OBI’s Manufacturing and Innovation Roadshow Concludes
OBI’s inaugural Manufacturing and Innovation Roadshow concluded Wednesday, Aug. 17, with a tour of the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6. The port was the last of two dozen stops made by the distinctive Roadshow bus, which kicked off its journey Aug. 3 with a visit to Intel and a tour of Washington County’s Silicon Forest.
The Roadshow introduced policymakers and community leaders to manufacturers across the state, underscoring the importance of this very diverse sector, its extraordinary contributions to Oregon’s economy and the policies necessary for its continued success.
The Roadshow visited makers of wine, food, dental equipment, plastic conduit, wood products, even herbal supplements during a journey that touched at least 15 counties. Check out the Roadshow itinerary and media coverage here.
The Roadshow would not have happened without the generosity of its sponsors and the businesses that opened their doors to Roadshow participants. Thank you all.
Semiconductor Report: The Semiconductor Task Force released its report Aug. 17. It identified several problems, from inadequate industrial land to an overly burdensome regulatory environment, that could prevent Oregon from capitalizing on a surge of investment in the semiconductor industry spurred by the recently signed CHIPS Act. Stories about the report appeared in several media outlets, including:
- Portland Business Journal: “Oregon semiconductor industry could nab billions, add thousands of jobs”
- OPB: “Task force outlines path for Oregon semiconductor competitiveness”
- The Oregonian: “3 chipmakers are eying blockbuster Oregon projects – but land shortage, regulation and taxes may get in the way, task force says”
Wafer Expansion: SEH America may add 300,000 square feet to its silicon waver factory in Vancouver, The Oregonian reports. Wafers are the foundation for semiconductors, and SEH said its expansion would position the company to capitalize on the construction of new semiconductor factories spurred by the recently signed CHIPS Act.
Race for Governor: Nonaffiliated gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson submitted enough signatures to secure a spot on the fall ballot, The Oregonian reported.
Portland Struggling: Portland’s downtown is struggling to rebound from the pandemic more than those in all but two cities examined by researchers at the University of California Berkeley, the Portland Business Journal reports. Only San Francisco and Cleveland fared worse.
Portland Measure: A Multnomah County judge has approved a controversial ballot measure that will reshape Portland’s government, among other things, The Oregonian reports. The Portland Business Alliance had challenged the measure, which now will head to the November ballot.
What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act contains an assortment of incentives, subsidies and tax-code adjustments. It’s a long list. The National Association of Manufacturers has produced a comprehensive summary of the law’s provisions, from its 15% corporate alternative minimum tax to its new tax on crude oil.
You can read the NAM’s summary here.
Don’t Miss OBI’s Oct. 19 Vision Oregon Event
Don’t miss OBI’s second annual Vision Oregon event, which will take place Oct. 19 at the Portland Art Museum from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. At the event, OBI will present its highest honor, the Oregon Visionary Award, and attendees will have opportunities to network and hear from top Oregon business leaders. We will provide more details and open registration as the event approaches.
Prior to 2021, the Vision Oregon event had been known as the Statesman Dinner, a longstanding tradition highlighted by the presentation of the Statesman of the Year Award. Recipients of that award include Phil and Penny Knight; U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith; the late Portland Mayor Vera Katz; and Gert Boyle, the late chair of Columbia Sportswear.
The recipients of last year’s inaugural Oregon Visionary Award are Bill and Karla Chambers, of Stahlbush Island Farms; Alando Simpson, CEO of City of Roses Disposal and Recycling; and Rogue Food Unites.
Interim Task Force and Rulemaking Update
DEQ Director Search: The Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) has issued draft minimum qualifications for the next director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The current director, Richard Whitman, will retire at the end of the year. Joined by several industry groups, OBI submitted comments Aug. 12 that urge the EQC to give greater priority to qualifications related to expertise in federal environmental laws and programs; the development of legislation, program rules and policies; and experience working with regulated entities. DEQ’s regulatory programs have expanded significantly in recent years, the comment letter notes, creating a regulatory environment that is difficult to navigate at best and burdened by contradictory policies at worst. For these reasons, DEQ’s next director should be a pragmatic policy and process expert with demonstrated management and problem-solving skills.
OSHA COVID Rules: The comment period for another extension of Oregon OSHA’s COVID rules closed on Aug. 12. The rules retain the requirement that employers provide unpaid but protected isolation and quarantine leave. Given that the CDC announced Aug. 11 that isolation was no longer required for cases of exposure without a positive test or symptoms, we hope this leave will be less of an issue moving forward. OBI asked once again that OSHA establish metrics that would trigger the repeal of the COVID rules. We have made this request several times, and the division has simply said the rules will be repealed when OSHA and the Oregon Health Authority deem them to “no longer be needed.” We anticipate the division will adopt the proposed rules without substantial changes.
