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Oregon’s counties are adding jobs

August 31, 2017 --

Oregon’s Regional Recovery Gathers Steam

By Josh Lehner

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis 

Just as Oregon’s economic expansion continues, so too does regional growth across the state. While half of the Oregon’s individual counties are currently at all-time highs for employment, nearly all have added jobs in the past year. Given regional variations, industrial mix, and noisy data, not once in the past 20+ years have each of Oregon’s 36 counties added jobs at the same time. In the second quarter 33 did add jobs over the past year, keeping with the typical pattern seen during expansions. Only Curry (barely), Morrow and Sherman counties lost jobs in the past 12 months.

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September’s forecast

August 30, 2017 --

Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast, September 2017

By Josh Lehner

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis 
This morning the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released the latest quarterly economic and revenue forecast. For the full document, slides and forecast data please see our main website. Below is the forecast’s Executive Summary.

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Oregon’s New Pay Equity Laws: Are you ready?

August 29, 2017 --

Compensation Toolkit: Dealing with Oregon’s New Pay Equity Laws

By Carey Klosterman

Great Work! 

You have heard about it. Stressed about it. Maybe even cried about it. Let’s put it all in perspective and for the sake of time and, let’s be honest, sanity, I present the Cliffs Notes version:

The quick and dirty:

It is unlawful for Oregon employers to:

•discriminate between employees based on a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation for work of a comparable character
•pay wages or other compensation to any employee at a rate greater than that at which the employer pays wages or other compensation to employees of a protected class for work of comparable character
screen applicants based on current or past compensation
•determine compensation for a position based on current or past compensation of a prospective employee
•discriminate in the payment of wages or other compensation because an employee for filing a claim under this law

What you need to KNOW now:

•Important Dates (in a nutshell):

•October 2017: Don’t ask prospective employees about salary history . . . remove question from applications, don’t ask during interviews, make sure supervisors and managers understand the new law and don’t ask the question.

•January 2019: The majority of the Act takes effect; and private right of action and some BOLI claims can be made

•January 2024: Civil claims may be filed against employers that seek salary history

What you need to DO now:

•Talk with us and make sure you are preparing to comply with this law. You may want to watch our webinar for a thorough understanding based on what we know now.
•Meet with management to make sure they know how this will impact them and some of their processes
•Discuss and address concerns; there will be many
IMPORTANT: Ensure job descriptions are up-to-date and ACCURATE (detail what employees do and identify an amount of time spent performing essential duties and functions)
•Develop a formal compensation (pay) structure
•Begin to formalize (and document) processes
•Consider having a pay equity analysis conducted to see where issues may be. Even if you choose not to do a formal equal pay analysis it is important to look for any differentials in pay for work of a comparable nature. If you identify ANY difference you must be able to account for and justify ALL of the difference through a seniority system, merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity/quality of production, workplace locations, travel (if necessary and regular), education, training, experience or a combination of these factors. Based on the statute other factors you may consider such as intangibles like leadership qualities, cannot be included to explain differentials. Only those listed above may be used to justify differentials.

Right now, this is all we know. We hope to know more once the administrative rules have been published, which likely won’t be well into 2018.


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Progression to recreational dispensary establishments

August 28, 2017 --

Oregon’s Employment Transition to Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries

By Anna Johnson

Oregon Workforce and Economic Information
One of the evolving changes in Oregon’s legal marijuana industry is the shift to retail dispensaries. As of January 1, 2017 sales are allowed at licensed recreational retailers. Currently, recreational dispensaries may sell cannabis to both recreational and medical customers, with only recreational customers subject to taxes. Now medical-only dispensaries are only allowed to sell cannabis to those with a medical marijuana card.

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The middle-class loophole of no help

August 27, 2017 --

Health Care Tax Would Hurt Middle Class

By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

Cascade Policy Institute

Many Oregonians are now spending as much on health insurance and health care as they are on their mortgage payments. The Oregon legislature recently passed House Bill 2391 (signed by Governor Kate Brown) that will spike these costs even higher.

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Parents put back-to-school shopping on hold

August 25, 2017 --

More Parents Holding Off On Back-To-School Shopping

By Ana Serafin Smith

National Retail Federation 

Even though more parents started back-to-school shopping early this year, many families still have a lot of shopping left to do as they prepare their children for the start of school. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 had completed only 45 percent of their shopping as of early August. That’s down from a peak of 52 percent at the same time in 2013 and 48 percent last year, and the lowest level since 40 percent in 2012.

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Office humor vs hostile work environment?

August 24, 2017 --

By Michael G. McClory

Bullard Law

The eclipse of 2017 is a perfect metaphor for today’s (fictional) mailbag letter. Pete (last name withheld), a management employee who appears to have HR responsibilities, is clearly bothered by two employees who have complained to him about jokes made in the workplace by a third employee (who is a standup comedian on weekends).

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Investigation called for in scandal-plagued OHA

August 23, 2017 --

Watchdog Committee Member Thatcher Calls For Critical Investigation of Scandal-Plagued OHA

Via WCB Council

Republican state Sen. Kim Thatcher, of Keizer, issued out a statement, “Brown administration sought to exploit HIV patient to aid in takedown of non-profit “FamilyCare,” regarding her concern over Oregon Health Authority (OHA) planning to systematically target HIV patients in hopes of exploiting one to smear FamilyCare Health, one of the state’s 16 health care providers for the most vulnerable of Oregonians, these type of providers are called coordinated care organizations (CCOs).

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More public employees than ever

August 22, 2017 --

Oregon Government Size, An Update

By Josh Lehner

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis 

Yes, the public sector here in Oregon continues to grow. We have never had more public employees or more tax revenue than we do today. However the regional economy and the number of total Oregonians has never been larger either.

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It’s National Employee Freedom Week

August 21, 2017 --

The Right To Choose Or Reject Union Representation Respects Workers

By Kathryn Hickok

Via Cascade Policy Institute 

Why do many workers choose to opt out of union membership? Some believe they can make better use of their money than giving it to a union. Others “vote with their feet” against what they perceive to be poor union service or negotiating results. Still others leave because they oppose their unions’ political positions. They simply don’t want to support an organization that promotes different political beliefs from their own.

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