Cleveland facing attack from outsiders that would cost jobs and derail momentum

Cleveland is on the rebound. The Cavaliers and LeBron are NBA champions. The Indians are in first place in their division and should make the baseball playoffs. The Jake, er, Progressive Field, was packed during a recent game I attended. And the Browns… well, at least the Lake Erie Monsters won the AHL championship.

Beyond sports, the city is stirring in a positive way under Mayor Frank Jackson’s leadership. Many parts of the city are improving dramatically. The 4th Street entertainment area led by our ORA board members Nick Kostis (Pickwick & Frolic) and Sam Lindsley (Lola and Mabel’s) is inspirational and successful. And who doesn’t want to dine at many of the super restaurants in Ohio City or the Flats, enjoy the downtown casino, and visit Playhouse Square.

The momentum is threatened, however, by movements being driven by outside entities that would significantly alter the city in negative ways.

Minimum Wage

The first is a proposal by the national Service Employee International Union (SEIU) to increase the minimum wage in Cleveland to $15 an hour, an 85% increase over the state mandated $8.10. The group has since adjusted its demand to $12 with increments that would quickly drive it to $15. We believe this will either be on the ballot on November 8 or in early 2017.

The ORA’s position on this is clear. We believe the best way to improve the economy in Cleveland, create jobs, and help more people in their careers is to incentivize businesses to grow. A massive increase in the minimum wage won’t do that.

In fact, a study published a few months ago indicated an 85-percent increase in the minimum wage would cost 2,500 jobs in the city. Further, every ORA member we talk with says an increase would force them to reduce jobs and employee hours at their restaurant, raise prices and consider automation. Worse-case scenario, they would close their restaurant or move out of Cleveland.

Part-Time Workers Rights Amendment

​The second proposal is a charter amendment from Bob Goodrich, a Michigan native who owns and operates movies theaters and once ran for U.S. Congress. He brought the initiative to Cleveland (and Youngstown) after it was blocked by local charter language in Michigan and Kansas City. He chose Cleveland because Ohio is a key presidential swing state and the number of valid signatures needed in these municipalities are not difficult to obtain.

This amendment would severely impact businesses and jobs by mandating the following:

  • Provide employees with expected number of scheduled shifts and specify the days and hours, including on-call shifts at least two weeks in advance.

  • Pay part-time workers the same starting hourly wage that full-time receive, and part-time workers must be given proportional access to employer provided paid and unpaid time off, including sick leave, personal leave, and vacation.

  • Employers would not be allowed to hire any additional part-time workers without offering current part-time workers full-time employment

  • In addition to these changes, employers would be required to retain employment and payroll records pertaining to current and former part-time workers for a minimum of three years.

Click here to read more about the overreaching amendment, which is expected to be on the November 8 ballot in Cleveland.

​The ORA strongly opposes this amendment.

How Can You Help?

Keep up to speed on the issue by following our ORA website page and special sites for a coalition formed to protect Cleveland – Clevelanders Against Job Loss:

You can also donate to the coalition’s Political Action Committee:

Clevelanders Against Job Loss
1010 Euclid Ave., Third Floor
Cleveland OH 44115