Hodges backs off on calls for a fair-scheduling ordinance

MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig
Hodges: “I have heard from many people, including many business owners, that the issue is complicated and that more time is needed to engage in this important issue.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Wednesday said she will back off on her calls for a fair-scheduling ordinance and concentrate on passing mandatory paid sick leave.

Hodges said in a statement released just after noon that concerns raised by business people will take longer to resolve than the current timetable for passage allows. Hodges and City Council backers of the Working Families Agenda have said they want the ordinances to be voted on by the end of 2015.

The council can pursue the issue without the mayor’s support but her decision not to support a higher minimum wage in Minneapolis alone made that issue less politically tenable. And Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden said she agrees with the mayor’s decision.

The council has asked city staff to pursue formal oridances on fair scheduling and sick leave. Glidden said staff will procede only with the sick leave issue and a public hearing set for Nov. 4 will take place on that issue.

A comment period on both issues ends Friday.

Hodges, who announced her plan at her state of the city speech in April, said she will continue to push for the paid sick leave plan as well as a city emphasis on helping enforce laws against “wage theft” — not paying workers for hours worked or other violations of fair wage laws.

“I will also work actively to ensure the passage of policies to provide earned sick and safe time, and further protections against wage theft,” the statement said. “And I continue to believe that our future prosperity depends on our ensuring that our growth includes everyone.”

But it was fair scheduling — requiring advance notice of work schedules and requiring extra pay when schedules are adjusted or when scheduled work hours are canceled — that drew most of the criticism from businesses, especially restaurant owners.

“I have heard from many people, including many business owners, that the issue is complicated and that more time is needed to engage in this important issue,” Hodges said. “I have heard many concerns, but I have also heard from many business leaders that they are committed to working together to find solutions,” she wrote in her statement.

“I have come to the conclusion that we are not in a position to resolve the concerns satisfactorily on the timeline currently contemplated,” Hodges wrote. “For this reason, I am announcing today that I am moving forward with the agenda to ensure earned sick and safe time and to protect against wage theft, and that for now, fair scheduling policies will not be the focus of the work.”

But the first-term mayor said she is not giving up her hopes of having a fair-scheduling ordinance in the city. Minneapolis would have been just the second city to have such a law, but a draft of the plan was far more sweeping and would have covered far more workers than San Francisco’s ordinance.

“Let me be clear: the inability of too many low-income, hourly, and part-time workers to plan their lives predictably in order to get ahead is still a problem in our city,” Hodges wrote. “We should not stop looking for a solution until it stops being a problem.

“I will continue to listen to and engage with businesses, workers, advocates, and residents to identify a policy solution around fair scheduling that works, and I thank everyone who has put their time and hard work into this important discussion.”

Unlike the fair scheduling issue, Minneapolis would be less of a pioneer on mandatory paid sick leave. According to A Better Balance, a proponent of the policy, four states, 19 cities and one county have paid sick leave laws.

Glidden, who chairs the Committee of the Whole that is to hear the issue and who was a co-sponsor of the fair-scheduling ordinance, said she knew Hodges was going to change course and agrees with the decision.

While Glidden said she still wants to address the underlying problem of unpredictable and last-minute scheduling for some workers, she said there needs to be more time to consider the details and avoid unexpected consequences.

“It is no secret that fair scheduling is a much-newer conversation and that people are not as familiar with it as they are with paid sick leave,” Glidden said. “It needs more time and conversation.”

Greta Bergstrom, communications director for TakeAction Minnesota, was critical of state business organizations for lobbying against the ordinances.

“The MN Biz Partnership tried to pass a local interference bill at the state Legislaure last session, which was ultimately defeated,” Bergstrom said.” This greenlighted the ability oflocal municipalities like Minneapolis to move forward on their own. Today we see this same oppostional influence working overtime to defeat worker-led scheduling protections in Minneapolis.”

Minneapolis Works, a coalition of community, labor and religious groups backing the changes, called the Hodges decision “incredibly disappointing” but said it would take her at her word that she would keep working on the issue.

“We should not stop looking for a solution until it stops being a problem,” the group said in a press statement. “In that spirit, we invite businesses of all sizes, workers and city leaders to come together to solve this crisis, not just shout down proposals.”

 

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Comments (65)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/14/2015 - 01:13 pm.

    I’d agree with the paid sick leave

    If they bring a note from their doctor.

  2. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/14/2015 - 01:18 pm.

    Let me be clear:

    As a liberal leaning, left wing kook I still find this Mayor to be totaling lacking anything that even resembles common sense and good judgement. The jobs available to many in the city revolve around a service economy: restaurants, sporting events, entertainment venues, etc… The need for these workers can fluctuate widely: based on the weather, how a team is doing, reviews of the entertainment entity being just a few factors. The idea that every work schedule must be posted a month in advance reflects the thinking of someone who just does not get the reality of life and must live in a 9-5 bubble of stability. Until the Mayor gets a handle on controlling the weather and how many runs the Twins score she should refrain from telling small (and large) businesses how to run: “let me be clear”

    The same lack of judgement can be seen as Chris Coleman scoots away with a 120 million dollar private investment in the new soccer field.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/14/2015 - 05:17 pm.

      Sorry, but There’s no LIBERAL in Your Attitude

      The restaurant industry hasn’t changed that much from back in the 1980s when I worked as a fry cook at a local Bridgeman’s restaurant while I was in seminary. Somehow, Bridgeman’s managed to post our schedules two weeks out.

      The difference was that sometimes they guessed wrong and took a hit in profits if we were overstaffed.

      The better of our two managers was always able to find useful work for excess staff to do.

      Now, owners of all sorts of business concerns want managers to wring every last penny of profit out of workers, equipment, facilities, and customers because they’re not satisfied to break even after staff (including managers and owners receive reasonable compensation).

      Those owners want to use their businesses as “get rich quick” schemes and their employees as the means to ever-greater fortunes for themselves.

      Profiting enough to massively pad their own pockets is their aim,…

      NOT providing a solid service to customers, reliable employment to workers, at a REASONABLE profit for themselves.

      There are, of course, still good owners and managers out there,…

      but they are looked down upon by the high-powered business leaders of this generation who, far too often, have bastardized their perspective on what a good business is,…

      until it would no longer be recognizable to the previous generation of solid, responsible, good-citizen business leaders,…

      who regarded such business leaders as those in charge of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and The Minnesota Business Partnership to be untrustworthy, disreputable, and “fly by night.”

      • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/14/2015 - 08:39 pm.

        So a Priest walked in to a Bridgeman’s…

        Bridgeman’s isn’t in business really any more. There are reasons for that.

