Today: Cook County considers paid sick days

With help from Mel Leonor

TODAY: COOK COUNTY CONSIDERS PAID SICK DAYS: Commissioners in Cook County, Ill., are expected to propose and pass today a bill to provide workers five paid sick days a year. The bill, modeled after an ordinance that Chicago passed in June, would give workers one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked. Like the Chicago ordinance, the county bill would take effect in July 2017. It would cover 441,000 county workers outside Chicago and make Cook County the largest local government to guarantee paid sick leave.

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GOOD MORNING. It’s Wednesday, Oct. 5 and this is Morning Shift, POLITICO’s daily tipsheet on labor and employment policy. Send tips, exclusives, and suggestions to,,, and Follow us on Twitter at @marianne_levine, @CoganSchneier, @melleonor_, and @TimothyNoah1.

THE VEEP DEBATE: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine sparred quite a bit last night over immigration. Kaine somewhat exaggerated Donald Trump’s immigration plan by saying he wanted to “kick out 16 million people.” There are only about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.; Kaine got to 16 million by adding 4.5 million who are citizens because they were born here. It’s true that Trump has proposed ending birthright citizenship, but even if Trump were able to deliver on that promise (there’s a decent chance it would require a constitutional amendment) the repeal wouldn’t be retroactive.

Kaine was on more solid ground when he flagged Monday’s Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down Pence’s ban on Syrian refugees entering Indiana (in the interest, Pence said, of public safety). “Those judges said it’s because there wasn’t any evidence yet, that — that ISIS had infiltrated the United States,” Pence said. But they ignored evidence, Pence explained, that ISIS had used Syrians to infiltrate Germany. That argument ignored additional, weightier reasons the three-judge panel cited to strike down Pence’s ban. Judge Richard Posner (a Reagan appointee) wrote that banning Syrians was “the equivalent of [Pence] saying (not that he does say) that he wants to forbid black people to settle in Indiana not because they’re black but because he’s afraid of them, and since race is therefore not his motive he isn’t discriminating. But that of course would be racial discrimination, just as his targeting Syrian refugees is discrimination on the basis of nationality.”

EVENT ALERT – Boomer Women and The Election: What’s at Stake? A deep-dive conversation on the concerns of women over 50 and how the candidates plan to meet them. We’ll discuss how boomer women will influence elections, candidates’ plans on Social Security and how they reflect women’s economic concerns, policy options to address Alzheimer’s Disease and more. Speakers include Lake Research Partners President Celinda Lake, CAP CEO Neera Tanden, ML Strategies Vice President, Health Policy Rodney Whitlock and more. Thursday, Oct. 6-8 a.m., The Mayflower Hotel. RSVP: here

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: A group of Airbnb hosts who are union members sent a letter Monday to UNITE HERE President D. Taylor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and Hotel and Motel Trades Council President Peter Ward asking whether UNITE HERE was working with the American Hotel and Lodging Association to fight Airbnb. The letter cited an internal memo from AHLA that said the trade association was partnering with UNITE HERE “to launch a bus shelter and social ad campaign, running tomorrow, to underscore Airbnb’s arrogance” in pursuing a “lawsuit against the city of San Francisco [over] a bill it helped draft.” The Airbnb hosts pointed out that UNITE HERE and AHLA have often been at odds over issues like raising the minimum wage. “Worst of all, the AHLA and their member hotels are overwhelmingly non-union, pushing down wages and standards not only for hotel workers, but for every worker,” the letter said.

A senior official from UNITE HERE told Morning Shift that “with Airbnb’s business model based on stealing affordable housing … this is an absurd example of the pot calling the kettle black.” Rosanna Maietta, an AHLA spokesperson, called Airbnb’s claims “utterly baseless.” She added that AHLA was working “with unions and affordable housing advocates and other community groups across the country to call attention to Airbnb’s lack of transparency.” Read the full letter here.

