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Voice of Business Newsletter

May/June 2017

Workers’ Comp. Reform Included in 2017-18 State Budget


ochester Chamber members consistently rank high workers’ compensation costs as one of their largest employer concerns. New York has the third highest workers’ compensation costs in the nation and last year the state approved a 9.3% average increase with some members reporting increases in the double-digit range. That’s why Rochester Chamber made workers’ compensation reform a key advocacy priority this budget session.

Maximum Medical Improvement Classification Capped at 2.5 Years: An impediment to realizing some of the savings promised from the permanent partial disability durational caps of 2007 has been the time taken to classify workers’ compensation cases. This reform institutes a 2.5 year limit on temporary benefits and is expected to reduce employer contributions by nearly $350 million annually.

Working in partnership with Unshackle Upstate, the Business Council of New York State, and others, we are pleased to report that several cost-saving measures were included in this year’s state budget. In a system that costs New York employers approximately $10 billion annually, it is anticipated that these reforms will translate to $500 million to $700 million in cost reductions resulting in potential employer savings of five to seven percent. Several changes of note include: New Medical Impairment Guidelines for Scheduled Loss of Use Awards: New medical impairment guidelines from the Workers’ Compensation Board will be released by the end of this year to reflect advances in modern medicine that produce better patient outcomes. Current guidelines have not been updated since 1994. It is estimated that these reforms will lead to $100 million to $300 million in savings.

We’re leaving on a jet plane.... to China October 6-14! Details on page 12

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Workers’ Compensation Committee has been in existence for more than 20 years and played a significant role representing Rochester Chamber members and the employer community on this issue. Co-chaired by Brian Trick from Wegmans and Dr. Jim Tacci, and comprised of workers’ compensation experts from 26 member companies, the committee focuses its efforts on education and advocacy on behalf of the employer community. More than 100 Rochester Chamber members contributed to our advocacy efforts through survey participation, conversations with Workers’ Compensation Board officials, legislators, and the media and by adding their names to coalition letters. In the end, our members’ voices helped make a difference. We will continue to remain active on this issue and keep you updated.

Creation of a Prescription Drug Formulary: A new list of high quality, costeffective medications pre-approved for injured workers will be developed and released by the end of this year. While there is still much work to do and the need to realize additional efficiencies and savings, these changes are a step in the right direction and the first sizeable reforms in a decade.

Click here to read a summary of Rochester Chamber actions that helped lead to this year’s reform measures. For more information or to get involved, contact Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Chris Wiest at Chris.Wiest@ GreaterRochesterChamber.com or (585) 256-4626.

inside The painful truth of doing business in New York


New member profile: The Perfect Granola


New York State Budget Highlights


Background checks best practices


2016-2017 Board Officers Rob Sands, Chairman of the Board Constellation Brands, Inc. John Pitton,Vice Chair Bank of America Brian Flanagan, Second Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer Nixon Peabody LLP

Senior Staff

Robert J. Duffy President and CEO

Bill Anderson Sr. Director, Membership, Sales, and Events Bill.Anderson@GreaterRochesterChamber.com Colleen DiMartino Chief of Staff/Manager of Administrative Services Colleen.DiMartino@GreaterRochesterChamber. com Kevin Donahue Director, Membership Kevin.Donahue@GreaterRochesterChamber.com Susan George Director, Events and Affiliate Relations Susan.George@GreaterRochesterChamber.com Burt Parks Sr. Director, Business Services Burt.Parks@RBAstaffing.com Kathy Richmond Sr. Director, Human Resource Services Kathy.Richmond@GreaterRochesterChamber. com Nina Shelton Director, Group Health Insurance Nina.Shelton@GreaterRochesterChamber.com Dan Smith Sr. Director, Communications Dan.Smith@GreaterRochesterChamber.com Tammy Stefani Chief Financial Officer Tammy.Stefani@GreaterRochesterChamber.com Chris Wiest Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy Chris.Wiest@GreaterRochesterChamber.com Kristin Graves, Newsletter Editor Voice of Business is the official newsletter of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, published at 150 State St., Rochester, NY 14614. Articles printed are for information only and are not intended to render legal advice.


May/June 2017

From the CEO


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce was pleased to see meaningful workers’ compensation reform passed in this year’s New York State budget. Our thanks to go Governor Cuomo and the legislators who made it happen. My personal thanks also go to the Rochester Chamber staff and you, our members, who supported us through the long process. While more work needs to be done, this legislation is a start that should bring some relief to employers. At a recent board of directors meeting, chairman Rob Sands said that Rochester Chamber membership dues dollars are not charity. They are an investment in making this organization the voice of business for the Finger Lakes region. This workers’ compensation reform is an excellent example of a return on that investment.