        These regulations would hurt business owners in inverse relationship to the size of the business. The smallest owner operators, often start ups, would be impacted greatly while those who have more employees or franchises would be hurt least. When one employee in 500 calls in sick it is easier to deal with than if one in 10 does. The larger companies also can more easily afford the infrastructure to manage these regulations and attorneys needed to deal with complaints.

        I know a lot of people who have started small businesses that will work 100 plus hour weeks for years before they pay themselves as much per hour as their lowest paid employee. In fact, that is more often true than anything you describe. I have worked my entire career for small businesses started in Minnesota, most of whom dealt primary with other similar businesses, and have never encountered somebody like you describe. Most have risked invested everything they have, mind, body and wallet in order to provide products and services that you consume every day. That you vilify them so easily is disgusting. The “There are, of course still good owners and managers out there, …” smacks of the “I have friends who are black” line used by so many racists. Kind like, “Sure there are SOME people who went to seminary that didn’t molest children….”

        • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/15/2015 - 07:49 am.

          Bridgeman’s Died

          When the bogus “low fat” food craze started to take hold.

          Their entire menu was built on delicious but high fat foods, especially ice cream sundaes, malts and shakes, it was hard to adapt to what the public was being told would kill them at that time. Then, of course, there were the ownership/management issues at the executive level.

          As to small businesses, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Business Partnership couldn’t care less about small business startups, except for the ones that get big enough to compete with their own larger businesses in which case, their main interest is to buy them up and/or close them down.

          Meanwhile, if the current climate for small businesses makes it impossible or impractical to treat your workers decently and still make a profit, there’s something rotten in that environment. Treating workers badly damage their lives, the society we live in, and, ultimately, the economic base of customers upon which every business depends.

          The rules proposed in this ordinance could have been written to exempt ACTUAL small businesses (not the Chamber’s definition), but throwing them out completely just makes sure that workers in Minneapolis are treated, even by businesses that can well afford not to do so, as little better than slaves.

          • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 10/15/2015 - 12:09 pm.

            You must not be…

            a business owner. I have a few friends who own small businesses, with a couple in the restaurant industry. Those that are not in Minneapolis are glad because all the laws, taxes, and regulations to stay open are sad since our society is the most free on the planet is tough enough for them to overcome. The ones in Minneapolis absolutely hate all of what is being proposed because they are going to have to adsorb costs that aren’t just on what is proposed, but also all the paperwork that will come with it. They are making as little money as they are and have to scrape more because a bunch of people say so that have zero idea what it takes to run a business. And my friends are far from rich or even well to do. They save on the months they get more to cover for the months when the revenues are lean.

            The idea of vilifying people who provide jobs and add to our economy is just sad.

          • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/15/2015 - 12:16 pm.

            So much uninformed and unfounded hyperbole

            There were lots of other non-healthy options which survived just fine, DQ being one local example. Funny that in one post you praise the management in how they treated employees but then claim management was one of the reasons they went out of business. It is also interesting that the regulation against using beef fat for things like fries resulted in using a fry oil that has since been found to be worse for you. The impact of unintended consiquense around feel good regulation is law and inglorious.

            Your comments were not originally directed at specific business organizations but at business owners in general. Having worked for small local businesses, ranging from 8 to 300 people, my entire life I have never run in to an owner who views what they are doing as a get-rich-quick scheme or willfully treats any employees poorly. They have too much invested to be so cavalier about anything. Equating employment at any of these places to slavery shows you to be either complete dishonest or clueless about slavery. Having had many discussion with people who came to this country as refugees I can tell you the difference is more than significant and your use of the term here is another point showing your lack of understanding.

            Does a business face pressure to keep labor costs low. Of course. Does every job produce enough for it to feed a family for the person doing it? No. What you are suggesting is that the only jobs which should be done are those which produce enough for a person working 40 hours a week to raise a family. If that type of thinking were enforced none of the jobs in question would exist at all. Few people can spend $30 on a pizza while watching the game. The wealthy could but nobody else. The middle class would get hurt and the people you think you are helping would still be in the same situation.

            The idea that you can tell the difference between “actual” and not “actual” small businesses is farcical. Is a person who owns on regional franchise part of the real group? The world is complex and doesn’t react well to such simple minded black and white thinking. I know of many organizations who grow just to the point of meeting some arbitrary threshold defined by some clueless legislation. Make the limit of 10 locations and people will build that many and then build 10 more under a different flag. Make it 15 employees and all spaces will be sized to stay under that limit. The regulations you advocate never have the intended effect because the people you want to regulate are typically smarter than the people doing the regulation. Also, the business owner’s livelihood depends on it while those pontificating can do so without any good information or idea of what they are saying.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/15/2015 - 07:59 am.

        Really???

        Drive around the neighborhood business areas like 48th and Chicago, all along Central NE, 50th and Penn, 46th and Nicollet, Lake and Lyndale and then come back and tell me about how the owners of these small businesses fit your scenario of:

        “Those owners want to use their businesses as “get rich quick” schemes and their employees as the means to ever-greater fortunes for themselves.

        Profiting enough to massively pad their own pockets is their aim,..”

        As mentioned below, many of these owners who you project as massively rich titans of commerce are often unable even to pay themselves in struggling small businesses. Your thinking does help illustrate the thinking of Mayor Hodges. Unfortunately, you are both equally wrong.

  3. Submitted by Elsa Mack on 10/15/2015 - 04:27 pm.

    A good decision

    given the outcry against a set of rules that certainly would not have made sense for many businesses that see regular fluctuations of demand.

    Also: normally I try to lay my grammarian cap aside, but this article is in desperate need of a proofreader. There are errors in here that even a simple spellcheck would catch.

  4. Submitted by Tim Smith on 10/14/2015 - 03:22 pm.

    can’t afford cookie cutter laws

    It is time to support the employers right to choose what they do with their financial and economic body.

  5. Submitted by Matt Brillhart on 10/14/2015 - 04:23 pm.

    Paid sick leave is critical

    The paid sick leave is an absolutely “must do” component of this ordinance. Having spent nearly a decade in fast food management (’01-’09) the total lack of paid sick time benefits for low-wage, part-time employees is a major issue. Every worker, at any wage, in any industry should accrue *SOME* amount of paid sick leave proportional to hours worked. It’s absolutely criminal that our lowest paid workers are forced to decide between going to work sick or not collecting a paycheck – especially those working in the food industry!

