Comment D.C. Corporate Front Group Tries to Speak for Seattle – and Fails Miserably

This week The Seattle Times ran an op-ed by Michael Saltsman of the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), an industry-funded ‘research’ organization, claiming Seattle’s Paid Sick Days law is negatively impacting local businesses and driving up costs.

Here’s the funny thing about EPI’s report: it’s basically an opinion survey of a very small sample. EPI surveyed 300 selected business owners (mostly restaurants), asking them if they thought Seattle’s sick days law would increase costs. But EPI didn’t ask for any math to back up those opinions.

They also didn’t bother to ask any employees or customers what they thought.

Of course, when a Seattle restaurant owner like Tom Douglas announces he will raise his employees’ wages to $15 an hour after realizing the sick-leave law costs much less than expected, maybe EPI knew opinions would play better to their case than actual, you know, data.

Reporter David Goldstein, writing for The Stranger, decisively called out the real motives behind EPI ‘s ‘report’:

Although the Seattle Times describes EPI as a “nonprofit research organization,” it’s really anything but. In fact, EPI is nothing more than just one of about two dozen front groups created by DC-based corporate lobbyist Richard Berman, a Beltway-insider notorious for his take-no-prisoners tactics, and his all-out assaults on such enemies of freedom as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Humane Society.

But a lot of people who read The Times don’t read The Stranger – so we need Times’readers to get the real story about why paid sick days matter. Here are a two ways you can help:

In Seattle, we’re lucky to be celebrating one year of paid sick days, but millions of workers in our state still have no access to paid leave. Next year, we can change that. Healthy Tacoma is working to pass a Paid Sick Days ordinance and the Washington Work and Family Coalition is advocating for statewide Paid Sick Day standards.