WA, OR & CA Employer Groups announce coalition to assist reopening economies

Business associations pledge support for the Western States Pact, offer to work with governors in the three states individually and collectively

A coalition of employer groups from Washington, Oregon and California pledged their support Monday for the recently formed Western States Pact and offered to work with the governors of the three states to assist in the reopening of their economies.

Just as the governors came together to form a shared vision for reopening businesses and controlling the spread of COVID-19, the leaders of six statewide associations representing manufacturers and businesses in the three states are united behind a set of shared principles.

Leaders from the associations shared those principles in a joint letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. The organizations include the California Business Roundtable, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, the Oregon Business Council, Oregon Business & Industry, the Association of Washington Business, and the Washington Roundtable.

“Business wants to work with you, collectively as a region and individually in each of our states, as we execute a plan for economic recovery,” the letter states. “We appreciate the principles you laid out for your restart plan and we would like to work with you in this planning stage.”

The shared principles include:

  • Understanding what will be expected of businesses now, so that they can begin implementing those changes and be ready to begin the process of reopening. Our goal should be bringing employees back to work, and customers back to businesses, and providing confidence that they will be safe.
  • Prioritizing the revival of the economy. Business leaders agree that health and safety must be the top priority, but the economic devastation caused by this pandemic is unlike anything seen in a century and will require both short-term and long-term focus from elected leaders.
  • Beginning worker retraining as soon as possible to assist those whose jobs may be permanently lost as a result of the pandemic.
  • Recognizing that the hardest hit industries, such as restaurants, hotels, entertainment, and retail, will need additional support.
  • Adopting flexible policies that allow industries and individuals to return to work as soon as safety standards can be met, recognizing that all industries will not return to work at the same time.
  • Assisting employers as they develop and execute new safety practices such as health screening, and ensuring they have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, thermometers, sanitizer, and other necessary items.
  • Allowing employers to work with public officials as the states develop their plans for safely restarting their economies.

The business associations thanked the three governors for their leadership in this time of crisis and for taking action to limit the spread of the coronavirus. As a result of their swift actions, the western states have not experienced the level of outbreak seen in other parts of the country.

Nevertheless, the economic devastation that has resulted is significant. “Families in Oregon, Washington and California have lost their incomes and, even with the temporary relief available through unemployment benefits and the federal stimulus packages, the long-term outlook will remain bleak if we don’t immediately start putting our states economies back on track.”

Enclosure: Letter to the governors of Washington, Oregon and California.


This release was initially issued by the Association of Washington Business. Read online here.

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