For two years, the Chamber fought a noble and courageous battle against the implementation of a mandated earned sick and safe time ordinance in Duluth. In doing so, we ensured that Duluth City Councilors understood the negative impact their mandate will have on local businesses. We challenged city councilors to illustrate empathy for the employers for whom the bell will toll January 1, 2020 – the implementation day for this ordinance. Unfortunately, the majority of councilors were unmoved and unrepentant. Against our will, they passed the ordinance.
One of our many questions for councilors was, “who is going to pay for the enactment and enforcement of this burden upon employers?” Their answer was they will figure it out later. Well, it appears they have figured it out. They will soon add to the City payroll what will be a full-time administrative position. This additional staffing expense comes at a time when our beloved City of Duluth is struggling mightily to pay for basic city service employees, such as our courageous fire fighters, our brave police officers, and our hard working snowplow drivers.
To add insult to injury, the same businesses which will incur additional payroll expenses associated with the ordinance – will also pay more city taxes for the enforcement of the ordinance. It is a cruel compounding of the pain and suffering.
Yet, our Chamber members are resilient and resourceful. Somehow, we will find a way to make this work. The Chamber’s leadership stands prepared to work with the City’s soon to be hired resource person. We will do so to make the best of a bad situation.
President & CEO