Northwest Asian Weekly
For the past month, the Ethnic Chambers of Commerce Coalition (ECCC) has been hosting and organizing workshops and meet and greets, with the goal of engaging the local Asian and Pacific Islander (API) American communities with their workshops. In ECCC workshops, ECCC representatives and subject matter experts go to API-owned businesses to inform owners and managers of sustainable business practices and labor laws.
One workshop attendee did say, “Small business owners work hard to make their money, so I hate to see them lose some of what they have earned if they were ever audited and then penalized because they were unaware of certain laws.”
A panelist, in an example, also stated that businesses may pay a heavy penalty for not adhering to minimum wage laws. Small business owners also need to know what to do if they are ever audited.
The ECCC has been trying to get more API-owned businesses involved in these workshops and meet and greets, but ECCC has found that some businesses don’t want to engage because owners and managers feel they are too busy to, or maybe because a cultural, language, or some other type of barrier stands in the way of them understanding the importance of getting this education.
In past years, Northwest Asian Weekly has reported on local API-owned businesses that have suffered heavy fines (more than $100,000) because they did not adhere to certain laws, like sick leave laws — possibly because they were not aware of these laws. Immigrant communities are often hard to reach because of the aforementioned barriers. Some business owners may not be aware that there are serious consequences to ignoring these laws.
Martha Lee, ECCC president, said that the ECCC is willing to schedule one-on-one time with local businesses.
“And we will not share or report any information we get to the City. We just want to inform and educate the business community. Everything you tell us is confidential.”
The next Seattle Labor Standards Workshop is on May 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is also one on June 27 at the same time. These workshops take place at Business Impact NW (1437 South Jackson Street).
To register or to see a complete list of all upcoming workshops, visit businessimpactnw.org/services/classes.
For an one-on-one consultation or to schedule a group training, email firstname.lastname@example.org.