UNDOCUMENTEDS AND GUNS: Now here’s an issue to split the GOP coalition: A Wall Street Journal report out this weekend revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement enlisted local cops in California to scan the license plates … of gun show attendees! House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Calif.) fired off a letter Tuesday to ICE Director Sarah Saldaña demanding answers. If the WSJ report was true, Goodlatte wrote, “this invasive investigative tactic poses many serious concerns for millions of law abiding Americans.” Goodlatte asked ICE to furnish his committee with written policies related to license plate readers (and “if there are no policies, please explain why none have been developed”); to list the dates and locations of other gun shows that ICE has monitored; to explain why ICE monitors license plates at gun shows; to list any arrests or leads obtained from the practice; and to list the law enforcement agencies that complied with the ICE requests. The full letter is here.

FAIR HARVARD, THY SONS TO THY JUBILEE STRIKE: After failing to reach an agreement with the world’s richest university, 750 Harvard dining hall workers will go on strike today at 6 a.m. UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents the workers, began bargaining with the school on May 20, but 19 meetings failed to produce an agreement. The workers are demanding more affordable health care and incomes of at least $35,000 a year.

Ted Gup, a former Washington Post and Time magazine reporter, writes on WBUR’s website that “Harvard, for all its reputation as a progressive and socially conscious institution, has a long and checkered record when it comes to labor relations.” Harvard President Charles Eliot (1869-1909) dubbed strike-breakers the “heroes of American industry.” Eliot’s successor, Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1909-1933) encouraged students to skip mid-year exams to help break the 1912 Bread and Roses millworker strike in Lawrence, Mass. (Much of Lowell’s family wealth came from the Lawrence mills.) “Flash forward eight decades,” Gup writes, “and just this year Harvard’s President Drew Faust and the senior administration voiced strong opposition to the movement by graduate students to have the right to bargain collectively and be represented by a union – a right now recognized by the National Labor Relations Board.” Read Gup’s full piece here.

MISSOURI RIGHT TO WORK BATTLE CONTINUES: If Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster is elected Missouri governor in November, Republican state lawmaker Holly Rehder, who favors passage of a right-to-work bill that Koster has pledged to veto, says she’ll bypass Koster and promote right-to-work as a ballot measure. Sixty percent of Missouri voters rejected right-to-work in 1978, but Rehder told that times have changed. Back then, she said “union membership was about 30 percent, where now it’s less than eight.” More here.

OPENING CHANNELS FOR REFUGEES: A proposal by the Migration Policy Institute would expand labor migration and study visas to assist refugees. Because of “public hostility towards both refugees and migrants” in the U.S. and Europe, MPI suggests that visa programs be used more aggressively to assist these groups. That “could make the task of integrating new arrivals easier as they come to meet labor needs or fill university places that provide a certain support system.” Read the report.

SPEAKING OF REFUGEES: The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in fiscal 2016, reaching President Barack Obama’s goal for the year, the State Department said Tuesday. The refugees came from 79 countries, with more than 70 percent from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Burma, Iraq, and Somalia. More than 72 percent were women and children. The top five states receiving the refugees were California, Texas, New York, Michigan and Ohio. The Obama administration has set a goal of accepting 110,000 refugees in fiscal 2017. The State Department’s fact sheet is here.

UNIONS POUNCE ON TRUMP’S TAX BREAKS: As the fallout continued from last weekend’s New York Times report on Donald Trump’s taxes, the American Federation of Teachers launched a website,, that let people upload videos of themselves commenting on Trump’s refusal to make public his tax returns. AFSCME, meanwhile, posted an analysis showing what Trump’s estimated tax breaks could have paid for: 1,500 Veterans Affairs nurses, 363,000 body armor upgrades for soldiers, 2,300 highway maintenance workers, or 1,765 FBI agents. More from McClatchy’s Lesley Clark is here.


— “How U.S. immigration judges battle their own prejudice,” from the New York Times.

— “Next U.S. president will face uphill struggle to deliver higher wages,” from Bloomberg.

— “How Republican politicians learned to love ‘working mothers,’” from the New York Times Magazine.

— “Honeywell workers say lockout aims to destroy union: ‘It’s corporate greed,’” from the Guardian.

— “On your mark, give birth, go back to work,” from NPR.

— “The cities that are fighting back against state intervention,” from Citylab.


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