United States Representative Keith Elliso, Minneapolis City Council Members Elizabeth Glidden, Cam Gordon help launch #ShopYourValues

Monday, November 23, 2015 -- United States Representative Keith Ellison and Minneapolis City Council Members Elizabeth Glidden and Cam Gordon met fourteen business owners and toured three businesses to discuss a citywide ordinance for earned sick and safe time, and to kick off the Main Street Alliance MN’s #ShopYourValues campaign and map featuring nearly 40 businesses across the city.

Read more

The Main Street Alliance Strongly Condemns Racist and Hateful Legislation Against Refugees; Calls for Leadership by Governors

The Main Street Alliance Strongly Condemns Racist and Hateful Legislation Against Refugees; Calls for Leadership by Governors


The Main Street Alliance strongly condemns the passage of H.R. 4038, the so-called “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act.” This bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday, November 19, prevents Syrian refugees from entering the United States without meeting additional stringent screening requirements.

Read more

Treasurer Ted Wheeler meets with Oregon Business Owners to Help Kick off #ShopYourValues

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - Treasurer Ted Wheeler meets with Oregon Business Owners to Help Kick off #ShopYourValues.

Numerous restaurants, a busy farmer’s market, a quirky history, and it still hasn’t been “discovered” by Portlandia.


Read more




Small business owners discuss costs and benefits with Rep Keith Ellison and Council members, announce ‘Shop Your Values’ map


Read more


EVENT: MONDAY NOV. 23rd 8:30am


Tour businesses to talk about a city-wide earned sick and safe ordinance 

Read more

Jersey City and Elizabeth, NJ Pass Laws Expanding Access to Earned Paid Sick Days

 Tony Sandkamp (middle) and his team at Sandkamp Woodworks in Jersey City

In 2013, Jersey City became the first city in the state to pass a local ordinance -- allowing employees to earn paid sick days to use to recover from an illness or care for a sick or injured loved one. This past week, their City Council aimed to build on the success of the 2013 law and expand it to include part-time and temporary employees. With a 7-1 vote in favor, the City Council secured the right to choose between recovery and lost income for thousands of residents who were not previously covered by the 2013 law. 

The Jersey City policy wasn't just expanded because it is the right thing to do, it was expanded because it works. Mayor Steven Fulop told the Hudson Reporter, “We’re extremely proud that, in 2013, we made Jersey City the first city in the state – and the sixth in the country – to pass paid sick leave. Since then, we’ve seen how well the legislation has worked – for businesses and workers alike – and I couldn’t be prouder to see the City Council approve legislation expanding and strengthening this crucial policy.”

Main Street New Jersey leader Tony Sandkamp was vocal in support of the 2013 law and the 2015 expansion. He told the Council that the law helps him retain employees, and the cost to retrain employees is much harder to manage than the cost of offering earned paid sick days. “My employees don’t abuse these sick days and tend to save them for when they really need them. Without paid sick leave employees feel the financial pressure to come in sick and they could infect other employees. This would cost business even more,” said Sandkamp. 

Alliance member and owner of Lolo Organics Yonel Lettelier weighed in as well. “We have offered paid sick days to all our employees since the beginning,” said Lettelier. "As business owners we have to consider the human needs of our employees. If they are sick, or they need to care for a family member, they should not have to worry about not getting a paycheck.”

In Elizabeth, voters approved a ballot question that would grant over 25,000 of the city's workers the right to earn paid sick days. The Main Street Alliance of New Jersey endorsed the ballot measure and sent messages of support to over 10,000 voters. Elizabeth is now the 10th city in New Jersey to pass laws protecting workers and businesses.

New Jersey member Fariz Demiroski, owner of Bella Pizza in Elizabeth told reporters, "Tonight is a victory for Elizabeth's business owners as well as workers. When workers can earn paid sick days, they're more productive and less likely to spread germs to customers or coworkers. Earned sick days will be a big benefit to working families, small businesses, and Elizabeth as a whole."

Jersey City and Elizabeth join eight other cities in across the Granite State that have seen the benefit of earned paid sick day policies. Still, many municipalities across the state don't have such business-friendly protections in place. When cities fall behind on important issues like earned sick time workers and the business community suffer. The Main Street Alliance of New Jersey will continue to work with small business owners across the state to lift up their voices and encourage them to advocate for themselves and their communities.


Voices of Main Street Report Features Survey of Over 1000 Business Owners



1163 business owners were surveyed through one on one interviews in nine states. This diverse group of businesses was surveyed in both rural and urban settings on issues including; Tax Fairness, Paid Sick Days, Paid Family Leave, Minimum Wage, and Economic Development Incentives. Business sizes vary from 1 to 100+ employees, with the majority below 25 employees.  

