Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly recap of retail-related legislative, judicial developments – Nov. 5
Federal – As Democrats continue to press for minimum wage increases on the campaign trail, Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, reiterated the administration’s position against any increase to the federal minimum wage.
New Jersey – Several legislators introduced a bill in the general assembly to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15/hr by 2023 with no exemptions. Other legislation has been introduced that would eliminate the state’s tip credit. Negotiations continue between the administration and legislative leadership. The governor prefers no exemptions and the senate president has discussed the need for specific provisions regarding farm workers and youth.
Miami Beach, FL – The state attorney general, along with several business groups, filed briefs with the state supreme court arguing that a lower court ruling should be upheld. The ruling in question found that Miami Beach’s 2016 ordinance raising the minimum wage above the state minimum violates state law. The court has yet to schedule oral arguments in the case.
Washington, DC – Supporters of Initiative 77 announced their intent to hold a referendum in response to the city council’s decision to repeal the measure. The voter-approved initiative would have eliminated the city’s tipped wage but the city council chose to repeal it. If successful, the backer’s referendum would place the issue on a future ballot for a second vote. Supporters must collect 25,000 valid signatures before the mandatory 30-day congressional review period concludes. That time frame could be several months as the review period is thirty Congressional calendar days and Congress is in recess until after midterm elections.
Ford – The automaker expanded its paid leave policy for salaried employees. The company is now offering up to eight weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child with an additional 16 weeks of paid disability for birth mothers.
Philadelphia, PA – A city council committee passed the proposed fair workweek scheduling bill with a 6-2 vote. The language was amended from a 14-day period to 10 days for advanced notice of schedule changes. Employers will be subject to penalty pay for any changes within that 10-day window. The full council is expected to vote on the bill Nov. 29 and additional amendments could be considered.
Chicago, IL – The city council unanimously approved legislation creating a local Office of Labor Standards. The new agency will be tasked with enforcing the city’s labor laws including wage and paid leave violations.
NLRB – The National Labor Relations Board extended the public comment period for the proposed joint employer rulemaking for an additional 30 days to Dec. 13.
Google – On Nov. 1., Google employees from around the world participated in an organized walkout in objection to the company’s handling of several recent high-profile sexual harassment cases. The organizers released a list of demands and intend to organize more walkouts if management does not respond in a meaningful way, addressing what they view as issues related to the company’s culture.
McDonald’s – The company announced a new benefit for their workers. The campaign, “Where You Want To Be,” connects interested employees with mentors that have expertise in varying fields of work. The company announced that the new benefit is an extension of existing career and education-related benefits, including tuition assistance and reimbursement.
San Francisco, CA – The city’s most vocal members of the business community (largely tech leaders) are publicly split on a ballot initiative that would tax large businesses to raise revenue for homeless services. The Mayor also opposes the tax, citing the impact it could have on job growth in the area. The measure resembles a Seattle “head tax” designed to address homelessness (dubbed the Amazon tax). It drew national attention before the city quickly scuttled it under pressure from the united business community. Voters will have the final say on Election Day and other jurisdictions are likely to take cues from the outcome.
- With Election Day closing in, the president returned the media’s focus to a comfortable subject for him – the immigration issue. Last week he announced that he intends to challenge birthright citizenship through executive action and send troops to the U.S./Mexico border. Those announcements dominated cable news television coverage and political conversation for days, demonstrating that he will continue to use his bully pulpit to touch back to the immigration issue to fire up his base. Employers need to be cognizant of this dynamic because they may find themselves demonized as part of this conversation in the future.
- The walkout by Google workers last week further demonstrates the increasing power of employee activism and brands, regardless of the industry, are realizing that employees are a volatile political constituency, much like their consumers and elected representatives. Google has been forced to take significant action as a result of pressure from their workers, not public opinion or political leaders. All employers need to understand this emerging dynamic.
- Early voting numbers indicate this could be the highest turnout midterm election in decades. Historically, that has been good news for Democrats but many pundits are tempering their prognostications this cycle. There is however little doubt that Democrats will make gains at the federal and state level because Republicans, particularly at the state level, are at a “high water mark.” Expect Democrats to make significant gains in a number of states – including states with large restaurant footprints – shifting the political dynamics.
Legislature Status for Week of 11/5/18
- The United States Senate is on recess this week
- The United States House is on recess this week
- Three state legislatures are meeting actively this week:
- MA, MI, & NJ
Check out our Working Lunch podcast each week that includes further analysis into these legislative issues, policy, politics and much more. You can find Working Lunch on the Nation’s Restaurant News website, or by clicking here, and when you download the podcast and subscribe on iTunes here.
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