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Argument Against Sick Leave Proposal

Argument Against Eugene's Sick Leave Proposal from Alan Thayer on Vimeo.

Buried in Eugene's proposed sick leave ordinance is a requirement that could send out-of-town businesses packing and devastate the Eugene and Lane County economies. On July 8, 2014, Alan Thayer testified on the consequences of this requirement before the Lane County Board of Commissioners.


***  Testimony Text  ***

Good morning commissioners, thank you for this time. My name is Alan Thayer. I am a business lawyer in Eugene. I represent employers large and small, both inside and outside Eugene.

Previous speakers have talked about the impact on Eugene employers. Some speakers have talked about the impact on employers outside of Eugene whose employees come to Eugene on business. No one has spoken though about one aspect of this ordinance. The proposed ordinance says that if you are an employer and you own or rent property in Eugene, it applies to all of your employees. Not all of your employees in Eugene, all of your employees.

So if you are PF Chang’s, it applies not only to the employees at the restaurant on Coburg Road but to all of their employees across the United States. This is a black eye for the City of Eugene and for Lane County.

The costs imposed by the ordinance are not just the cost of the mandated leave itself, it’s the cost of the mandated record keeping which has been addressed. It also includes the costs imposed by the right to sue.

Let’s take PF Chang’s. Let’s say they have a restaurant in Deerborn, Michigan. There is an employee there who has never stepped foot in Oregon. Under the Eugene ordinance they can sue PF Chang’s in Eugene or at least in an Oregon court. Once the Oregon court has jurisdiction, the employee can bring up any grievance they want against PF Chang’s in Eugene. PF Chang’s counsel, if they are not aware of this yet, they will be. When they make decisions on whether to continue their business in Eugene they will factor this in.

Other businesses, when deciding whether to keep their operations in Eugene or whether to locate a new facility in Eugene, will take this into consideration.

As a result, Lane County has a number of interests. Including protecting the exercise of long-standing and well-recognized constitutional rights of employers outside of Eugene to petition the county. To meet with their county commissioner without this charge. To meet with the district attorney. To petition the court. To attend public hearings. To attend county commissioner meetings.

What impact will this have on the fairgrounds revenue if employers outside of Eugene don’t want to participate in and sponsor events at the fairgrounds?

What will this do to the county room tax revenue? Certainly the county has an interest in protecting that.

Mutual aid. Will the City of Eugene go after cities outside of Eugene that provide police and fire to the city of Eugene when Eugene requests mutual aid?

Same thing with utility aid. If there is a storm and there is damage to our utility infrastructure, utility companies across the region and even across the country will respond. Will they be saddled with these costs simply by the virtue of doing a good deed?

And certainly the county has an interest in protecting property tax revenues.

Thank you!



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