If you’re looking for a reason to eat at Grand Central Bakery, here it is

Cross-posted from the Washington Work and Family Coalition:


One of many Grand Central Bakery locations in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. Grand Central has provided paid sick days for workers for over 20 years!

In the recent dust-up over a local coffee shop’s signs about (and surcharge for) paid sick days, you might have missed this, from the owners of Grand Central Bakery:

…paid sick leave amounts to a relatively small thing for an employer translating to a relatively huge thing for a sick employee. For more than 20 years, we have provided paid sick days to our employees (along with health and dental insurance and vacation time). From that vantage point, we can say the benefits are many – high morale, healthier employees and customers, low employee turnover. Most significantly it creates a culture of trust.

Employees who feel supported by ownership find ways to improve the operations in that restaurant, they are willing to work harder during crunch times and they conduct themselves in the workplace with honesty and integrity. And we venture to guess that employee theft and giving out free product is a much bigger threat to the financial health of a restaurant than the impact of paid sick leave. As Matt Dillon says, you build it into the cost of running a restaurant. And we do so happily, because it’s the right thing to do. ~Leslie Cole, Grand Central Bakery communications manager

Today would be a great day to stop by your local Grand Central Bakery – there are several locations in Seattle and Portland. Grab a loaf of fresh bread (or a sandwich, pastry, salad…you get the idea) and let the manager kn0w how much you appreciate Grand Central’s great business model.

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Sen. Rodney Tom and Senate Republicans sponsor bill to gut Seattle paid sick days law

Cross-posted from Washington Policy Watch:

Left to right: Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) Sen. Rodney Tom (R-Medina), Cyrus the Virus, Sen. Schoesler

Cyrus the Virus urges lawmakers to join his cause against virus-killing legislation like paid sick days. From left to right: Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane), Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina), Cyrus the Virus, Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Pullman). This photo isn’t real – but Senators Tom and Schoesler really are sponsoring legislation to repeal Seattle’s landmark paid sick days law.

The Seattle Times reports majority coalition leader Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina) and five other state senators* have introduced legislation designed to gut Seattle’s paid sick and safe days law:

  • Senate Bill 5726, a.k.a. “the Burger King exemption”, prohibits any local paid sick/safe leave law from applying to people who work for employers headquartered outside of that particular city, town or county. That would, of course, make it ridiculously easy for big businesses to get out of providing paid sick or safe leave.
  • Senate Bill 5728, a.k.a. “we know better than you”, preempts any locality from passing any law pertaining to paid sick/safe leave that exceeds state standards. Since there is no state standard, Seattle’s law would effectively be kaput – as would any future effort by local citizens to pass a similar local measure.

Seattle’s sick days law was passed by an 8-1 vote of the Seattle City Council. Reflecting broad public support for the measure, Councilmembers received thousands of emails, postcards and phone calls in favor; a poll of Seattle voters found 69% supported the legislation. Now, a handful of state senators – none of whom represent Seattle constituents – are attempting to undermine Seattle’s democratic process and silence the will of the people.

Their action also flies in the face of long-established state law: since 1967, Washington has specifically authorized cities to perform any function not specifically denied them in the state constitution or by state law. That includes paid sick and safe leave – but not if these legislators have their way.

Think it can’t happen here? Think again. A few years back, Milwaukee voters approved a paid sick days law with 69% of the vote. Following a protracted lawsuit by Milwaukee’s Chamber of Commerce, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Scott Walker preempted the law with legislation much like Sen. Tom’s, written by the corporate front group ALEC:

PR Watch obtained documents from ALEC’s 2011 Annual Meeting showing that one of the group’s committees — the Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee of the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force — focused its entire meeting on the issue of paid sick leave. Task force members, who are legislators, were given copies of a bill that enables state legislatures to override municipal paid sick days laws. The same bill was used in Wisconsinto override Milwaukee’s paid sick days requirement.

*Senators Braun (R-Centralia), Bailey (R-Whidbey Island), Schoesler (R-Pullman), Padden (R-Spokane Valley), and Benton (R-Outer Vancouver) are also sponsoring the two bills.

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Live – House Labor and Workforce Development Committee: House Bill 1457 (Family and medical leave insurance) and House Bill 1313 (paid sick days)

Live – House Labor and Workforce Development Committee: House Bill 1457 (Family and medical leave insurance) and House Bill 1313 (paid sick days):

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Portland: Local economists back mandatory sick leave

From the Portland Business Journal:

professor mary king

Dr. Mary King,
Professor of Economics

Portland State University economics professor Mary King and 13 co-signatories have written a letter of support for the city’s mandatory sick leave proposal.

Introduced as testimony as part of a raucous public hearing yesterday, the letter argues that the costs of extending paid sick days to employees are quite small, especially when compared to the benefits of reduced turnover, increased productivity and better workplace health.

The mandatory sick leave issue hasdivided the business community in Portland.

King’s letter, which contains 19 footnotes, makes reference to studies conducted in the state of Connecticut and the City of San Francisco, where recent laws have required private employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees. According to these studies, the cost of mandatory sick leave to employers in Connecticut added up to less than .2 percent in annual sales, while in San Francisco six of seven employers said they experienced no negative impact from the sick leave law.

The letter also makes reference to the costs of “presenteeism,” the cost of employees coming to work while sick and infecting their co-workers. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, presenteeism costs employers about $180 billion per year nationally.

King argues that the United States is the only developed nation in the world that does not require employers to offer paid sick leave to workers, creating disproportionate hardship for low-income families. According to the Economic Policy Institute, employees who lack paid sick leave earn on average $10 per hour.

King’s 13 co-signatories all work at universities or colleges in Oregon or Washington.

The City Council does not plan to vote on the proposal until the end of February at the earliest.

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Who’s The Nation’s “Most Valuable Local Official”?

nick licataCongratulations to Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, who was named The Nation Magazine’s “Most Valuable Local Official” on the Progressive Honor Roll of 2012. The Nation cites his progressive credentials, including his sponsorship of Seattle paid sick days ordinance, as a reason for the award.

Licata joined other progressive leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, and Montana A.G. Steve Bullock, on the list.

From The Nation:

“…Licata has practiced local politics since 1998 as a bold advocate of progressive populist ideas. He was a sponsor of Seattle’s innovative paid-sick-leave law, and he’s been in the forefront of fights to prevent corporations and wealthy sports team owners from gouging taxpayers.”

Congratulations to Nick on winning the award!

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Infecting the workplace: An infographic about why paid sick days are important

Infographic via Masters in Health Care:

infographic paid sick days

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Video: Why Seattle Works Well

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights, which is administering the Paid Sick and Safe Days ordinance, recently produced this video to explain the benefit of paid sick days to employers and employees.


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