While looking through our archives for items to display at our recent 130th anniversary celebration, we came across a 1912 document that outlined Rochester Chamber’s efforts on behalf of its members on the issue of workers’ compensation reform. That really struck a chord, especially this year, when Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce played a lead role along with other business organizations and employers on aggressively championing workers’ compensation reform. Our work had the goal of finding meaningful savings for employers while still protecting injured workers. Rochester and Finger Lakes business leaders are among the best anywhere for business acumen and philanthropy in a community our size. These men and women know what it takes and what they need to create and maintain jobs but are repeatedly frustrated with the lack of support from government leaders across New York State. In annual surveys, Rochester Chamber members consistently identify skyrocketing workers’ compensation costs, health care costs, and taxes and regulations as their key concerns about doing business in New York. We in the Finger Lakes region are grateful for the more than one billion dollars in pledged economic development investment from New York State in recent years. Those dollars are truly a catalyst for change. However, beneath

those investments come the challenges of laws and regulations in our state that need to be reexamined to ensure a winning outcome for both our businesses and their employees. The push for progressive changes in our state like Bob Duffy an increased minimum wage and paid family leave, which certainly satisfy certain constituencies, comes at a cost. Those costs, more often than not, are borne by our business leaders and the working families who are employed by those businesses. Too many decisions are being made that cause our businesses to reduce their workforce, move out of state, or close altogether. Business challenges in New York State have nothing to do with the climate or the economy. The challenges that we have are really of our own doing. We cannot afford to have our businesses leave. We cannot afford to have our businesses reduce jobs. We cannot afford to have our businesses close. I suggest that our elected officials at all levels go to our business leaders prepared to hear the painful truth. Our Rochester Chamber team writes, calls, and hosts elected leaders to advocate on our members’ behalf to push for changes that are extremely difficult to accomplish in this state. Our elected leaders have the power to make these changes but often don’t because of a lack of flexibility or the influence of special interests. Again, some of the progressive reforms pushed by many across our state and nation come with a steep price. The responsibility to pay for these reforms falls on businesses and taxpayers. That burden is currently at a breaking point. I believe that if government leaders convened business, labor, and the special interests and led a winning strategy for all sides, we could get to a much better place for business in New York State and stop the exodus of businesses and workers to other states.

Voice of Business Rochester Chamber Marks 130th Anniversary


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce welcomed 500 member guests for its 130th anniversary celebration at the Riverside Convention Center.

Rochester Chamber President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “If you go back 130 years, this chamber has done great things for this community and this city both in helping to promote business and grow business as well as philanthropy. This business community is probably one of the best you’ll find anywhere in the country.  They are the most giving, most supportive, and do such great work here in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.  I have always said Rochester and the Finger Lakes is the best-kept secret in all of New York State.  So much of that is based upon the members of this chamber.” Rochester Deputy Mayor Carlos Carballada and Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo delivered proclamations marking the day. Dinolfo said, “We all work together for the benefit of this community.  But what’s most important is what makes business tick.  Without the businesses here in this community, our community would not be the vibrant place that it is.  We have to work together.  Business keeps our community vibrant.  Businesses keep our families intact.  Businesses keep people located here in Monroe County. ” Carballada added, “The City of Rochester commends Rochester Chamber and recognizes the tremendous efforts of the organization to support, strengthen, and lead our vibrant business community into the future. 130 years is a long time. And every good thing starts small.”  A group of about 20 Rochester business leaders gathered in 1887 to discuss a growing city, railroad and canal issues, and banking concerns.  Out of that meeting the Rochester Chamber of Commerce was born.  Morse Lumber was a founding member. Bill Morse said his fifth generation company finds the same value in Rochester Chamber as it has since 1887.  Morse said, “It’s advocacy.   It’s advocacy and it’s service to the business community which

makes the jobs. I think that we are thrilled to see the name back, the chamber of commerce, and we think that Bob Duffy and the gang do a fantastic job.  Our membership in this organization has proved valuable for 130 years.” Other founding members recognized at the event included Kodak, Gleason Works, Democrat and Chronicle, and Genesee Brewery.  Trade with Canada also played a role in the establishment of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce in 1887. Canadian Consulate General in New York Consul and Head of Investment Nathalie Niedoba raised a glass of Canadian beer to toast Rochester Chamber’s 130th anniversary which coincides with Canada’s 150th anniversary. Niedoba said, “Canada was your trading partner 130 years ago and our relationship has grown.  60,000 Rochester jobs are a result of trade with Canada.  This region exports $694 million in goods and services to Canada. We make goods together and we create jobs together.  It is because our supply chains are so integrated and so much of our well-being depends upon this mutually beneficial trade that we need to avoid implementing measures that purposely or inadvertently affect the cross-border linkages that our businesses have created.”

