Employee Opinion on Prop 4
By - missferngirl
I would love to get a few extra bucks an hour during an emergency.
I would hate to see so many small businesses have to raise prices or consider closing.
The sentiment I get from others is that we're not paid enough as hourly retail workers. This is true.
The sentiment I get from very small local business owners is that they can't afford to pay much more or risk pricing out their customer base. This is also true.
There's the idea out there that if you're a business owner, you're rich, can afford to pay more. There's spectrum of "small business owners", and that isn't talked about enough. This town prides itself on supporting local business. But there's a huge difference between the corner coffee shop or brewery owner vs Bellingham Cold Storage and Faithlife.
Instead of emphasising targeting business practices, which can really hurt our local economy, I'd like to see a targeting of wealth and income.
Not sure what that looks like. What I know is the person paying cash for the 1 bedroom house next to my rental for well over asking of $450,000 isn't contributing their fair share to the community good.
I doubt the owner of your favorite local business is buying that house. It's other people that aren't targeted by this initiative.
Yeah, I think this is where my brain is at too. So much going back and forth but lumping Whole Foods and Homeskillet together as the same is pretty baffling to me. I feel like there was/is a better more supportive way of making this happen.
Exactly. Lumping in the Black Drop with Starbucks makes things worse
Businesses with less than 30 employees are exempt from hazard pay after 2 weeks.
Homeskillet supports prop 4 by the way
As does Black Drop. They’re both pictured on the flyer we got in the mail.
I think Black Drop backed out of supporting them. Her statement was posted on another Prop 4 post here, maybe it’s on social media too? I was really surprised that even Black Drop pulled support though. I feel like that says a lot about it because they are one of the most progressive businesses in town.
Yep, the statement is up on their IG and FB page. I encourage everyone to read it!
Thanks for that info. After reading the YMCA’s response I question the details of this.
They must be suicidal
You're correct in your assessment on the variance between business owners. I used to be in banking and we would see a lot of financials for small businesses and basically the owner "bought a job" as we liked to say. They made 50K-100K a year and worked their butts off. Some business owners have family money, or their spouse makes really good money somewhere, and this helps. But a lot of bars, small mechanic shops, retail stores, and other "mom and pop" joints pay a lot in taxes (25% or more) and walk away averaging about $10/hour when you factor in how much they work. There are some small businesses where owners are making 200-300K a year or more. But most have been around for 15 years or more and they have suffered a lot of ups and downs to get there.
Can confirm. I live in Bellingham at the moment (taking some classes) and my family runs our small seven employee maritime business out of Seattle. We’ve been fortunate to be in a pretty high-end industry where people have money to blow. But since we opened as a one-man band in 1987 (my dad) it certainly has not always been easy. What I’m about to say about income — keep in mind that it took us from 1987-2021 to get to that. Two building purchases, tons of renovation and maintenance…there has been a lot of capital expenditure.
I won’t get into detailed/confidential specifics about finances, but we have 7 full time employees who get full benefits, 3% retirement matching and pretty decent pay (probably averaging $30 an hour, our top craftsmen are closer to $40, base for a total noob is around $19). We are fortunate to have pretty healthy margins most years (wasn’t the case around about 2011, but that was all fallout from ‘08) so after everything…the family gets maybe $175K-200K if it’s a good year? Thats been 100% driven by my dad working his ass off to keep the company incredibly lean and with a low-debt load. Then we give a huge amount of that away in income taxes on top of the tens of thousands of dollars in corporate taxes we already pay.
When you only have seven employees (counting yourself), almost all management falls directly on your shoulders…fiscal, capital, facilities…it’s on you. So you might be getting 200K, but you’re basically working 20+ hours of OT a week, so you totally are buying a job for that additional income. A reasonably well paying one, sure. But it’s no get rich quick scheme and has WAY too much risk to be low-stress. A single disaster could wipe you out.
It’s hard to believe that some “managers” at larger corporations (I think many would die if they had to actually manage a business like this) get paid that same amount or more on salary to (no offense) do comparably little.
> fortunate to have pretty healthy margins most years (wasn’t the case around about 2011, but that was all fallout from ‘08) so after everything…the family gets maybe $175K-200K if it’s a good year? Thats been 100% driven by my dad working his ass off to keep the company incredibly lean and with a low-debt load. Then we give a huge
The commies don't care unfortunately. They think they deserve the same compensation for their 6 months part time work experience.
