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Champion seeks to protect Safe and Sick Time

Bobby Joe Champion

Bobby Joe Champion

Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-59) is speaking out on behalf of workers in Minneapolis, offering his support for the Minneapolis Safe and Sick Time ordinance – an ordinance that is in danger at the state level.

“I strongly oppose the legislation that would strike down sick-leave mandates put in place by Minneapolis last year,” said Champion in a released statement. “The pre-emption measure would ban local employment regulation on minimum wage, unpaid leave and scheduling requirements. We fought hard for these benefits that help working families. We cannot allow legislators on the state level to take away local control and implement statewide standards that harm metro area workers.”

Champion said the Republican backed bill under consideration would prohibit the enactment of labor benefits at the local level. He said as written, the bill has three core components that prohibit local governments from establishing a minimum wage, requiring businesses to provide sick and safe time, establishing rules relative to benefits, terms of employment, or working conditions and the effective date would make the bill retroactive for ordinances that were enacted on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Minneapolis and St. Paul have implemented additional benefit policies for employees working within their territorial boundaries. A consortium of labor, business, local elected officials and social-based organizations fought for the leave benefits that passed in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Champion said the ordinances are supported by many small businesses and serve their communities well. In addition he said they help working families stay employed through a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave.

“This bill preempts local government ordinances and would deny paid sick days and living wages to thousands of metro workers,” said Champion in his statement. “Taking away local control for small business is an intrusion on small business and local elected decision makers rights. Communities should be able to maintain local controls that are pertinent to their neighborhoods.

According to Champion the proposed policies were pushed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and disempower communities to set wage and labor standards with no respect for local government decision.

“The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Business Partnership want to prohibit cities from enacting their own benefit requirements as outlined in this proposal. They argue that a patchwork of local ordinances is unworkable for small businesses and it makes it harder to do business in Minnesota,” said Champion.

February 13, 2017
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