By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
Spring is in the air and that can only mean one thing; campaign season is upon us. Already yard signs are going up, doorbells are being rung and phone calls for endorsements and contributions are in full swing.
There will be 98 House of Representatives and half of the 49 Senate seats up for election this year. Also on the ballot will be the entire Washington State House Congressional delegation – 10 federal representatives and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.
WRA has two political action committees that are funded by member contributions. They are the WRA Retail Action Council PAC, which focuses on state and federal elections and the WRA Local Government PAC which plays in the city, county and port elections.
After the official filing period closes May 21, WRA will begin reviewing all of the candidates for elective office to determine how well they support the retail industry. The first step is that all of the new candidates, not the incumbents, will receive a questionnaire to give us an initial read on their positions. Incumbents will be scored on how they voted on the top WRA issues during the 2018 Legislative Session. We then review the district for viability of our chosen candidate to win. We will personally interview many of the candidates seeking our support.
Once all of our homework is done, our PAC boards vote on whether to endorse and make a monetary contribution. State campaign finance laws limit contributions to legislative candidates at $1,000 per election – or $2,000 for both the primary election, August 7 and the general election, November 6.
Our political goal is to elect and re-elect as many pro-retail candidates as possible. If you are interested in donating to our PAC it would be much appreciated. Checks can be made out and sent to WRA Retail Action Council PAC, P.O. Box 2227, Olympia, WA 98507-2227. There is no limit to PAC contributions. Personal and corporate funds are acceptable. PAC contributions are reported to the Public Disclosure Commission and are not considered charitable tax deductions.
Thank you for your support.
WRA seeks design firm for Association rebrand
Washington Retail Association has issued a request for proposals for design firms to bid on a comprehensive rebranding of the organization.
The aim is creation and selection of a refreshed and consistent brand for all communications coming from the association including a new logo, comprehensive design package and refresh to our association’s website. The new brand will help build on the association’s core values and capture the essence of a forward-thinking identity and mission. The association’s brand was last updated over 10 years ago.
Interested firms are asked to submit digital responses to the request by 5 p.m. PST on April 20, 2018. Please return all responses to Jocelyn McCabe, Jocelyn@mccabepr.com. Please find the request for proposals here.
The association has conducted personal interviews with key WRA stakeholders and will soon circulate a member survey to provide the selected firm with important feedback regarding how the association’s resources and image need to evolve. Interviews with the most qualified bidders will be conducted the week of April 30-May 4 to determine which firm will be awarded the contract.
WRA expects the project to be completed by the end of this year.
Established in 1987, the Olympia-based WRA represents a broad array of more than 3,500 storefronts across the state and is Washington State’s exclusive advocacy organization for the retail industry on legislative and regulatory issues on the federal, state and local level. It also operates the grassroots Retail Industry Coalition in Seattle.
Governor acts to restore state tourism promotion
By Tammie Hetrick, Chief Operating Officer
Washington Retail Association wishes to welcome the Northwest Marine Trade Association as an affiliate member.
The partnership allows NMTA members to join our Retrospective Rating program for possible refunds for its workers’ compensation insurance payments and allows its members to publicize this and other services offered by WRA.
We teamed up to provide safety advice during NMTA’s Seattle Boat Show earlier this year and look forward to additional opportunities to help its members with additional safety support through Retro.
I’m excited about the opportunity to grow our membership with a great association with which we have many common interests. The growth of our Retro program allows for a stronger development of the overall health of our program and allows members additional opportunities for financial success.
Founded in 1947, NMTA is the country’s largest regional marine association. It formed to fight a proposed special tax on boaters. NMTA’s mission is to promote the growth of recreational boating and the business of its members.
Forget the doom and gloom
By Terry Hopsecger, Director Business Development
The death of retail has been greatly exaggerated. Forget the doom and gloom.
I ran across an article today from the National Retail Federation talking about how traditional and online retailing are increasingly intertwined as the industry uses both platforms to better serve its customers.
Retail is still retail regardless of where a sale is made or how the product is delivered. Retailers have seen the opportunities of online selling for years now, and those selling online increasingly see that stores are part of the key to success.
Reports show that 57 percent of retailers use multichannel marketing that includes traditional brick-and-mortar along with online sales. In 2018 it is expected that 43 percent of store-based retailers will see a net increase in the number of brick-and-motor stores. More brands plan to open stores versus close them this year. New physical locations are important because retailers say that faster delivery of online orders is their top customer-oriented priority, and many plan to use stores to achieve that goal. The procedure is to buy online and pick up purchases in the actual store.
Retailers’ priorities include focusing on personalized shopping experiences, digital online purchases and mobile sales. Mobile app sales are growing at an annual rate of 16 percent and 89 percent of retailers plan to increase investments in mobile initiatives. While more work has to be done in 2018, retailers are moving in the right direction.
Let me know what more you want to read about retail and our program offerings. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WRA members urged to attend overtime meeting next week
Labor & Industries has scheduled a rulemaking meeting next week to discuss making more retail employees eligible for overtime pay.
The 2 p.m. meeting on April 11 is to discuss executive, administrative and professional exemptions from the Minimum Wage Act. Any changes to current wage thresholds to qualify for overtime pay could increases costs to retailers.
