The majority of Duluth’s employers are disheartened by the Duluth City Council’s recent decision to mandate that Duluth’s employers provide additional sick and safe time benefits to employees.
The Chamber’s leadership witnessed how this mandate was precipitated by political pressure imposed on the Council by state and local special interest groups. These groups had calculated that a majority of our city councilors would be willing to largely discount the interests and concerns of Duluth’s employers. Unfortunately, they were correct in their assumption.
These proponents also asserted that the earned sick and safe time ordinance was a noble, benign and readily accommodated initiative. Regrettably, their assertion appears to be incorrect. The business community understands how such an ordinance will not be benign. It will generate additional operational and financial hardships. The Chamber’s leadership did our best to convey this concern to the councilors.
We asked for a more unbiased evaluation of the proposed ordinance. We voiced our initial opposition to such a sweeping, unfunded mandate. The Council largely disregarded our appeals to discontinue their march toward a mandate.
This mandate imposed by the Council will likely have harmful and counter-productive consequences for the employers who provide needed jobs within our beloved community. Specifically, the Council’s mandate contains conditions for taking sick and safe leave that are overly broad and could harm not only employers, but also harm coworkers.
The ordinance does not require the employee to strive to minimize the disruption to their employer and coworkers. Additionally, the ordinance does not provide adequate protections for an employer to address sick and safe time fraud and abuse.
The Council’s decision to impose its will upon our business community has also generated an unfortunate divisiveness and polarization within our beloved community.
It is increasingly and painfully clear to Duluth’s employers that the majority of our city councilors do not stand in solidarity with us. We are essentially on our own. This clarity is generating a groundswell of heightened activism and advocacy within the business community. With your involvement, we will work with all of our might to heighten our elected officials’ appreciation for employers who bring jobs, investment and opportunity to our Zenith City.
Linked here for your review and implementation is the City of Duluth’s new Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance. I share it with you so you can determine, and prepare for, its impact on your business.
President & CEO