Council Member Jimmy Flannigan attacked for alternate ‘paid sick leave' proposal

Ahead of Tuesday’s Council work session, the Austin City Hall atrium was filled with supporters of Council Member Greg Casar’s earned paid sick time standards.  

The item has divided the business community with its one-size fits all implementation.  

If passed, employees working within the city limits would be able to earn at least one hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work regardless of the size of the company. 

“The fact is...the ordinance that Council Member Casar has proposed is not only the most generous proposal in the nation, it is the most generous by a mile,” said District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan.

Instead of bringing forward amendment after amendment Flannigan wrote his own substitute ordinance addressing his concerns with Casar’s ordinance.

“I created an exemption for businesses with 5 and under employees, I tier the benefits based on the size of business, I created a situation where labor unions can organize and create their own benefits package. It is a much more solid and substantive and defensable policy,” Flannigan said.

Flannigan says businesses with 5 employees and under would still have to track sick leave but won’t have to pay for it.

His plan got some harsh words from Workers Defense Executive Director Jose Garza.
“A gift to the Koch brothers and other out of state corporate interests,” Garza said. “Council Member Flannigan’s proposal would simply gut the paid sick days policy. It would cut hundreds of thousands of workers out of the proposal and we can do better than that, that's not right.”

The Koch Brothers comment was also tweeted out by Progress Texas.

“I spend more time on this city council than any of my colleagues fighting candidates who are actually backed by the Koch brothers. To compare my attempts to bring this ordinance into comparable places with other cities in this nation is offensive and more akin to the Tea Party than progressives,” Flannigan told Fox 7.

Tuesday afternoon, Flannigan confronted Casar about it.

“I want to ask the sponsor of this resolution...if you believe that I am backed by the Koch brothers,” Flannigan asked directly to Casar during the work session.

“I didn’t say that. So I don’t know...I don’t know why you’re asking that question of me,” Casar said.

Casar told Flannigan he only speaks for himself. He says he found some parts of Flannigan’s ordinance interesting. Others undermine the goal.

Paid sick leave advocates also passed out a “cost benefit analysis” this morning claiming businesses will actually save $4.5 million annually with this in place. We’ll get to hear from businesses this Thursday.  The big discussion starts around 6 Thursday evening.