Absolutely. This is why businesses with less than 30 employees are exempted.
A pessimistic part of me thinks that this kind of initiative is secretly pushed by the ultra wealthy. Big corporations can afford to narrow their margins long enough to starve out the small businesses, then they can step in, use their political clout to lift the SOE, and scoop up all these juicy juicy real estate and marketshare.
It's a effective strategy. Walmart perfected it.
I think this initiative has good intentions. It's coming from the right place. Get more money and power to low wage workers.
The progressive left just hasn't figured out how to target it, yet.
You're probably not wrong. The reason COVID relief came so quickly was because so many lobbying groups and big corporations saw the government panicking and knew they could get huge sums of money without much due diligence. A lot of businesses who had no negative impact from COVID got 10 million from the government for free. The rich got richer and putting more restrictions on small businesses squeezes them out and makes it easier for larger businesses to move in. I've always loved how few franchises and chains there are downtown, but I worry that more and more will move in because it's too restrictive to operate without larger corporate backing.
It absolutely is not being pushed by wealthy people; it's the wealthy people who are opposing it.
And Prop 4 hazard pay does not apply to businesses smaller than 30 employees, with the exception of franchises like McDonalds.
Which is great, and I appreciate that there's a carve out for EXTRA small businesses, but I'm still not convinced it's not going to blow back. There's a big difference between a business of 50 people and like... Fred Meyer with 500.
I'm also concerned about how businesses who are exempted from this will fare in keeping people around. As a personal anecdote, I used to work for an incredibly pretentious coffee shop and I loved every second of it. There were about five of us at the peak. I had gotten into that coming in from Starbucks, a pretty typical Barista progression. I took a pay cut but it was pretty minor, like a dollar or so. Had this initiative passed at that point, I don't think that I could have made the decision to stay and potentially leave on the table 25% to my income switching back to a place like Starbucks. In a town like Bellingham, a positive and friendly work environment only goes so far when you could add 20% to your income just switching to a giant faceless corporate entity.
But they saw this coming and did zero to campaign against it. in fact, the big player still aren't campaigning against it. Only small businesses are.
The big guys are happy as hell to see mom-and-pop businesses squeezed out.
Big businesses have already spent $200,000 dollars against the initiative. Check out their filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission:
So basically they hired a legal team and they are preparing the nullification paperwork. Given the quality of these initiatives, their plan is to just say "multi-subject rule" and have a judge toss them out.
Absolutely. Washington judges have generally interpreted the single subject rule broadly than California, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.
Well they also have the cash flow to handle tighter margins. What kills the majority of small businesses? It’s not a lack of customers, or even a lack of initial capital. It’s a lack of cashflow.
>The sentiment I get from very small local business owners is that they can't afford to pay much more or risk pricing out their customer base. This is also true.
Is it, though? Do we have any solid numbers to base that off of? I'd love to see some statistics. Currently don't have an opinion on Prop 4, just looking for good info.
So, that person isn’t paying property tax, or…? Should it be like an extra levy to subsidize your life choices and what percentage, in your view, would be their fair share?
Progressive income tax. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. It's not life choices, it's opportunity dwindling.
PS, it absolutely is a life choice. The sooner you confront that, the sooner you begin to expand your horizons vs/ the parasitic mindset that waits around for politicians to take it for you.
I suppose. My parents pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. But they bought property and raised a family comfortably on less than what I make adjusted for inflation.
I don’t think I’m following you. *What’s* a life choice?
Literally everything that wasn’t forced on the person. Everything that could be changed through effort and focus.
I agree that we all have choices, but realistically, all 88,000 people in Bellingham can’t be CEOs. Firstly, there just aren’t that many CEO positions. Secondly, there are all those other jobs that need to be done. The problem is that we undervalue the importance of those necessary jobs.
I don’t know how we can achieve it, but I do believe that in the richest, most resilient country in the world; we can figure out how everyone working a full time job in this country can afford comfortable housing, food, utilities, transportation. Hard working people shouldn’t be poor in this country.
From that modest base, everyone can pursue whatever wealth and “success” that they desire.
