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Monday, September 12, 2011

Seattle City Council Passes Paid Sick Leave—Only Conlin Votes No

Posted by on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 3:22 PM

This afternoon, after months of debate and despite continuing hesitancy from some council members, the Seattle City Council voted eight to one in favor of passing an amended ordinance that will empower Seattle employees to begin earning paid sick time off, starting September 1, 2012. Council president Richard Conlin voted against the legislation.

“Today Seattle has shown itself as a leader," said council member Nick Licata, who sponsored the legislation. "We recognize that a productive workforce is a healthy one and that a great city is one that cares for the welfare of all who work within its jurisdiction."

"This was a very difficult topic for me," said council member Tim Burgess, who was instrumental in getting the legislation amended and passed. "I want to make sure both employers and employees in this city can be successful and thrive... [but ultimately] the role of city government is protecting the most vulnerable in our city."

Burgess cited other ways the council has worked to protect the city's most vulnerable: restoring funding for the Seattle Police Department's victims' advocates program, creating a safe haven for teenage prostitutes; passing a wage theft ordinance earlier this year to make wage theft a crime. "Then this issue became before us," Burgess said, affecting “the individuals living paycheck to paycheck. They simply can’t afford to take a day off when they don’t feel well or when their child is sick... When families find themselves making a choice between either working sick or falling behind on their rent payments, the social fabric is damaged."

Conlin opposed the legislation on the grounds that it "differentiates among workers... I don't see how this kind of inequality could be justified." Conlin, of course, didn't justify his own vote for keeping roughly 190,000 Seattle workers without access to any sort of paid sick leave—a much greater form of inequality.

"I agree this bill would benefit from additional amendments," added Sally Bagshaw, who nevertheless voted in favor of it.

Simply put, (and amendments aside) the legislation divides businesses into three tiers according to size, and allows employees in each tier to begin accruing paid time off—leave that can be used for personal illness, to care for a sick child or family member, or to deal with domestic violence issues. Businesses with 5-50 employees will earn one hour of leave for every 40 hours worked (or five days of leave annually); Mid-size businesses with 51-250 employees will earn one hour of leave for every 35 hours worked (up to seven days annually); And large businesses with 250-plus employees will earn one hour for every 30 hours worked (up to nine days annually). Micro-businesses—those with fewer than five employees—will be exempt from the law. Additionally, new Seattle businesses will have up two years to implement a paid sick leave plan.

A year after the law takes effect, the city's Office of Civil Rights and City Auditor will issue a thorough report on how its affect businesses and address any "unintended consequences" of its passage, according to Burgess.


Comments (27) RSS

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Baconcat 1
Bravo, Seattle City Council. You've done well.

As to Conlin: No.
Posted by Baconcat on September 12, 2011 at 3:25 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 2
They really need to correct the wording, it's for union workers, not real workers.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 12, 2011 at 3:36 PM · Report this
Vince 3
My city cares about it's people and that's what cities should do. I love Seattle. It's like an island of sanity in an increasingly insane world.
Posted by Vince on September 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Too bad this isn't state wide. It puts Seattle-based businesses at a further disadvantage to their neighbors.
Posted by SM9 on September 12, 2011 at 3:40 PM · Report this
Really, Conlin? Yeesh.
Posted by gloomy gus on September 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Hey, KittenKoder, really laying on the union hate today, eh? Wanna go tell teachers they aren't "real workers"?
Posted by g on September 12, 2011 at 3:47 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 7
@6 Wait, teachers work?
Posted by KittenKoder on September 12, 2011 at 3:59 PM · Report this
michaelp 8
According to PubliCola, Conlin explained his opposition as such:

"Conlin, the only “no” vote on the council, said he could not support the legislation because it gives management too much power to bargain away union workers’ rights, and because it creates tiers of companies where employees of larger companies get more time off than those who work at smaller businesses. “If you’re a barista and you work for a small neighborhood company, you may get no sick leave” while employees at larger companies get as much as nine days, Conlin said. “There’s no public health reason to suggest that those who work for larger businesses will get sick more often.”"

