MSA NJ small business owner, Dan Preston on health care & small business. Originally posted as a Letter to the Editor on November 2, 2018 in Burlington County Times.Read more
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.
Forty years ago Main Street Alliance of Florida member Charles McKinney made a mistake. A mistake he was reminded of every time he had to answer 'yes' on the criminal conviction question on job applications.
Now the owner of Trinity Laundry in Eatonville, Charles supports local efforts to remove the criminal conviction question from applications. He is calling on the President to take executive action on fair-chance hiring; expanding employment opportunities with federal agencies and contractors.
Breaking down barriers to employment with the federal government, the nation's largest employer, will reduce unemployment and increase consumer spending. The President has the opportunity to create a culture of fair-chance hiring that would support businesses, like Charles's, that are trying to do the right thing for their community.
Read Charles's full story featured in the Huffington Post.
Being a small business owner for 25 years has taught Deborah to value her employees and paying them a livable wage is the best thing she can do to support that effort. Deborah noted a 60% increase in sales resulting from increased productivity in her shop after implementing a $15.00/hr starting wage for her employees. Main Street Alliance members know that Raising The Wage helps small business and puts more money back into our communities.
National Executive Committee Member Kelly Conklin Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Stay focused on the goal, which is to make sure every American has access to high quality health care. That was National Executive Committee Member Kelly Conklin’s message to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) during the “Small Business Health Care Challenges and Opportunities” roundtable. Conklin, Owner and CEO at Foley Waite Associates in Bloomfield, New Jersey is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and he provided testimony on how the healthcare law currently works for business owners like him and how it should be developed to ensure it works for all small business owners.
At the Main Street Alliance we believe the Affordable Care Act is an important and crucial step forward for millions of Americans in gaining access to affordable healthcare coverage, but we know it can be improved upon. Kelly provided the perspective of a small business owner in New Jersey who purchases health insurance in a small group market. He laid out examples of what has worked and what hasn’t worked, and shared his policy recommendations with the committee.
His recommendations included; expanding tax credits available to small business owners, incorporating regional costs of living when determining subsidies, technological improvements in the SHOP exchange market place, and expanding Medicaid. He insisted that these changes are made while maintaining the robust consumer protections and oversight written into the law.
“Until every American has a card in their purse or wallet that guarantees access to a doctor- any doctor, anywhere, until emergency rooms only serve emergency patients and not emergency patients and the uninsured, I and my employees will pay too much for too little,” said Conklin
To see the full video of the Senate Committee Hearing visit: http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/small-business-health-care-challenges-and-opportunities
Many gathered in front of City Hall, yet Congresswoman Bonamici did not go downstairs to meet with the group. Business owners and community members rallied for about 30 minutes and headed up to her office. Representative from the rally politely entered City Hall, and went to deliver their message to her staff because the Congresswoman would not meet with them face-to-face.
Patty Katz, an Organizer with The Main Street Alliance of Oregon, delivered a copy of an Op-Ed from Mark Kellenbeck, Co-Chair of The Main Street Alliance of Oregon and Co-owner of BrainJoy, LLC in Medford. The Congresswoman was asked what happen to change her mind about standing up for small business and Oregonians as a whole.
The group asked, “What is in it for Oregonians? Why does Congresswoman Bonamici support the TPP?”
Congresswoman Bonamici’s staff were cordial to the group, and over 25 delivered different letters and other documents all with the same requests: “Say NO to Fast Tracking the TPP!”
Today the Los Angeles City Council heard testimony on raising the minimum wage in the city to as high as $15.25 an hour and The Main Street Alliance of California’s own Kevin Litwin provided comment in support of raising the wage. Watch his testimony here: https://youtu.be/C2kEs8D3ZIY
“I am the Chief Operating Office at Joe’s Parking, and a member of the Main Street Alliance. Together we are support raising the L.A. minimum wage to $15.25. When Joe’s Auto Parks was founded in 1959 minimum wage was just $1 an hour. We didn’t pay the minimum then, and we don’t pay the minimum now. For over 50 years we have been committed to offering fair wages and attracting the best and brightest employees to manage our locations. That is how we grew to one of the largest operations here in downtown L.A. We strongly hope you pass this and raise the wage to $15.25” said Litwin.
The Council chambers were packed with over 100 residents of the city, most of whom supported the minimum wage increase, and dozens of workers and community leaders provided comment echoing Kevin's support.
