May 26, 2020
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Portland councilors shoot down paid sick leave ordinance

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Portland City Hall.

A plan to guarantee paid sick days for workers in Portland is dead.

The Portland City Council on Monday night voted 5-4 against the proposal for paid sick time to be provided by most Portland employers.

Councilors who opposed the proposal said they didn’t like its language, especially how it would interact with current employers’ paid time off policies.

Councilors in favor said this ordinance would have protected thousands of employees who don’t receive paid sick time, and that it makes sure people don’t have to choose between a paycheck and their health.

Many people in attendance were upset with the meeting’s outcome Monday night, and rallied outside of the council chamber at the end of the meeting.

“The vote tonight means that 9,000 workers, at a minimum, are not going to get paid sick time in the city of Portland. That’s the bottom line,” Mayor Ethan Strimling said.

“At the end of the day, what we had could jeopardize benefits for tens of thousands of people, and I just can’t get behind that,” Portland City Councilor Justin Costa said.

Some councilors said another reason they weren’t behind this issue is because a similar plan is being discussed on the state level. Strimling said what was shot down Monday night was better for Portland residents than proposed statewide legislation.


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