Em­ploy­ers, em­ploy­ees stand to lose con­trol of their work con­di­tions

Albuquerque Journal - - OP-ED - BY ROX­ANNE RIVERA-WIEST PRES­I­DENT, ASSOCIATED BUILDERS AND CON­TRAC­TORS OF N.M.

Imag­ine that you are a con­crete con­trac­tor work­ing on a large job site. To­day is your first con­crete pour. You have done the site work; you have set your forms. Now it is time to place the con­crete. It is a large site, so you are us­ing a con­crete pump to pour the wet con­crete. While the wet con­crete is be­ing poured, con­struc­tion work­ers will be us­ing shov­els, rakes and come alongs to move the con­crete to make sure there are no voids or air pock­ets. Once the wet con­crete has been placed into the forms, it is screeded, which helps con­sol­i­date and com­pact it. Then the con­crete is smoothed and lev­eled to fur­ther com­pact it and cre­ate a smooth fin­ish. Fi­nally, the con­crete is floated to even out any de­pres­sions or high ar­eas. As you can see, this is a com­pli­cated, de­tailed process that re­quires good prior plan­ning with many em­ploy­ees and ev­ery em­ployee know­ing their in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tion to a suc­cess­ful pour.

Now imag­ine that half of your em­ploy­ees do not show up to work on the day of the pour. They did not have to no­tify you, so you did not have the abil­ity to sched­ule other em­ploy­ees to take their place. Pos­si­bly ex­pen­sive con­crete is lost, and the job is not done. Both the con­crete con­trac­tor and the gen­eral con­trac­tor are li­able. They lose money, the job falls be­hind and ev­ery­one loses — es­pe­cially the em­ploy­ees that did show up ready to work but got sent home be­cause the pour did not hap­pen.

This sce­nario could re­ally take place if the sick leave man­date in the Healthy Work­force Or­di­nance is voted for on Oct. 3. Un­der this man­date there is no re­quire­ment that an em­ployee no­tify an em­ployer if they are sick. You as an em­ployer will no longer have con­trol of your work con­di­tions. And em­ploy­ees — you will also have no con­trol over your daily sched­ules, be­cause you could be asked to cover for any­one who is out, since your em­ployer would have no prior knowl­edge of the ab­sence of an­other em­ployee. There are rules that gov­ern sick leave for a rea­son. Em­ploy­ers must know of and plan if there are ab­sences, so that sce­nar­ios like the above are averted and a busi­ness can con­tinue to func­tion.

It is ap­par­ent that the sick leave man­date will drive up costs for busi­nesses. This will es­pe­cially be hard for small busi­nesses, which in turn will harm em­ploy­ees and en­dan­ger a busi­ness’s ex­is­tence. Busi­ness growth is the best way to im­prove em­ploy­ees’ pay and ben­e­fits. As busi­nesses grow, so does their bot­tom line and their profit mar­gins. In fact, as soon as small busi­nesses can af­ford to of­fer ben­e­fits like paid sick leave the vast ma­jor­ity do so — es­pe­cially in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

The sick leave man­date will force small busi­nesses to lay off em­ploy­ees or cut hours. Some may cut pay or other ben­e­fits. Some may put off hir­ing em­ploy­ees. There will vir­tu­ally be no busi­ness growth in Al­bu­querque.

This man­date is “lo­cal” in name only. The crafters of this egre­gious law are New York lawyers and anti-busi­ness groups such as Olé, which is an off­shoot of the now de­funct ACORN. The As­so­ci­a­tion of Com­mu­nity Or­ga­ni­za­tions for Re­form Now fa­mously came un­der fire a few years ago be­cause its po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­ates en­gaged in elec­tion­eer­ing and lob­by­ing. There was also an em­bez­zle­ment scan­dal and al­le­ga­tions of fa­cil­i­tat­ing voter fraud. The or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fi­cially an­nounced the clo­sure of its of­fices in 2010 af­ter los­ing gov­ern­ment fund­ing due to the con­tro­ver­sies.

Ask your­self if you want out-of-state groups like Olé to cre­ate our lo­cal busi­ness poli­cies. Ask your­self as an em­ployer if you want to lose con­trol of your busi­ness. And most im­por­tantly, ask your­self as an em­ployee if you want an out-of-state group to dic­tate the fate of your em­ployer, the fate of your work sched­ule and ul­ti­mately the fate of your fu­ture em­ploy­ment. If you want a sta­ble work en­vi­ron­ment, both em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees must vote against the sick leave man­date on Oct. 3.

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