I encourage you to search for Bellingham Jobs in Indeed and just scan the first 5 pages. Look at the salaries that are being offered. They haven’t risen much over the past 40 years.
In fact, the average workers wages have increased only by 11% since 1980. Meanwhile, inflation has risen by an average of 3% EACH YEAR since 1980. The gap between wages and cost of living has widened drastically, to the point where the “American Dream” is literally out of reach for most workers in America today.
So what happens to our economy if everyone *chooses* to be the CEO or the Business Owner? Who is going to do the work? And who is going to pay all of those CEO salaries?
I just opened LinkedIn and a very obtainable local $75k job was the first thing that popped up without even searching. Oddly, it wasn’t a CEO or entry level service industry, so you may be surprised to know there is a rich spectrum of opportunities between those two things. I then clicked “jobs” and found tons of postings in that range and into the 6 figures.
Great, so suppose everyone *chooses* to apply for all of those $75k - $100k jobs. Who is supposed to do all of the other $20k - $30k jobs? Or the $15/hr jobs? Sounds like a lot of managers and no workers left to manage.
Some of the hardest work I’ve ever done was the lowest paid. Why do we devalue that hard work and accept that hard working people should struggle so much to get by in life when they work as hard if not harder than anyone else in our society?
You can’t reason with a conservative.
16 year olds need jobs and don't need to pay rent
Right, an income tax will fix that right up.
Nearly at the same time as peak government expansion and spending has grown...
It's almost like growing government favors those with the most influence to the detriment of others with less power...
I’ll reiterate my post from another thread:
> I’m a grocery worker enjoying hazard pay courtesy of city council. I’m not complaining about the extra cash, but the uncertainty limits how useful it can be. You can’t make real financial decisions like signing a lease or mortgage based on temporary income. I think a simple minimum wage increase would be preferred by employers and hourly workers alike.
Having a noticeable chunk of your income tied to an arbitrary state of emergency ain’t all that.
We need a more specific hazard pay. Also something like if the business can reduce the risk they can reduce some of the hazard pay. Would have shut down some of the anti-mask jackoffs
One thing I’ve learned from this and similar posts is that free market capitalism is broken.
Businesses can’t afford to pay $4/hr more to their employees
Employees can’t afford to live on the wages they presently earn.
The cost of living continues to climb.
The only winners in this system are the wealthy who invest in everything but the local economies where business owners and workers are struggling.
Where do we go from here?
While inflation is a result of many factors, on a local level I feel that insisting on creative solutions to increase the amount of affordable housing HAS to be part of the solution.
Fred Meyers already has 4 dollar hazard pay going on so that’s nice
I am an employee. But I do have insight on the books of my place of employment.
That would have made it much more difficult to survive the last two years. We used Payroll Protection money, and it was huge, but adding an increased cost just during the hardest times to meet the costs?
It seems good intentioned, but not well thought out.
Kind of reminds me of the staged increase in the Seattle minimum wage. Where the larger the business, the sooner they had to raise the wage. This allowed small places to keep their costs down, but made applying at a small place not appealing to an employee. It was meant to help them, but it actually made them.less competitive.
Anyway. I am pretty liberal, but I am leaning No. But... I don't have child care to pay, or all that. If anything the pandemic has helped me save money, because I am not going out a lot.
I work for a small retail business. We're already in massive competition with Amazon and other online retailers who charge the exact same price we do for our products (contrary to popular belief, shopping online doesn't always save money) and those retailers (unfortunately) don't have to pay the same rent that the business I work for does, and based on what I've read over the last year and a half, definitely does not provide emergency benefits nor do anything else to care for employees during a pandemic. I'm also downtown, so affected by the bridge closure, inconvenient parking, and other obstacles.
