Open Letter to the VT Legislature:
It came to our attention that earlier this week a number of business associations contacted you to register their opposition to H.187, the new Healthy Workplaces bill that would establish a minimum standard of earned paid leave for all Vermonters.
We are writing to offer a different perspective. We understand that it is the job of most associations representing business concerns to object to regulations. As individual business owners running our businesses here in Vermont, we feel that this proposal has struck a balance that will work for us and still provide support to working Vermonters who aren’t currently fortunate enough to work for businesses that provide paid time to their employees.
Many of us on this list came to support this issue this year as result of the work that was done to ensure that this new proposal was modest and flexible for businesses. We support this proposal as a middle ground solution to a clearly identified need. 60,000 Vermonters currently don’t have any paid time off whatsoever and this hurts Vermont’s families and is bad public health policy. We aren’t just employers, we are members of our communities and H.187 will work for all of us.
Among the business owners who have voiced personal objections to this proposal, most already provide paid time to their employees. Most of us who are signing this letter of support also provide paid time off to our employees, but some of us do not. All of us support this proposal and the creation of a base-line level playing field for employers and employees alike.
Speaking as business owners and employers who are running businesses of all sizes and across several industries, we do not hesitate to reassure you that the modest standard of earned paid leave, as proposed in H.187, can easily be integrated with the minimum wage to ensure that all working Vermonters have stable income and manage their health.
We, the undersigned, strongly encourage you to support and pass the new Healthy Workplaces bill.
Melinda Moulton CEO Main Street Landing Burlington
Eric Warnstedt Hen of the Wood Restaurants Burlington and Waterbury
Caleb Magoon, PowerPlay Sports Morrisville
Randy George Red Hen Bakery Middlesex
Eliza Cain Red Hen Bakery Middlesex
Wayne Nelson L.N. Consulting, Inc. Winooski
Joseph Cicotta LineSync Architecture Wilmington
Julie Lineberger LineSync Architecture Wilmington
Nancy Braus Everyone’s Books Brattleboro
Jennifer Chiodo CX-Associates Burlington
Kay Curtis Happy Hands Learning Center Brattleboro
Janet Carscadden Evolution Yoga and Physical Therapy South Burlington
Brent Farrell Vitality Vending Essex Junction
Kathryn Grana Montgomery and Merrill PC Burlington
Marc Sherman Outdoor Gear Exchange Burlington
Andrew Brewer Onion River Sports Montpelier
Geo Honigsford Hurricane Flats Farm South Royalton
Donald Babcock The Bookmobile Rutland
Stephanie Hainley Business and Professional Women Burlington
Ruthellen Weston The Bookmobile Rutland
Tiffany Silliman-Cohen Silliman Massage and Bodywork Burlington
Beth Sachs VT Energy Investment Corp. Burlington
Wes Hamilton Three Penny Tap Room, The Mule Bar, and Mad Taco in Montpelier, Winooski, and Waitsfield
Marcia Merrill Montgomery and Merrill PC Burlington
Colleen Montgomery Montgomery and Merrill PC Burlington
Paul Millman Chroma Technology Bellows Falls
Michele Kropp Gringo Kitchens Manchester, VT
Kiki McShane Fucci Associates Rutland
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Main Street Alliance of Vermont Disappointed at the Slow Down of Universal Healthcare.
Main Street Alliance of Vermont was disappointed to hear that the Governor will not recommend a financing plan for Green Mountain Care to the legislature this year. We are disappointed about the delay and disappointed that the opportunity for stakeholder involvement wasn’t more ubiquitous sooner. We continue to want to move forward to find a plan for universal healthcare that could work and regret that the opportunity to participate in finding a timely solution to the financing challenge as it was presented on Wednesday has been withheld.
We agree and understand that the economy is struggling and we believe that universal healthcare decoupled from employment is an essential ingredient to the success of Vermont’s economy and to supporting small businesses and their employees. We know that in the long run, a truly universal healthcare system, done right, will save Vermont money.
Our current healthcare system continues to be unsustainable and unaffordable for small businesses and for Vermont. Private insurance companies continue to earn large profits while Vermonters struggle to pay for healthcare. Many of Vermont’s small businesses are still unable to afford the high cost of providing health insurance to their employees, and many therefore don’t have access the care they need. The problems we set out to solve remain.
