I penned the following to Mayor Miro Weinberger (cc'ed members of the Finance Board) after the Finance Board voted in favor of an exemption of the livable wage ordinance to Skinny Pancake.
December 3, 2012
Dear Honorable Mayor Weinberger,
As co-chair of the Legislative Working Vermonter's Caucus, it is important that I work to promote a progressive, working families agenda and support justice for all Vermont workers. Burlington's livable wage ordinance is a model that political leaders in Vermont should be touting not exempting. It is a family friendly policy and makes good economic sense for Burlington and Vermont because it puts the spending power into the hands of regular people (in particular women, who traditionally have worked in the lower paying jobs).
Burlington can be proud of such a good policy that helps to give Vermont's working poor a better chance to eventually rise up into the middle class. Your policy is an excellent example of an act of justice for working Vermonters.
Sadly, it is my understanding that you and the board of finance recently approved the Skinny Pancake's request for an exemption from the city's livable wage ordinance. I am concerned that your defense of the exemption sets a troubling precedence for hard working families who have already been hammered by a financial crisis they didn't create. These families need political leaders who will fight for hardworking people, not undermine policies that give them a chance to live a dignified life.
I urge you, as Mayor in one of the greatest cities in our state, to do the right thing and reconsider your decision or look at alternative ways to work with Skinny Pancake to uphold the existing ordinance. I'm sure you will agree that the greatest aspect of Vermont's economy is our hardworking families. There is still time for you to support Vermont's economic future and do the right thing. Anything less sells working Vermonters short.
Representative Susan Hatch Davis
Co-Chair Legislative Working Vermonters Caucus