1. Could I use a little extra money? Sure. What average retail worker wouldn't benefit from that? But two points to be made: I'll repeat what other users here have already said — emergency bonuses may help keep up with the cost of living *massive*ly outpacing wage increases. I'd rather be able to purchase a home at an affordable price, and not pay an arm and a leg for decent internet, than have a wage increase. And emergency bonus pay does not do squat to secure a home loan (at least not with any loan officers I've spoken to in my home search)
2. This point is a personal anecdote. Pre-pandemic, I made a decent hourly wage. Not a ton, but enough over the minimum that I was happy with it. Then the pandemic hit and my boss was forced to furlough all of us. Last summer, when we could come back, I was the *only* one who did (and I don't think I'd have been brought back had this initiative been in place, my boss would have continued alone). ***And since then, a dollar or fifty cents at a time as the business began to stumble towards recovery, my boss has raised my regular hourly wage by $4/hr.*** That's right, my *regular wage* increased by the amount that's being proposed as an emergency increase in this bill. I know, incredibly fortunate for me, and a lot of people aren't in this position. But why am I? Because my boss was grateful he didn't have to run the business alone anymore. Because he's nice. Because to him I'm worth the long-term investment beyond a state of emergency. ***And because he didn't have anyone else to pay so he could.*** If this bill passes, **I'll quit my job before he has to pay me more**, because I know he's giving me the absolute most that the business can afford — I've seen the numbers.
I know this initiative was written with good intentions. I know it was written to protect people whose employers aren't basically family so much as mine is, and who aren't cared for as much as I am. I'm liberal, and so's my boss. But I'm not sure that the people who wrote it would bother driving downtown to buy local over buying online. And I'm not sure that the people who'd benefit the most are locals and small businesses so much as they're larger corporations. I'm not sure my favorite small, local, utterly Bellingham businesses would survive. And I'd likely vote no.
If you work for a small business, Prop 4 won't effect your boss much. It doesn't apply to businesses with less than 30 employees.
I’m curious how many small businesses in Bellingham have more than 30 employees at the moment. I think it’s more than I think. 30 isn’t that many.
In my mind, if you have more than 30 employees, you're not small anymore. I guess anyone can draw the line wherever they would like to, it's not like there is a strict definition.
The problem is that this makes no distinction between any companies and treats Temple Bar the same way it treats Amazon. It also affects government entities and nonprofits that work off of budgets, not cash flow. So, naturally there would be staff reductions and reductions in service that would most certainly affect the people who need them most.
Does Temple bar have more than 30 employees?
Between Mount Bakery locations and Temple Bar, yes. The owner has posted on numerous threads on FB about what they've done to accommodate employees during COVID (increased pay, safety measures) and that they will have to lay off people or close their doors if this goes through.
Will they just have to lay people off during those weeks when the hazardous pay is required? It’s my understanding that the increase isn’t a permanent or lasting increase but available only during “disaster” conditions. Maybe I’m not understanding it correctly?
One of the problems with the initiative as written is that it is very vague- and calls for hazard pay for any city, county, state, or national emergency that includes the City of Bellingham- regardless if it has anything directly to do with this area. There are almost always some forms of emergencies that we're under, which, as you can imagine would amount to a ridiculous and challenging situation for employers.
For example, the statewide Declaration of Emergency for Eastern WA wildfires- which went into effect around the beginning of July and lasted through September, would require hazard pay in Bellingham for the entire duration. Now, one could argue that for a week or so the smoke could indeed be a health issue, but to pay everyone extra simply because it's fire season is absurd.
Does it specify who alerts businesses when a hazardous period begins and ends? Is it State managed or City managed?
Most regulations of businesses don't make distinctions. Everyone has to pay minimum wage. Everyone has to follow safety regulations. The best the law can ever do is draw rough lines, and in this case, putting the cutoff at 30 employees protects true mom-and-pop institutions pretty effectively.
Also, every time wages minimum wages have been increased, the same bad-faith crying about not being able to afford it and people losing their jobs have been trotted out by the business community, and...it's never, ever been true. They just don't want to pay more, and you know what? Who can blame them. We don't have to take it at face value, though.
I mean, there might be some local restaurants or bars who have a lot of part time employees. But few would have the equivalent of 30, full time employees. But then, full time employees need benefits, so it behooves small businesses to hire part time help rather than full, time permanent staff.
If you’re in the market for a house in town, I don’t think this initiative is aimed at you. This is to help low wage essential workers who don’t have the luxury of working from home (or not working) during a pandemic. These workers wouldn’t qualify even for a single wide in Custer.
