Tuesday, July 17, 2012

City-County Council Passes Two Important Proposals

Two major City-County Council proposals were passed at last night's meeting that will have a major impact on workers and voters in Marion County.

As I reported last night, the Freedom to Work proposal passed the full Council on a 16-12 party-line vote.  Councillor Marilyn Pfisterer was out of town last night and was not present at the meeting.  The debate on the proposal happened in front of a jam-packed Council chambers that featured several hundred supporters of the Freedom to Work Proposal and a much smaller contingent in opposition to the proposal.

In the end, despite a lecture on the technicalities of the ordinance from Republican Ben Hunter and a reasoned opposition statement from Republican Jeff Miller, the proposal passed.  Councillor Duke Oliver spoke in strong support of the ordinance comparing the actions of the hotels to the actions of plantation holders at the end of reconstruction.

Also passing last night was a proposal to allow more public input into the redistricting process.  As you may remember, Council Republicans jammed through a no-bid contract redistricting plan at the end of 2011.  Democrats say that plan did not get fully vetted by the public.  Since the Mayor shot down the Democrats' plan earlier this summer and an override of the veto could not be obtained, Councillor Brian Mahern is trying again to get public input through the Common Cause website.  That proposal passed, 18-10.

Unfortunately, the Mayor is likely to veto both proposals.  He has become Mayor Veto lately.  Speaking of vetoes, the Mayor's veto of the Council Resolution supporting janitors stood by a party-line 16-12 vote. To override the veto, four more votes were necessary.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

I watched Miller's presentation. He cited to a non-compete clause he signed as an employee that prevented him from working for a competitor for 2 years upon leaving employment of his current employer. Then he suggested that's the same thing as allegedly is going on with the workers not being able to leave and work at other hotels.

It's in fact completely different. He entered into a contract with the non-compete provision. Employees of those companies providing services to the hotels do not enter into contracts to not go work for another hotel. The agreement, again alleged, is between the service providers and the hotels to not hire each other's employees.

Miller's non-compete contractual provision is perfectly legal. What would not be legal is if there is collusion between hotels and service providers to not hire service employees. It's a violation of federal anti-trust laws and, as Councilor Sandlin says, it's a violation of state law as well. (Though the state law appears to have no teeth in it.)

I do agree with Sandlin that the proposed ordinance is redundant (though I would rely more on the much tougher federal anti-trust laws.) But I don't have a lot of sympathy for downtown hotels that have been heavily subsidized with our tax dollars. If they're going to take our tax dollars, there should be consequences for their misbehavior.

I still think, rather than an ordinance based on a suspicion of what's going on, the best approach is to open up a Justice Department investigation into theIndianapolis downtown hotel practices. If nothing is going on, so be it.