As Shift reported, Democrats in the state House proposed bills that would require one-size-fits-all mandatory paid sick leave, HB 1356, and paid vacation, HB 1163. The bills have the full backing of big labor. In fact, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) extolled it as a virtuous part of its “2015 Shared Prosperity Agenda.” There is, however, a pretty significant exception to the “shared” part of the agenda.
The bills—along with three other “workers’ rights” bills—contains an exception for labor unions. Senate Republicans’ remedy to the exclusion of union workers—an attempt to level the playing field and share the “rights” to all workers—met with a hostile response from labor backed Democrats.
Sen. Bob Hasegawa (a Teamster for 32 years and head of Local 174 for nine) offered a rather lame, and ironic, excuse for his opposition to extending the “rights” to all workers. He explained that requiring paid sick leave (and higher minimum wages) would place “hardships” on unions currently exempt from giving their workers these “rights.”
It’s clear that Hasegawa never considered how the bills create “some hardships” for businesses that are not unionized. Luckily, the Washington Policy Center considered the impact for him.
According to the Washington Policy Center, HB 1356 and HB 1163 would significantly increase the cost of doing business in Washington by more than $1.5 billion per year. The high cost increases would harm “our state’s business climate and putting employers at a competitive disadvantage compared to companies based in other states.”
You can read the Washington Policy Center’s full analysis here.