On my own income, I don't qualify for a single wide in Custer either lol. I said "I" in my post but I am not doing my home search on my own — and no way am I looking *in* Bellingham. And I did mention that I was furloughed during the pandemic, did not specify that that meant I couldn't work remotely but I should have. Was writing this right before bed and I knew it was pretty long already so I left some details out, my bad
Quitting wouldn’t help your boss. He’d just have to hire someone else who probably won’t be as dedicated as you are. **Just work harder and get your work done in half the time so he has to pay you fewer hours to offset the $4/hour increase during those weeks he has to pay the hazardous pay.**
So your boss, with very few employees, would be unaffected by prop 4. If they did get up towards 30 employees, would they be more likely to full time the part timers to keep the employee numbers low?
No, because then they’d need to pay benefits which would cost them more.
Their payroll changes a bit but is it more than $4/hr? $160/week
Why would they have to pay benefits? I've worked plenty of jobs full time with zero benefits. Only recently has sick leave been a requirement.
Well, in Washington I don’t think they have to pay health benefits to full time employees for businesses with under 50 employees; but they would have to offer sick leave, parental leave etc to full time employees. To be competitive, many offer health benefits as well.
While the proposition writers have good intentions, I feel that it is placing far too much of the burden on small businesses, which large businesses will love. It can inadvertently destroy their weaker competition. Do workers need more money? Absolutely! But the flip side of pay is the cost of living, and it has climbed SO much faster than pay. Its the squeeze, with pay on one side, and cost of living on the other. The problem will never be solved by only looking at one of those two sides. The cost of housing is the largest expense for anyone, so I feel that if that were to be targeted in some fashion, and bring it back into line with the pay, it would go further without harming small businesses nearly so much.
I also recognize that something like this may harm any local property owners to varying degrees. At some point, however, this will be absolutely unavoidable, as has been shown in many other nations. But this is still a better method than only focusing on businesses, as the businesses and commerce generate far more money "velocity" than any property owner.
It should be noted that the hazard pay section of Prop 4 states that if a business has fewer than 30 employees, there is a maximum of 14 days per year of hazard pay. So it's not really putting much of a burden on small businesses, most of it will fall on big corporations.
Wrong. The smaller companies will be forced to raise their pay the same rate or no one will work for them. Why work at the small store making $15/hr when the place next door, with only a few more employees, is required to pay you $19/hr?
You're assuming infinite open positions at the larger businesses. This is not the case and never has been.
This proposition assumes small businesses make enough profit for this to be feasible. This is not the case and never has been.
Exactly, it also says that this must all take place in ten days, whereas mandated pay raises (what this amounts to) passed through legislation always give employers months if not years to prepare. Very few businesses could comply without significant staff and service reductions .This initiative was clearly written without any understanding of anything business related. It means well, but is amazingly naive and irresponsible, and would have an immediate, severe impact on our local economy.
If "paying higher wages" were a secret way for chains to put small businesses out of business, they already would do it. They don't. It's a nice theory that you have but that's obviously not happening in reality.
No, but they have benefits like health insurance that many families need so people will work for comparable or less pay if it's offset by having health insurance and a steady paycheck. Working at McDonald's is probably better than some local drive-in place that may not have benefits for you and your family.
Sure, some people take jobs for the benefits, and sometimes benefits are better at some companies more than others. None of that is a good reason to vote against the initiatives though, which are a big win for service workers.
It has nothing to do with companies like Fred Meyer's. It has to do with places like Mount Bakery who will be forced to fire people in order to afford to keep the doors open.
Are you saying that, everything else being equal, you would work at the smaller company with lower pay?
I think the key part of that question is "everything else being equal." It never is. The availability of $4/hr hazard pay during public emergencies would likely not be a huge factor for me.
Unfortunately, 30 is a rather arbitrary number. A restaurant that's open from 11-11 can easily have 30+ employees. I would consider most nonchain restaurants small local businesses.
Yes! Inflation has increased on average 3% EACH YEAR since 1980. Over the same period, average worker wages have increased only 11% (total). It doesn’t matter how much we make if that amount affords housing, food, transportation, medical, utilities, etc.
But how do we magically lower the cost of living to be in line with the low wages that are the reality today?