Friday HR Briefings May 5 - Educating Employees on Consumer Driven Health Plans May 19 - Effective Hiring Practices June 2 - Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce and Making it Work June 16 - The Politics of ‘Talking Politics’ in the Workplace Time: 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Location: Rochester Chamber 150 State St., Rochester, NY 14614 Open to: Members only (no cost) To register, email Michele.Hefferon@ GreaterRochesterChamber.com

New Member Profile: The Perfect Granola


ochester Chamber welcomed new member company The Perfect Granola in February and had a moment to get acquainted with owner Michele Liddle to learn more about this business. Tell us about your company: We are a healthy, low sugar, and gluten free granola and granola bar company created on the foundation of giving back. We use our profits to help others and in just over nine months have become one of the fastest growing granola and granola bar companies in the Northeast. What prompted you to join?         We decided to join Rochester Chamber for the amazing services including the workforce training programs, staffing programs, and networking events. We are proud to be a part of this growing economy and connected with these companies through Rochester Chamber. What business challenges are you facing? We are projected to outgrow our copacker in the next 10 months; for this reason, we have begun laying the ground work for our own facility in the Victor NY area. We are faced with a broad range of challenges as we determine our facility site, create a funding path, and find the right employees for our facility. What is your business outlook? In the next year our focus will be on our continued growth into the retail market of our own brand along with the preparation of our facility. This facility will offer opportunities for a diverse workforce including adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, veterans, those in recovery, and student interns. We will be looking to hire our first management employees by the end of 2017 and bring on our diverse workforce by the first quarter of 2018. The need for our facility will also bring back manufacturing of granolas, granola bars, and other snack items to New York State and will offer the ability to private label and co-pack other brands to bring those companies back to New York State and increase the local and state economy. www.GreaterRochesterChamber.com


Voice of Business New Features Added to Rochester Chamber Website


he Phase II launch of our www. GreaterRochesterChamber.com website has added new features to make it more user-friendly and interactive.  A “Search” link at the top of the website’s main pages allows users to quickly find the information they need.  An enhanced “Our Team” section in the “About Us” tab features the Rochester Chamber staff listing along with contact information and some personal facts to allow users to get to know our team members better.  

We have also included a full listing of our board of directors to share more about the business leaders who drive Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.  Another exciting addition is the introduction of a new Community Calendar available through the “Community” section of our website to allow our members to post their upcoming events and other events of interest to the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.    The Programs and Events pages are now enhanced with an integrated events calendar,

grouping together all scheduled events series with the ability to reach the registration pages in a single click. The Partner member section of our website features an up-to-date list of our highestinvesting members and links to their websites. The Top 100 page also has a new look and feel, with a link to the current list which allows filtering by industry and a look back at past years’ lists.

SPOTlight Tour How is RBA Staffing Different than Other Agencies? Shines on Mercury Burt Parks Sr. Director, Business Services forget that person. We make the commitment Print Productions


any businesses get a barrage of calls from staffing agencies every day. All of the callers say that they are special and you should use them. Many tell you that not only do they have the best candidates but they can make placements that fit your culture. Figuring out a company’s culture usually takes a little more than a phone call. Another cold hard fact is that all of us in the Greater Rochester staffing world generally have access to the same pool of candidates. When we advertise a job, for some positions, we already know many of the names of the candidates that will apply. So if anybody says they have access to a magical pool of people, they are indeed special. So how is RBA Staffing different? It is actually quite simple. Our strategy of screening and interviewing candidates and taking care of our customers takes an old school approach. We have the most modern systems and processing when it comes to staffing, however we still do things the old fashioned way. We actually meet and talk to our employees. Everybody is still interviewed or screened in person when possible. RBA Staffing will not just take a resume and send it to our customers. We know a lot of agencies do this. Many times a candidate will tell you they never talked to anyone from an agency but the customer has their resume. When a good employee finishes an assignment or a job ends, we do not just


May/June 2017

to get those employees back to work for another customer. Calling a customer to talk to them about a great candidate coming off an assignment is standard procedure.

RBA Staffing will never pretend to know what your company’s culture is. We will meet with you and develop an understanding of the position based on the information you provide. In servicing our customers, we do believe we are different. We do not have a boilerplate approach to staffing, whether it is for an onsite or staffing management program. Every one of our on-site programs is uniquely designed to meet the company’s needs. We believe every customer is a partner and in a partnership there are shared responsibilities. With our customers, when problems or situations arise, they are quickly resolved because of this partnership. The biggest difference is that we are a Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce division. Many RBA Staffing customers are also Rochester Chamber members, so our relationship with partners may expand into reference checking, health insurance, and other chamber services. The final difference is that money we make goes back to Rochester Chamber in support of its many business initiatives and that is definitely something that sets us apart. That means the money customers invest in RBA Staffing ultimately goes back into the business community to support you, our members.


ercury Print Productions hosted a SPOTlight Tour April 5. Mercury CEO John Place showed Rochester Chamber members around the 180,000 square foot facility that employs 220 people and shared a message.

