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Saturday, June 06, 2015

An Ordinance Toward A Living Wage (full text)

Below is the full text of "An Ordinance Toward A Living Wage", which will likely appear before Portland voters in November 2015.

An Ordinance relating to employment in Portland; adding a new Chapter, Chapter 33: Wages, to the City of Portland Code of Ordinances; establishing minimum wages and minimum compensation rates for employees performing work in Portland.

Art. I. Purpose
Art. II. Definitions
Art. III. Minimum Wage
Art. IV. Notice, Posting and Records
Art. V. Enforcement and Violations
Art. VI. Relationship To Other Requirements
Art. VII. Severability Clause
Art.  VIII. Effective Date

This ordinance will ensure that all workers in Portland will earn at least $15 per hour by 2019. Employers having 500 employees or fewer will transition over four years. Employers having more than 500 employees will transition by 2017. The applicable tip credit allowed by the State is not changed, meaning that tipped workers must be paid at least $11.25 per hour plus tips, but not totaling less than the normal $15 per hour minimum wage. After 2019, the minimum wage will be adjusted every year to keep pace with inflation. The minimum wage will be enforced by the Portland City Manager and/or designees of the City manager. An exemption is included stating that City employees are not protected by this minimum wage, but this exemption may be removed by the City at any time.

ARTICLE I Purpose.
WHEREAS, the City of Portland is a home-rule unit of government under the Maine Constitution and 30-A M.R.S. §3001 and, as such, may exercise any power and perform any function in order to protect health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City; and
WHEREAS, promoting the welfare of the City’s citizens and those who work within the City’s borders is an endeavor that plainly meets this criterion; and
WHEREAS, small, locally owned businesses are essential to a thriving economy because they keep assets within the community and offer opportunities for citizens to become entrepreneurs; and
WHEREAS, people living at or near poverty can not regularly patronize businesses because they do not have sufficient disposable income or assets; and
WHEREAS, an estimated 20,000 workers in the State of Maine work for minimum wage, and a substantial number of Maine's minimum wage workers are among the City off Portland's 65,000 wage and salary earners; and
WHEREAS, more than 50 percent of Portland public school students live in families that can not afford to provide lunches for their children without subsidies; and
WHEREAS, rising housing costs, including an increase in the median home price from $125,200 in 2000 to $238,400 in 2012 and a similar increase in the costs of renting, are pushing low wage workers out of the City; and
WHEREAS, an increase in wages will better permit citizens to participate in the economy; and
WHEREAS, after years of inaction by the United States Congress and Maine Legislature it is time for municipalities to do what they can to lift families out of poverty and stimulate the economy by raising the minimum wage; and
WHEREAS, the income of large businesses nationally has been sufficient to support salaries of CEOs that average 774 times as much as minimum wage earners, establishing that on average larger businesses are better able to afford the cost of more quickly increasing worker wages; and
WHEREAS, phasing in the wage increase over time will allow all businesses to increase wages as their revenue from increased citizen support increases; and
WHEREAS, changes to wages of City employees can not be made through the citizen initiative process and so City employees must, regretfully, be left out of this ordinance;
NOW, THEREFORE, to promote the health, safety and welfare of its citizens and businesses, the City Council of the City of Portland, Maine hereby establishes the following minimum wage ordinance applicable to all Employers and Employees within the City of Portland:

ARTICLE II Definitions.
Unless the context otherwise indicates, the following words shall have the following meanings.
City: City of Portland.
City limits: The physical boundaries of the City.
Employee: Any person who performs work for an Employer for monetary compensation within the City limits. “Employee” shall include persons who perform work for an Employer on a full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary basis. “Employee” shall not include any person who is exempted from the definition of Employee under 26 M.R.S. §663(3) of Chapter 7, Employment Practices. Employees include but are not limited to Tipped Employees.
Employer: Any individual, group of individuals, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, or any other entity or group of persons or entities who employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of any Employee.
Franchise: A written agreement by which an individual or any other entity or group of persons or entities is granted the right to engage in the business of offering, selling, or distributing goods or services under a marketing plan prescribed or suggested in substantial part by the grantor or its affiliate, and by which the operation of the business is substantially associated with a trademark, service mark, trade name, advertising, or other commercial symbol, and by which the person pays, agrees to pay, or is required to pay, directly or indirectly, a franchise fee.
Franchisee: An individual or any other entity or group of persons or entities to whom a Franchise is offered or granted.
Franchisor: An individual or any other entity or group of persons or entities who grants a Franchise to someone else.
Schedule A Employer: Any Employer that employs more than 500 Employees in the United States, regardless of where those Employees are employed in the United States, or is a Franchisee associated with a Franchisor or a network of Franchises with Franchisees that employ more than 500 Employees in the United States, regardless of where those Employees are employed in the United States.
Schedule B Employer: Any Employer that is not a Schedule A Employer.
Minimum Wage: The minimum hourly rate of monetary compensation that an Employer shall legally pay an Employee for work within the City.
Schedule A Minimum Wage: The Minimum Wage for Schedule A Employers.
Schedule B Minimum Wage: The Minimum Wage for Schedule B Employers.
Tip: A sum presented by a customer as a gift or gratuity in recognition of some service performed by the Employee.
Tipped Employee: Any Employee engaged in an occupation in which he or she customarily and regularly receives more than $30.00 a month in Tips from customers.
The BLS: The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United State Department of Labor.
The CPI: With respect to a year, the average, for the twelve months in that year, of the unadjusted, U.S. City Average, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, for all items, using the 1982-1984 index base period, Series ID CUUR0000SA0, as reported by the BLS.

Article III.   Minimum Wage.
(a) Minimum wage payment required:
(i) Except as provided herein, all Employers, including Schedule A Employers and Schedule B Employers, shall pay all Employees no less than the Schedule A Minimum Wage or Schedule B Minimum Wage, respectively, established by this ordinance for each hour worked within the City Limits.
(ii) Except as provided herein, all Employers, including Schedule A Employers and Schedule B Employers, whose principal place of business is in the City Limits, shall pay all Employees who work primarily or substantially within the City Limits no less than the Schedule A Minimum Wage or Schedule B Minimum Wage, respectively, established by this ordinance for each hour worked, regardless of where that hour is worked.
(iii) The City, considered as an Employer, shall be exempt from the requirements described in subsections (a)(i) and (a)(ii). Nothing in this ordinance shall be deemed to place requirements on, change, or affect the amounts the City pays its Employees. Notwithstanding City of Portland Code of Ordinances Chapter 9 §9-46, it is expressly provided that this subsection, (a)(iii), may be amended or repealed by the City Council at any time by any appropriate process.
(b) Tipped Employees:
(i) An Employer may consider tips as part of the wages of a Tipped Employee toward satisfaction of the Minimum Wage established by this ordinance, but such a tip credit may not exceed the maximum amount allowed as a tip credit by 26 M.R.S. §664(2).
(ii) An Employer who elects to use the tip credit described in subsection (b)(i)  must inform the affected Tipped Employee in advance and must be able to show that the Tipped Employee receives at least the minimum hourly wage established by this ordinance when his or her direct wages and the tip credit are combined.
(iii) Upon a satisfactory showing by the Tipped Employee or Tipped Employee’s representative that the actual tips received were less than the tip credit described in subsection (b)(i), the Employer shall increase the direct wages of the Tipped Employee by the difference.
(iv) This section may not be construed to prohibit an employer from establishing a valid tip pooling arrangement among Employees that is consistent with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and regulations made pursuant to that Act.