This is where I get down-voted to hell, because as other nations have shown, the only method of doing so will involve some kind of rent/price control scheme. It may be a direct price control, or it may involve mass construction of publicly owned apartments to force down land values. I've lived in nations that did both, and it was amazing knowing that regardless of how much money you made, you always had the ability to afford a roof over your head without it eating the majority of your income. You always had the ability to have a life otherwise, and things like a decent vehicle, food, etc. Both places also cost far less than Bellingham, which is insane, because Bellingham isn't even 5% the size of the places I've lived abroad.
I think a start will have to happen with the folks in WA state beginning to campaign on removing the state's constitutional block on any form of controls. After that? Who knows?
Sadly the state/county/cities bear a large amount of fault in this. They SAY they want things to be affordable, but nothing they do makes any progress. This is because they do not actually want things to become affordable as they once were. This would mean lower land values, which translates into less property tax money flowing into their coffers. On top of that, many of those in power make a lot of money personally in the property markets. So them throwing up a few MASSIVELY over budget tiny homes in some corner of a city does nothing for the problem, except line someone's pockets.
(And it is also hilarious in how low quality houses are in the US now compared to other nations. Especially when you factor in the price. A ripoff from start to finish.)
I agree with you and also lived in Europe for over a decade and can vouch for the ability to live comfortably regardless of your income. Not having that stress of not being able to afford the basics was priceless. Oh, and the free healthcare was pretty amazing as well.
Yep! I spent 8yrs in the Cologne/Duren area, and 11yrs in the area around Tokyo. (lived in multiple places in the metro area. So long as you stayed out of the metro core, even Tokyo was cheaper than B'ham is now. And yes, the healthcare was AMAZING in both places.
Some do not realize how the threat of having no access to major healthcare is a way that employers here seek to keep you working, and enduring abuse. And that doesnt even begin to cover the cost on top of your insurance, which is why many who are insured here still have, functionally, no medical coverage. I know my last place paid us so badly that even with insurance, none of us dared to use it. Being caught between those bills and housing would wreck people.
But we’re number 1! All better now.
Everything else is evil communism! Evil soshulizm!
While I agree with you that our local government has mostly made the problems worse through zoning, design review process, and a few other things. I don't think Europe is the place to look for solutions. My main reason for thinking this is that since WW2 the population of Western Europe has increased about 30%-35% but the population of the US has increased about 110%-115%. Plus at the end of WW2 the whole continent basically got a reset in terms of government and policy, with a significant reduction in population. I know that's dark, but it's true. We never got that reset to clear out the institutional rot that's accumulated over the years. I tend to favor mass construction as our best way out. The number of people is going up and if the number of houses doesn't go up at least as much you're going to get problems. My only difference is that I think it doesn't need to be all or even mostly government housing, but I also don't have much faith in government to competently execute on nearly anything these days.
I fully agree. I would not look to Europe for full solutions, but I am in favor of looking at any place for ideas. You never know where a good one might pop up! We definitely can build our way out of a housing shortage. North America has one thing Europe does not. An absolute TON of land to build on. Whether we build up or out, the comparisons between almost any place in NA vs the EU or Japan/South Korea is bonkers. My EU friends have come here over the years, for work or play, and been amazed by just how much open space we have. I also share your lack of faith in government to actually do anything competently. I would prefer a mix of public housing and private, but the biggest thing we need is an infinitely more streamlined and FAST permitting/building process. This would in turn make it cheaper, and obviously easier. On top of that, the hard-on every location has for single family units needs a swift kick in the you-know-whats.
As a history nerd I also love the fact you went into WW2's effects on Europe! The same was true for Japan, in a way, on top of them actually "eating their rich" post-war, at the US' own guidance.
I'm a worker, my thoughts:
- The wage increase only comes during an emergency declaration. I get that COVID is a very good reason on paper to require hazard pay as people are putting themselves at risk by working with the public, but it makes a lot less sense when we consider other kinds of emergencies and the fact that this law would apply to emergencies declared in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington State, or from the Federal level. Do workers in Fairhaven need to make $4/hour because crops in the county are wilting due to drought? Probably not. I wouldn't mind if it were carved such that the Mayor could implement hazard pay by declaring an appropriate emergency, but as it is written it doesn't make much sense to me.
- The scheduling rights are, IMO, fantastic. As much as they might upset the apple cart that is food service and dining, the reality is that it's nearly impossible to work a flexible schedule and live a physically and mentally healthy life. And advance notice of schedule changes is a no-brainer, that improves quality of life and prevents parents of children from getting hard shafted out of employment and advancement opportunities.