Place said, “Printing is not dying. Printing with new technologies is going into all different places right now.” One of those places is Mercury’s eMerx automated customer portal. The customer can see the job going through the shop live.  Where it’s going, where it is, where it left.  Mercury takes each customer’s files, stores them, and prints on demand.  Mercury is also serving as a beta site for another innovation in printing technology, Landa nanography, as well as exploring 3-D printing.  Place said, “We are looking at all different areas of where 3-D printing can come into our facility.  With 3-D printing, you can print on any substrate from metal all the way to plastic.” Champlin & Associates Vice President and Relationships Manager Rachel Adonis said, “It was just wonderful seeing the changes in technology having been the daughter of a printer who had a small print shop back in the ‘60s.  Just to see the innovation in 50 years is just incredible.  The technology, the innovation, just where everything has gone digitally.”

Connecting Business Rochester Chamber offers a variety of events each month. For more photos, visit our Facebook page. The YouTube logo next to the photos denotes a video posting on our YouTube channel.

Rochester Chamber members heard from Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren at this Policy Matters event sponsored by AT&T, Charter Communications, Delta, and RG&E.

Ray Isaac and Fran Weisberg spoke about the 2017 United Way campaign at a recent Rochester Chamber Board of Directors meeting.

Rochester Chamber members got an exclusive tour of Mercury Print’s 180,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility at Rochester Tech Park.

Business leaders and educators shared their experience with high-functioning school/ business partnerships, highlighted the P-TECH 9-14 model being adopted across New York.

Dale Carnegie Training presented a workshop focused on how great leaders and managers can find success through influence and negotiation

Our recent Chamber Business Rounds panelists included emerging leaders Lauren Gallina, Andrew Brady, Dan Norselli, and Myneco Ramirez.

Rochester Chamber Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Chris Wiest delivered a legislative update to members of our Rochester Hispanic Business Association and Associated New York State Food Processors affiliates.

Affiliate Greater Rochester Quality Council hosted Harvard Business School Professor Willy Shih., who discussed manufacturing and innovation.

RIT Saunders College of Business Senior Lecturer and Executive in Residence Bob Boehner discussed how executives are often surprised by technology-based disruption at the latest biz. Exchange presentation.

Recent Member Company Visits

Rochester Midland Corp. Member Visit

Regional Transit Service News Conference

Mercy Flight Central Member Visit

Rochester Airport Renovation Groundbreaking

DDS Member Visit



Voice of Business Upcoming Affiliate Events


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is made up of employers big and small, in just about every industry imaginable. While our programs and events are designed for all, we recognize that there are times when employers and employees want to be among a smaller group that shares their specific business issues. Here are some of our affiliates’ upcoming events: Associated New York State Food Processors • May 17: Alpina Tour • June 12: Annual Golf Tournament nyfoodprocessors.org Greater Rochester Quality Council • May 11: 11th Annual GRQC Showcase & Performance Excellence Awards www.grqc.org Small Business Council of Rochester • May 10: Boot Camp: Key Factors in Valuation and Financials to Manage Your Small Business Investment • June 8: Summer Success Showcase and Happy Hour at Capstone IT Inc. www.rochestersbc.com Rochester Hispanic Business Association • May 4 - Spring Networking Event • May 16 - Lunch Series with Dr. Bhadury • June 20 - Lunch Series with Roberto Colangelo www.rochesterhba.org The Women’s Council • May 1: Women’s Council Young Women of Distinction Scholarship Awards www.ROCWomenscouncil.org

Through our affiliate groups, you can meet business people who share your interests and challenges.


May/June 2017

Former Kodak, IBM Exec Discusses Rochester Manufacturing Renaissance


ochester Chamber and its Greater Rochester Quality Council affiliate hosted about 100 people for a “Creating a Manufacturing Renaissance” forum featuring Harvard Business School professor Willy Shih. The former Kodak and IBM executive is a leading voice on industrial competitiveness. Shih talked about the challenges of bringing back manufacturing jobs from overseas. Shih said, “I think if you look at why we lost a lot of manufacturing jobs to China, some of the circumstances now make it very difficult. For example, China has done a very good job of localizing the supply chain for many, many products to China. So, my message is you have to think about all of the complimentary assets that you need if you want to bring those jobs back. Never say never, but I think it’s challenging.” GRQC committee leader Kathryn Rivers said, “Dr. Shih emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong link between manufacturing and research and development. Important learnings during process development and manufacturing can and must be leveraged to future product development.” Shih added that another major challenge to a manufacturing renaissance is having the political will to make changes.

Shih said, “It means you have to fix your education system, especially in the City of Rochester. You need to ensure that you’re at least on a level playing field from a tax standpoint. Transportation and logistics here have generally been pretty good. From a geography standpoint, it’s a little challenging because you’re not in that northeast corridor where I can reach anywhere on the east coast within a day or two. It’s an extra day. But for a lot of the technical products that people want to use, the chemical or coating technology, especially if it’s in electronics, most of those assembly jobs have moved to China. That means most of the supply chain has moved, as well. So, if you’re going to be dealing with customers over there, you’re actually disadvantaged relative to local suppliers.” Following Shih’s presentation, a panel of local experts discussed manufacturing and economic development in the Greater Rochester area. Event attendee Rob Fischmann said, “Several panelists discussed their reasons for bringing their business to Rochester. This reinforced Dr. Shih’s discussion on the need for a strong manufacturing commons - the combination of favorable government policies, education system, facilities, and trained human resources available in Rochester which were key factors in their decision to locate in Rochester.” 