To me, that says he felt it didn't go far enough. Maybe Cienna missed that part? Was MTJ in the room, being a distraction?
Posted by michaelp on September 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 9
@8, I didn't miss that part. I didn't include that quote because it's a bullshit, nonsensical argument--"Some people won't get paid sick leave and others will get more than some, so I vote no one gets any."


As many on the council noted, the ordinance wasn't perfect--but it was much better than nothing. Conlin, who I'm sure enjoys the benefits of taking paid sick leave, was advocating for nothing. Because he's either a coward or an idiot. Or both.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on September 12, 2011 at 4:52 PM · Report this
michaelp 10
@9 - You typed:

"Conlin, of course, didn't justify his own vote for keeping roughly 190,000 Seattle workers without access to any sort of paid sick leave—a much greater form of inequality."

Just because you think his justification is bullshit (which I fully agree with you on) doesn't mean it didn't happen. Your further assertion that because you think it's bullshit, you didn't include it, and instead stated, as fact, that he didn't offer justification, is piss poor "journalism". It's stating lies as fact, and I would imagine you're better then that.
Posted by michaelp on September 12, 2011 at 5:14 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 11
Actually, the Conlin quote at #8 does change my opinion on the matter, I forget that there are some small business employees forced to work for the unions so his angle is a much smarter one. Look, big union employees get a shit load of perks already, and every non-union or small union worker is getting shit on more because of these big union perks. If you really cared about the worker, then a union would not be needed at all nor would unions be able to force people to not work just because the union head wants an extra vacation. Sorry, but now I think Conlin is looking out for the less fortunate harder workers than any of the other politicians ... can't believe I said I support a politician but meh, we should be changing our minds when new facts appear instead of blindly following the moose.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 12, 2011 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 12
Conlin is like the GOP on tax cuts for the Rich and killing off Medicare and Social Security to line his developer friends' pockets.

Great for campaign contributions, but bad for America ... And Seattle.
Posted by Will in Seattle on September 12, 2011 at 5:35 PM · Report this
The eight votes were there, as Conlin knew full well, being council prez - his vote wasn't meant to change the outcome in the least, so motive probably something outside the range of Cienna's "coward or idiot" imagination. Was his "no" to offer cover to one or more of the others, a sop to those who didn't want anything passed at all? The overt lameness of his rationale would suggest it was something like that. I'm just a skeptical voter and reader. A reporter with sources and stuff could probably have found out.
Posted by gloomy gus on September 12, 2011 at 5:43 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 14
@12 I can agree with that angle, but unlike most people, I choose issues, not politicians. ;)

@13 There is always more to the story, even the "reporters with sources" show bias and often exclude details and such. As much as it sucks, you have to read a hundred different articles by a hundred different people to get a whole picture.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 12, 2011 at 6:02 PM · Report this
Better start hiring illegals. They'll come to fucking work.
Posted by Can we deport our bums back? on September 12, 2011 at 6:07 PM · Report this
What do YOU do for a living, KittenKoder, that's so much more "real work" than teaching in a public school? You're really dismissing what they do as not work?
Posted by g on September 12, 2011 at 6:09 PM · Report this
Oh, wait, you probably are a "koder." Sorry those lazy teachers didn't teach you how to spell.
Posted by g on September 12, 2011 at 6:10 PM · Report this
raku 18
I'm not even close to rich, but I pledge $100 to any progressive politician who runs against Conlin in his next election.

I'll also pledge $25 to any progressive who runs against michaelp in his next election (including Will in Seattle).
Posted by raku on September 12, 2011 at 6:28 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 19
@17 Actually .... yes ... and no, the lazy teachers didn't teach me to spell. ;) Though the k is a play on spelling, since the c version was taken for my first account I had to make some creative adjustment, and I like keeping the same name with all my accounts, easier that way.

