The Council Pushes The Issue Forward
April 14, 2021
After the public comment, Councilmember Adam Rak voiced his opinion, expressing his concerns while also encouraging that they discuss the topic at the next meeting.
Rak said, “The approach is kind of narrow in scope in terms of where we’re looking at applying it, as I know there are many other essential frontline workers. I think I would be open to having a discussion about it, but I would want to get some more research done.”
Dugan supported Rak, noting the focused nature of the ordinance.
Dugan said, “It’s very challenging to draw the line at this when there’s an awful lot of frontline exposure.’”
Mayor Laura Parmer-Lohan concluded the session, securing support and expressing hope for “expediency” as the ordinance was added to the agenda for the next meeting.
In a follow-up interview after the March 8 council meeting, Collins expressed concern for grocery and drug store workers, but also noted that it is difficult to determine which frontline workers are deserving of the hazard pay ordinance and expressed concern about the city getting involved in this issue.
Collins said, “I don’t think this is an issue for the local government, I believe this is between labor unions and their employers, and I believe it’s government overreach. Overall, I’m just not sure it’s the proper role of a small town with 30,000 people to be mandating employers to provide hazard pay for a very narrow scope of employees.”
When speaking to the Long Beach, Calif. lawsuit, Collins was worried that other legal challenges may arise. Not wanting to spend resources on a legal battle, Collins maintained that the city needed time to assess the situation.
Collins said, “I’m not someone who likes to rush into things […] and we always have to think of the legal ramifications. It’s not just whether you can win the lawsuit, but it’s the time and money spent defending the lawsuit that counts. It’s our job to open the public taxpayers’ money wisely, so we are going to take a long, hard look [at this issue] before we make any decisions.”
As the interview concluded, Collins mentioned the size of San Carlos, likening it to how cities of similar sizes, such as Belmont, did not pursue this issue. He also noted that most local grocery chains, such as Lucky’s Supermarket, were already offering enhanced pay.