OBI’s Manufacturing Roadshow Kicks Off
The first leg of OBI’s inaugural Manufacturing and Innovation Roadshow kicked off Aug. 3 with a Silicon Forest bus tour that began and ended at Intel’s Ronler Acres campus in Washington County. The timing of the tour couldn’t have been better, as it took place less than a week after the passage of the CHIPS Act, which will invest tens of billions of dollars in the U.S. semiconductor industry.
From Intel, the distinctive Roadshow bus drove to the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center in Scappoose. On Aug. 4, the bus and its passengers visited the Tillamook Creamery and Pacific Seafood. Today, it will swing Georgia Pacific’s Juno facility and HP‘s facility in Corvallis.
On the schedule next week: Almost a dozen stops in southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley. Check out the Manufacturing Roadshow web page for a full schedule.
The Roadshow, which will conclude Aug. 17, will introduce policymakers and community leaders to more than 20 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’s signature bus will visit makers of semiconductors, food products, dental equipment and much more during a journey that will touch at least 15 counties.
Worker Shortage: According to an ECONorthwest study, Oregon’s high housing costs and the rise of remote work are contributing to a shortage of qualified job applicants across the state, The Oregonian reports.
Housing Crisis: Noting that Oregon’s land use system has contributed to the state’s housing shortage, OPB compares solutions proposed by the three leading candidates for governor.
CHIPS Act: Oregon Business asks how well positioned Oregon and Oregon employers are to take advantage of investments that will be made available through the recently passed CHIPS Act. Among possible impediments, some say, are permitting, land use and workforce challenges.
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
Air Permitting: DEQ has been engaged in rulemaking to update the state’s air permitting program. The proposed rule would make foundational changes, cause significant delays, add major costs and complexity, and increase the money DEQ would need to implement the program. OBI submitted extensive comments on Aug. 1. Meanwhile, Sharla Moffett met in July with Environmental Quality Commissioner Greg Addington and Vice Chair Sam Baraso.
Portland Diesel Ban: Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is requesting public comment on a proposal to ban the sale of petroleum diesel in the city. Updating the city’s renewable fuels standard is part of the city’s 2020 climate emergency declaration, but this proposed ban was unexpected. OBI is partnering with several associations to respond. We will meet with BPS staff Aug. 18 and have requested a meeting with Commissioner Carmen Rubio, whose portfolio includes BPS. Few details about the proposal are available, but we understand it to be a downsized version of HB4141, a failed 2022 proposal that would have phased out petroleum diesel statewide. A Willamette Week story on this issue is here. OBI is very engaged in the issue and will submit comments.
COVID Rules: Oregon OSHA has begun the process to make its COVID rules permanent. The rules were scaled back temporarily in March to eliminate masking requirements in most workplaces, and without additional action the more stringent rules will go back into effect. OSHA proposes to make the scaled-back rules permanent. We have asked the agency to repeal the COVID rules in their entirety, as the current and proposed rules contain no metrics that would cause them to be suspended. Alternatively, we have asked OSHA to adopt metrics that would trigger the repeal of the rules. OSHA has not agreed, and we expect OSHA to make its temporary rules permanent. This would be particularly problematic for medical settings, where the rules would continue to require masking. The broad definition of medical settings includes workplaces such as pharmacies, in which mandatory mask usage presents an unreasonable burden.
Recycling Modernization: DEQ held the first meeting of the recycling-modernization rulemaking advisory committee on July 20 and has posted the materials from the meeting. This group, which includes Paloma Sparks, will implement SB 582, the 2021 law that makes significant changes to Oregon’s recycling system. These include a requirement that manufacturers fund the existing system and all changes to it. Every producer of goods sold in Oregon will have to join a producer responsibility organization (PRO), to which it will pay a variety of fees. The committee includes representatives from local governments; recycling, business and community organizations; and other groups. DEQ staff on July 20 presented five rule concepts: fees; market share; producer responsibility organization coordination; responsible end markets; and other concepts related to producer responsibility organizations. Here is the presentation. Comments on these proposals are due Aug. 12. Much of the meeting focused on the potential existence – and coordination – of multiple PROs. The bill allows DEQ to collect an annual fee to cover administrative costs related to the program, and the agency has proposed $4 million per year. Upcoming meetings related to implementation of the recycling modernization program are listed here:
Aug. 18: Oregon Recycling System Advisory Council
Aug. 23: Technical Workgroup on Materials Lists
Sept. 20: Technical Workgroup on Materials Lists
Sept. 28: Recycling Modernization rulemaking advisory committee
Paid Leave: The Oregon Employment Department published the fourth round of proposed rules for the Paid Leave Oregon program June 29, and these address appeals, benefits, contributions and equivalent plans. However, the agency erred in its notification for benefits rules and will have to repost them, creating an additional opportunity to provide comments on those rules. The department previously made significant changes in response to comments Paloma Sparks submitted May 24. She also provided comments on the most recent drafts at the rulemaking hearing on July 21. The comment period for the appeals, contributions and equivalent plan rules closed on Aug. 1 and we expect the rules to be finalized soon. OBI has conducted three instructional webinars and intend to conduct more. Links to webinar recordings appear below.
Electronics Recycling: DEQ has scheduled two workshops to modernize the state’s E-Cycles Program. The modernization effort will change the number of recycling locations and the mechanism for measuring recycling. Driving the need to modernize is the fact that the electronics are much lighter now than they were back in 2009, when the E-Cycles Program began operations. The first workshop took place July 13, and the second will take place Aug. 10, after which DEQ expects to propose legislation for the 2023 session that, among other things, will ensure that every community has at least one electronics recycling location.
Aug. 10 CompSAFE Post-Injury Webinar
Join SAIF’s experts Aug. 10 and learn how to manage the post-injury process, get your 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 will run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
To register, go here.
The webinar, offered through OBI’s CompSAFE program, is open to all OBI members. To learn more about the CompSAFE program, which allows qualified OBI members to reduce workers’ compensation insurance costs, go here.
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
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.
Oregon Tool: On July 21, Oregon Tool celebrated the company’s 75th anniversary.
Alaska Airlines: On July 14, Alaska Airlines announced a partnership with Microsoft and Twelve to advance sustainable aviation fuel through the use of Twelve’s E-Jet low-carbon fuel.
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.