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Regulatory Wrap-Up: Where state and national policy impact retail



St. Louis, MO - Advocacy groups including Show Me $15 and Missouri Jobs with Justice announced the formation of a “Save the Raise” campaign. The campaign will encourage employers in the city to maintain the $10/hr rate passed by the city prior to the statewide preemption law being enacted. On Aug. 28, the state wage will revert back to $7.70/hr and employers are entitled to honor that rate. The campaign will negatively highlight those employers that choose to go back to the old rate, or any rate lower than the $10/hr.

Wage Theft

San Diego, CA - The left-leaning Center on Policy Initiatives, partnering with San Diego State University and the Employee Rights Center, released a study questioning the city’s alleged lack of enforcement of the recently passed wage increase. The study urges the mayor to increase funding for targeted investigations at work sites and increase educational outreach to the construction and restaurant industries which, according to other national studies, typically have the highest rates of non-compliance with wage laws.

Paid Leave

Albuquerque, NM - Following a judge’s decision to mandate that the Healthy Workforce Ordinance be placed on the upcoming Oct. 3 ballot, business advocates successfully lobbied the City Council to approve an additional, competing question. The new measure would “signal” to the City Council that voters support a sick leave proposal but would not mandate legislative action. Paid leave proponents argued the city council is attempting to confuse voters. The Council also voted to place the entire language of the HWO on the ballot, as opposed to a short summary of the proposal. If the Healthy Workforce Ordinance was passed by the voters, employers would be obligated to provide sick leave to all employees and be subject to onerous record keeping mandates.


Oregon - The governor signed legislation making Oregon the first state in the nation to enact a restrictive scheduling mandate and it is highly likely the law will become a national model. As previously reported, the mandate applies to “chains” that employ at least 500 employees worldwide. Primary components of the legislation include: seven days advanced notice for the first three years and 14 days beginning in 2020 with one hour of penalty pay for changes; a rest period of at least ten hours between employee shifts; employers may use the “voluntary standby list” to address unanticipated customer needs or unexpected employee absences without penalty pay, and a permanent, statewide preemption of all local government scheduling mandates. The law will be enforced by the state labor department with a narrow private right of action for retaliation.

Labor Policy

Wisconsin - The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision refusing to overturn the state’s right-to-work law that passed in 2015. The law allows workers in a unionized shop to opt out of joining the union and paying the requisite dues. Twenty-eight states have right-to-work laws on the books.

NLRB - The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee held a confirmation hearing this week for Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel, President Trump’s nominees to fill two open seats on the National Labor Relations Board. Aside from the expected pro-labor pushback from Democrats on the committee, the hearing was relatively uneventful and committee approval and full Senate confirmation are expected soon.

Joint Employer - The House Committee on Education and Workforce held a hearing this week exploring the various economic threats imposed by the expanded definition of joint-employer under federal labor laws. The employer community is seeking clarity on the definitions of what is and what is not a joint employer relationship. Legislation seeking to roll back the NLRB’s 2015 Browning-Ferris decision has yet to be introduced this Congress but is likely to be rolled out in the coming weeks. Separately, the House Appropriations Subcommittee passed the Labor, Health and Human services, and Education appropriations bill and included language to defund the joint-employer provision.

Airport Strike - In its first major, national action in months, the SEIU planned to hold a strike this week at Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia airports over ongoing contract negotiations. That strike was temporarily averted as unions announced they would return to the bargaining table. The episode demonstrates that the SEIU is less committed to the brinkmanship strategy it has pursued in years past through its Fight for $15 campaign.

Pay Equity

San Francisco - City officials passed an ordinance barring employers from asking job candidates about their salary histories. The mayor is expected to sign off. The law aims to close the wage gap between women and men, and applies to both private employers and city agencies and contractors. According to the San Francisco Examiner, women in San Francisco earn 16 cents less on the dollar than men, African-American women earn 60 cents less and Latinas, 55 cents, citing U.S. Census figures. San Francisco is now the tenth jurisdiction to pass a pay equity measure.

Sugar Tax

Chicago - The Illinois appellate court upheld the temporary restraining order issued last month to enjoin the county’s sweetened beverage tax. The tax was supposed to go into effect on July 1. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association, lead plaintiff in the case, is asking the lower court to rule on a preliminary injunction until a final decision is released on the legality of the ordinance. Another hearing is scheduled for next week.

Health Care

Senate ACA Repeal - Senate Republican leadership revealed an updated version of its previously released ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act.’ The tweaks were designed to appeal to conservatives and contain provisions that allow for insurers to offer health plans that do not comply with ACA regulations, as long as they also sell plans that do. The updated bill reinstates the taxes on higher earners that were cut in the previous version and keeps the structure of ACA tax credits.

The Medicaid cuts that were previously contemplated largely remained intact as well as
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