Earlier this week the Seattle City Council approved its 2017 work program (via Seattle City Council Insight). Although details are scant, the program provides some idea of the issues councilmembers want to work on this year. Much of the program is carried over from last year, but there are several new items of interest.
Union membership in Washington increased in 2016, as Opportunity Washington noted a few weeks ago. Professors Barry Hirsch of Georgia State University and David Macpherson of Trinity University have since updated their data, which includes a break out of public sector and private sector unionization rates by state.
Several policies impacting Seattle’s business climate have been in the news recently.
A number of agency announcements have made my inbox over the last month:
Last week Gov. Inslee’s office released some research on paid family leave.
Some updates from the past week on the status of the federal overtime rule and funding for Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS):
The Skagit Valley Herald has a story about how the new federal overtime rule will affect employers and employees in Skagit County. The salary threshold that determines which employees are eligible for overtime will about double to $47,476 on Dec. 1.
What will happen to the rule given the results of the presidential election? The story quotes Mount Vernon attorney Kimberly Geariety:
Washington voters have approved Initiative 1433, which increases the minimum wage and mandates paid sick leave in Washington. As Opportunity Washington notes, this is part of a broader national strategy. Washington’s minimum wage has been the highest state minimum wage in the nation for years—until this year. Next year, thanks to I-1433, it will return to the top, and will remain there until 2020 (if current law in the states stands).
I recommend this Marketplace story: Strange Bedfellows: What farms and tech startups have in common. Reporter Kai Ryssdal came to Washington and talked to farmers in the Yakima Valley and Auburn about their operations and labor needs. Then he went to a startup in Seattle.
The common factor noted in the story's headline is immigration, and how important it is to both industries.