Democrats join ranks with big business interests and Republicans in Denver and Colorado.
Today, the Denver Post is reporting that six Denver city council members have signed a letter in opposition to paid sick leave for Denver residents. They now join Mayor Michael Hancock (D-Denver) and Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO) in opposing paid sick leave for those employed in the City and County of Denver.
The United States is one of the few “rich nations” that does not mandate paid sick leave. In light of recents calls and legislation regarding health care reform city councils’, the mayor and the governor’s opposition flies in the face of logic as you will later see.
Six Denver council members sign letter opposing the paid sick leave initiative
Six Denver City Council members signed a letter opposing Initiative 300 and another one says she is against it, making a majority of the council who are not supporting the paid sick-leave initiative that Denver voters will see on the Nov. 1 ballot.
Council members Chris Herndon, Albus Brooks, Mary Beth Susman, Charlie Brown, Peggy Lehmann and Jeanne Robb signed the letter that was released today by opponents of the initiative, saying ‘Initiative 300 has a number of flaws in the way it was written, and based on the legal and budgetary analysis by the city, we cannot support it.’
Jeanne Faatz, the only council member who is a registered Republican, said she is vehemently opposed to the initiative but never ‘joins campaigns.’
Council President Chris Nevitt, who did not sign the letter, said he has not decided whether he will support or oppose the issue.
Opponents, who include Mayor Michael Hancock and Gov. John Hickenlooper, say the initiative places undue hardship on small businesses and particularly would negatively affect city government. An analysis said that it would cost the City and County of Denver about $700,000 to comply with the ordinance.
Proponents of the measure call it a public health issue, saying that more than 100,000 Denver employees – or 40 percent of all workers and 72 percent of all food service workers – have no paid sick days at their workplaces. “They are forced to go to work sick rather than risk losing wages or even their job and that puts everyone’s health at risk,” according to the website, Campaign for a Healthy Denver.
Continue reading at the Denver Post.
Opposing this propistion is a group called “Keep Denver Competitive”. This site is run by a political consulting group called CRL Associates. The CEO to said group is Maria Garcia Berry who is the wife of former Colorado State House Speaker and Republican Chuck Berry. A quick search at the FEC reveals that Mrs. Berry as a Republican donor. Two examples being:
DENVER, CO 80202
DEMINT, JAMES W
VIA TEAM DEMINT
08/10/2009 250.00 29020352367
BERRY, MARIA G MRS.
DENVER, CO 80202
CRL ASSOCIATES INC./CEO
BUSH, GEORGE W
VIA BUSH-CHENEY ‘04 (PRIMARY) INC
08/19/2003 2000.00 23992050945
DeMint of course being the political idol of the Tea Party.
Now, let’s look at what the impact has been on a similar law that was passed in the San Francisco:
Mandatory paid sick leave: How has it worked in San Francisco?
A survey of employers and employees after the first four years of mandatory paid sick leave gives the policy high marks, saying most employers support the new benefit and that it is rarely misused.
By Daniel B. Wood, Staff writer / February 11, 2011
When San Francisco four years ago became the first city in the country to require employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees, it was considered controversial because of the host of unknowns that came alongside: Would employees abuse the privilege? Would it cost too much for businesses? What unintended consequences would show up?
‘The US is one of the few rich nations that doesn’t mandate any form of paid sick leave, she says, with about 40 percent of workers lacking coverage.’ — Daniel B. Wood, CS Monitor
Now, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has released a survey of how the policy has worked for the first four years, during which city employers added 59,000 employees – 17 percent of the city’s work force – to the rolls of those receiving that benefit. The results released Thursday, generally favorable according to analysts, are important for where the idea might go elsewhere in the country and as background in the national debate over health-care policy.
A lot of small business owners were really freaked out when this first went into effect, especially smaller retail stores and restaurants…I don’t hear too many griping about it any longer’ — Sam Mogannam, owner of Bi-Rite Market
The study of 727 employers and 1,194 employees found that two-thirds of employers support the law. It found that it is rare for employees to misuse paid sick days and that workers tend to save them for emergency use and thus end up using far fewer than the maximum allowed.
Health care reform bill 101: what the bill means to you
‘This report is the first empirical research on the effects of these policies, and that’s why it’s really important and could have a very decisive impact on efforts to promote similar policies on the municipal, state, and federal levels,’ says Nancy Folbre, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts.
The US is one of the few rich nations that doesn’t mandate any form of paid sick leave, she says, with about 40 percent of workers lacking coverage. For part time, civilian, and low-wage workers, the percentage of those with the benefit is even lower, less then 33 percent, while about 90 percent of public-sector workers are covered.
Continue reading at CS Monitor.
As you can see, mandatory paid sick leave works. Why the majority of city council, the mayor and the governor have decided to oppose this is either a case of ignorance on the San Francisco results or pandering to big business interests in Denver.
Learn more about Maria Garcia Berry and the workings of CRL Associates at Big Boss Lady — CRL knows how to buy friends and influence people.
Unpaid sick leave leads many people with no choice but to go to work sick and possibly with communicable disease. Many of which can lead to influenza outbreaks or worse, pandemics. The cost savings to society should be obvious however it is lost upon many in city council and Mayor Hancock and Governor Hickenlooper. This is putting profits over public health and almost in line with anti-vaccination movement. However, in this case, it is greed and big business that’s leading the charge. Don’t let the “small business burden” meme fool you. This is about big Denver corporations trying to save a dollar.
Related: Evaluating Paid Sick Leave: SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND HEALTH IMPLICATIONS FOR SEATTLE (PDF)
Lack of access to paid sick leave is a serious issue that affects the health and well-being of everyone who lives, works, and visits in Seattle. Without access to paid leave, workers in restaurants, grocery stores, daycares, health facilities and offices throughout the city make the decision whether to go to work or send their child to school sick – or lose a day’s pay.
Absent a law requiring the provision of paid sick leave, the majority of employers in restaurants and a portion of firms spread across all industries will continue not offering employees sick days, or significantly limiting access. Workers earning lower wages and their children are most directly affected by current practices, but the health and economic vitality of the whole community is negatively affected.
Fortunately, replicable models of successful paid sick day ordinances are available from other cities. Utilizing these successful models from around the country, Seattle can join the growing national movement to adopt a minimum standard of paid sick days.
Paid sick leave works.