January 8, 2009

Baked oatmeal goes on sick leave

When a local restaurant closed yesterday, one if its owners told a Journal-Sentinel reporter that "the new Milwaukee ordinance that requires city employers to provide sick days to their workers would have made it difficult for her to continue in business."

As if on cue, the paper's "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran seized at this scrumptious tidbit and composed a righteous screed entitled, "Milwaukee gets sick leave, Heinemann's dies of the grippe."

Never mind that nearly 70% of Milwaukee voters approved the ordinance on Nov. 4. Never mind that the ordinance isn't set to take effect for more than a month.

And especially never mind that the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) filed a civil action against the city last month alleging that the ordinance violates every fundamental precept of State and federal law except for the Geneva Convention (or maybe there's an amended complaint in the works).

In the meantime MMAC, one of whose officers is McIlheran's corporate boss Steven J. Smith, is seeking an injunction against the ordinance until its complaint is more fully litigated.

There's a hearing on that motion scheduled for Jan. 29* in circuit court and frankly, it stands a pretty good chance of succeeding.

One of MMAC's more compelling arguments is that the skimpy language presented to voters in November in no way described what turned out to be the substance of the ordinance which, MMAC claims, guarantees numerous paid days off not only to victims of sexual abuse and stalking, but also to the stalkers themselves.

But of course let's not let any of that get in the way of Patrick McIlheran's typically fallacious stoking of his conservative fans.

* Since reset for Feb. 6.


krshorewood said...

Let's also not forget, that two out of the three Heinemann's were not in Milwaukee.

Other Side said...

Let's not forget their food and service sucked. And, their clientele, mostly elderly, is probably dying off.

Anonymous said...

The people that voted for that referendum have never owned or operated a business. Painfully obvious. That is an "I'm gonna get me some" type of mentality and it's pure entitlement. There are only 3, count 'em, THREE cities in the entire U.S. that have that stupid policy.

Lastly, 70% voted for it. But, if you do the math, just think for a minute about how many business owners there are versus employees. Even if there were only two employees at each and every business in Milwaukee, the odds are 2:1 against the business owner. Of course the fox wants to watch the henhouse! Of course they want nine sick days. Why not 15 or 20 for that matter? Go for it!

illusory tenant said...

You make a better case than does P-Mac.

Other Side said...

Where is WMC when you need 'em, right Tony?

Anonymous said...

That allegation by the owners should be used to define the word "canard". The bulk of the JS article detailed the steady slide of their business (predating the referendum) and the various factors that were responsible (higher costs, aging demographics, etc.).

illusory tenant said...

Right, the baked oatmeal ... and the duck.

Anonymous said...

The people that voted for that referendum have never owned or operated a business.

You make a better case than does P-Mac.


Anonymous said...

I have heard the argument on several blogs that X business could not be closing because of the ordinance because it has not taken effect yet. I do not believe this is a valid argument. Businesses make decisions based not only on what is currently happening, but what they expect to occur over the next year (or longer).

As an example, assume I owned a small busines with a few employees and I was marginally successful, making what I consdered a decent wage (use $80K as an example). I might look at the ordinance and feel that it is going to cause additional work on my part to track and implement this. When I prepare my budget for next year I might also feel that these provisions are likely to decrease my take home pay (say to $60K).

At this point an owner might feel that he/she could easily get a job paying an equivalent wage and do away with all of the extra work, liability, and headaches associated with running a small business. Therefore, I close the business. The new ordinance is not the only reason, but it is a factor.

I am not sure what the exact situation is with this business, or if the new ordinance played any significant factor. However, I do not believe anyone writing on commenting on this blog really knows either. Clearly the owner considered it some factor. Regardless, it will definitely factor into the decisoins of many businesses as they struggle to make ends meet in this economy.

Anonymous said...

Minimum-wage earners cannot afford to take days off when they are sick. Observe during your next visit to a Wal-Mart, Heinemann's, George Webb, Target or Home Depot: How long does it take to get your changed coughed on?

Or take your own unofficial survey--maybe you know someone who works at one of those places--ask them if they call in sick when they really are.

Consider the Ick Factor of eating in a restaurant that is cleaned by, and where your food is cooked by and served by people who don't take a day or two off when they aren't well. . .
Enjoy your meal!