Chairman’s Report by Jim Caldwell – Manufacturing Professional, Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center

City Council Turns Deaf Ear to Business Leaders

On November 16, 2018, the Texas Third Court of Appeals, after reviewing a lawsuit and amicus briefs on Austin’s Paid Sick Leave (PSL) Ordinance, filed by multiple Texas businesses across the state, to include the San Antonio Business Coalition, determined the ordinance is preempted by state law and upheld the injunction denying Austin from implementing their PSL.  In summary, Austin’s PSL ordinance, and San Antonio’s (adopted on August 16, 2018), are deemed unlawful and unconstitutional.  On November 30th, SAMA along with many other business leaders sent a joint request letter to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, numerous city officials and the members of City Council to repeal the unconstitutional City of San Antonio PSL ordinance before it’s effective date of January 1, 2019.

In the letter, the business community explained the ordinance will impact thousands of small and medium size companies to include manufacturers.  What does the mayor do, he and city council double-down on bad policy decisions that negatively impact the business community and creates an ad hoc committee charged with developing a PSL Ordinance with “options”.

From a SAMA and business community perspective, the only option the mayor and city council have is to repeal the ordinance and listen to the business community.  It is the responsibility of business owners to first and foremost provide employees with a safe work environment.  They must pay prevailing wages and benefits based on market conditions and employee skills that enable them to compete locally, nationally and globally.

It is not the role of a city mayor, city officials or city council to dictate wages and benefits to private companies.  They are responsible for city employees and the tax payers who put them in office.  It is policies like this that are driving manufacturers and other businesses across town to other cities.  (See my article in the Current Issues Sections of this Newsletter “San Antonio Regulations – Manufacturers Eye Surrounding Cities for Expansion”). As I said in last month’s newsletter “The Future State Is In The Hands Of The Voters”. This spring election is critical to San Antonio and its’ future.

Jim Caldwell, Manufacturing Professional, Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center