WRA attends AWB policy summit
By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Public Policy
WRA President/CEO Renée Sunde and I attended the Association of Washington Business Policy Summit held at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elem last week. It drew almost 500 participants.
The three-day event was filled with informative speakers and panels addressing a wide range of issues facing the employer community and our state as a whole.
One panel included both presidents from our major research universities. Ana Mari Cauce, Ph.D., University of Washington and Kirk Schulz, Ph.D. of Washington State University spoke to moderator Tim Schauer, President/CEO, MacKay Sposito and incoming Chairman of the Association of Washington Business. The focus of the panel was the future of higher ed and how employers can work with not only their schools but community, technical colleges, and high schools to help guide the skills and types of students they want to eventually become their employees.
There was uniform agreement that investing in higher education and the trades pays a good return. According to the presidents, higher ed is at a critical juncture in our state with most of the focus the last six years being on K-12 due to a state Supreme Court mandate to fully fund schools. It is time for the state to turn its attention to bolstering our higher education system so it will continue to grow and thrive, the panelists agreed.
WRA members often comment on the need for skilled workers to staff their stores. As we celebrate September as “Careers in Retail Month,” this becomes very apparent. Additionally, WRA members are announcing their holiday staffing levels, which run into the hundreds of thousands nationwide.
State projects additional income from U.S. Supreme Court tax decision
The U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to allow states to collect sales taxes from remote sellers could mean $37.8 million in additional tax income to Washington State in the 2020 and 2021 biennium, according to a new revenue projection from the Department of Revenue.
The Economic Revenue Forecast Council forecasts a $49.9 billion state operating budget in 2020-21.
Though not an economic windfall, the projected new revenues from the Supreme Court decision represent some financial help for Washington. Revenue expects the initial biennial impact of $37.8 million to grow to $46.1 million in 2022-23 and $55.4 million in 2024-25.
The Court upheld a South Dakota law that imposed a collection obligation on remote sellers with gross sales over $100,000 or 200 transactions to customers in that state. Washington has a similar law by which it began sales tax collections from remote sellers in January of this year.
Retailers have long supported states seeking the right to collect sales taxes from remote sellers, many of whom sell on the internet. Prior to the June ruling, many online remote sellers gained a price advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers by not charging sales taxes as interpreted from an earlier Supreme Court decision.
Read more on this topic.
Sources: Department of Revenue, Economic Revenue Forecast Council
Fill open positions with free hiring events
Retailers are always looking for ways to keep good staff. With the labor market tight and difficult-to-fill positions growing every day, many employers are using tactics that are difficult to maintain, such as poaching employees from the competition or holding on to so-so staff members who don’t manage people well or underperform, because it’s hard to replace them.
While this might work in the short term, moves like this are detrimental to the future of your business. Candidates willing to jump to your ship for a few extra dollars may be willing to jump again when the next offer comes along. And those hard to replace, but low-level performers drag your other staff down and hurt business.
So what do you do? As part of Careers in Retail Month this month, Employment Security encourages employers to reach out to their local WorkSource offices and tell them you want to hold a hiring event to find great candidates. There are local and regional business service teams in each Workforce Development Area (WDA) and many WorkSource offices are ready to help host hiring events, promote your job fair, screen candidates and provide information on other business-friendly programs, all at no cost.
So don’t make your labor costs rise or keep that lousy leader for just one more month. Visit WorkSource’s WARetailCareers.com today and use the Resource Tab at the top to find the WorkSource office nearest you. And while you are there, visit the employer page and start posting your open positions for free.
Best Buy has announced it will conduct a holiday hiring fair at all of its stores on Wednesday, October 17.
Employment Security projects that retailers statewide will hire some 10,900 workers for the holiday season, a 21 percent increase compared to last year.
The Best Buy job fair will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Applicants can apply in person or online for jobs ranging from sales, customer service, merchandising to inventory. Interviews will take place the same day. The company offers flexible schedules, competitive wages, 401k eligibility and an employee discount.
