Next week, Denver voters go to the polls to vote on a referendum that would require employers to offer paid sick leave, and restaurant chains and the National Restaurant Association are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat it. The Huffington Post’s Dave Jamieson explains why an ordinance in one city matters so much:
Denver’s is just the latest in a string of similar proposals pushed by labor and public-health groups around the country, including one signed into law in Connecticut earlier this year. Employers in industries with low-paid part-time workers are growing concerned that mandated paid sick days could become the norm rather than the exception, thanks to a raft of local legislation.
But a ballot initiative is particularly worrisome for business interests. Paid sick days are generally a popular idea with the public, and ballot initiatives can preempt mayors, governors and state legislators who’ve come out on the industry’s side on workplace issues.
That’s why the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is focusing on state-level legislation that would overturn local paid sick leave laws—it offers one more chance for corporations use their pet politicians to block something the public would support.
This blog originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on October 26, 2011. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos. She has a PhD in sociology from Princeton University and has taught at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2011, she was senior writer at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.