    Hopefully they (Mayor, Council, and advocates) have not overshot the moon so far that they now cannot muster public support for paid sick time. In a perfect world, the majority of these policy proposals really ought to be addressed at the state (and national) level. But some of these policies, like paid sick leave, cannot wait. Minneapolis must again act as a leader – the rest of the state will soon follow as they have on other issues (smoking ban, etc.)

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/16/2015 - 09:50 am.

      Not to mention . . .

      Not to mention the times I have turned around and walked right back out of a restaurant because one or more of the people behind the counter handling the food were coughing or sneezing as they worked. But with no paid sick time off, what other choice did they have?

  6. Submitted by Joe Musich on 10/14/2015 - 09:13 pm.

    Well Citizen’s Alliance is …

    alive and well in Minneapolis. I understand meetings were held but who attended ? When was the Minneapolis population in it’s entirety asked their opinion. I am not sure the shift in the policy support is warranted if the total electorates was polled. Now if St.Paul were pass legislation requiring was is being attempted here in Miineapolis would not the worker look for employment in ST. Paul. The push back and political fallback will certainly crush worker loyalty in Minneapolis. Aren’t some business having problems with that already ? I guess no penny is left unpinched with this effort to marginalize the life of the worker. And yet taxes go up in this city !

  7. Submitted by joe smith on 10/14/2015 - 11:16 pm.

    Bad ideas that become law have never worked. Thank goodness they backed off “fair” scheduling before it cost many workers their job and caused small businesses to fold. I’m waiting for one small business owner to back this idea, when everybody who runs a small business does not agree with a regulation folks in charge, who have never run a small business, should listen.

    • Submitted by Beth Daniels on 10/15/2015 - 11:47 am.

      Small business owner who backs this law

      I’m a small business owner and I back the tenets of fair scheduling, sick leave, living wage, and no wage theft. Human decency trumps the naysayers. Businesses have responsibilities to the community and to their employees. The city has responsibilities to all its community members — whether they are employers or employees. It may take a little longer to work out the details, but these basics of fair employment will become the way of doing business.

      • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 10/15/2015 - 12:16 pm.

        Fair employment is based on an agreement, not mandate

        The only thing the government needs to step in on ‘fair employment’ is for the safety of the employees. Employers and employees engage in an agreement of work for pay and benefits. Everyone works at-will. Employers can hire to what they want to give and employees are free to work for what is set or they are free to leave. Fair scheduling, wage limitations, and sick leave are not part of that.
        Employers obviously gain better and more reliable employees when they offer more. Leave it to them in how they want to run their business. No one is making their employees stay at those jobs. State law even says so.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/17/2015 - 09:35 am.

          Yes and No

          Not all employees are “at will” employees, those with labor contracts i.e. unionized labor are not “at will” employees, AND those employees negotiate wage agreements.

          The problem with your scenario is that whenever one of two parties in any situation can say: “take it or leave it” there can be no “agreement”. Your scenario assumes for some reason that employer mandated employment terms are product of some kind of free market when in fact they’re the product of leveraged power… the exact opposite of “agreement”. There’s nothing “free” about choosing to be unemployed or poorly employed.

          • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/18/2015 - 09:44 am.

            Nor can one…

            Nor can a business operate without labor. Your scenario doesn’t describe any inherent difference in power. While it might have held more weight in the times shortly after the industrial revolution when Marx used those thoughts so famously and people were transitioning in to jobs in factories that were hugely expensive to build. It holds less power now in an economy driven primarily by intellectual accomplishments and service. Especially when one area that would be primarily effected by these rules, food service, has a shortage of labor. Any even marginal cook, dish-washer or server can walk out of one job and get one at the next place down the street almost immediately. Also the state unemployment rate (if you choose to believe the official numbers) is almost to functionally zero.

            Besides, it seems disingenuous to complain about “leveraged power” when advocating for the use what is the ultimate manifestation of it through government regulation.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 10/15/2015 - 02:02 pm.

        I stand corrected, there is one. My bad!

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/15/2015 - 09:25 am.

    Well, here’s the thing…

    Some off the biggest complaints are coming from restaurants so let’s lay this out: The complaint is that restaurants are tough businesses to start and competition is fierce thus crunching margins. But: 1) What we really have is a relatively small number of restaurateurs opening and owning multiple restaurants, not hundreds of entrepreneurs trying to open individual restaurants.2) It’s hard to make a claim that what our community really NEEDS is 20-30 more restaurants. 3) Neither restaurateurs or anyone else are really doing the community any favors when they create jobs paying less than living wages. We as tax payers have to make up the difference by subsidizing they’re low wages with food stamps, health care, affordable housing vouchers, etc.

    There seems to be this weird assumption among some “business” people that they’re entitled to the lowest paid workforce they can get, or that they shouldn’t have to pay one penny more than someone makes them pay for labor. Among some restaurateurs for instance there seems to be this bizarre assumption that while their own income ought to be without limit, the natural order of things should place limits on their employee’s income, like there’s something wrong with a server making more than a certain amount of money.

    I’ve noticed reading many stories about this issues in the last few weeks that when business owners complain about the additional costs; no one ever asks them what THEIR income is? In one article a well known owner of multiple restaurants in MPLS complained that the scheduling rules would cost her $15,000 a year. Well we don’t how much that really is without context, and no reporters ever asks. Is she claiming that she has an operating margin of $14,500 a year and cant make do with a mere $500 in profit? Does she mean that her personal income might drop from what? $200k a year to $185k a year? What?

    Meanwhile, I think we all know that if someplace like the “Lowry” added maybe 10 cents to every drink, or 25 cents to every meal, they’d make another $15k easily. No one goes to the “Uptown Diner” instead of the “Lowry” because the pancakes cost 25 cents less. I seriously doubt anyone has to explain any of this to any restaurateur. Look, the food and drink at the stadiums and arena’s is already massively over-priced and everyone knows it. Is everyone going to stop eating and drinking at games if the price goes up another 10 – 15 cents? I don’t think so.

    Basically what we have here is the inevitable assertion of workers rights. The near collapse of labor unions, the recession, and weak and weakly enforced labor laws have been stomping on American workers for over two decades and that’s not good for our communities, the economy, families, or people. Business owners who think they’re entitled to cheap subsidized labor are in for a surprise because one way or another workers will fight for living wages, respect, dignity, and benefits. If they can’t get these things with collective bargaining, they’ll get them some other way.

    • Submitted by Michael Hess on 10/15/2015 - 11:27 am.

      on the other hand

      you write “….There seems to be this weird assumption among some “business” people that they’re entitled to the lowest paid workforce they can get, or that they shouldn’t have to pay one penny more than someone makes them pay for labor”.

