Lane County Commissioners Try Preemptive Strike Against Paid Sick Leave

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The Eugene City Council is poised to pass a landmark ordinance on paid sick leave, which is good news for workers in the city. Everybody should be able to take a sick day when their health requires it without having to worry about missing a paycheck—or working while sick and spreading illnesses.

Eugene would join a growing number of municipalities providing such protections for working people.

But the Lane County Commissioners are trying to push through three ordinances that are an attempt to undercut the Eugene City Council’s efforts. It would be a preemptive strike against the city, but highly unlikely to stop the policy. Paid sick leave has the strong support of too many community groups, leaders, and voters to be stopped by the tinkering of the county commission.


On Monday morning, the Commission is holding a hearing on their three proposals. The County scheduled their hearing for just before the City was scheduled to hold its own. Expect much grandstanding.

The County Commissioners, of course, aren’t openly admitting that they don’t want to provide such basic protections for workers. Instead, they’ve shrouded their opposition in “process” and “authority.” Despite the commissioners’ claims, their efforts won’t actually block the Eugene City Council from voting on–or implementing–paid sick leave.

From the Register Guard:

Commissioner Sid Leiken said the board was acting in response to a jurisdictional “overreach” by the City Council in attempting to control businesses outside the city limits.

“What we’re talking about here is way beyond sick leave,” he said. “This is about establishing who has authority, who doesn’t, and how (these types of issues) resolve themselves in the future.”

The folks at Everybody Benefits Eugene, the campaign in favor of the sick leave policy, have collected thousands of letters in support of the ordinance. To add your story and name to the petition, go here:

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