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More Tax and Labor Changes Come from the White House in 2018

Posted Thursday, January 18, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

By Chris Morgan at Barran Liebman alt textWith many provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act taking effect at the beginning of the new year, it is easy to overlook a number of other agency, executive, and departmental actions that may affect employers in 2018. Below is an overview of some notable changes for employers to consider:

Department of Labor Adopts New Test for Interns Under the FLSA: The Department of Labor adopted a “primary beneficiary” test to evaluate whether or not an intern is an employee for purposes of protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new rule, which is intended to reduce confusion and to align the DOL’s position with that of a number of courts who have rejected the previous six-part test, includes a holistic review of several non-dispositive factors affecting the employment relationship. If, upon review, the ultimate beneficiary of the relationship is the company, the intern is considered an employee for purposes of the FLSA and must be paid accordingly. If the ultimate beneficiary is the intern, the worker is not considered an employee for purposes of the FLSA.

Federal Government Changes Course on Marijuana: The Department of Justice has withdrawn previous Obama-era guidance on the federal enforcement of marijuana under the Controlled Substance Act. Although the practical impact of the withdrawal remains unclear for the time being, the move is the first in what could be a sweeping reversal of the federal government’s previous deferral to states on issues related to medical and recreational marijuana.

Wage and Hour Division Reinstates Bush-Era Opinion Letters: On January 5, the Department of Labor made good on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s promise to reinstate a number of opinion letters that provide guidance and interpretation on a wide range of wage and hour issues. Rather than issue or respond to new requests, the Department has simply reinstated letters that were published in the late days of the Bush Administration, and then subsequently withdrawn under the Obama Administration.

Labor Board Looking to Overhaul Rules on Confidentiality: The National Labor Relations Board may soon revisit its current ban on requiring confidentiality agreements in exchange for severance pay. The previous ban, which prohibited such agreements on the grounds that they infringed on employees’ ability to engage in concerted activity, is a point of interest for the NLRB’s new members, who have said specifically that they plan to revisit the legality of the current interpretation in 2018.

For more information or specific questions, contact Chris Morgan at or (503) 276-2144.

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PPI, PIA, and SGIA Launch Event and Conference Partnership

Posted Thursday, January 18, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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The Pacific Printing Industries Association (PPI) announces a new collaboration with the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and Printing Industries of America (PIA). SGIA president & CEO Ford Bowers will launch “Color 2018,” the first in a series of conferences presented collaboratively with PPI and PIA.

While this is the first formal agreement between the organizations, the arrangement builds on a long history of collaboration on programming, including the Continuous Improvement Conference and legislative activities.

“We have successfully partnered with SGIA for years on joint regulatory efforts and on other programming. We are thrilled to extend this partnership going forward,” noted Michael Makin, PIA President and CEO.

Under the agreement, the following conferences will be presented in 2018:

Color 2018 — January 13–16, 2018, San Diego

President’s Conference — March 3–7, San Antonio

The 70th Annual TAGA Technical Conference — March 18–21, Baltimore

Continuous Improvement Conference — April 8–11, Chicago

“This partnership is equally advantageous to SGIA and PIA members. Where our constituencies were, at one time, very distinct, the printing industry is being shaped by the convergence of technologies and markets. With this series of conferences, we’ll be addressing important common issues,” said Bowers.

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Winter Weather Safety Tips

Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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While some of our members are lucky enough to be located in parts of the US that do not receive a lot of ice and snow, many of us get to experience the full force of winter weather. Here are some safety tips from OSHA to prevent accidents in freezing conditions.

Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice

To prevent slips, trips, and falls, employers should clear walking surfaces of snow and ice, and spread deicer, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of injuries:

  • Wear proper footwear when walking on snow or ice is unavoidable, because it is especially treacherous. A pair of insulated and water-resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months.
  • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.

Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity, particularly because cold weather can be tasking on the body. There is a potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks. During snow removal in addition to taking frequent breaks in warm areas, there are other precautions workers can take to avoid injuries. Workers should warm-up before the activity, scoop small amounts of snow at a time and where possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. The use of proper lifting technique is necessary to avoid back and other injuries when shoveling snow: keep the back straight, lift with the legs and do not turn or twist the body.

Avoid Cold Stress

Extreme cold weather is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those without shelter, outdoor workers, and those who work in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat. What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for cold stress. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems.

Recommendations for Employers

Employers should take the following steps to protect workers from cold stress:

-Schedule maintenance and repair jobs in cold areas for warmer months

  • Schedule cold jobs for the warmer part of the day
  • Reduce the physical demands of workers
  • Use relief workers or assign extra workers for long, demanding jobs
  • Provide warm liquids to workers
  • Provide warm areas for use during break periods

Recommendations for Workers

Workers should avoid exposure to extremely cold temperatures when possible. When cold environments or temperatures cannot be avoided, workers should follow these recommendations to protect themselves from cold stress:

  • Wear appropriate clothing.
  • Wear several layers of loose clothing; layering provides better insulation
  • Tight clothing reduces blood circulation; warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities
  • When choosing clothing, be aware that some clothing may restrict movement resulting in a hazardous situation
  • Make sure to protect the ears, face, hands and feet in extremely cold weather
  • Boots should be waterproof and insulated
  • Wear a hat; it will warm the whole body. Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head
  • Move into warm locations during work breaks; limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days
  • Carry cold weather gear, such as extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid
  • Include chemical hot packs in your first aid kit
  • Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin
  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers

PPI members have access to the Environmental Health and Safety Department with Printing Industries of America (PIA) that is staffed with dedicated professionals who have extensive experience within the printing industry. They are a powerful resource dedicated to providing accurate answers, support, and assistance to members.

For questions regarding environmental, health, and safety affairs at your business contact EHS Staff:

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New Marketing (

Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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The coming year will see more changes in the MARKETING product offering than at any time in our first 31 years of working with the marcomm community.

Most notable is the transition of the MARKETING newspaper from print to digital delivery via This main website will continue to provide the kind of editorial and advertising content that has made MARKETING newspaper a valuable resource for the local marcomm community for the past three decades.

“The response to the ‘new’ website has been gratifying. People especially like the uncluttered look and ease of navigation, which is a credit to the work of my talented IT guru and daughter, Melissa Vail Coffman. After delivering news in print the past 30+ years, we’re committed to continuing to serve the Washington State marcomm community via robust and compelling content in digital form. This will be complemented by two annual print publications, the SHOWCASE, containing all the MARKETING Awards winners, and THE LINK, a repositioning of the former MARKETING ATLAS. They’ll be published in September 2018, and January 2019, respectively. We also would like to thank the leading Seattle area printers who continued as advertising Sponsors during this transition. We couldn’t have done it without them.”–Larry Coffman, Publisher/Editor,

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OSHA Increases Penalties For 2018

Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

by Gary Jones, Assistant Vice President, EHS Affairs, Printing Industries of Americaalt text

On January 2, OSHA increased its penalty amounts as allowed to adjust for inflation. The increase is about 2%.

The Department of Labor is required to adjust maximum OSHA penalties for inflation by January 15 of each new year.The new penalty levels will apply to all violations occurring after January 12, 2018.The following chart compares penalties in effect January 13, 2017 to the new penalties effective January 13, 2018

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