      There seems to be a complimentary weird assumption from City Hall that they know what the appropriate financial returns should be for the business owners. Your comment about the $15k per year cost for one restaurant owners highlights that. Oh and that specific quote was actually that sick leave will cost her $15,000, it was not in reference to the scheduling rules.

      If there were 100 restaurant openings in Minneapolis last year I find it hard ii believe that only a handful of owners are behind all of them. Cite your source for that “What we really have is a relatively small number of restaurateurs opening and owning multiple restaurants, not hundreds of entrepreneurs trying to open individual restaurants”. As I understand it about 30 restaurants have closed in Minneapolis this year for a variety of sources so I’d assume some rate of just replacement is natural, and what you heard during this debate is that replacement opening rate would be at risk.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/15/2015 - 09:49 pm.

        Thanks for the correction

        Sick leave, not scheduling. OK. However it doesn’t change the calculation. I didn’t say anything about “Handfuls” of restaurateurs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 40%-60% of new openings are existing owners.

        City Hall isn’t trying to control financial returns, returns aren’t part of the formula. Hodges is simply representing some of her less wealthy constituents.

        There’s no formula of any kind dictating how many restaurants have to exist in the Twin Cities, the number will fluctuate. Personally I think we have restaurant bubble that will eventually pop like all bubbles will.

    • Submitted by Beth Daniels on 10/15/2015 - 11:39 am.

      Yes!

      Well said. Agree with everything here.

    • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/16/2015 - 07:04 am.

      Honesty is hard to come by in supporters

      There are two primary drivers of pay. What an employee needs to pay in order to attract an employee (including the real overhead) and then what the actual value is of the work that person does. If there is a gap between the two it means there is potential value in hiring somebody to do the work. If the cost of labor goes up it doesn’t mean the value of the product being produced goes up as well therefore reduce the number of times there is a gap mentioned above, reducing the number of jobs available. Not every job done produces enough to trade others to provide the products and services thought of as a “living wage”. Somebody doing dishes typically can’t trade their services hour for hour for those with the skills needed to build a house, do dental work, drive a bus or cook the meal that went on the dish getting washed. Believing differently shows an inherent misunderstanding of reality. If society believes that even the lowest skilled workers should be able to trade their hours for that of higher skilled workers then society as a whole should pay for it.

      I is amazing to see the ignorance that so often accompanies the reasoning for these types of measures. The “People wouldn’t change behavior for ten cents difference” type of argument is one such example. While it is true that most people won’t change their behavior a small percentage will. If the cost of a $50 transaction goes up by $2 and then one in twenty of transactions are lost there is a decline in revenue. All business owners struggle to fined the balance point in pricing that results in the most transactions at the highest price and are very conscious of what an increase might do. Increasing the prices which WILL reduce the number of transactions but yet doesn’t provide any additional return per transaction is a double whammy. Costs will go up while revenue goes down at the same time. These are very basic economic factors that supporters don’t seem to grasp.

      The income of a business owner isn’t like having a job at the DMV where you show up for maybe 40 hours a week, take 5 hours of breaks and then go home with a salary. Often there can be multiple years when there is no money at all and owners take no salary just to keep things going. I have seen this happen many times in the places I work. The years where things go great might provide what appears to be a huge income but when averaged out things come in to perspective. Simply asking “what the owners income is” again shows ignorance in how actual businesses work. In the end it does’t matter though because since the owner has control over spending they could simply delay any pay increases for staff or reduce staff numbers and push those still around to work hard to make up for the $15k. Buisness owners don’t expect subsidized labor but nor should those who support these measures expect business owners to subsidize alone their vision of what a “living wage” might be.

      Those that believe that every person living in Minneapolis deserves certain level of income, days off, or payment for unpredictable schedule then we should have the city do so directly. Increase the property tax levy and distribute the costs of these proposals evenly. This is a much more honest approach than the one vilifying business so it is easier to rally support to force them to bare all the expense. Being honest on these subjects is hard for supporter because if they were they wouldn’t gain the backing they need to get anything passed. It is easier to equate business owners with slave holders and as abusers who are “stomping” on the people who they work with all day every day. It is the same type of bigoted rhetoric used throughout history to rally the pitchfork and torches mob in to action. Create a demonic caricature and use it to dehumanize the opposition.

      Work isn’t something that is stuff you need to do so you can get on with life. It is the most essential part of life. It is what we do to add value to society when we create goods and services which are consumed and used by others. The attitude that comes across with those who push these types of initiatives is that work is a burden and any inconvenience it causes of is unfair. The work as slavery mentality. After years working in small businesses I can say the biggest issue owners or management has is finding good workers. Not even “qualified” workers but simply people who show up on time, work hard and are willing to pitch in when the sh#t hits the fan rather than sit back and claim “not my job”. When they find those people they do whatever they can to hang on to them, train them and give them opportunities. The ones with the entitlement mentalities go away quickly because they never produce what they consume.

      I am fine providing a safety net or some sort of baseline income for every single person but it needs to be paid for by everybody in an open and transparent way. Not by hiding it through regulations which place the costs on a small minority of people. Especially when done simply because of how they earn their living and not based on any model of what they can actually afford to pay.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/16/2015 - 09:12 am.

        Pseudo economics

        This idea that living expenses are irrelevant when it comes labor expenses i.e. “only two things determine labor costs…” is a popular myth of pseudo economics. Basically this mythical thinking assumes that employers can get a free lunch, and in some ways, as long as taxpayers make up the difference between the cost of living and low wages employers pay, they can… for a while. Such formulas simply reinforce the fiction that business models are entitled to seek the lowest paid labor they can get, and that externalities are irrelevant.

        Economies can be many things. An economy that lets the top 1%-5% capture 90% all additional revenue CAN “work”, but such economies are inherently unstable and inequitable. In modern liberal democracies the laborers who generate that growth will seek a more equitable share of the wealth, and since they make up 95+% of the population they can make successful challenge once they decide to do so. History shows us that an economy that pays it’s labor fair wages and benefits is a more stable and equitable economy.

        Those who pretend that some kind of “free market” determines wages don’t seem to realize that there’s no such thing as “free markets”, especially when it come to labor. The “free market” mentality inevitably distorts reality by creating pseudo compartments wherein mediocre executive intellect tends to thrive.

        Let’s look at the claim that a 2$ increase in cost will generate a reduction in revenue:

        ” If the cost of a $50 transaction goes up by $2 and then one in twenty of transactions are lost there is a decline in revenue.”

