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Healthy Families Group Responds To Possible Loss Of New Employer




Brian Dunn, campaign manager for the Ohio Healthy Families Coalition, said last week he would like to know the name of the company that has decided not to move to Archbold.

Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, announced last week that a company that could have employed 500 persons in Archbold, announced it would not move to Archbold, because of the coalition’s campaign for paid sick days.

The coalition is working to place an initiative before Ohio voters in the fall. If approved, it would establish a law mandating that companies with 25 or more workers provide paid sick time to employees, up to seven days a year for full-time workers and on a pro-rated basis for part-time workers.

Dunn was surprised that the unnamed company cited the paid sick days proposal as the reason for taking Archbold out of consideration.

“Typically, a company of this offers paid sick days above the requirement,” he said.

Dunn said the campaign would be interested in knowing the identity of the company.

So far, public officials in the know have not released the information.

West Barre Road

However, the site the company has been considering has been revealed.

Kevin Sauder, chief executive officer of Sauder Woodworking, said last week the unknown company was in negotiations with his firm “to buy or lease our Barre Road plant and set up their manufacturing there.”

Sauder said, “We are in the process of moving out of the front half of that building now, as we are consolidating our RTA (Ready To Assemble furniture) manufacturing from four Archbold factories into three.

“It’s much more efficient, and with the Sustainable Business Plan production levels we forecasted, we felt we could put the Barre Road plant on the mar- ket, working with the mayor and the county development offi ce.”

In Favor

Business and government leaders have spoken out against the Ohio Healthy Families Act, the paid sick days proposal.

Dunn said, “From the coalition’s standpoint, the facts bear out this saves money. Every independent study conducted to date demonstrates that.

“The reason is, sick workers are not as productive, and they risk infecting coworkers.

“When people are able to earn a fair and reasonable benefi t, like paid sick days, they are more likely to stay with an employer.”

Dunn said studies have shown it costs a company up to a quarter of an employee’s salary to replace them.

“Many companies already offer paid sick days. It’s good for workers, and good for business,” Dunn said.

“Over two million workers can’t earn a single paid sick day, and over one million can’t take a sick day to take care of a loved one.

“They have to make the terrible choice to go to work sick, or stay home, lose a day’s pay, or even their job. That’s wrong,” he said.

There are those who criticize the act because it requires employers to keep additional records, but Dunn said the requirements “are extremely simple.

“On top of the records they already keep, they need to track the amount of paid sick time.

“The bottom line, this is very much a fair and reasonable standard. It’s fair for the employer, and fair for the employee. It allows Ohio to become a healthier, more productive state.”

Opposed

Bruce Goodwin, state representative (R-Defiance), said his problem with the Ohio Healthy Families Act, or OHFA, is not with sick days, but with the impact the act can have on small businesses and industries.

“We’re so close to Indiana and Michigan, we have to be aware of the impact” the OHFA will have.

Some (businesses) may decide to downsize to 25 employees or less, or move across the border.

Goodwin said he has always been “a free-market person. The shop and the employee should negotiate (paid sick days).”

Sauder also stood in opposition.

“As you can see from the potential 500-plus-jobs employer’s reversal of its decision, this Ohio Healthy Families Act has the potential to not only add significant costs to existing employers, but to move good manufacturing jobs out of the state to avoid the costs.”

Dunn said that’s easy to say for people who have paid sick days, such as CEOs and politicians.

“CEOs and politicians are able to earn paid sick days. Average workers in Ohio should be able to as well,” Dunn said.

Smoke Screen?

Some have suggested that the potential employer may have terminated the Archbold project for other reasons, but blamed the decision on the OHFA.

In effect, the OHFA becomes a smoke screen, to hide a supposed real reason.

Goodwin said if the OHFA “is the real reason, then we need to be concerned about it.”

But Wyse said that’s not the case at all.

The employer is still looking for a place to locate their business, he said.

“I know the names of the towns they’re looking at in Michigan,” Wyse said.


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