Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Lost in all the coverage surrounding the Buckhorn controversy at Tuesday’s Franklin Common Council was the Council’s action on Alderman Steve Olson’s proposed resolution to ban the type of sick leave mandates now in effect in the city of Milwaukee, Washington D.C., and bleeding heart liberal San Francisco.
A motion was made to review Olson’s proposal further because that’s the way we do things in Franklin, folks. We think about it, and think about it, and think about it, and think about it some more. Or it’s quite possible those who wanted to delay taking action really WANT to impose the very liberal sick leave mandate upon Franklin employers.
Gee. A true conservative, not a phony one pretending to be a conservative would never want to do that, would he/she?
There was plenty of discussion about the job-killing sick leave mandate when it went into effect in beads and sandals country, San Francisco. Here’s an excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle:
“San Francisco resident Katherine Redenius voted for the law because she'd felt the pain of such a trade-off. A few days after starting work at the St. Francis Market in the West Portal neighborhood last year, she needed surgery. She missed a week of work and pay.
‘I voted for it because if I get sick again, like I was last year, I would not be able to pay my rent,’ said Redenius, 23. ‘Rent is the scary thing.’
But Redenius also sympathizes with her boss, grocery store owner Venkat Tangirata. Like Christiane Schmidt, Tangirata was unaware of the pending law until informed by a reporter this week. He doesn't provide paid sick leave or paid vacation to his four full-time employees, but he will have to starting Feb. 5.
‘We don't have large margins in the grocery business,’ Redenius said. ‘This will hurt. If we increase our prices to cover this, will customers come back or will they just go to chain shops like Safeway or Wal-Mart that are able to pressure vendors for lower prices? This is not fair for us, especially when the minimum wage is also going up.’
Although the new law affects all firms with employees in San Francisco, its impact is likely to be felt most strongly by small businesses, especially retailers and restaurants. Big corporations often provide some form of paid sick leave already, and they have large personnel and accounting departments that can figure out how to track employees' accrued sick leave.
Some small-business owners say that the sick leave law by itself isn't a problem: It's the combination of sick leave with other city mandates. San Francisco's minimum wage just rose to $9.14, which is higher than the statewide minimum of $7.50. The city levies a 1.5 percent tax on businesses with payrolls over $166,667. And in July, San Francisco will start phasing in a new requirement that companies with 20 or more workers spend at least $1.11 per hour per employee on health coverage.
‘Between this sick leave law and raising the minimum wage, pretty soon the only ones who can afford to do business in the city will be chains,’ said Richard Crain, owner of the Village Grill, a restaurant with nine employees down the street from the St. Francis Market. ‘How can we afford this? You can only charge so much for a hamburger, and then people will stop coming. I'm 52 and was hoping to do this until I retire, but the city is going to force me out of business.’”
That was 2007. Fast forward to NOW. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick McIlheran correctly writes about the devastating impact a sick leave mandate will have:
“Employers will no more sit still for this hunt than do deer. Take Capitol Stampings, which employs about 90 people on the north side. The owners also own a couple of plants in Hartford. They're seeking a big contract, says President Gary Wenzel, one that could mean six new hires.
But the ordinance makes Milwaukee workers more expensive - another $100,000 a year for Capitol, Wenzel estimates. ‘We'd very strongly consider moving that work,’ said Wenzel. He'd rather not: He serves on a group promoting the 30th St. industrial corridor. Still, ‘we just can't pass that on to our customers,’ not when the plant competes with China.”
Thus, a lawsuit has been filed to try to stop the chilling effect on our already struggling economy the sick leave mandate would create.
The sick leave mandate is a horrible idea that will cost employers and will cost jobs. The sooner the Franklin Common Council adopts its ban on sick leave mandates, the better.