Now Accepting Rochester Top 100 Nominations


reater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP issued a call for entries and sponsors for the Rochester Chamber Top 100 program. Recognizing Rochester’s reputation as a region of innovation spurred by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG present the Rochester Chamber Top 100 program to honor the fastest-growing privately owned companies. To be eligible for the Rochester Chamber Top 100 program, companies must be privately owned, headquartered in the nine-county Rochester region, and have earned at least $1 million in revenue in each of the three most recent fiscal years. Find the nomination form here on our website. The deadline is June 23.

Both Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce members and non-members are eligible to participate in the Rochester Chamber Top 100 program. Rochester Chamber and KPMG also invite companies to sponsor the Rochester Chamber Top 100 general reception and awards dinner scheduled for November 2 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Past events have drawn more than 2,000 guests. For more information on sponsoring the Rochester Chamber Top 100 or entering the program, contact Rochester Chamber Events Director Susan George at Susan.George@GreaterRochesterChamber. com or (585) 256-4612.

Public Policy State Budget Brings Workers’ Comp Reform, Ridesharing By Chris Wiest Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy


nother budget session is in the books and several priorities on Rochester Chamber’s 2017 advocacy agenda saw positive action. Here’s a recap of several areas of particular interest to the employer community. By the Numbers. The 2017-18 NYS Budget totals $153.1 billion; increases education aid by $1.1 billion bringing the new education aid total to $25.8 billion; increases Medicaid state share funding to $23.5 billion; and extends the tax rate on millionaires for two years. State Operating Funds spending will be $98.1 billion in FY 2018, capping spending growth at two percent. Workers’ Compensation. It’s been more than a decade since the state legislature last tackled Workers’ Compensation reform. During that time, employer costs have steadily increased to the point where the issue has become one of the biggest business concerns for Rochester Chamber members. Rochester Chamber has a long history of engagement on Workers’ Compensation dating back to 1912 when leaders weighed in on some of the earliest legislation developed by the state. More recently, our Workers’ Compensation Committee has been steadily at work on advocacy and education efforts on behalf of members and the employer community. Comprised of subject matter experts from 23 member organizations, and co-chaired by Brian Trick from Wegmans and Jim Tacci, M.D.,

Esq., the committee develops an annual reform agenda, hosts education events, and provides feedback to workers’ compensation policy makers and administrators. Partnering with other business groups, Rochester Chamber advocated for cost-saving reforms this year that, once fully implemented, are estimated to save employers $500-$700 million in workers’ compensation costs. Click here for more information on the reforms and a timeline of Rochester Chamber’s advocacy work. While these budget reforms are a significant step forward, more work remains to improve system efficiency and reduce cost. Rochester Chamber and its Workers’ Compensation Committee will continue to remain actively engaged on this issue. Ride Sharing/Transportation. Another Rochester Chamber advocacy priority this session was the expansion of ridesharing to upstate. As one of the few areas of the country currently without ridesharing authorization, this legislation provides employers and consumers increased transportation options on par with the rest of the nation. The budget authorizes Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate across the state and creates uniform licensing standards. The Department of Motor Vehicles will provide oversight and ensure compliance. While several details still need to be ironed out, it is hoped that upstate ridesharing services may start as soon as this July. Additionally, RTS received a funding increase that will help continue their efforts to provide safe, reliable, convenient public transportation that also supports job growth and economic development efforts in the Rochester area.

Other Items of Note: • Middle Class Tax Cut saving eligible taxpayers $250 on average next year and 6 million New Yorkers $700 annually when fully implemented. • $163 million to pay college tuition for eligible middle-class families at SUNY and CUNY institutions. $19 million for an Enhanced Tuition Assistance Program (E-TAP) for students who attend private, non-profit colleges and universities. • $2.5 billion for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act to ensure access to clean water. • Invests $750 million for the Regional Economic Development Councils Round VII. • $10 million Rochester Photonics Venture Challenge to support startup companies through a business accelerator program. Overall, this budget was more favorable to the business community compared to last year when controversial items such as a higher minimum wage and paid family leave passed. However there is still much work to be done. This year’s legislative session concludes in June and Rochester Chamber will continue to work to ensure employers’ voices are heard. For more information on any items mentioned in this article, or how you can assist our advocacy efforts contact me at Chris.Wiest@ GreaterRochesterChamber.com.