        This assumes the only tool any business can use to grow or maintain revenue is cost containment.The example is mathematical contrivance that assumes the only reason the number of transaction could decrease is because cost increases. In fact no matter what the cost of the transaction is, if there’s a decrease in transactions there can be a decrease in revenue. In fact if you do the math, a loss of one transaction at $50 is actually greater ($50) than the loss of one transaction after a $2 increase (which is $40). This kind of mumbo jumbo is not economic theory. Check it out: If you increase the transaction by $3.00 instead of $2.00, and lose one in twenty transactions- you get a $10.00 increase in revenue despite the increase! Whatever. Anyone who buys gasoline knows that this is not how economies actually work. Costs go up and down, and people pay. The idea that for some reason the ONLY cost that should NEVER go up for any employer is labor costs is simply incoherent. Labor costs are like any other costs and if your business model doesn’t let you cover your costs it’s your business model, not the costs that are the problem.

        • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/16/2015 - 03:34 pm.

          Anything but clichés?

          If a business has 20 transactions at $50 they receive $1000, if at $52 they only manage 19 transaction they receive $988. A reduction. It they think raising the price to $52 would have no effect on transactions they would do so. That is especially bad if the additional $2 in price that raised it to $52 is all cost. That means that while the number of transactions has been reduced to 19 the realized revenue per transaction is still $50, not $52, making the total revenue $950. Of the difference of $50 the employee would only realize some percentage of the total. You might think, so what, $50 our of $100 isn’t so bad any business that is “worth it” (another undefined term that references nothing but your preference) could survive. Besides, all employers are evil anyway who cares. So what happens at grocery stores where the margins are very thin and this percentage can’t be easily recouped? Well the ones in the marginally profitable areas close up. You know, the ones in the neighborhoods where incomes are the lowest.

          When gas prices go up people buy marginally less of it. When property taxes go up people spend less on houses because they can afford only so much a month, including taxes. It isn’t a binary relationship where if prices any amount increase than all activity stops and that has never been claimed so suggesting it is a straw man argument . The relationships between price and purchases are real even if you fail to acknowledge them and simply using the world pseudo in reference to those who understand doesn’t change that fact.

          Economics isn’t simply a human invention where the terms and results can be redefined if they are inconvenient. If the only skill a person has isn’t valuable enough that others are willing to make a trade what do you suggest happen? Force the others to provide their time and energy without getting anything they value in return? Not every activity produces enough to have what some might define as a “living wage”. If you could ever get anybody to define what that is. A business should be able to cover there actual costs involved in order to survive. The issue is that the actual costs don’t neccisarliy create the wage you would prefer. An employer isn’t a caretaker and isn’t wholly responsible for their employees. Trying to force the expense of your preferred social model on a group simply because they hire somebody to do a job is ridiculous. The people who will be most negatively effected by regulations like these are not the cliched 1%. That group have the resources to manage regulations and keep their money. The smaller the business the worse the impact will be. It will also increase the threshold to starting a new business putting more people in the role of employee rather than given the chance to be their own boss.

          The constant regurgitation of clichés about the worker being the only “create of wealth” is simplistic nonsense that sounds like something from a college student who read the Cliff’s Notes version of Das Kapitol. Right down to the constant vilification and dehumanization of anybody who might want to start and run their own business.

          I will state it again. I am fine with the idea of a social safety net or some sort of base income for everybody. But to have that discussion it needs to something where we have a truly universal method of paying for it. Something transparent that hits everyone directly no matter if their choice for income is to have their own business or work for someone else.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/16/2015 - 07:18 pm.

            Cliches…

            “If a business has 20 transactions at $50 they receive $1000, if at $52 they only manage 19 transaction they receive $988. A reduction. It they think raising the price to $52 would have no effect on transactions they would do so…. yada yada..”

            You’re just making up scenarios. business owners aren’t omniscient, and they don’t control their economic environment. Whether or not revenue increases or decreases isn’t a function what an owner thinks will happen. You’re assuming that all increases in price decrease sales, in the real world the number of transactions fluctuates for a variety of reasons and one less or more transaction doesn’t make or break a business.

            Your example is contrived to make your point, what if the price goes up to $52 and the number of transactions increases instead of decreases? And if the price only goes up $1 they’ll maintain the same revenue. Whatever, this isn’t economics, it’s fun with numbers. There’s actually an economic term for cost driven price increases, it’s called inflation, and inflation doesn’t actually suppress commerce unless it exceeds earning capacity.

            • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/21/2015 - 08:48 am.

              Basic use of an example

              The example is valid because it illustrates a basic reality you avoid acknowledging in its most fundamental form. That when prices go up transactions generally go down. Of course there are hundreds of other factors that are part of the mix but that doesn’t mean price isn’t one of them and that it has an effect which is fairly predictable. Buisness owners are not omniscient, butthanks for the straw man, most however get the basic concept of what happens when they adjust prices. If Surly started charging $100k for a bike do you think they might somewhat fewer? Like zero? Well smaller price increases have smaller effects but they are still real no matter how much you deny it.

              One transaction doesn’t make or break a buisness typically but if prices go up and a percentage of transactions are lost the overall effect could most definelty make the difference. If the margin is 5% that means the first 95% of your monthly sales are covering the costs of staying open and keeping people paid. So a seamingly small reduction in traffic makes all the difference.

              You can’t have your inflation cake and eat it too. If the policy is inflationary then the net effect won’t do what the proponents describe because price increases will take away any gains. If it isn’t then it causes a simple increase in prices which will reduce activity. Take your pick but neither is a positive scenario.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/16/2015 - 10:15 am.

        Work isn’t something that is stuff you need to do so you can get

        Boy, ever hear of work/life balance. Perhaps some still need to hear the old adage “Work to live, not live to work”. Trust me , in the brief eyeblink of our time spent alive and kicking, there are far more important things to worry about than how many shiny doo dads we can sell, or how much money we can shuffle around from one party to another for what in the end are essentially meaningless tasks. In the end we’ll all be dead and forgotten, why spend what little time we have enslaved to the almighty dollar.

        • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/16/2015 - 01:06 pm.

          If you can’t find a way to make work feel like an accomplishment you aren’t living very well. It isn’t being enslaved (again with the terrible references used just for effect) but being useful to the other people in your community. The dollar is just a method of exchange. I don’t buy anything fancy, smallish old house, tiny used car and have about 3 feet of closet that fits all of my clothes. Just because somebody understands the value of work doesn’t mean they don’t understand the value of life. Those that think they are separate entities are the ones who end up wasting their lives. By their own definition the time spent at work is nothing but a burden to be avoided. No wonder that attitude seems to fit with the entitlement mentality.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/16/2015 - 02:26 pm.

