Will The Working Families Agenda Actually Hurt Working Families?

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President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the White House Summit on Working Families, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C., June 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Businesses in Minneapolis could be receiving another set of ordinances by the end of the year.  The Minneapolis city council will be voting on ordinances proposed by the Working Families Agenda – a project Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced last April.

The project’s website states, “The City staff has created a workgroup to develop policy proposals around three key issues that low-income workers are facing: fair scheduling, earned sick time, and wage theft.”  Predictability pay proposals include employees receiving one hour of predictability pay for all employer-initiated changes after the schedule is posted,  or four hours of predictability pay (or the duration of the shift – whichever is less) for changes posted within less than 24 hours.  A fair scheduling proposal reads, “Employers must offer hours to existing employees before hiring new or temporary employees.”  The full list of proposals can be seen here.

Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden is leading the push for these proposals, and tells Alpha News that a number of councilmembers have already expressed support for these ordinances, including Lisa Bender, Andrew Johnson, and herself.

Glidden explained fair scheduling and earned sick time have been an issue for many low-income workers in Minneapolis, and said, “President Obama has issued statements calling on cities and states to examine their ability to step in and identify problems in areas where there is a need for minimum standards” going on to say this is, “an area where we (Minneapolis) have a gap in the law”

Minneapolis may not be the only city receiving these ordinances after the State Legislature meets next session.  Representative Paul Thissen (DFL – Minneapolis), House Minority Leader, told Alpha News that he hopes to “aggressively” go after this issue at the statewide level, stating, “This session I authored the Working Parents Act, which includes important workplace policies such as paid family leave, earned sick leave, a crack down on wage theft, and fair scheduling. The Working Families Agenda in Minneapolis includes many of these same policies and I think it’s terrific that my city is showing such tremendous leadership. But ultimately, these are issues we need to tackle at the state level and I hope we can move forward aggressively to enact them next session.”

State Representative Diane Loeffler (DFL – Minneapolis) supports these proposals as well, explaining to Alpha News that she believes this will affect children too, saying, “We say it’s a societal value to have kids to get off to a good start but that’s difficult when new mothers are forced back to work just a couple of weeks after giving birth. It seems almost impossible to arrange quality childcare if you don’t know your work hours even a week ahead of time.”

State Representative Jean Wagenius (DFL – Minneapolis) told us she also supports these earned sick leave and fair scheduling proposals.

Councilwoman Glidden explained that while the commentary from the public has been positive overall, a number of businesses have expressed concern.  Some leaders in the business community fear this could actually hurt families in the long run by costing jobs.  The Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce is echoing these concerns. Chamber President and CEO Todd Klingel says they are fighting against these proposed ordinances, stating, “We are leading a coalition to share information with the City Council and the Mayor to help them understand the impacts of these proposals on their business community. Some of the ideas are simply not workable from a practical standpoint. Others could actually cost jobs, an outcome no one wants.”

Glidden tells us she expects a vote on these ordinances to take place by the end of this year.  Glidden says they will be publicly sharing the ordinance language soon and will hold a public hearing.

Subscribe to Alpha News as we continue to follow this issue.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the White House Summit on Working Families, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C., June 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the White House Summit on Working Families, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C., June 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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