Business lobbyists weather storm of proposed employer mandates

As the legislative session winds to a close, Oregon business lobbyists are exhaling as several labor-friendly bills will not pass.

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With Democratic majorities in both legislative houses and the governor’s office, some employer groups thought the 2015 session would be a nightmare.

But with just weeks remaining in the session, they can rest easy.

Out of several proposals including hikes in the minimum wage and employment mandates, only a sick leave bill will survive.

“From my vantage point, it seems like a lot of bills portray a hostility between employers and employees,” said Bill Perry, a lobbyist for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.

With an improving economy, Oregon has seen steady job growth and falling unemployment. Yet “when you look at some bills, it makes it look like everybody’s unhappy, that employers are not doing anything for workers,” Perry said. “What we’ve seen so much this session is adding a private right of action to so many statutes,” said Jan Meekcoms, a lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business.


Conversely, the president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, Tom Chamberlain, told Oregonian reporter George Rede that it was “a really tough session” for labor.