            Funny

            I place far more value on something like making my 2 year old laugh, or my wife smile, than anything I’ll ever accomplish at work. But hey, enjoy whichever priorities one finds important, I’m sure work will be there when I’m drawing my last breath right?

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/16/2015 - 03:01 pm.

            Oh and btw

            Exactly what usefulness is being provided the community in the example of the restaurants earlier? Substandard wages for employees whose function is to provide food at marked up prices for the convenience and entertainment of those with the means to afford it. Let’s see, food that could be otherwise distributed to the hungry (foodie culture is abhorrent btw), much of which goes to waste either on site or in the fridge of the patron, employees forced to utilize assistance negating any possible tax benefit to the community from the enterprise, noise and behavior complaints needing to be addressed by community law enforcement, particularly if alcohol is served, and infrastructure and transportation demands made on the community in order to allow access of patrons to the business. All ending in any excess revenue going to the owner or shareholder in the for of profit that may or may not be taxed depending on the competence of the accounting staff on hand. Explain this is helping the community again?

            • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/16/2015 - 03:44 pm.

              now I get it

              You would rather have a centrally planned economy where waste can be eliminated like it has been in all other centrally planned economies. Where people who have your preferences can determine where each of us work, how much we are paid and what we consume. I think that idea has some fairly negative consequences in the past.

              That is the thing about a truly small “L” liberal society. We need to accept that not everybody finds value in the same things and that we are free to pursue our happiness by trading our labor for the things other people produce with their labor, even if your not a fan of it. You can destroy the planet a bit by having kids and others should be able to enjoy a local beer or burger if they feel that is there preference.

              • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/16/2015 - 06:10 pm.

                Ah the joys of objectivism

                Where everything looks rosy so long as I gots mine and those “other” folks who aren’t as smart and special as me stay ground down in the mud where they belong. Because after all the whims of the marketplace are the only whims that matter. That about sum it up?

                • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/18/2015 - 08:40 am.

                  Hardly

                  As I stated multiple times, I believe we should as a society develop a strong foundational income that would be available to everybody. Just that it should be done in a way that is paid for in a transparent and open manor and not through regulations which only effect a minority of the population. Not a real Objectivist mentality as far as I can tell. The “marketplace” isn’t a human created object. It is simply a name given to the realities of individuals trading resources. It existed before any for of government or regulation existed and continues to exist no matter what type of government we create. Simply getting mad about it or ignoring it doesn’t change the underlying facts. The most basic of those is that work, including that which is volunteered, is what we do to support our community and should be thought of by all of us as fundamental to who we are as members of that community. For me I have thought that way no matter if I was bagging groceries, washing dishes, moving boxes or working in an office and while have never been a

                  If you truly believe in equality (you don’t) you would eschew consuming anything not available to others around the globe. Use only the most basic of internet service and that only occasionally, limited education for you kids, limited access to water or medicine, almost no access to transportation at all, not even a bike or bus. Unless you can manage that you are just another rich American taking advantage of the fruits of the marketplace while the world is left in relative poverty. One that uses the privilege and luck of their birth to complains about it at that. After all, making $20k would put somebody in the top 4% of global income and $32k would put them in the global 1%.

  9. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/15/2015 - 11:26 am.

    City officials evidently didn’t consult labor union representatives, or negotiated contracts unions have achieved, for the language of the ordinance that would put some human decency into scheduling of work shifts. Labor unions have had working conditions as a prime focus of negotiations for decades, and the “exempt” businesses in Minneapolis are only those that still have union representation. Not many left.

    We should not forget that there are small business men and women out there in our city who are FOR some official regulation of how businesses schedule their workers’ time. The owner of Common Roots Cafe is one example, very eloquent. Entrepreneurs who do not define themselves from the get-go as abusers of workers’ dignity and rights to a decent work life.

    What we have today, though, is a re-incarnation of the Citizens Alliance, the notorious government-controlling secret coalition of BIG Minneapolis businesses who are determined to fight off any vestige of worker solidarity and activism.

    Big business simply had to “threaten to leave Minneapolis,” which they did several days ago, to get our mayor to back down from an attempt to really deal with the equality/equity “gap” in Minneapolis.

  10. Submitted by Mike Downing on 10/15/2015 - 04:25 pm.

    Mayor Hodges just listened to small business owners…

    Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is a smart women who simply listened to small business owners who are struggling already. Putting additional anti small business regulations into government gets less small business startups.

    We complain that all we have left are big box stores and restaurants but there are three fingers pointing back at our elected officials and us when we put more regulations on the backs of small startups…

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/15/2015 - 09:54 pm.

    Anti small business?

    Any business large or small that has employees has labor expenses, it’s a part of doing business that small businesses cannot be exempt from. Just because a business is “small” doesn’t mean it’s entitled to cheap labor.

    Efforts to obtain dignity, decent working conditions, living wages etc. aren’t anti-small business, they’re just the cost of doing business.

  12. Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/15/2015 - 10:56 pm.

    It seems to me

    That many in the small business community have an over inflated view of their own importance in the grand scheme of things. Thing is, if one finds it impossible to compete in an environment due to what one considers “onerous” regulation, chances are there’s someone waiting in the wings, with equal entrepreneurial zeal, equal competence, and equal value, more than happy to take your opportunity. In other words, if one can’t take it, feel free to move along, it’s unlikely you’ll be missed.

  13. Submitted by cory johnson on 10/16/2015 - 08:31 am.

    If that were indeed true

    Why don’t all the workers do it? Seriously, let’s put al these regulations in place and see who is crazy enough to attempt it. I think you will find its only the evil large corporations. Then Dems will complain about them forcing out mom and pop small business.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/16/2015 - 10:06 am.

      Why does anyone get the opportunity

      Luck. Pure unadulterated luck. Only when the right combination of opportunity, idea, capital availability, market space, and societal stability come together can someone hope to create a successful, long lasting business opportunity. Any business owner willing to meaningfully self-reflect knows this to be true. For many those conditions never coalesce. To suggest that the folks lucky enough to win the life lottery deserve some special deferment from their responsibility to be fair contributors to other members in their society not as fortunate is absurd. I would have more sympathy if the “agreement” model of at will employment was based in any notion of equality or good faith. As it stands now, there will never be a situation in which employers, particularly those offering low skill employment , find themselves with a shortage of labor. They are always in the position of power in the “agreement”,.always able to exploit worker desperation to drive down wages as low as is possible. This isn’t an “agreement” it’s one sided “take it or leave it ” coercion. Business owners who argue otherwise are nothing more than bullies, unwilling to lose the advantage they find so useful.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/16/2015 - 11:33 am.