All in all, I think it's a great law. I don't believe the hazard pay will do anything except further encourage businesses large and small to lobby against emergency declarations (yikes). The rest of it though is a major step forward for the working classes.
I'm an employee voting against, unless they can revise it to target low wages under a certain amount and larger corporations. I tried to read the fine print and it seems like it would hurt small biz, who may already be paying a living wage.
Another thing that I haven't seen considered in this thread (apologies if I missed it) is how this $4 hazard pay affects non-profit organizations. For example, the Whatcom YMCA employs about 200 people in this community. The $4 wage increase would force them to raise their membership rates to stay open. Since the YMCA exists to offer resources to low-income families, this rate increase will directly burden them. So in this way, Prop 4 hurts the very people that it is meant to help.
I volunteer at the YMCA and this is a big concern for the people working there. The folks I work with seem to understand that making more money could ultimately lead to losing their jobs if the YMCA has to close. I don't think that people realize this is a possibility. For a second, forget small businesses. There are tons of NPOs in Bellingham that could very well shut down if Prop 4 goes through. That could be a lot of resources lost and a lot of unemployed Hamsters.
I think Prop 4 has really good intentions. In fact, most of Prop 4 is really cool. It's just the wording around the $4 hazard pay is really poorly written. In my opinion, if that section was removed, Prop 4 would have better legs to stand on.
Prop 4 would likely decrease the giving nature of some more philanthropic organizations due to their increase in operating costs
I have a hard time with this logic. The basic argument seems to be that if we want to support some vulnerable members of our community or provide needed services at a fair price, hourly workers should be the ones to pay for that.
Just because an employer provides a socially beneficial service doesn't mean they should be able to avoid compensating their employees for the hazards they face. Childcare workers and home health workers are among the most underpaid workers in our economy.
If the answer is that we need to increase taxes on wealth and income, I agree. But that is no reason to sit on our hands at a local level.
I don't think I was clear in my comment. I in no way believe that employers that provide beneficial services should be exempt from compensating their employees. In fact, I completely agree that those employees are in greater need of these benefits. What I am trying to say is that these NPOs can't afford to offer these benefits, and such, may go under. If they do, their clientele AND they're employees suffer.
So, while Prop 4 could help employees of small businesses, it also screws NPOs. Which is interesting, because low-income hourly employees are often the ones some NPOs serve. For example, you work in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Prop 4 passes and your wage goes up. You also utilize the YMCA for childcare. The Y has to up their rates due to Prop 4, and so now you're using your extra income to pay the increases monthly rate hike. You don't really gain anything and local NPOs are put under greater stress. I know this is a simple example, but I feel it's important to consider. It's gonna be a real bummer when a bunch of low income families lose child care because the Y closes. Then that extra $4 / hr doesn't seem so excellent.
Benefits to NPOs need to be funded from somewhere else. The writing of Prop 4, as it stands, does nothing to account for that.
People are underpaid. If businesses close because they can't afford to pay employees closer to what they're worth they shouldn't be operating as such.
The entire foodservice industry exists off of slim margins and high operating expenses. Many are trying to do all they can to keep their employees happy and well-paid. Most establishments, however, could not bring enough extra income in to make this large adjustment. Having them go out of business and lose their jobs doesn't help anyone.
Two things can be possible at once. In this case, the idea of better wages for employees is a good one, but this proposal would almost certainly do more harm than good.
Louder for the people who didn't hear me the first time. If a business, or an entire industry, can only exist by exploiting their workers they don't deserve to exist in it's current form.
Even louder, for the people who apparently don't do nuance or understand complicated topics: There are ways for businesses and organizations to transition to higher, more equitable wages. Many already do. This type of poorly written legislation isn't the way to improve the situation, unless you think fewer jobs, higher costs, and reduced services for those who need them is a step forward.
Thank you so much for initating this discussion!!! I spoke to the owners of The Filling Station and just saw that Black Drop rescinded its support, so I really wanted some more input!
What did Filling Station say?
Basically what most people here have said: it is very well intentioned, but the way its worded would make it likely for many small businesses and nonprofits to be in a financially impossible situation that includes cutting programs, firing staff, and/or raising prices to an absurd degree.
