Labor and Workforce

In the face of passed and potential labor legislation ranging from universal health care, paid sick leave, and a minimum wage increase, Bud Pierce wants to protect small businesses and their employees from unnecessary and counter-productive government mandates.  He believes Oregon must be more concerned with creating better paying jobs than taking away worker’s choice.

Flex Schedules Take Choice Away from Employees

A flexible work schedule (“flex schedule”) allows employees to have flexible hours as opposed to a set start and stop time. When employers extend flexible hours, they allow their employees to accommodate their own personal needs whether it is a family emergency, personal obligation or life in general without seeing a cut in pay.

 Bud Pierce understands that many small businesses rely on their workers and that work schedules aren't always predictable, given varying workloads or the particular needs of a business or industry.   In order to successfully run a business, employers must be able to schedule their employees when the work, not the government, dictates.

Many businesses work as best they can to accommodate their workers schedules, but it’s impractical and ultimately harmful to workers for the government to mandate certain schedules or require employers to compensate employees for schedule changes.  

Minimum Wage

Oregon now has the third highest minimum wage in the nation, after the July 1, 2016 increase to $9.75. SOURCE

Bud Pierce supports the creation of higher-wage jobs, but increasing the minimum wage is not the solution. Nor is it the answer to income inequality. If it were, Oregon would have solved income equality years ago instead of moving in just the opposite direction over the last three decades. Bud Pierce believes that making Oregon’s minimum wage even higher results in higher costs for small businesses and fewer jobs for those who need it most – young and low-skilled workers.  In fact, any government mandate that increases the cost of doing business could result in job losses – even jobs losses due to automation. Bud Pierce believes that Oregon’s next governor needs to focus on helping Oregon small business to grow their workforces and move our workers into good-paying jobs.

Paid Sick Leave

On January 1, 2016, Oregon became the fourth state with a statewide sick leave policy, joining California, Connecticut and Massachusetts.  While the push for paid sick leave is well-intended, it leads to unintended consequences.

As a result of a mandatory statewide policy, some employers may choose or have to cut their number of employees or at least reduce hours worked to accommodate the additional cost. Unfortunately, these cuts happened in other states.  In fact, about 11 percent of Connecticut businesses said they had reduced hours in response to cost increases from the state law. In San Francisco, 15 percent of workers reported either reduced hours or layoffs as a result of the policy.  SOURCE

Furthermore, some employers may choose to pass those costs along to consumers. This mandate, while good in nature, ends up hurting everyone. 

Bud Pierce generally opposes government regulations and mandates beyond those required for health and safety, and equal treatment.  For the most part, employers seek to ensure their employees are properly cared for.  This new paid sick leave law simply takes control away from employers and employees to create a desired working environment.

Immigration

Our federal immigration system is broken today. The great exodus from the Middle East now poses additional security threats and humanitarian challenges from Europe to the United States. Yet Washington, D.C. – the President and Congress, Democrats and Republican – have failed us. Washington’s failure to pass commonsense immigration legislation that both secures our borders and provides needed workers for our farms and businesses in a legal and orderly manner has had a direct and harmful impact on Oregon.

What must the federal government do? Act, not talk. Pass a bill or a series of staged bills that address all aspects of the immigration issue: real border enforcement and interior enforcement (preventing visa overstays), a beefed-up and reliable e-verification system for work, and only then a visa adjustment based upon economic conditions with a program to allow a path to legal status for some illegal immigrants working here.

What can the next governor of Oregon do?

1) Demand at every opportunity that Oregon’s federal representatives – our U.S. Senators and Congressmen and woman  – pursue across-the-board immigration reform to secure our borders and put America's interests and its citizens first.
2) Take action at the state level – and support action at the federal level – to end sanctuary cities in Oregon and across the United States, since these sanctuary cities only support continued federal inaction on immigration.
3) Oppose other state policies and proposals that serve to support continued federal inaction on immigration or encourage greater illegal immigration into Oregon.  
4) Once across-the-board immigration reform is enacted, ensure that strict, reliable e-verification for employment is the law in Oregon and the United States.

As long as Oregon’s economic growth remains tepid, it will be difficult for Oregonians to accept an in-flux of new immigrants. There are more than 2.5 million Oregonians of working age, but only 1.5 million full-time jobs.  Many Oregonians are hurting today. We must take care of our own before we open our doors to more immigrants. A governor who truly cares about working and non-working Oregonians can do no less. Eventually, if we can once again put in place policies that promote real job growth, a booming Oregon economy, with the need for new workers, will once again lead us to seek legal immigrants, to join us as we create a better Oregon.