Key findings:


  • Increasing consumer demand is what is needed most to create more jobs and get the economy back on track. Most small business owners report that more customers will help them to create more jobs, not having lower taxes or fewer regulations.
  • Big corporations should pay more taxes. They strongly support closing corporate tax loopholes. The majority of respondents said big corporations are paying less than their fair share of taxes. A strong majority responded that corporate tax loopholes are hurting their businesses and see closing corporate tax loopholes as a necessary revenue-raising opportunity, to be prioritized before making further budget cuts.
  • Economic development incentives aren’t working for small businesses. Most small business owners surveyed responded either that economic development incentives are giveaways to big business or that they had little to no knowledge or experience with them, with a vast majority never having accessed any.

"It is extremely difficult to compete with large corporations and their ability to dodge their tax responsibility is a huge reason for that." 
Maurice Rahming, O'Neill Electic, Portland, OR


  • Paid family leave. While a majority don’t currently offer paid family leave, most small business owners surveyed support a national paid family and medical leave program.
  • Earned paid sick days. While just over half don’t currently offer earned paid sick days to their employees, a majority of small business owners surveyed support a national earned paid sick days policy, like the Healthy Families Act.
  • Raising the minimum wage. An overwhelming majority believe that anyone working full-time deserves to be out of poverty.

"We support a plan for workers that provides at least a minimum standard of paid time off so that everyone can balance work, family, and their health."
Randy George, Red Hen Baking Co., Middlesex, VT


Main Street Members Applaud President Obama For Executive Order Allowing Federal Contractors to Earn Paid Sick Days

Issued and announced in an address delivered on Labor Day, President Obama executed another key piece of his agenda to support working families― an Executive Order granting federal contractors the ability to earn paid sick leave. By ensuring that federal contractors can earn up to 7 days of paid leave annually to care for themselves or family members, the administration seeks to, “Increase efficiency and cost savings in the work performed by parties that contract with the federal government.”

Increased efficiency and cost savings are among the reasons the members of the Main Street Alliance have supported local earned sick leave measures across the country and support the Healthy Families Act―national legislation aimed to make earned sick leave the national standard.

The Executive Order and President Obama’s remarks regarding its contents capture very simple and straight-forward principles that our members have championed for years, namely that inefficiencies in workflow and the cost of lost productivity are alleviated when workers are unencumbered by a health issue or that of a loved one.

Efficiency and productivity are of the utmost importance to both employer and worker and are fundamentally affected when an illness forces someone to go to work through fear of lost income, or worse, through fear of losing their job altogether.

Despite more obvious reasons for providing paid sick leave, i.e. hazards to the public involving communicable diseases, small business owners enjoy the benefits of a healthy and efficient workforce that knows their employer stands by them during their time of need. This trust and mutual appreciation between employees and ownership reduces turnover and effectively reduces cost of employee acquisition and development.

Read more

Oregon business leaders joined US Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez to discuss Paid Leave and Retirement Security


Photo credit:  Alexandra Gilliland

On Wednesday, August 26th Main Street Alliance of Oregon business leaders joined Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and Governor Kate Brown to welcome US Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez to Portland, Oregon. The visit was part of the Secretary’s “Shared Prosperity for a Stronger America Tour.” 

The morning began at the iconic White Stag building with a roundtable discussion on Oregon’s leadership role on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave. Secretary Perez commended The Main Street Alliance’s work nation-wide bringing together business owners under the shared belief that; investing in their employees, creating supportive work environments, and healthy cultures of trust are the keys to business success.

Read more

22nd Anniversary of the FMLA Reignites Call for a National Paid Family Leave Policy

In 1993 lawmakers on both sides of the aisle came together to enact the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 22 years ago today the FMLA was implemented and began providing workers with the ability to take time off to care for themselves, or a sick or injured loved one, without fear of losing their job.
The FMLA was the first legislation of its kind and it was the first step in creating a fair and family friendly workplace environment. Since the law was implemented on August 5th, 1993 FMLA benefits have been used over 200 million times, according to a study conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families.
While the policy has been a huge success, it only works for people who can afford it. Too many workers are unable to take advantage of their benefits due to the loss of income they would face while on leave. In fact, a Department of Labor study cited “financial impossibility” as the number one reason given when people were asked why they didn’t take leave that they were eligible for.
That is why Congress should pass the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMILY) Act to support families when they need it most.  Small contributions from the employee and the employer would ensure that the employee will receive a portion of their salary during their period of leave. Similar insurance programs are in place in California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island and they serve as a testament to the success of the policy.
In today’s economy households depend on multiple earners, and small businesses depend on families that can afford to shop for their goods and services. Providing an insurance policy that allows workers to continue receiving a paycheck while they; take time off to welcome a new member of the family, recover from an illness, or provide care for a sick or injured loved one is the right move for families, businesses, and our economy.
The FMLA serves as a model for what Congress can get done when they work across the aisle and lend bi-partisan support to legislation. Congress should reach across the aisle again and pass the FAMILY Act, ensuring that all workers who are eligible for protected periods of leave can afford to take it.


get updates