Main Street business owners Support Earned Sick and Safe Time, call Chamber-led lawsuit frivolous
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit today taking on the recently approved ordinance to provide paid sick leave to employees of all businesses operating in the city. When presented with a diverse set of opinions from the business community, the council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance, slated to go into effect in July of 2017.
Despite hearing the will of the small business community and witnessing the unanimous support of the Council, the Minnesota Chamber has elected to take legal action in a move that further delays implementation of an ordinance critical to the success of our small and mid-sized businesses, our employees, and our city.
“The ordinance that was passed represents a compromise that was negotiated and supported by a vast majority of our community, including small businesses like us,” said Andy Pappacosta, Events Coordinator at Gandhi Mahal and Main Street Alliance of Minnesota member. “This lawsuit is being led by a select number of businesses, and does not represent many small business owners who have deep roots in our community.”
“It is no surprise that the Chamber is throwing in a last-minute legal challenge,” said Danny Schwartzman, the owner of Common Roots Cafe and Catering and Main Street Alliance of Minnesota member. “Since the beginning, they and their allies including the Downtown Council, have tried to do all they can to stop paid sick time from moving forward. They have even been hesitant to acknowledge the reality of the problem that all too many residents in Minneapolis face -- with no access to even a very basic level of paid sick time. This a public health issue, an equity issue, and an economic justice issue and is a pressing one for our community. The Chamber presents no solution beyond the idea that businesses could voluntarily provide sick pay benefits, which is suggesting exactly the system we have now that fails so many low-wage workers and is bad for our community.”
“It’s unfortunate that the City will now have to fight a frivolous lawsuit to stop implementation of earned sick and safe time, rather than investing the necessary funding for outreach and communication, and technical support for businesses, which we need” said Jason Rathe, the owner of Field Outdoor Spaces and co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Minnesota.
“Cities across the country have passed similar sick time legislation, and we were glad to be a part of that movement,” said Kagalee “KB” Brown, the owner of Wolfpack Promotionals and co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Minnesota. “It is unfortunate the Chamber sees this as ‘unworkable and unlawful.' It’s clearly very workable, legal, and has been created to be flexible, not ‘one size fits all’.”