Policy Matters: Meet Your State Legislators May 25


We have a perfect event series sponsorship to suit you! Click here for details

oin us Thursday, May 25 for a networking reception with the Rochester and Finger Lakes region’s New York State Senate and Assembly members at the Genesee Valley Club. With the legislative session scheduled to end in mid-June, this event gives you a chance to meet your state representatives and discuss issues of interest.  Thank you to our sponsors AT&T, Delta Air Lines, RG&E, and Charter Communications for making this Policy Matters event possible. Register here. www.GreaterRochesterChamber.com


Human Resources How Do Your Benefits Stack Up?


he 2017-18 Rochester Chamber Policies and Benefits Survey, released in April, contains information from 122 participating Rochester Chamber member organizations from the Rochester, NY area, as well as national data provided by 1,595 organizations across the country. These organizations responded to 333 questions about their human resource policies and employee benefit offerings. The survey covers a variety of topics in the area of health and welfare benefits, retirement benefits, pay practices, working conditions, paid time off, part-time benefits, recruitment, training and development and employee/community relations. Below are some highlights from the 2017-18 Rochester version of the survey. Results are based on the nonexempt clerical/

technical (CT) all respondents column of data unless otherwise specified. • Approximately 48 percent of organizations directly link pay decisions to an individual’s performance appraisal, and 43 percent said performance appraisals are indirectly linked to pay decisions. • Of the 84 percent of respondents that check references for potential employees, 35 percent use an outside vendor. Most commonly checked are criminal records followed by former employment/ professional references. • Approximately 83 percent of respondents use exit interviews and a majority of exit

2017 Local Benchmarking Pay Data Now Available


he Rochester Chamber 2017 Annual Wage and Salary Surveys were released in April, reporting local wage data on close to 320 jobs, including those in administration, engineering, finance, human resources, information technology, customer service, sales and marketing, health care, and manufacturing. These surveys are a valuable benchmarking tool to help employers maintain competitive pay rates in the Rochester area. Annual surveys are conducted as a benefit of Rochester Chamber membership and only Corporate and Partner members are eligible to participate. All participants whose

membership is in good standing automatically receive a complimentary copy of the full results, a $245 value per survey. If your organization participated in one or more of these surveys, but need a resend of the email with the complimentary results, please contact Kathy Richmond at (585) 256-4618. If your organization did not have the opportunity to participate, are currently a Corporate or Partner member in good standing, and would like to order one or more surveys, please click here to download an order form. Future members - please contact Kathy Richmond at (585) 256-4618 or Jennifer Suppé at (585) 256-4608 for more information.

2017 Employer’s Guide to NYS Labor Laws Released


his comprehensive guide provides information on New York State labor laws, including clear and concise explanations of each law, compliance and recordkeeping requirements, required posters, and more. This guide is published by Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and updated each year by Nixon Peabody LLP. Topics covered in the guide include the new paid family leave law (proposed), wage deductions, employment of minors, hours of work, pay frequency, meal periods, termination notices, Wage Theft Prevention Act requirements, and more.


May/June 2017

As a benefit of membership, a complimentary PDF copy of the guide is sent via email each April to HR contacts at Rochester Chamber member companies at the Partner, Corporate and Business Builder level. To order a hard copy of the guide, please click here to download an order form. Rochester Chamber members can request a resend of the free PDF of the guide or just the updated pages (for those who maintain a hard copy) by contacting Jennifer Suppé at (585) 256-4608 or Kathy Richmond at (585) 256-4618.

interviews are conducted by the human resources department. Rochester Chamber Corporate and Partner member participants who didn’t receive the complimentary PDF results via email can request a resend. As a reminder, membership must be current to be eligible to receive survey results. For more information on this or other surveys, or to request a resend, please contact Kathy Richmond at (585) 2564618 or Jennifer Suppé at (585) 256-4608. Non-participants and future members can order the survey by printing and completing the order form found here.

Save the Date! Effective Use of Wage Surveys – June 14 Creating and Updating Pay Structures – June 28

HR Services Staff Kathy Richmond Sr. Director, Human Resource Services (585) 256-4618 Kathy.Richmond@ GreaterRochesterChamber.com Jennifer Suppé, MSHRD, PHR Sr. HR Services Specialist (585) 256-4608 Jennifer.Suppe@ GreaterRochesterChamber.com

Survey Spotlight • 2017 Turnover and Absenteeism Survey Released March 29 • 2017-18 Policies & Benefits Survey Released April 11 • 2017 Annual Wage & Salary Surveys Released April 20 • 2017 National Executive Comp. Survey Release expected the week of May 29