Recycling: OBI submitted comments to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in response to the first round of possible rules for the recycling modernization program. OBI is a member of the rulemaking advisory committee, which is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 28. On Aug. 11, the Recycling System Advisory Council met to discuss the various task forces and committee work related to the program. The Technical Workgroup on materials will meet on Aug. 23. Rulemaking and other work will continue throughout the next year.
‘Women MAKE America’ Manufacturing Awards
The Manufacturing Institute is requesting nominations for the 2023 “Women MAKE America” awards. There are two categories to consider:
- Honoree: Nominee is currently employed in manufacturing at any level of the company, from the factory floor to the C-suite. One hundred honorees are selected each year.
- Emerging Leader: Rising female talent currently employed in the manufacturing industry that have made significant contributions and excelled early in their career. An emerging leader nominee must be between 18 and 30 years of age as of Dec. 31. Thirty emerging leaders are selected each year.
Each company may nominate up to 10 people. The submission deadline is Oct. 7.
Go here to get started.
Learn about the New Paid Leave Oregon Program
Paid Leave Oregon, formerly known as the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, will host weekly community conversations via Zoom through the end of August to help employers, employees and others learn more about the program, which goes into effect Jan. 1.
Tuesdays, 3-4 p.m.: Conversaciones Comunitarias de Licencia Pagada (Zoom meeting held in Spanish)
Thursdays, 3-4 p.m.: Community Conversations about Paid Leave (ASL and Spanish interpretation provided)
Fridays, 10-11 a.m.: Community Conversations about Paid Leave (ASL and Spanish interpretation provided)
To register, please click on the meeting. If you need to participate by phone, Zoom will provide you with the conference line date above number after you register. If you need an accommodation, including language translation and interpretation, please email email@example.com no later than three business days before the forum with your accommodation request. Note: These are not OBI-sponsored events. Any questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OBI has held three webinars so far on the new program, two of which provide a general overview of the program and the third an overview of the program’s equivalent plan option. This option allows employers to meet the requirements of the paid leave law without participating in the state’s program.
Recordings of overview webinars can be found here and here. The presented content is the same in these two webinars, but the questions from participants differ. A recording of the equivalent plans webinar can be found here.
Paid Leave Oregon will be funded by a 1% tax on wages, of which 40% will be paid by employers and 60% by employees. Contributions will begin on Jan. 1, 2023. Employees may begin to apply for benefits on Sept. 3, 2023. OBI remains involved in the rulemaking associated with this program. We have a number of concerns, including the program’s treatment of equivalent plans and its complicated and potentially burdensome interaction with the Oregon Family Leave Act and Family and Medical Leave Act.
Watch Recent Webinars
Managing Claims Costs with Return to Work Services
Watch a recording here.
Experts with SAIF explained how employers can manage the post-injury process, get their employees back to work and mitigate claim costs using the Return to Work services team at SAIF and the Employer-at-Injury and Preferred Worker Program benefits. The webinar was offered through OBI’s CompSAFE program.
OSHA Heat and Smoke Rules
Watch a recording here.
Experts with Oregon OSHA provided an overview of the recently adopted heat and smoke rules and answered questions from OBI members.
Union Organizing Dos and Don’ts
Watch a recording here.
Attorney Nicole Elgin with Barran Liebman LLP explained what managers and supervisors should know, do and not do when confronted by a union organizing drive.
Oregon Business Plan Update
Watch a recording here.
Oregon Business Council President Duncan Wyse delivered a midyear progress report on the Oregon Business Plan and answered questions from webinar participants.
Student Success Act Implementation
Watch a recording here.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Education joined OBI to discuss the implementation of the 2019 Student Success Act, which generates roughly $1 billion per year for education through the state’s corporate activity tax.
OBI Members Can Save with HealthChoice
Many businesses struggle to attract and retain qualified employees. Offering an affordable and flexible health-care plan can help. Through the collective strength of OBI’s HealthChoice plans, Oregon’s small businesses can command the buying and negotiating power of much larger companies when providing health insurance options.
OBI offers HealthChoice plans through a partnership of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. Plans feature:
A full range of health care coverage options, from preventative care to catastrophic eventsAccess to the largest network of providers in every corner of the state
- Flexible options for premiums, deductibles and benefits
- ACA-compliant coverage for you and your employees
- Affordable options and add-ons like dental and vision
- Options for wellness and healthy lifestyle programs
- Local support staff for claims and administrative management
If you are interested in learning more please contact The Partners Group, the managing general agent for OBI HealthChoice, by emailing email@example.com.