WRA has been concerned about such discussions on a federal level. One concern is that by increasing the pool of employees eligible for overtime, companies may be forced to reduce hours and pay for other employees to compensate for increased overhead expenses. Another concern is the state could create a different definition for exempt employees than the federal definition and cause confusion for retailers with stores in other states besides Washington.
Those interested in making comments or suggestions can attend in person, by phone or on their computer.
The meeting will be at the L&I headquarters auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way S.W., in Tumwater, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 11. Callers should dial 855-929-3239 toll-free and use the passcode 103 031 60#. You also can click here to join the meeting by webinar.
Please contact Tammie Hetrick, WRA Chief Operating Officer, if you have any questions about L&I’s rulemaking on overtime. Contact her at 360-200-6452 or email@example.com.
Seattle retail mixer set for April 19
Seattle retailers are invited to a mixer beginning at 6 p.m. on April 19 at The Dane, 8000 15th Avenue N.W. in Ballard.
Those who attend will learn about the Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle, a grassroots lobbying group being organized under the direction of John Engber, a contract lobbyist for the Washington Retail Association. RICS’ mission is to inform Seattle retailers about planned regulations by the Seattle City Council that could affect them and to employ Engber to represent retailers at council meetings.
Those who attend also will be able to meet President/CEO of the Washington Retail Association, Renée Sunde, Chief Operating Officer Tammie Hetrick and Senior VP of Government Affairs, Mark Johnson. WRA is providing complimentary food and drinks.
RSVP/Register by Monday, April 16 here.
WRA has secured its latest Labor & Industries grant to assemble a computer-based safety program concentrating on members in its automotive group.
Using a grant from L&I’s Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP) program, WRA will expand its SAFEME app to include safety instruction and certification for employees in the automotive group of members.
While the first SAFEME topics were general safety topics, this version of SAFEME instruction will cover handling of hazardous chemicals, the use of eyewash stations, tire handling and the safe use of power tools.
Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, estimated the safety instructions for SAFEME automotive employees should be ready for use in 60 days.
Means secured and used prior SHIP grants to develop safety curricula for older workers and certification for entry-level employees. To date, the SAFEME app has attracted safety course registrants in all 50 states. Click here to learn more about SAFEME.
State Treasurer Duane Davidson has been warning the Governor and Legislature that they’re shortchanging the state savings account by spending too much.
The message was overlooked in this year’s Legislative Session as lawmaker reached into savings to help balance the budget and use funds to support public schools. Davidson’s warning has to do with the ebb and flow of economies. The good economic times these days will slow down, and when they do, Davidson asks, will there be enough savings to prevent layoffs and state service reductions?
Lens, the online news source of the Business Institute of Washington, takes a look at the debate surrounding the state savings account in a new story. Davidson thinks the projected $103 million savings balance at the end of the 2021 fiscal year isn’t enough for a state the size of Washington. In the story, he points out that state debt obligations have been rising rapidly the past 20 years leaving the state with the nation’s sixth highest per capita debt.
Click here to read the story.
Seattle unhurried on income tax plan for the wealthy
It’s looking as though Seattle will not be collecting income tax from wealthy residents anytime next year, according to a Seattle Times report.
Despite approving the state’s only income tax, the city is appealing a legal challenge to the tax to the state Supreme Court. According to the article, the state’s highest court is not expected to rule on the appeal by the end of this year.
The city council has approved a 2.25 percent tax on total income above $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for married couples filing together. Opponents in court believe the tax violates the state constitution and should be thrown out.
The city hopes to raise $140 million a year from the income tax, but it faces spending $13 million for computers to process the charges and 50 employees to administer the bills and payments. The article reports the city is doing far less this year than buying computers or hiring staff. It reports only “limited planning efforts” this year.
Source: Seattle Times
Safety tip of the week
Bridging generational differences at work
If you have not yet heard of the term “generational differences,” it will become more prevalent as you see the workforce crossing over several generations such as the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.
How does this affect safety? An increasingly significant generational gap in U.S. workplaces is putting younger and older workers on a collision course over communication styles and work habits. Each generation has different learning methods and life experience from which to draw. Older employees tend to be more hands-on and want the personal touch, while younger ones are fine with electronic methods. The older generation has already experienced or seen what being unsafe can lead to. They typically have fewer accidents as they develop ‘wisdom’ from that experience of what is safe and unsafe.
Younger folks tend to have the feeling of invincibility and ‘I have done it this way before without getting hurt.’ They also can feel that doctors can fix everything. During your safety meetings, have a blended session with handouts and videos so you can cover all learning styles.
While each generation has something to offer the other, your challenge is to find ways to reach all. Getting your safety message across has to come from a variety of input methods so that it can be properly absorbed by all employees.
Communication is the key with good listening skills, explaining why safety rules are in place, and allowing open dialogue. Cross mentoring can be one way of bridging that generational gap. Another technique is having employees share off-work safety guidelines they use in hobbies or activities.
When managers bring younger and older workers together on common safety ground, they can greatly improve engagement, motivation and safety for all.
WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WRA diversity statement
It’s essential to have a holistic strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. We encourage everyone to consider having a plan that connects with diverse people; creates a diverse workforce; fosters an inclusive work environment where different perspectives are valued; partners to share time, talent, and resources with our staff and with communities; and communicates these values with others.
In principle and in practice, we value access to leadership opportunity regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, appearance, geographic location, or professional level. The association strives to accomplish this by serving as a model where we are working to help our staff, our volunteer leaders, our members, and our community embrace these principles.