Measure E: We Should be Making it Easier, Not Harder, To Do Business in San Jose

There are some serious concerns businesses and part-time workers should have when considering Measure E this November. Labor’s ordinance creates burdensome regulation for business by exposing employers to lawsuits, the loss of a flexible workforce, rigid scheduling practices, and little room for making amendments, which spells disaster for both business and the economy. This negative impact on business is reinforced with the public opposition of both San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and the Mercury News.

If approved, Measure E will affect 1,200 businesses in Silicon Valley by mandating employers with more than 35 workers offer extra hours to current employees before hiring on extra personnel. In theory, this sounds great, however it would require rigid record-keeping burdens for employers to try and defend themselves against unclear lawsuits demanding verification each time hours are made available. This Measure is yet another potential deterrent for would-be businesses thinking about establishing themselves in San Jose.

Proponents of Measure E paint business as “unscrupulous” barons who callously exploit their workforce by denying them full-time benefits. Rather the business community understands a key pillar of the economy is a flexible workforce. Measure E doesn’t create jobs as Ben Field of the South Bay Labor council himself puts it, rather it limits the number of available hours that part time job seekers have access to. Studies show that for every high tech sector job created there are approximately 4.3 jobs in service sectors produced. Making Silicon Valley an attractive place for companies to come do business creates jobs and translates into more hours available and more people employed.

We should be adding employment hours not creating additional burdensome regulation.

Particularly concerning for small businesses is the lack of an exemption for employers who rely on seasonal workers; potentially producing a nightmare for employers who would be forced to offer full-time benefits to a rapidly changing workforce. The final nail in the coffin comes from the complete lack of consultation sought by Labor from the business community. Labor totes the ‘flexibility’ of the ordinance to allow for business input at the city council, but, according to this Mercury News article the city attorney office “finds little latitude except in setting penalties.”

Measure E could have been improved with more consensus building, but now there is a deeply flawed albeit well intentioned ordinance facing voters.