Mandatory paid sick leave opponents have gotten a boost in recent weeks by the dissemination of a "report" from the DC-based Employment Policies Institute (EPI) allegedly documenting the "unintended consequences" of Seattle's paid sick leave ordinance.
"About one in five businesses had taken some steps to basically offset those costs, and that was either raising prices, reducing staff, or increasing the costs of other benefits or eliminating benefits," KIRO radio quotes the report concluding. Meanwhile, the editors at the Seattle Times apparently found the report so compelling that they gave EPI research director Michael Saltsman a guest column in which to explain its findings.
Compelling evidence that mandatory paid sick leave hurts both businesses and their workers? Actually, restaurant industry-funded propaganda is more like it.
Although the Seattle Times describes EPI as a "nonprofit research organization," it's really anything but. In fact, EPI is nothing more than just one of about two dozen front groups created by DC-based corporate lobbyist Richard Berman, a Beltway-insider notorious for his take-no-prisoners tactics, and his all-out assaults on such enemies of freedom as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Humane Society.
Berman is a human turd. "An exploiter." "A union buster." "A scoundrel." "A world historical mother******* son of a bitch." And those are just the words of his own son.
To be clear, there is nothing nonprofit about what Berman does. He raises millions of dollars for front groups like EPI, which then turn around and hire his for-profit communications firm Berman and Company (with which EPI shares office space). Sweet! EPI is in turn largely funded by the restaurant and retail industry, which explains its primary mission of opposing the minimum wage.
As for the "report" itself, it's totally unscientific and statistically insignificant bullshit. It's merely the compiled responses from a self-reported nine-question multiple-choice survey, administered to 301 Seattle "service industry businesses" (you know, restaurants), of which only the 191 employers who said that they started providing sick leave benefits due to the new ordinance are included in the results. So yeah, if EPI can be trusted, about 56 percent of the 191 employers surveyed said that Seattle's paid sick leave ordinance would increase their cost of doing business. But they weren't asked to prove it.
So essentially the evidence that paid sick leave is bad for businesses and employees is that business owners opposed to providing paid sick leave say that it is bad for businesses and employees. That's some report!
And yet our local media credulously runs with it, without questioning either the methodology or the source. Go figure.
UPDATE: In the comment thread, TomJohnsonJr points out that Crosscut cites this bullshit "report" too. So much for the "high-quality journalism" of Brewsterism.