Legal Briefing What’s Lurking in Your Background Checks? Kimberly Harding Nixon Peabody LLP


ackground checks can provide myriad benefits to employers, both large and small. In addition to helping employers to confirm the accuracy of applicants’ credentials, background checks can also reduce exposure to litigation, the risk of employee crimes of dishonesty, and the risk of workplace violence. Unfortunately, thanks in large part to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), performing background checks also can subject employers to significant legal exposure. Although this law does not prohibit an employer from performing a background check, its draconian and technical requirements have put even the most sophisticated of employers into hot water, often in class-action proportions. The FCRA prohibits employers from having third parties perform background checks on applicants or employees without first (1) providing the applicant or employee with a disclosure that a background check will be performed and (2) securing from the applicant or employee an authorization to perform the background check. Although these requirements seem reasonable on their face, recent cases have been extremely strict in their interpretation of them. For instance, one circuit court held earlier this year that, although an employer provided an applicant with a disclosure that his “credit history and other information could be collected and used as a basis for the employment decision,” the disclosure still violated the FCRA because the document containing it also contained a paragraph with a release of claims relating to the background check. In other words, although the disclosure itself was not deficient, it still violated the FCRA because the document containing it did not consist solely of the disclosure. Other courts have come to similarly harsh conclusions. Particularly, where disclosures are included on employment applications, an employer’s compliance with the “spirit” of

this arcane law, as opposed to the “letter” of it, has offered no redemption. And because the FCRA provides for penalties of up to $1,000 per violation, in addition to punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs, these technical violations can be pretty costly. This is even further the case because the majority of these claims are being brought as class actions, multiplying any potential exposure exponentially. Rochester employers need to be even more careful than employers nationally, in light of the city’s 2014 “Ban-the-Box” ordinance. This law prohibits employers from inquiring about criminal convictions of job applicants on a job application form or during the initial application process and prior to the end of the first interview. Given the potential minefields associated with background checks and criminal inquiries during the application process, it may be wise to consult legal counsel to assess the legality of your current background check practices. In the meantime, we recommend the following “best practices” to minimize any risk: • Remove any inquiries related to criminal history from your job applications. • Notify any applicant or current employee that a third party may be performing a background check prior to requesting that any agency perform one. • Understand that anything other than a stand-alone disclosure to inform the applicant or employee that a background check may be performed (such as a disclosure in a job advertisement or application) could be insufficient under the FCRA. • Obtain written consent from the applicant or employee before having the background check performed. • Do not have any background checks run on applicants prior to the end of the first interview or, if no interview is conducted, prior to making a conditional employment offer.

FCRA’s disclosure and “adverse action” requirements, and that you will not use the information provided to violate equal employment opportunity requirements. • Before taking any adverse employment action based on the results of a background check, provide the applicant or employee with notice and an opportunity to explain any negative information. • After taking an adverse employment action based on the results of a background check, tell the applicant or employee (1) that he or she was rejected because of information in the background check; (2) the name, address, and phone number of the company that performed the background check; (3) that the company performing the background check did not make the hiring decision, and cannot give specific reasons for it; and (4) that he or she has a right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the background check, and to get an additional free copy of the report containing the results of the background check from the agency that performed it within 60 days. • Preserve all personnel or employment records (including all application forms, regardless of whether the individual was hired) for at least three years after any personnel action is taken. After satisfying this recordkeeping obligation, dispose of any background check reports securely, such as by shredding them.

Will your company make the list? Click here for details

• Certify to your background check agency that you will comply with the www.GreaterRochesterChamber.com


Voice of Business From the Office of Future Leadership: #YoungFreshProfesh


eet the Rochester Chamber stars featured on our Re: Generation Panel, coming up on June 15.

Justin Copie CEO, Innovative Solutions Recently featured by the RBJ for his rethink of company culture, this young leader is working outside the box to grow biz in a fast-paced, hightech economy.

Rachel Laber Pulvino Director of Communications and Public Relations, Visit Rochester Think you know a lot about Rochester and the Finger Lakes? You don’t want to match wits with this regional expert and cheerleader, who helps share our best-kept secrets with the world.

Alex Yudelson Chief of Staff, Mayor Lovely Warren That’s Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and yep— our third panelist. As former staff to Valerie Jarrett, a key Obama aide, Alex brings back valuable experience and insight to the City of Rochester’s top office.

Ebony Miller Interim Director, Center For Urban Entrepreneurship Take a historic building in the heart of downtown, fill it with resources supported by the Saunders College of Business at RIT, and assist underserved businesses in high growth sectors to help build urban wealth—no small task, even for this experienced capacity-building collaborator.

Paul Guglielmo Producer, iHeartMedia / Owner, Guglielmo’s Sauce When he’s not keeping Brother Wease in line and popping up all over the dial, “Pauly Googs” –as he is known to Rochester radio listeners—serves up a line of gourmet sauces that has become as ubiquitous as it is delicious.

