The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today that all the usual business suspects are going to pump cash into an effort to fight the paid sick day referendum. The story further reveals that if they don’t get the result that they want on the referendum, that they will spend even more money by challenging the will of the people in the courts. So what is a person supposed to take from this news? That business interests are willing to invest their money in an expensive ad campaign and possibly a protracted lawsuit but not in their own employees and the public health? Are they really going to launch such an effort to keep some of the poorest workers in the city from having a benefit that most people take for granted?
The business interests involved in the fight against paid sick days list all of the same talking points that they have always used when asked to invest more into their employees and the common good. This story is no exception, once again they claim that requiring paid sick days will put people out of business and chase others businesses from the city. How many times have we had to endure this tired old argument? It is straight out of central casting but they have simply replaced the last issue with paid sick days.
For example, we constantly hear that raising the minimum wage is bad for business even though the actual facts never bear out that argument. Just look at how many jobs were created and how well businesses did in the 1990’s even though there was a raise in the minimum wage. There is a long list of examples of just how wrong business interests have been when they have made such dire predictions in the past. Many of them involve benefits and protections that we now take for granted like workman’s comp, unemployment insurance, and various other labor and safety standards. Very few of these things came without a fight which usually included the same sort of doom and gloom that currently surround the rhetoric from business on paid sick days.
Despite the usual arguments from the usual suspects, requiring paid sick days has not been the death nail for business in other communities. San Francisco has done quite well since they passed their paid sick days referendum. Opponents of paid sick days can launch a costly ad buy and court battle if they really want to, but lets just hope that they finally change their tired script because the old stand by is getting’¦well’¦quite sickening.