Council has built in ‘basic bias’ against the Seattle employer

Aug 10, 2016, 2:50 PM
Seattle employer...
Curley is opposed to adding even more government intervention in the employee-employer relationship. (AP)

Allow me to make a sweeping generalization: The elected officials who work in area government and on the Seattle City Council has never written their names on the right-hand column of a paycheck. These people making the rules have probably never had to hire, fire or meet payroll at the end of the month. They’re not a Seattle employer.

I say this because most of the rules and regulation they adopt are in favor of the employee as opposed to the employer. That’s specifically true with the Seattle council’s proposal for a sweeping law to protect workers from erratic schedules.

Related: Seattle landlord wonders why he can’t choose the ‘nice and clean’ renters

The concept comes from a bunch of employees who have complained about the lack of turnaround time between shifts and the want for existing employees to be offered additional hours before new workers are hired.

Costing the Seattle employer

An example: They had me scheduled on a Monday to work until 11 p.m. and then have me scheduled on a Tuesday starting at 6 a.m. Thus, I’m not getting enough time to recover. So, reasonably, they want something like a 10-hour break.

If a Seattle employer can’t give them that, they’ve got to pay the employee something extra. Another proposal is to mandate that schedules are made two weeks in advance. If for some reason an employee is put on the schedule but ends up not being needed, the employer owes half of the hourly wage for each hour cut.

In other words, they want to make life more comfortable for the people who work.

But where is that money coming from? You have to produce. You have to flip 100 hamburgers in an hour. At the end of that time, you’ve sold those burgers, money comes into the till and you get a piece of that. Problem is, the city council is going to charge the employer extra because of a scheduling issue. I would love to find out I was kicked off the schedule and get paid.

What we will ultimately find is an unwanted third party hovering around this relationship: Employee, employer and government. The government is going to come in and look at the people who are working and will say, “Yeah, it is too difficult to get fewer hours of sleep so we’re going to try and make things fairer and better for you.”

Here’s the thing: Whenever you make work more difficult for employers — i.e. France – you will find a higher unemployment rate because it is harder fire, hire and run a business. If you were to have the city council take a look at the profit-loss statement of many of these businesses, they’d likely find the Seattle employer is making 2, 3, or 4 percent at the end of the year. Seattle elected officials always seem to assume that all employers are rich and that the employees are given no mercy. But if they looked and saw how much money many of these business owners actually make at the end of the year, maybe they would be more sympathetic. Instead, they have this basic bias built in that the employee is good and the employer is bad.

KIRO Radio’s resident historian Feliks Banel thinks my characterization is over the top.

“Why would they be anti-business?” he asked me. “The city would collapse without businesses.”

My answer: This city is lucky that the engine itself is so strong and dynamic that it can put up with the barnacles of the city government. It’s almost like a giant ship, with the engine so large that even with all the crud hanging on the bottom of the boat, it’s still able to crank along.

John Curley and Shari Elliker on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.

John Curley and Shari Elliker

John Curley and Shari Elliker

(Getty Images)...
MyNorthwest Staff

WA’s ban on high-capacity ammo magazines to take effect July 1

The measure also outlines that importing, manufacturing, and distributing magazines with more than 10 rounds will be prohibited. 
8 days ago
Welcome Back...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

Does your boss truly care about your happiness?

John & Shari aren't buying a New York Times report that addresses the new school approach employers are taking to keep their employees happy.
2 months ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Alaska Airlines CEO anticipates ‘choppy May,’ issues mea culpa as flight cancellations rack up

Alaska Airlines is facing issues with contracting and a shortage of pilots, leaving travelers to deal with a surplus of flight cancellations.
2 months ago
Pramila Jayapal...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John and Shari: Political pressure to forgive student loan debt is well-timed ahead of mid-term elections

President Joe Biden and Congress’ plan for student loan debt remains an outstanding question as Democrats look towards the midterm elections.
3 months ago
diner, tip...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John & Shari: Inflation has forced some people to adjust their tipping habits

Inflation is driving up prices lately on nearly everything, and it seems to be leading some people to tip less at restaurants and for other services.
3 months ago
John Curley, Shari Elliker...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John Curley and Shari Elliker want story ideas from listeners

John Curley and Shari Elliker are looking for story ideas and could use your help. If it's good, you may even get a gift from John of his choosing.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Council has built in ‘basic bias’ against the Seattle employer