Learn from the trials, errors, and hard-won success of this diverse group. Register now for Re: Generation for your chance to be a part of this candid discussion on life and leadership. Don’t forget to tag your questions and comments on Twitter with #YoungFreshProfesh #ROC

Rochester Chamber welcomes its new members 4Ever Dry....................................................www.4everdrysocks.com 24/7 Locksmith Service........................... www.aaalocksmithus.com Boonle..........................................................www.boonle.com Breakout Games .......................................www.breakoutgames.com BZDesign.....................................................www.bzdesign.com Carma Marketing Hub..............................www.carmahub.com Citslinc International, Inc. .......................www.citslinc.com Community Bank, N.A. ............................www.communitybankna.com Cypress Creek Renewables ...................www.ccrenew.com/newyork Doritex........................................................www.doritex.com Emerge.........................................................www.goemerge.com Fabulous Flowers, Inc...............................www.fabulousflowersandgifts.com Football Mentality Professional Development, LLC www.footballmentality.com Granularity Analytics.................................www.granularityanalytics.com Integrity Intrigue Innovation Inc..............http://mspfirm.webs.com Market Brands, LLC...................................www.marketbrandsgroup.com


May/June 2017

Monroe Ambulance...................................www.monroeambulance.com Navtek Inc. Nu-Look Collision....................................www.nulookcollision.com ORAFOL Americas...................................www.orafolamericas.com Rich Realty..................................................www.TheRichGroup.com Riddle Wellness..........................................www.riddlewellness.com Rochester Academy of Music & Arts...www.RochesterMusicLessons.com Star Headlight & Lantern Co., Inc.........www.star1889.com The Lodge..................................................www.livethelodge.com The Perfect Granola.................................www.theperfectgranola.com Think Forward Productions.................www.thinkforwardproductions.com Top Capital of New York, LLC................www.topcapitalofnewyork.com Vagabond Beard Oil...................................www.vagabondbeardoil.com VP Supply Corp. .........................................www.vpsupply.com Wealth Management Group, LLC............www.wealthmg.com Workplace Interiors LLC...........................www. workplaceint.com Yogibo..............................................................www.yogibo.com

Voice of Business

Thursday, June 15 ● 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center Presented by:

Young Professionals - Build relationships, access resources, and develop effective communication strategies. Employers - Invest in the full potential of your workforce!

An afternoon of inspiration and empowerment, featuring: Keynote Speaker ● Sig VanDamme, NimbleUser A dynamic presenter on technology trends, cloud computing, and the human aspects of technology interactions.

"Leading Through Relationships in a Fast-Paced World"

Learn how to work meaningfully across generations and achieve results with renowned Dale Carnegie trainer Melisza Campos.

#YoungFreshProfesh Panel Discussion Leadership advice and local vision from some of the ROC’s top YPs, including: Justin Copie, Innovative Solutions ● Paul Guglielmo, iHeartMedia/ Guglielmo’s Sauce ● Rachel Laber Pulvino, Visit Rochester ● Ebony Miller, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship ● Alex Yudelson, City of Rochester

$65 pbeer r, memnon$80 ber mem


Vendor Tables and Sponsorship Opportunities still available—see event listing for more info!



Seminars Held at Rochester Chamber Register at www.GreaterRochesterChamber.com

Rochester Chamber 130th Anniversary Celebration

May 19-June 16 Leadership for Managers This program presents the practical concepts, strategies, and skills needed to enhance a leader’s performance. Learn to create an environment of trust where people do better work by building a higher trust. Integrate generational differences into leadership mindset. Improve interpersonal skills and build emotional intelligence. Improve teamwork and motivation. Understand TQM and lean thinking in the modern organization. Master all forms of communication to reduce stress and conflict. June 1-June 15 Successful Supervision Supervisory success is made possible by understanding the options and tools available to you as a supervisor or manager. Successful supervision is a function of role clarity, the achievement of goals, the development of people, decision-making skill, successful delegation, effective communication, and the selection and retention of talent. Successful supervisors know how to create self-fulfilling prophecies of success…through people.

Upcoming Events For more details and to register, visit www.GreaterRochesterChamber.com

May 11 Chamber Business Rounds: Professional Women Leaders May 16 Speed Networking at Pole Position Raceway May 25 Policy Matters: Meet Your State Legislators June 7 biz. Exchange: Conquering the Snow White Syndrome June 15 Re: Generation - Empowering Rochester’s Future Leaders

Join Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce on an adventure to…


Oct. 6 – 14, 2017 Depart at JFK For Only


Beijing ● Shanghai ● Suzhou ● Hangzhou

Follow us on... Your Trip Includes:

● Roundtrip international airfare & Chinese domestic airfare & Tax ● 4-and 5-star hotel accommodations ● 3 meals each day ● Deluxe bus tours ● Fluent English-speaking tour guides ● Entrance fees for attractions Day 5 - Beijing/Shanghai/Suzhou For more details, visit followed by a bus trip to Suzhou for the Lingering Fly to Shanghai, Garden, Tiger Hill, Hanshan Temple and the National Embroidery http://bit.ly/2017ChinaTrip Institute to see silk embroidery, a local craft with thousands of years of

Day 1 – JFK/Beijing Check in at JFK International Airport for an afternoon flight. Cross International Dateline. Day 2 - Beijing Arrive in Beijing, the Capital of China by midnight. You will be met at the

history. Dinner this evening will include a show featuring traditional


Profile for Rochester Chamber

May/June 2017 Newsletter  

Voice of Business is the official newsletter of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Articles printed are for information only and are not...

May/June 2017 Newsletter  

Voice of Business is the official newsletter of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Articles printed are for information only and are not...