      Actually, workers are avoiding businesses that steadfastly refuse to increase wages and improve working conditions for employees. One of the startling aspects of today’s U.S. labor scene is the constant complaining of employers who “can’t find skilled employees” when they have refused to do what the hallowed Free Market theory would tell them to do: increase the attractiveness of your jobs so you attract the workers who can do them.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/16/2015 - 01:37 pm.

        The vast majority

        Of the workforce is not “skilled” labor. Never mind the fact that while temporary localized “shortages” might occur, with 8 billion persons and climbing the actual labor force in our gloabalized world will always massively outpace the amount of work needed.

        • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/18/2015 - 11:10 am.

          Not possible

          That theory can’t be even remotely possible. More people also means more work needs to be done in order to provide for them, therefore more “jobs”. If you idea was even partially true there would have been massive unemployment when the global population jumped from 3 billion to 7 billion between the 1950s and today. Jobs aren’t something created by edict. They organically are created when people organize to create the goods and services needed to supply a population. They are created proportionally to the population. The short term unemployment and any given moment are usually due to shifts in available resources (drought and such), changes in technology (displacing one product/service for another) or large scale bad investment (such as the housing bubble) that forces resources to be quickly reallocated.

          If there is a large percentage of the labor force which is “unskilled” then the products and services consumed will be largely limited to what that labor force can produce. The bigger question on population is what combination of population and consumption can the planet sustain. Skilled labor demands things to consume in return for their efforts.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/18/2015 - 01:42 pm.

            Between 1950 and today

            There HAS been massive unemployment now and in the past. Go ask the young folks in the middle East, or Southern Europe. You discount technological advance as simply shifting necessity to different sectors as opposed to eliminating whole sectors of employment outright. Unless you plan on a labor force consisting of hand servants to the wealthy (which ironically through robotics could be eliminated too) there are a limited number of possibilities for labor that technology cannot solve, both today and tomorrow. The god of efficiency states it must be thus, what folks like you will do when you come to the realization that your work is unneeded is a mystery to me.

            • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/20/2015 - 08:23 am.

              Simply false

              What you are saying has been a fear forever and never manifested in reality. Yes, unemployment exists but it is proportional to population no matter how much growth there is. In general technology has made everyone better off and meant that fewer people are doing low level manual labor while increasing the demand for skill. The demand for skilled labor will fewer people will need better education and training. Not a bad thing to have demand for in the overall economy. Besides, increasing the costs for unskilled labor will simply make the eliminations of those positions happen more quickly.

              The places you mention with very high unemployment all have something in common. They tend to be in countries with autocratic governments and economies with the most restrictions. Generally speaking over the last century and across the globe the most liberal economies and most constant rule of law had the lowest unemployment and the highest standard of living. Your examples of the areas with the highest unemployment are the best warnings against the policies like the one proposed in Minneapolis.

              Efficiency is the difference between failure and success in any system, it is a physical truth beyond any human ability to change. Ignoring it simply is never a good idea and leads managing system poorly. As to what I will do when my current work isn’t needed, I will try to find another way to be productive, just like people have done for all time when conditions change and like I have done in the past. I don’t have a degree for what I do and have never found the need to simply work through a formal system. The people who for some reason think they live in a universe that owes them stability and that nothing should change so they can sit down and be comfortable are simply delusional.

              I’ll say it again, we should have a universal safety net in our country. One that is transparent and efficient and paid for by everyone equally. Not hidden in regulations which appear to have no cost but instead place all the cost one a minority of citizens.

  14. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/16/2015 - 08:58 am.

    Illusion of competition

    Those who believe that business owners will automatically adjust the way they treat their employees because they have to compete with other businesses for labor clearly have little experience working those jobs. Not everyone can work for B.H. Daniels, who commented above, and lots of other “small businesses” know that. The definition of “small business” in this country is deceiving. Though it depends on industry, most industries are defined as small if they have 500 or fewer employees. For some, it’s 1000. That’s not terribly small. For restaurants, it’s based on income. You know what the cap is? $7.5 MILLION for full-service, and it goes up from there. Small, eh?

    Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of truly small businesses that would have to deal with issues they’ve never had to deal with or are equipped to deal with. It might actually be a hardship to be reasonable with their scheduling. But I would support dropping the ceiling down on what’s considered “small” in order to accommodate the difficulties that truly small businesses have. College kids without kids of their own can go for crazy scheduling (and probably miss out on wages because they still do need to go to class), but adults with multiple jobs (because many of the jobs available are part time, at best) need to be able to schedule their jobs so they don’t overlap, and people with kids need to be able to schedule child care and other needs of their children (like doctor appointments). Many “small businesses” are quite capable of scheduling appropriately, but don’t. Restaurants are the most difficult, but it’s still doable in most situations, especially those that are closer to the $7.5 million mark.

    Many of the jobs that regularly have surprise scheduling, no paid leave, poor wages, and the like are filled with people who have no other choice than to fill the job until they’re fired for being sick one day or needing to deal with child care issues, or they get evicted for inability to pay rent because they can’t hold 2 part time jobs because they can’t schedule them in any predictable manner. The rest of the population is stable enough to not even think of taking those jobs. So, if the jobs remain unfilled it’s due to business practices and not enough people desperate enough to want to fill them. In the end, it’s cheaper to rotate “low quality” workers in and out of those jobs, and leave some positions unfilled, than it is to have reliable workers paid a living wage. That doesn’t mean that the business can’t profit, but it might mean it can’t profit as much. Workers should not have to live in poverty in order to increase profit.

    And, to those who claim that “those people’ should have gotten a better education or some such nonsense, tell me…how many lawyers do we really need? The restaurant server may not be as noble a position in life, but probably way more necessary than another lawyer (sorry to my lawyer friends and coworkers, I do love you).

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/16/2015 - 09:29 am.

    Kind of funny actually

    These “onerous” regulations are standard fair in Norway and Sweden. I guess American small business’s just can’t compete eh?

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 10/16/2015 - 12:36 pm.

      Norway can afford it.

      They are an extremely wealthy nation due to their abundant supply of evil carbon based fuels.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/16/2015 - 07:03 pm.

        Yeah…

        The US has the largest economy on the planet right? We can afford anything Norway can afford and a lot lot more.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/17/2015 - 09:36 am.

          Agreed

          This is such a nihilistic argument. Apparently we in the United States just need to learn to accept a lower standard of living than those apparently miniscule and magical Scandinavian countries because we’re just not capable of dealing with our MASSIVE population. We are apparently also incapable of adapting the Scandinavian model to our multicultural population as its just too complex. Yet simultaneously we are supposedly the greatest, bestest, smartest, specialest (yeah, not a word, I know) country that’s ever existed in the history of forever. Awful confusing narrative some folks cling to.

          • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/21/2015 - 09:22 am.

            Scandinavian example

            There are legitimate reasons something that works in Scandinavia is harder to implement here. Larger systems are more complex to manage and have more “friction” which increase relative costs. Norway has fewer people than the state of Minnesota and Sweden less than twice our states population. Larger systems only make sense when the cost associated with them are offset by efficiencies of scale. Something associated with production of items when can be done in larger quantities. Government doesn’t directly produce so doesnt realize much savings as it gets larger. It does however experience the increased costs. The large corporations that have managed to make large scale work typically aren’t the model advocates of these regulations hold up positively. They make large scale work bybeung able to put more pressure on labor and vendor costs and unifying logistical systems. Walmart is an example of what you get when a big system runs efficiently.

            Norway also gets about a third of its revenue for government from oil which skews that example beyond recognition. The other Scandinavian countries have generally higher unemployment and lower median income than that of the US. The fact we waste a huge amount on unproductive military spending and the higher costs associated with managing such a large country also colors these broad measures. In the end there isn’t a compelling macroeconomic rational to emulate Scandinavia.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/17/2015 - 01:30 pm.

        Its amazing what happens

        When you use socialism (oh no! Fleeee!) to capture revenue from communally shared resources as opposed to allowing corporate conglomerates to profit from them, essentially for free.

        • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/18/2015 - 12:11 pm.

          Corporations are chartered because the limited liability caused risk taking that government found to be advantageous. I am fine revoking all corporate charters but to simply allow a behavior to then demonize it seems backwards.

          It would also be beneficial if you comment gave some definition to “communal resource”. Allocation of or charging for the use of truly communal resources sounds is fine. But agreeing to what those are is the important part. Once determined then we can set a price and everybody pays the same price for them.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/19/2015 - 08:56 am.

            Was there a private entity

            That deposited the oil in the ground? How about the iron ore up in the Arrowhead? For someone to claim squatters rights over something that’s been there for eons is silly. Nationalize production and profits if we must despoil the environment to extract such resources. We already pay the clean up costs anyway.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/16/2015 - 02:06 pm.

    By the way…

    I realize I might be coming across as more hostile to business or small business owners than I should, sorry for that. There are business owners out there that struggle to pay decent wages, provide benefits, and health care. And there are business owners who agonize over staff decisions and lay-offs and wages. And of course the role of small business in our economy is impossible to deny.

    However, THOSE don’t seem to be the big voices against some of these proposed regulations, and it always bugs me when business people and owners who are: “growth growth growth” all the time suddenly tell us that they have static-zero-sum financials and margins and that sharing more profit with their employees or raising prices to pay higher wages will break them because they have no options of any kind. This is simply not true. The business models with the narrowest margins are typically not the ones with the lowest wages. Some people just don’t seem to realize that everyone else in the world isn’t there simply make someone else wealthy.

    • Submitted by Dan Berg on 10/18/2015 - 09:30 am.

      The people that showed up

      The people that filled the venues were exactly the small business owners you are now acknowledging. The small local owners who most often started their business in Minneapolis. The larger corporations have less to fear since they have more ability to manage to the regulations (pay lawyers, accountants and HR professionals) and more access to capital to deal with short term problems. The people that will feel the most negative impact are the small owner operators. Especially those starting up who play all of those roles themselves or pay a premium for them because they don’t need them very often. Similarly these rules will make it harder for people to start new businesses meaning fewer start ups and an easier time for those larger companies already established.

      I don’t know why you think that the places with the smallest margins are not this typically with the lowest wages. From what I can tell those are exactly the places where wages are the lowest, grocery, food service, retail among them. These regulations will raise the prices in those areas marginally. Most noticeably in those businesses which provide the lowest cost versions in the market since typically labor is a bigger share of their overall costs. Those businesses also typically serve people on the lower end of the income spectrum, not the wealthy. The wealthy are typically spending their income in places that pay more so they can attract the best employees. The person selling suits at Nordstrom gets paid a lot more than the person working the floor at Old Navy. The people paying for the regulations end up being those the regulations are supposed to help or those people in the middle-class. The end effect of which is a larger gap in overall income disparity, not less.

      The larger message on growth is I agree a farce. It does however seem to typically be used by government as needed because we must “grow our way to prosperity”. If there were no assumed growth in the financial models used to dictate budgets things would be visible as much worse than they currently seem. The easiest ways to make programs look more financially stable is to assume the economy will grow by the required number to pay for them.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/20/2015 - 08:53 pm.

      Read somewhere!

      “If you aren’t building your dream, someone else will have you helping them build theirs!” Like it or not it is a tough hand-hand combat world out here, our competitors show no mercy and will steal our customers in a heart beat, which means we must steal theirs as well to survive. Didn’t invent this game, but understand the rules. “No easy answers” whether you deserve it or not makes not a wit in a competitive environment, welcome to global free market combat. Bleed your heart? or Make a stronger invincible warrior, Sun Tzu 101.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/21/2015 - 06:58 am.

        Didn’t make the game

        Yet still CHOOSE to play it. Tell me, when your friends and family ask what you do, do you reply “I engage in hand to hand combat with my fellow citizens, I try to crush the dreams and spirit of anyone who might challenge me”? Do you do this with a straight face?

        I am constantly amazed at the sheer number of people whose sole goal in life seems to be 1. Be as despicable a human being toward their fellow humans as possible, in every possible circumstance. 2. Find any possible rhetorical or ideological device to justify this practice as meritorious conduct, befitting of a successful member of society.

        Its not that our hearts bleed Mr. Wagner, it’s that we didn’t choose to excise them in the name of success.

  17. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/17/2015 - 09:47 am.

    At the end of the day…

    What you’re looking at here is a class struggle. All of these complaints by business owners etc. are simply efforts to declare that employees have no right to struggle. The class war is over, the wealthy won, deal with it. Only problem is the numbers aren’t with the wealthy, 1%-10% out of 100% doesn’t grant you complete power in a modern liberal democracy.

    All of our peer nations have better work environments, wages, and benefits, despite having smaller economies. American workers will not concede a lower standard of living so that owners can simply acquire more wealth, sooner or later one way or another labor will find a way to claim it’s fair share of the economy. I know American employers thought they settled this when stomped the labor unions but Gilded Ages never last. What we will see is a combination of labor union come-back, and government regulation. Smart employers will forego the cost and hassle of labor battles and negotiate better working conditions and wages.

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