We are closer than we’ve ever been before thanks to all the work that has been done in Vermont to date. The small business owners with whom we work want the opportunity to work with the legislature and the administration to help find solutions to the challenges that the Governor identified and to keep Vermont moving forward this year in every practical and possible way toward the goal of universal healthcare in our state.
The Main Street Alliance is committed to elevating the voices of small business owners to advance public policies that are good for small businesses, our employees, and the communities we serve.
Founding Board Members: Wayne Nelson, L.N. Consulting in Winooski, Melinda Moulton, CEO of Main Street Landing in Burlington, Trudy Trombley, The Boutique at Stowe Mercantile and Truly Trudy’s Cosmetics in Stowe, and Eliza Cain, Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex
Historic practices and policies perpetuate poverty pay in jobs typically worked by women and people of color
Seattle, WA - During this season of abundance, many full-time workers don’t earn enough for a single person to survive, much less to support a family. The staggeringly low percentage of women and people of color earning a living wage in the US is especially distressing.
“Equity in the Balance,” a new report by The Alliance for a Just Society, was released today by The Main Street Alliance. The report details just how few women and people of color in the US make a living wage – enough income to cover basic expenses of a full time worker and their family, with some money left over for savings.
Only 61% of all full-time workers in the US earn a wage that will allow them to make ends meet. Even more troubling, only 57% of women, and just 52% of the latino community make this living wage.
“It is a fundamental American value, if you work full-time you should be able to support yourself and your family,” said Stephen Michael, Campaigns Manager of The Main Street Alliance. “Small business owners agree that if you’re working full-time, you shouldn't be living in poverty. We know that when our employees are earning more, they have more to spend in our local businesses, which boosts our entire economy."
For more than 200 years, policies and practices in the U.S. have perpetuated low wages in jobs and industries primarily worked by women and people of color. Women of color particularly struggle, making difficult choices to provide for their children.
“A system that unjustly and persistently leaves people of color overrepresented in low wage work is tantamount to economic racism,” said Jill Reese, associate director for Alliance for a Just Society. “And, policies that keep women over-represented among low-wage workers is gender discrimination.”
It’s time that lawmakers change history, raise the minimum wage and ensure that all have access to paid sick days to assure that all full time work pays enough for a family to do more than barely survive – that workers earn an actual living wage that helps families thrive.
- Invest in state and federal safety net programs, such as childcare assistance. Until there are enough living wage jobs to go around for all household types, families will continue to face tough choices.
- Strengthen and enforce equal opportunity statutes, including affirmative action: Equal opportunity statutes were designed to help ensure that women and people of color are not discriminated against. However, enforcement of these policies isn’t consistent, leaving the statutes weak and ineffective.
- Guarantee paid leave that includes maternity leave and parental leave to care for sick children. Many workers risk losing their jobs or income, if they are too sick to come to work or if they need to care for a sick child
- Expand and Strengthen Social Security: Because women and people of color earn less, they are less able to save for retirement and forced to depend solely on Social Security.
“Equity in the Balance” is the second in the 2014 Job Gap Economic Prosperity Series. Alliance for a Just Society has produced a Job Gap Study on jobs and wages since 1999.
Data from the Alliance’s Job Gap Study has figured prominently in debates on minimum wage, paid sick days, payday lending, Medicaid and other family economic issues.
This post originally appeared at the Main Street Alliance of Oregon blog.
Portland, OR — This past Saturday, October 11th, Leaders with The Main Street Alliance of Oregon gathered in Portland to reflect on our past work and plan for the future of the movement. We’re confident that together we can continue to raise the voices of small business, working to change the way that we think about business.
Leaders from across the state joined together to think-big about the future of The Main Street Alliance, how we can build more support for Main Street businesses, and how we can continue to provide opportunities to lift up the real stories from Oregon small business owners who understand that they’re working families too.
Main Street leaders agree that the time has come for a paradigm shift. We’re working together to lift up the voices of small business owners across Oregon and the U.S., and reclaim our voices from the Big Business spacial interest groups who stole them years ago.
There is a groundswell of support for common sense work place protections like access to paid sick days, affordable health care, and secure retirement savings options. Main Street business owners know that when we provide basic standards like these, pay living wages to our working families, and ensure that the women working in our businesses are earning equal pay for equal work, our communities and small businesses thrive.
Here at The Main Street Alliance of Oregon, we’re looking forward to the growing number of supportive businesses in Oregon and across the country. We’re looking forward to reclaiming our small business voice! Join us!