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MMAC Lawsuit- Too Little, Too Late

Jan. 13, 2009
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It seems to be the progressive (read: liberal) modus operandi is to provide citizens protection from themselves. As the eye of the nanny state falls on outdoor smoking, cell phones and driving, and the types of cars GM should produce, it has turned blind to the sick-pay ordinance passed in Milwaukee- one of the most heinous acts the citizenry has ever perpetrated upon itself.

On November 4th, 2008, City of Milwaukee voters decided to give themselves nine paid sick days every year. The ordinance was placed on the Nov. 4th ballot for a reason. Voter turnout was expected to be higher than usual, even higher than in recent presidential elections. Minorities were expected to come out in force to support the first minority presidential candidate from one of the two major political parties. It was an easy vote for most- who wouldn't want more time off work? Unfortunately, many factors were not taken into consideration by voters when they validated this destructive and ill-conceived ordinance.

The first and most important factor overlooked by voters is that paid sick leave is a benefit that is earned. Becoming a salaried employee is a privilege granted after one has proved themselves to be a hard and diligent worker. Becoming a salaried employee also means that when you call in sick or go on vacation, you often if not always need to complete your assigned duties before you leave or when you return to work. The paid sick leave ordinance has decreed that part-time workers such as waiters, bartenders, and Walgreen's cashiers will get paid if they call in sick. The employer will still have to pay to have the work done, because these employees have time-specific duties that must be done at the time they were originally scheduled. A waitress cannot come in tomorrow to wait on tonight's customers. Thus, the restaurant owner is forced to pay twice for the same job. That is simply not fair, and it is not the place of the city of Milwaukee voters to force it on the business owners that employ them.

The second factor to examine with regard to the paid sick leave ordinance is the way that Mayor Tom Barrett reacted to the proposed ordinance. While he "applauded" the hard work of 9to5.org and the other organizations that worked to get the binding referendum on the ballot, he opposed the ordinance as being bad for Milwaukee. Barrett, like other weak-kneed politicians in Milwaukee, worried that enacting this only in the City of Milwaukee would create an economic island that employers would avoid. To paraphrase- "Don't do this horrible thing to my city, do it to my whole state- don't create a small island of economic deterrents, create a large one!" What is bad for Milwaukee is obviously bad for Wisconsin, bad for the Midwest, bad for the country, and bad for North America. The scale doesn't matter if it is a bad idea. In a global economy, only a global paid sick-leave ordinance would be fair to local businesses. China doesn't seem ready to enact something like this ordinance…

Third, there's the honesty factor. The ordinance was worded deceptively, making it seem like providing up to NINE DAYS of paid sick-leave would be free for the employers of Milwaukee. It is not free, and the citizens of Milwaukee will ultimately pay the price when our choices in retail, restaurants, bars, etc. are limited as employers choose to leave the city. R.I.P., Heinemann's.

This essay was supposed to be about the MMAC lawsuit challenging the paid sick-leave ordinance. MMAC is simply crying over milk that it spilt on its dues-paying members. MMAC should be absolutely ashamed of its leadership, the leadership that sat on its hands while this ordinance was passed, and is now using lawyers to challenge what is obviously the will of the people. Where were the printed materials opposing the ordinance, where were the mailings, the seminars, the emergency meetings- BEFORE THE VOTE? MMAC is a dinosaur, serving the mega-corps in the city and leaving the small business owner to fend for him or herself. That's not to cast aspersions on the mega-corps- we need them too. However, the small business owner is woefully unprepared for the cost or the added administrative headaches of this ordinance. Lawsuit or no, MMAC left these small business owners out in the cold when they really needed their association of commerce to serve and protect them.


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