Washington Retail is debuting the new free, safety-related app, SAFEME, for automotive and tire dealers during the Governor’s Industial Safety and Health conference in Spokane this week.
The new downloadable app contains new safety lessons geared specifically to auto repair and tire shops. SAFEME apps are downloadable to the general public for free.
Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is displaying SAFEME at the Spokane conference. It enables users to obtain and print a safety certificate to show that they understand safety precautions that apply to workplaces. Users in all 50 states and 30 countries have downloaded SAFEME apps and have earned thousands of safety certificates.
Read more about the conference.
Get on wait list for sold out employment law conference
This year’s Best Practices for Best Employers law seminar on October 23 in Seattle is a sellout. Tammie Hetrick, Chief Executive Officer, attends this event every year and speaks to the group about Washington Retail Association and upcoming labor legislation.
The seminar will cover a host of employment law requirements on topics including equal pay, immigration, employee benefits, cannabis and the #MeToo Movement. The event sold out last year as well.
“This is a great event for employers to help them understand how to apply current and upcoming laws,” Hetrick said.
The law firm Lane Powell will conduct the conference in partnership with Washington Retail Association, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Bankers Association and the Greater Seattle Business Association. This year’s event is at the Grand Hyatt Seattle, 721 Pine Street.
Though a sellout, the law firm is keeping a wait list for openings in the event of cancellations. See that here.
Testimonials for the event have been positive including:
* “By far one of the best employment seminars in the country…”
* “Informative, practical, entertaining and enjoyable…”
* “Cutting edge insights on sophisticated and challenging employment issues…”
Free business fair coming September 29
Washington Retail Association urges anyone interested in starting or growing a small business to attend a free, all-day business fair at Renton Technical College on Saturday September 29.
Mark Johnson, WRA’s Senior VP of Public Policy, will be available to fairgoers at the association’s display table at the fair.
Lars Wulff, co-CEO of the Olympia-based Mud Bay pet store, will deliver a keynote address at 8:30 in the morning to begin the day’s activities. The fair features numerous workshops where attendees can acquire information and skills to help launch their dreams of owning a small business or working to grow business.
Click here for more information.
Seattle Mayor Durkan submits first biennial budget
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has emphasized funds for the homeless and additional hiring in the police and fire departments in her first biennial budget for 2019-20,
Durkan proposed the spending plan this week at a Seattle fire station and issued details in her newsletter.
- $89.5 million to address homelessness without new taxes on residents or businesses.
- A request to Metro to add 30 percent more bus service in the city in the next two years. City high school students are among the frequent users of Metro service.
- A raise for police officers through a new contract
- The hiring of forty new patrol officers and 120 new firefighters.
Durkan’s proposals are related to concerns of downtown merchants about homeless campers discouraging shoppers and the need for more police presence in the city. The spending plan now goes to the City Council for review.
Source: Office of Seattle Mayor
Safety tip of the week
Could your business withstand a disaster?
Could your business rebound from an emergency?
Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are processes that help organizations prepare for disruptive events, whether they might include internet system crashes, natural disasters, supply chain problems, severe weather or simply a power outage caused by a backhoe in the parking lot.
When disaster strikes, a good recovery plan can be the difference between staying open or shutting down for a few days. Plans need to encompass how employees will communicate, where they will go and how they will keep doing their jobs. The details can vary greatly, depending on the size and scope of a company and the way it does business. For some, power outages are most crucial. For others, it could be data recovery, which can be as easy as taking home portable drives for a low-cost way to do offsite backup.
Following a significant disaster, forty percent of businesses do not reopen and another 25 percent fail within one year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Similar statistics from the Small Business Administration indicate that over 90 percent of businesses fail within two years after being struck by a disaster.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Be proactive and start to research options for how you would be able to get back up and running as quickly as possible. Here are some a great links to get you started:
Ready Rating – is a free program from the American Red Cross to help businesses, schools and organizations prepare for disasters and other emergencies.
RASI SafetyTV has some videos on this topic.
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.