After hearing the support and concerns of those in attendance the Council turned in a 14-1 vote in favor of raising the city’s wage to $15 gradually over the next 5 years. The legislation will move on to a full Council vote next week before being written into law. The first wage bump will occur in July of 2016 when wages will rise to $10.60 an hour on their way to $15 by 2020.
Working Families Champions of Change event highlights importance of paid sick days and paid family leave policies
Washington, D.C. – The White House today honors Randy George, as part of its Working Families Champions of Change event. George was recognized for his work to improve the lives of working families in Vermont.
“Our 42 employees are at the core of everything we do – the heart of Red Hen.” George said, “That is why my wife Liza and I insist on providing paid sick days, an equal and livable wage, health coverage, and other benefits that help everyone balance the work they love with the life they lead. Through these workplace policies, we know we’re making our employees more secure, our bakery more productive, and our business more profitable.”
“Through our work in past years to establish a standard of earned paid leave in Vermont, several business owners have stepped forward and stood out as models of great employers and none so much Randy and Liza,” said Lindsay DesLauriers, VT State Director of Main Street Alliance. “Every time I buy a Red Hen baguette, I know that it’s not just about a great product or even about supporting a local business – I know that I’m investing in the kind of Vermont I want to live and work in.”
“Randy George is a true leader in the fight for paid sick days and paid family policies and has taken great strides to move these policies forward in Vermont,” said Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work. “We’re proud of Randy for this well-deserved honor, paving the way for national standards, until no one has to choose between providing and caring for their families.”
In Vermont, H. 187, the Healthy Workplaces Bill, is currently being debated in the General, Housing and Military Affairs. The bill is expected to be voted out of committee this week, and come to the floor next week. The bill establishes a minimum standard of access of three earned sick days for the first two years after implementation, and then increases to five.
These wins come on the heels of President Obama’s call in the State of the Union address for the U.S. to catch up with the 21st century and other world leaders on paid leave. These issues are also being addressed by presidential hopefuls as the 2016 campaigns get underway.
Tune in live TODAY at 12:15!
Family Values @ Work is a network of coalitions in 21 states, including Main Street Alliance of Vermont, working to pass policies that value families at work such as paid sick days and affordable family leave.
The Main Street Alliance of Vermont is an organization 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.
Small business owners: We’re proud to be American businesses and proud to pay our fair share of taxes
**Small Business Owners Available for Comment**Washington, D.C. –– With Tax Season in full swing, business owners and working families across the country are standing together, proud to live, work, and support the United States and their local communities. Small business owners across the country know that their tax dollars go to support the communities that help to make their businesses thrive. Investments in our schools, public infrastructure, safety, and much more depend on everyone paying their fair share of taxes.
Despite relying on American customers and taxpayers for their profitability, many large businesses have recently decided to undertake a so-called “corporate tax inversion,” made possible by a loophole in the tax code that allows American companies to reincorporate in a foreign country when just 20% of its stock is owned outside of the United States.
In response, today over 500 business owners, The Main Street Alliance (MSA), and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) have pledged to remain in the US, and not abandon their country.
“As a small business owner, I’m grateful for my country and community, they’ve helped my business thrive for over 32 years,” said Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Oregon. “I’m proud to pay my fair share of taxes to help keep my community healthy and strong. My tax dollars help pay for roads and bridges, schools and teachers, and all other public services that my business, and my customers, depend on. Big corporations should do the same and pay their fair share for all the services that helped them build their abundant profits.”
Business owners across the country—and political spectrum—overwhelmingly support closing corporate tax loopholes, like ones that allow for inversions, rather than making more cuts. Small business owners are calling for their Legislatures—and Congress—to close tax loopholes that allow businesses to extract wealth from our communities.
"For us, being a community business means paying our fair share of taxes" , Said Fausto Rodriguez, manager of Woodside Medical Clinic in Jackson Heights, Queens, "Tax inversions are simply an unfair way for larger corporations to take from the communities where they are without giving back. After everything our community here has done for us after 26 years here, it would be inconceivable to betray them by claiming a corporate office overseas."
###The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions. MSA and its state affiliates create opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies. www.mainstreetalliance.org
The American Sustainable Business Council and its member organizations represent more than 165,000 businesses nationwide, and more than 300,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and investors. ASBC informs and engages policy makers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant and sustainable economy. www.asbcouncil.org
Read the report here: Paid Sick Time in Oregon, March 2015