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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Council Insurgency Uses Unpresidented Tactics to Roll-Back Minimum Wage Ordinance

Councilman Bauters Pulls Off Upset in Minimum Wage Fight

After Failed First Try, He Pulls Out Secret Plan to Roll-Back Wages
Insurgency Gains Crucial Third Vote by Phone

Councilman John Bauters
Won't call the working poor people
in Emeryville to tell them he
took away their raise they're
expecting on July 1st.
The City Council showed their hand last Tuesday night when a conservative insurgency made up of Council members John Bauters and Dianne Martinez, moved to roll back Emeryville’s Minimum Wage Ordinance with an attempt to strip away the ordinance’s provisions protecting worker’s scheduled raise by use of a subterfuge tactic planned in advance by Mr Bauters.  Councilman Bauters and his colleague Dianne Martinez were hoping to make a majority on the five member Council by trying for a third vote to straight away remove the scheduled raise for working poor families in Emeryville in a motion to amend the ordinance.  When that motion went down to a 2-3 defeat, Mr Bauters, undaunted, brought out his back up plan, made in secret with help from the City Hall staff, to allow for a very small raise for the poorest workers in town, hoping to peel off a third vote.  Mr Bauters and Ms Martinez got their third vote when Councilman Scott Donahue switched over and agreed to so amend the MWO, thereby satisfying a State required ‘first reading’ to change the ordinance.
The Council will vote to change the MWO in the final ‘second reading’ in a special meeting set up for Wednesday night May 29th.

The working poor in Emeryville will have to wait for eight years to get the raise currently owed to them in July if the second reading vote goes like the first.  If Mr Bauters’ now out in the open roll-back plan is successful, the poorest workers in our town will not see their wages rise to what the existing Minimum Wage Ordinance provides for until 2027 instead of July 1st of this year.

Councilwoman Dianne Martinez
Member of the MWO roll back insurgency.
Wanted to hear from business owners,
not workers before she voted.
Phone In Vote
The conservative insurgency is very determined to get under the wire and make the second reading happen before the end of the month when Brown Act provisions would prevent the lawmakers from stopping the July 1st  $1.30 raise the MWO mandates.  After Councilman Donahue told his colleagues he would be out of town on Wednesday the 29th making for a likely 2-2 tie vote that would not be binding, Mr Bauters, citing special legal provisions, revealed allowances for Mr Donahue to cast his vote from his out-of-state location live by telephone as the whole vote is taken.

The legal time constraints forcing the insurgents’ hand will make for a very unconventional event for City Council watchers.  As they proceed to take the final vote to roll-back Emeryville’s landmark Minimum Wage Ordinance on Wednesday at 7:15 pm, the City Council is taking this unprecedented provision allowing City Hall attendees to be witness to the spectacle of a vote taken live by phone. Councilman Donahue’s voice will be broadcast live on speakers in the Council chambers.
It cannot be said this City Council doesn’t think on its feet as they thus remind us of the truism that necessity can drive people to come up with creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

Neither Mr Bauters, nor his two insurgent colleagues it should be noted, have volunteered to place calls to the workers expecting their raises on July 1st, telling them they won’t be getting their raises after all.  It is expected the bosses will give the working poor in our town the news sometime after Wednesday but hopefully well before July 1st so those who need to will have time to secure PayDay loans to cover their daily living expenses.

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