Citizens’ Guide to Initiative 4, to impose work restrictions and limit job opportunities for Bellingham workers

By MARK HARMSWORTH  | 
POLICY NOTES
|
Oct 6, 2021

Key Findings

1. The Initiative would increase costs and reduces available hours for employees to work.


2. Scheduling decisions would be forced by government oversight, rather than set voluntarily by workers and employers.


3. Initiative 4 would force employers to pay hazard pay that would destroy jobs.


4. Employers would be reluctant to hire employees for more than a few hours at a time to reduce the risk of being required to pay for unneeded work hours.


5. The initiative places employers in a position of unwittingly committing a felony and being unfairly punished by city officials.


6. Some employers would likely be forced to close or relocate outside of the Bellingham city limits to avoid the regulations.


7. The harm caused by Initiative 4 would fall hardest on lowincome workers and the most vulnerable families in the community.


8. The requirements placed on employees and employers by Initiative 4 would cost both the employees and employers more money, destroy jobs and create an uncompetitive job market in Bellingham that would slow economic growth in the region.

 

Introduction

This November, voters in the City of Bellingham will consider ballot Initiative 4 which if passed would:

  • Force employers to schedule work hours one year in advance without any knowledge of the work that might be available.
  • Mandate an employer provide working hour estimates in multiple languages even when the employer’s business requires English as a function of employment.
  • Ban employees from working certain shifts even when the employees ask for more hours to earn more money.
  • Allow employees to determine when they would like to work, regardless of when work needs to be completed.
  • Require an employer to pay employees half of their hourly wage if they were scheduled to work, but no work was available.
  • Require an employer to schedule work hours 14 days in advance even when business conditions change.
  • Ban employers from creating new jobs without getting written permission from current employees first.
  • Require all employers to pay $4 more per hour during a declared “state of emergency,” even for people working from home.
  • Force employers to hire people who are in the country illegally and deny job opportunities to other members of the community.

The requirements placed on employees and employers by Initiative 4 would cost both the employees and employers more money, destroy jobs and create an uncompetitive job market in Bellingham that would slow economic growth in the region. It would also deny earning opportunities to those who are seeking jobs and want to work.

 

Read the full Citizens' Guide here.