Time to reminisce about school ... yep, I'm a product of public school ... mostly, I dropped out because I got tired of being taught the same thing over and over again, come on, an increase in grade level should be an increase in curriculum level as well, or is that just too much to ask for. Anyhow, back when I was in school, the teachers had to go on strike, most of them didn't want to, they were happy and called the union greedy. So, for homework us geeks (at the time we were the outcasts, a few grades later we became the "in" crowd ironically) did a project and learned the history of unions ... scary shit really, and we all agreed with our teachers (there were a few good ones) unions only care about unions, and the union leaders are lazy sponges who get paid for no work. Of course I didn't really care too much then, as I was happy to have a few days (turned into weeks) off from school ... the teachers lost a lot of pay, and only because the unions wanted them to get a raise, then the unions raised their dues, which unionized workers MUST pay, they have no choice in the matter, if you want a job that is unionized, you have to join. That's not right, that's not good for employees, that's not in any way shape or form watching out for the worker, that is forcing you to have their opinion and support their goals even when you disagree, it would be the same as saying "since you're a Democrat you have to agree with everything they say regardless of how wrong it is or you are not allowed to live here anymore."
Posted by KittenKoder on September 12, 2011 at 6:53 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 20
@10, Your logic that I'm lying by omission is ridiculous.

It's my job to be a critical listener and reporter. That means weeding out the bullshit. Conlin's argument was bullshit and no, it's not my job to give his bullshit argument equal weight or time in my writing (and yeah, I'm sure he had noble closed door justifications, and I'm totes lazy for not caring about them, as GG suggested--because in the end it's what insidery insider shit that I can dig up that earns me the crown of King Reporter!).

People are free to disagree with me--and thank Gawd there's Publicola around to give you the full, bullshit quote--but I parsed down a half-hour of commmentary from the public and council members to what I thought was important.

Posted by Cienna Madrid on September 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM · Report this

You really have no idea what you're talking about do you? For example, your teachers didn't HAVE to go on strike - they CHOSE to go on strike, which means MOST of them (you know what a majority is, right?) VOTED in favor of striking. That's the way it works: if the strike authorization doesn't receive majority-vote approval (and in some locals it can be a super-majority), then guess what? - no strike. What you probably saw was a few of the teachers at your particular school who were "happy" in that they had cushy positions and didn't want to irritate administrators, but clearly there were a far larger number of teachers at other schools in that district that didn't share their blase attitude.

Oh, and I hope that project included the tactics used by employers to break unions, you know: the murders, beatings, shootings, blackmailings, mass-firings, etc., etc.
Posted by COMTE on September 12, 2011 at 9:30 PM · Report this
Cienna, I shouldn't be such an ass - I'm always hungry for pertinent detail on City Hall. You do the best you can with the beat you've got, and I should remember that.
Posted by gloomy gus on September 12, 2011 at 9:49 PM · Report this
michaelp 23
@20 - your comment at 9 made very clear you did hear that Conlin offered up justification, but because you thought it was bullshit, you instead stated, as fact, that he didn't.


1    [lahy] Show IPA noun, verb, lied, ly·ing.
a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
an inaccurate or false statement.
the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.

What you stated in the original story was, by definition, a lie. When you stated that Conlin offered no justification, you lied. When you allowed PubliCola, and even better, Erica Barnett, to win on facts...well, I'm not sure what that's called.

You say it's not your job to "give his bullshit argument equal weight or time in my writing." I appreciate that. Advocacy journalism is just that.

But are you saying it is your job to pass off flat out lies as facts?
Posted by michaelp on September 12, 2011 at 10:12 PM · Report this
cienna, i don't understand how you can defend writing that conlin "didn't justify his own vote" when in fact, he did, and you knew it. you could write that his justification was bullshit, but to write that he didn't justify it is just crappy journalism and i'm surprised you're defending what you wrote --and then jabbing at publicola for reporting the story correctly? bad form!
Posted by ian on September 13, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 25
@22, That is surprisingly touching. Thank you. To everyone else, I accept that my credibility is ruined.

*Single tear.*
Posted by Cienna Madrid on September 13, 2011 at 11:49 AM · Report this
25: what ruins your credibility isn't that you fucked up. All journalists do now and then. What ruins it is your inability to say "sorry, let me correct that." Instead you get snarky. Seems to be the Stranger way, unfortunately.
Posted by ian on September 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM · Report this
michaelp 27
@25 - I was unaware that you had much credibility outside of Capitol Hill to begin with.
Posted by michaelp on September 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM · Report this

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