Gail Johnson – City Commission at Large Candidate Questionnaire

1. What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

Working people in Gainesville face a multitude of issues. Among these is access to affordable housing, which is an issue I am passionate about. Another big issue is wages. Gainesville pays lower wages than other cities for the same jobs. I think government can, and should, be a leader on improving wages in our area. Additionally, the transportation system in Gainesville must be improved on in order to better aid working families. The commute to Butler Plaza for those living on East Side should not be an hour and a half ordeal. Long commutes like these keep people further away from jobs and spending less time with family. As a working mother, I believe affordable child care services need to be expanded upon in the city for children of working parents.

2. Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour).

YES

     a. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage?

I support legislation to favor contracting companies that pay their workers a living wage. In my personal life I choose products that uphold the values I hold, our city government should be no different. If you’re going to do business with the city of Gainesville you need to respect our values and pay your employees a living wage.

     b. What is your plan to get us there?

One of my main platforms is bringing diverse voices to the table and ensuring everyone is heard. The Labor Coalition has been a great leader on this issue, and I look forward to bringing in their expertise to this issue. I will support a change to the city’s purchasing policy to favor contractors who pay their employees a living wage.

3. What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

The most important is raising our city workers wages to what the average family needs. As I mentioned, I am also in favor of selecting contractors who pay a living wage to push the private sector to do that as well. I am also a big supporter of providing more robust after school care for our schools. The city, county, and school board can immediately make life more affordable and allow working parents more quality of life by growing and enhancing our after school programs.

4. Do you support paid admin leave for part-time, temp, seasonal, contracted city workers in the event of emergency closure? (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricane Irma)?

Yes

5. Do you pay all your workers a living wage? How are you making an effort to do so?

I pay my an average of 14.00 per hour,  which is well above the industry standard. In addition I give a bonus during the holiday season.

6. Do you support Renters Bill of Rights?

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency

Yes

7. Do you support a local hiring preference includes use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Yes

Harvey Budd – City Commission at Large Candidate Questionnaire

1) What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

  • Jobs that do not pay a living wage or offer quality benefits
  • The reduction in trades and occupations represented by labor unions
  • Lack of jobs, especially in skilled trades
  • Inadequate educational opportunities for workers and the children of working parents

2) Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour).

     a. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage

     b. What is your plan to get us there?

My goal is to get all City of Gainesville workers to $15 / per hour.  The biggest question is how do we get them there without causing too much wage stress for the remaining more experienced and higher paid employees.

At this time, we are increasing paying the wages for most employees by at least $.50 per hour per year.  Simultaneously, we are doing a wage study in order to increase wages for most employees.   We have set aside a large amount of money in the 2017/2018 budget for salary increases.  By raising the City minimum wage by approximately $.50 per year we will reach $15 / per hour in the next 4 to 5 years.  In New York State and California they have similar plans to reach $15 / per hour in 4 to 5 years.  So Gainesville will be in line with the major metro areas by then.

3) What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

We need a progression of major employees in the community to state publicly that they will pay at least $15/per hour as a bare minimum wage, and do so within the next 4 years, at the most.  Ideally, they should enact such wages ASAP.  A good place to start is with the University of Florida, an institution that seems to have money for certain things but not for the Gainesville citizens who work there.  We then go to Santa Fe College, other large employers, and the Alachua County School Board.   We would ask all of them to raise wages for underpaid employees by 4% per year, 2% for normal cost of living wage increase and an additional 2% for raising the base salary.  In effect the 4% when rounded up should be at approximately $.50 per year, and or at least $2.75 over 5 years.

4) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricane Irma)?

Yes.  It is a disgrace that workers who were displaced by the storms or other environmental issues should suffer twice by not being paid.

5) If you are an employer: Do you pay all your workers a living wage?

I do, as does my wife.  My television business pays all full time employees at least $15/hour, plus medical insurance and a travel stipend.  I have only one part time employee, paid $13/hour, but he works from home.

My wife pays her part-time employees a starting wage of $12.50/hour, and raises it $.50 every year.

6) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency

Yes to all of the above.  These are all great ideas and should be implemented.

However, we would need to carefully craft the policies to increase the energy efficiency of leased residences.  One way to start is with a simple requirement of full disclosure.  Landlords should provide their prospective tenants with some accurate record of the most recent utility bills, perhaps going back several years.

This requirement would work to increase the incentive for a landlord to make energy efficient renovations because, if the utility bills are very high, the landlord would be faced with the choice of lowering the rent and/or increasing the energy efficiency of the unit, in order to attract prospective renters.

In addition, instead of a blanket requirement that landlords install certain types of appliances, windows, doors, etc., we could come up with ways the City could incentivize such renovations.

7) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer-funded projects?

Yes, this is a great way to increase the availability of trade education opportunities.  Until our county schools get the funds they truly need from the legislature, it is up to individual progressive municipalities like our own to find creative ways to provide education for skilled laborers.

Charles Goston – Gainesville City Commission District 1 Candidate Questionaire

1) What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

High GRU bills, high bills and fees, lack of good paying jobs, poor bus service, and crumbling city streets.

2) Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour).

      a. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage?

      b. What is your plan to get us there?

I’ve heard some pretty compelling arguments that applying salary requirements to contract workers has the effect of eliminating contract workers has the effect of eliminating contracts that might otherwise have gone to local family companies that have been able to undercut the big companies but under a forced salary requirement would lose that advantage and those contracts.

3) What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

Bringing new businesses to the Eastside is the best way to improve the lot of workers.

4) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricane Irma)?

Unnecessary expenditures in the city budget will have to be made in order to prevent job cuts and layoffs when economic downturns arrive.

5) If you are an employer: Do you pay all your workers a living wage? If you do not: How are you making an effort to do so?

(No Answer)

6) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency

I don’t see any problem with the first two bullet points. The third bullet seems problematic to me. I would think that if the City simply made available the average cost of electricity in various apartment units around town and required that information to be made available to renters the market would take care of this issue.

7) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Any money related to employment may be more beneficial going to workers.

OPS White Paper

Download a copy of the Alachua County Labor Coalition white paper titled “Part-Time Poverty: Hourly OPS Workers at UF”.

We look forward to working with the University of Florida to address the issues of racial pay disparities, denial of sick leave or paid holidays, and lack of state health insurance access all stemming from the misuse use of long term temporary employment under the OPS classification.

Part-Time Poverty_ Hourly OPS Workers at UF

OPS Student Data from the same data

 

 

Office Hours and Upcoming Meetings

The ACLC now has standing office hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-4:30pm.

See all events and details on the ACLC Facebook Events page!

  • Jan. 11, 6pm:
    • Planning Yoho demonstration
    • Location: ACLC Office
  • Jan. 26, 4:30 pm:
    • Yoho Donor Protest
    • Location: 4701 SW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32608-2549
  • Jan. 30, 6pm:
    • Membership Meeting
    • Location: Mennonite Church
  • Feb. 8, 5:30pm:
    • Living Wage Meeting
    • Location: ACLC Office