They also said that they had been violently harassed in public, which is completely unacceptable.
Seriously? The other posts didn’t say “we only want to hear from employers.” And employees haven’t been shy.
Seems dishonest to try to limit the issue to one side.
They literally said "curious to get an idea" without positing any opinions of their own. The definition of neutral
Could also say “I only want to hear from those that are being promised goodies without also hearing that they might lose their jobs.”
Why are you so threatened to hear the opinions of employees? I think it organizes that perspective clearly if there is a separate post for employee views.
I think this was about creating an echo chamber instead of a conversation.
There are good things promised to employees in these proposals. The devil is in the details though.
I’m not afraid of anything other than the prospect of bad laws.
What about the Liberal Boogeyman? Are you afraid of him? I have conservative buddies who can't sleep at night because they're so scared of him. He's coming for your job, your money, your guns, your liberty, your vote, your pants, your socks, and maybe even your toothbrush. He wants everything. Be aware!
Wow. Nonsense posting there. You should probably lay off the drugs so early in the day.
You have a -39 on your original post, and you're telling me that I'm bringing the nonsense? Anyone who says they want to "have a conversation" on the internet just wants to rant their opinions.
I don’t confuse brigading by the initiative people with intelligent discourse. The downvotes are pretty meaningless.
What? These points aren't worth anything? I feel so deceived. I am actually against the initiatives but your original post was too stupid not to comment on. Arguing that the businesses haven't been heard from is either uninformed or disingenuous because I've read a lot of business owners opinions on here as well as their public statements that have been reposted in this sub. So you just went out of your way to make some kind of lame argument against the person who started this forum because you're clearly looking for a fight on the internet. So here I am, ready and willing to point out your asinine behavior!!!
And where you have heard from business owners, workers have been invited to respond. That’s how open forums are supposed to work.
So why can’t it work that way when the workers post their opinions? Are you scared of interaction with those who have a different perspective?
“Looking for a fight.” Geez, get over yourself. Dialogue is not a fight.
You are, quite possibly, the most ridiculous person on here. Let me go find some more semantics for you to get mad about.
You’re right! They didn’t. However, I was curious to see this specific side as I have read a lot from business owners’ view. Having these opinions from specifically employees in one space created a spot for me to get an idea of this side in one post.
So you wanted to create an echo chamber instead of a conversation.
Polling a specific demographic isn’t an echo chamber. It’s how you gather views from that demographic. It’s intentional. Would you be as upset if a post asked for views from the business owners about how they feel about the initiative? I feel both those posts would be insightful. I suppose I’m just not following your resistance to that. “Workers” aren’t political. “Workers” are liberal, conservative, independent and non-political. So are business owners.
Reddit isn’t a polling place. It’s a community and that means all sides should converse.
I am not a business owner - but I totally see how these proposals could totally screw up the entire local economy. It’s important that workers understand the unintended consequences.
And that’s your view as a “worker” and that’s the feedback this post is asking for. So why do you feel it’s an echo chamber? OP wasn’t asking for feedback only from workers who agree with the proposal. Your view, as a worker who is opposed to the measure is equally as desired here. That’s the objective of this post, to hear the varying opinions of workers.
Except we both know this was tossed out there to be a cheering section for the proposals.
I’m being sincere when I say I didn’t see it like that. Perhaps because I was interested to hear what workers had to say about it. I was enlightened by some comments like one that said the uncertain nature of when and for how long that “extra pay” would be available doesn’t help when applying for a loan or planning your budget for next month.
What didn't come up was job losses and business closures - which belongs in this conversation a lot. These proposals would make Bellingham - already with a reputation as not friendly to business - into a total radioactive mess.
I think it's time that Bellingham understand that it can't depend on the policies written by hardcore leftists and voted in by WWU students if it ever wants good jobs or ample housing. You treat developers and businesses like the enemy and guess what? They take their money and investments elsewhere.
But those points didn’t come up because this post was asking for employee views, not business owner views. I think those discussions were happening on the other post related to this that was more general and all inclusive.
Why are there so many difficult people on this sub lately? Y’all are intentionally obtuse
The trolls are out in full force.
What’s obtuse? I answered your question.
So you want to create an echo chamber instead of a conversation sation sation sation.