and the nation as a whole.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

Government Affairs Council retreat to be held Oct. 12-13 in Alderbrook

The AWB Government Affairs Council will meet for two days this month for policy discussions and panel presentations by experts on charter schools and education reform, carbon and climate, minimum wage and employee benefits, leadership and the Public Disclosure Commission, water resources, and much more.

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Other News

Bellevue attorney Patty Kuderer appointed to fill House seat vacated by Ross Hunter

The King County Council last week voted unanimously to appoint attorney Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, to fill the House seat vacated by longtime Rep. Ross Hunter.

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Ag: Hay, apples still impacted by West Coast port dispute and cargo slowdown

The labor dispute that slowed imports and exports to a crawl for months last winter continues to affect the state's economy, with ag-dependent regions continuing to count the cost from the West Coast port labor fight.

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Gov. Inslee 'very concerned' about losing local control of water quality standards

Two months after his office canceled a collaborative rewrite of state water quality standards, Gov. Jay Inslee said last week that Washington could "lose control of our own fundamental destiny" if the Environmental Protection Agency imposes its own standards instead. The governor didn't specify how exactly he would respond, but said he would offer a new regulatory approach soon.

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Lawmakers begin statewide discussion tour on education funding

The Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee has begun its cross-state tour to take public input on how it should respond to the state Supreme Court's McCleary school funding ruling. After beginning last week in Vancouver, the tour continues Tuesday evening in Everett.

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State receives grant to study unfunded family leave law

Washington is one of eight states to receive a federal Labor Department grant to pay to study the impacts of possible ways to implement an unfunded 2007 law that would create a paid family leave program for employees in Washington.

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Department of Ecology gives drought update to AWB Water Resources Committee

Forecasts call for continued drier, hotter weather over the coming months and into next summer, the Department of Ecology's drought coordinator told AWB last week. There is a bit of good news: the snowpack is expected to be 70-80 percent of normal -- not good, but not as bad as it could be.

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Boeing, Amazon, construction driving growth in Seattle

The Seattle city coffers are bulging thanks to strong economic growth in the Emerald City. Much of the growth is coming from Boeing, Amazon and the booming construction industry. In fact, Boeing and Amazon together account directly and indirectly for a full 40 percent of the job growth in the Puget Sound region over the past five years, according to the city of Seattle.

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Warning to wildfire victims: don't fall victim to construction scams

In the aftermath of the wildfire disasters, victims too often face a second catastrophe as dishonest contractors descend. The Department of Labor & Industries is warning people to beware of shady contractors.

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MFGday15 celebrates opportunities in modern high-tech manufacturing

These aren't your father's manufacturing jobs. Today's high-tech factories are full of clean, well-paying jobs -- positions that are going unfilled because of a growing "skills gap." On Friday, manufacturers around the nation celebrated the opportunities on the factory floor with Manufacturing Day.

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McGladrey to change name to RSM, unifying global brand identity

McGladrey is changing its name to RSM to unify its global brand identity with its fellow firms already under the RSM International brand.

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AWB Events & Resources

Sponsorship opportunities available for Nov. 12 Manufacturing Summit in SeaTac

Registrations are open for the 2015 Manufacturing Summit and there are chances to sponsor the event as well. This year's celebration of "Made in Washington" innovation will be held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Crowne Plaza in SeaTac.

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Tuesday, Oct. 20: The Rights and Responsibilities of Being an Employer: Avoid Wage and Hour Claims, Create an Employment Handbook that Works for You and Build Loyalty within Your Team

Mona McPhee, director of litigation at Desh International and Business Law, will present a two-hour seminar Tuesday, Oct. 20, geared toward helping business leaders, payroll personnel and human resource managers watch the bottom line while building a culture of teamwork. Registration is now open!

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Tuesday, Nov. 3: Employment At-Will in Washington -- Dead or Alive?

What is the true definition of Employment At-Will in Washington state and, more importantly, what are its many exceptions? Learn what best practices your company should implement in order to minimize the chance of a discrimination claim. Register today! Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Teaching Young Entrepreneurs

They Said It

Encouraging Exports Through the TPP

"Every product we sell overseas helps us hire more Washington-state workers and pay them competitive wages." ~ Anil Amlani, the senior vice president of global sales at FUJIFILM SonoSite, saying the Trans-Pacific Partnership will help open international markets to made-in-Washington goods.

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Helping Employers Provide Affordable Health Insurance

Association health plans are key to Washington's health insurance market

By The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

Association health plans cover 500,000 Washington workers and their families, yet Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler tried for eight years to shut down some out of the state's insurance market.

That effort appears to be over, and good riddance.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Spokesman-Review
A Good Career Choice

Manufacturing: A valuable driver of wealth in our state

By Kristin Kautz, Southwest Washington regional representative for Impact Washington

When boomers finished high school in the '70s, a common attitude was that while our fathers may have worked in manufacturing, progress meant that the work of our fathers would not be our own. Everyone was supposed to go to college, and many certainly did. Meanwhile, we boomers launched into adulthood carrying those ideas, and didn't really notice or care when nearly all of the high school technical "shop" classes disappeared, or when apprenticeship programs went wanting for applicants.

We thought we knew that manufacturing was dark, dirty and dangerous, and only if you weren't very smart would it be your fate to work in factories.

What a mistake we made! Our perceptions and attitudes contributed greatly to the skills gap we find in manufacturing today. We failed to load the ranks with skilled workers over the years. Manufacturers nationwide constantly cite their difficulty in finding qualified workers, and are facing a silver tsunami of retirement of their skilled workforce. And rather than dooming prospective workers to hard and dreary work, we probably dissuaded many from the opportunity to develop great careers.

Click here to read the full column in The Vancouver Business Journal
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