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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 18, 2013 8:51 AM. The previous post in this blog was The Hanford "cleanup" rat hole. The next post in this blog is Portland City Hall shocker. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Is sick pay a city matter?

Sometimes we wish our elected officials would just stick to what's within their proper jurisdiction. Requiring employers to provide paid sick leave should be a national issue, or at least a state issue. It sure isn't a City Hall issue -- the rules on this shouldn't vary from town to town.

But now Nurse Amanda, having procured for herself four more years on the Portland City Council, is going to become the font of new employment laws. What she's proposing may or may not be a good idea, but the Nurse has a telephone. She should pick it up, call her state senator and state representative, and set up a meeting to discuss a state bill. Getting the holier-than-thou, and broker-than-thou, Portland city government involved in the issue is bad, bad policy.

UPDATE, 11:49 a.m.: An alert reader points out that New York City has the same issue pending.

Comments (22)

It's a part of the Left Coast borg, a la San Francisco & Seattle.

Novick wants to make her proposal stronger!

Why is that? Employers argued that the states couldn't interfere with sanctity of contracts, their god-given right to sweat children in mines and factories. Then, after they neutered the states, they took to arguing that the Feds had no right to interfere. Now you're arguing that cities have no right to interfere because employment rights are properly state or federal.

Not saying that Portland or anyone else will regulate well, but I'd like to hear the principles behind the argument that municipalities have no power to regulate for public health, safety, and welfare, particularly since there it is widely acknowledged that food handlers, daycare teachers, health care personnel, home care aides and others (whose jobs are about personal contact) tend to be precisely those who are most likely to be denied sick leave by employers, and who cause the public (taxpayers) to suffer as a result.

That we apparently need a set of laws to allow sick people to stay home from work or take vacations speaks volumes as to why the private sector shouldn't be dictating policy.

Are we now striving to have private employers enjoy a 10% absentee rate like Tri Met and other government agencies?

Government seems to work fine with 10% of their work force gone on any given day. But it does seem that might be an indication of the work load.

I'd like to hear the principles behind the argument that municipalities have no power to regulate for public health, safety, and welfare

That's not the argument. The argument is that there needs to be uniformity across a much larger region than a city. We have state and federal governments, they have traditionally made employment law, and there's no reason to make this a local issue. Nor does the city have the money to pay for any more of its relentless mission creep. And it would bungle the enforcement.

The bureaucrats, and their supporters in Portland, wonder why businesses flee the city.

I have always understood that sick leave is a type of insurance rather than a benefit; provided to employees in the event of illness or family illness needs. However, I am aware that many city juristictions provide an avenue for one employee to transfer any amount of un-used/accumulated sick leave to another with a simple signature. This certainly ensures that all sick leave will be used, and that any costs to backfill those sick employee days will likely be in overtime. I understand wanting to help a good employee trying to make it through a tough time, but it underscores the shift from insurance benefit to entitlement.

Mr. Gilmore is correct. Municipal restrictions on commerce simply displace business activity. I wonder how much more aerosol paint the Tigard Fred Meyer started selling after Portland's ordinance to lock it up?

Bad decision making by our policy makers has been a major factor in the degradation of employment quality in our region. They think they can correct that by increasing the minimum wage and mandating things like sick leave. What they need to do is work to attract quality jobs that provide sick leave and benefits. You simply can't mandate employee benefits for workers of independent coffee shops, restaurants or second hand stores. There's not enough revenue to support the mandates, and it only makes it harder for young people to break into the workforce.

Dave, to you I can only say, "6B."

Haha... good one Jack. But actually I am now a 6C.

But I'd still rather have Amanda than the Goldschmidt protege Mary Nolan (and her husbanhd).

Gibby- For COP and Multnomah County, that's not quite correct. Employees can transfer vacation time or comp time earned, both of which are paid out if an employee leaves. Sick leave doesn't get cashed out, nor can it be transferred. However, it can be added into the calculation of retirement benefits for Tier I retirees.

Amanda Fritz
6B: 139,997
Mary Nolan
6B 93,994

6C: 2,366 Write-in votes and 67,988 Under votes

It doesn't look like either one here was really popular with that many under votes.

http://web.multco.us/elections/november-2012-general-election-election-results

Uniformity is a virtue, but at some point it must give way to rising standards, or else we all live only with what Harney County will agree with.

M. Seldes, in logical terms your points about the dawn of the industrial age and the power (as if) of Harney County are either strawmen or genetic fallacies. They're also false dichotomies. Eg, the choice is not between Harney County and City of Portland. The choice is between City of Portland and State of Oregon and US Federal Government.

Public Employee unions make these same sorts of historical false analogies constantly, and at high volume.

The "Office of Equity" is another Nurse Amanda brainchild. Now this. I guess she is so bored with the ordinary city services she is charged with overseeing that she decided to invent some new stuff to look after. Sorry to have voted for this lady, but I think the alternative - development cheerleader - who she ran against was worse. The lesser of two evils. Yeah, 6B.

Remember that right now Hales has all the bureaus and I think he said he would for six months. That gives the others six months with nothing to do other than dream up new legislation.

Why kill Portland by bits and pieces with these utopian ideas? Let’s just get it over with and drive out all the remaining businesses quickly which will lower our carbon output significantly. Let’s start with mandating not only sick pay, but also a minimum wage raise to $30 per hour. Portland should also legislate a twenty hour work week. While we are at it, why not mandate four weeks paid vacation.

This ranks right up with City Halls tripping over themselves trying to "regulate" coal trains, which is explicitly stated in the Constitution as a federal issue under the Interstate Commerce clause.

Or trying to lobby for gun laws (federal issue, per the 2nd Amendment).

Or health care (a state issue).

Maybe we need to replace the Congress with City Council; and replace City Council with Congress. It seems Washington D.C. has nothing better to do than micromanage us little folk; and our City Councils, County Commissions have nothing better to do than deal with national/international issues.

Most politicians are incapable of staying in their lane. It's more common in Liberals, but even Conservative are subject to this systemic ailment.

Federal, State, County, City or (in our case), METRO... if their main job is to provide jail space, they end up funding "Green Energy" or art projects. THEN they claim inadequate funding for their main mission.

They are incapable of delivering the few legitimate functions within their scope of duties, so they dream up new functions that are outside their authority.

Most people want local government to provide adequate police, fire, roads and schools. Again and again, they prove incapable of doing so effectively at a reasonable cost.

"It seems Washington D.C. has nothing better to do than micromanage us little folk; and our City Councils, County Commissions have nothing better to do than deal with national/international issues.

And they both just pretend to, don't they?

Not too long ago, when I happened to be at hearings, council/planning meetings throughout this state, when subjects came up totally outside the mission or jurisprudence of the body I fondly remember the first person who would say, "I don't believe this item has anything do with us, am I wrong?"

Then more than likely one or two others would agree. End of subject.

guess she gets her ques from the upper west side, NYC.


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