(c) Minimum Wage rate:
(i) Beginning on July 1, 2016, the Schedule A Minimum Wage shall be established as $12.00 per hour;
(ii) Beginning on July 1, 2016, the Schedule B Minimum Wage shall be established as $10.00 per hour;
(iii) Beginning on July 1, 2017, the Schedule A Minimum Wage shall be raised to $15.00 per hour;
(iv) Beginning on July 1, 2017, the Schedule B Minimum Wage shall be raised to $12.00 per hour;
(v) Beginning on July 1, 2018, the Schedule B Minimum Wage shall be raised to $13.50 per hour;
(vi) Beginning on July 1, 2019, the Minimum Wage paid by all Employers, including Schedule A Employers and Schedule B Employers, to all Employees, shall be $15.00 per hour.
(vii) Beginning on every first day of July following July 1, 2019, and every first day of July thereafter, the Minimum Wage for all Employees shall be set to the product of $15.00 per hour and the CPI for the previous calendar year, divided by the CPI for 2014, unless such change would result in a decrease in the Minimum Wage, in which case the Minimum Wage shall not change. For example, the BLS reports that the CPI for 2014 was 236.736; if the CPI for 2019 is 245.555, then beginning on July 1, 2020, the Minimum Wage shall be set as $15.56 per hour, unless it was previously higher, in which case it shall not change.
(d) Overtime.
(i) The Minimum Wage set out in this ordinance is subject to the overtime compensation provisions in 26 M.R.S. §664(3).
(e) Collective Bargaining Agreements.
(i) Nothing in this ordinance shall be deemed to interfere with, impede, or in any way diminish the right of all Employees to bargain collectively with their Employers in order to establish wages or other conditions of work in excess of the applicable minimum standards of this ordinance.
(f) Retaliation Prohibited.
(i) It shall be unlawful for any Employer to discriminate in any manner or take any adverse action against any Employee in retaliation for exercising any right under this ordinance.

ARTICLE IV. Notice, Posting and Records.
(a) Notice to Employees. Every employer shall post, in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any Employee works, a notice to be provided by the City informing Employees of the City’s current Minimum Wage rates, as well as a copy of this ordinance.
(b) Records. Employers shall maintain payroll records showing hours worked daily by and the wages paid to all Employees. Employers shall retain such payroll records pertaining to all Employees for a period of at least three (3) years after an Employee has left employment.
(c) Access. The City shall have access to any and all Employer payroll records subject to this ordinance during business hours to investigate whether or not an Employer has violated any of the provisions of this chapter.
(d) Paycheck Notice. Every Employer shall provide with the first paycheck issued to an Employee a notice advising the Employee of the current Minimum Wage under this ordinance and of the Employee’s rights under this ordinance.

ARTICLE V. Enforcement and Violations.
(a) Enforcement.
(i) The City Manager or his/her designee shall enforce the provisions of this Ordinance.
(ii) The City Manager is authorized to adopt rules and regulations for the proper administration and enforcement of this Ordinance.
(b) Complaint Process.
(i) Any Employee receiving less than the Minimum Wage he or she is required to receive under this Ordinance may file a written complaint with the City Manager’s office.
(ii) The City Manager or his or her designee shall investigate and issue a response to the complaint within fifteen (15) work days following the receipt of a complaint. The City Manager’s or his or her designee’s response to the complaint shall be final.
(iii) If the City Manager or his/her designee finds that a violation of this chapter has occurred, he or she may order any and all appropriate relief including, but not limited to, the payment of any back wages withheld and/or the payment of not less than $100.00 or more per affected Employee as a penalty for each day that a violation of this chapter has occurred. A violation of this Ordinance may also be considered a civil violation subject to the general penalty provisions of section 1-15 of this Code.
(c) Private Cause of Action.
(i) Any Employee, the City, or any person aggrieved by a violation of this Ordinance may bring an action in a Court of competent jurisdiction against the Employer for any and all violations of this Ordinance, including, but not limited to, wages owed under this Ordinance.

ARTICLE VI. Relationship To Other Requirements.
(a) This Ordinance provides for payment of minimum wage rates within the City, and to the extent any provision of this Ordinance conflicts with any provision of another City ordinance applicable to the Minimum Wage, the provisions of this Ordinance shall control and apply.
(b) Any exemptions implied or expressed by any other City ordinance or City policy to the requirements and obligations described in Article III shall be considered null.
(c)  Except as specified in §(a) and §(b), this Ordinance shall not be construed to preempt, limit, or affect the applicability of other law, including any that provides for payment of higher wages and/or benefits.
(c) Nothing contained in this Ordinance prohibits an employer from paying more than the Minimum Wage rates established herein.

ARTICLE VII. Severability Clause.
(a) If any section, paragraph, sentence, word or phrase or this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this Ordinance.
(b) If any court holds for any reason that it is illegitimate or unenforceable to differentiate, in all cases or in some cases, between Schedule A Employers and Schedule B Employers as described in Article II, or to establish different Minimum Wages for different Employers as described in Article III §(c), then all Employers shall be treated as Schedule B Employers, and the rates for, values of, and changes to the Schedule B Minimum Wage described in Article III §(c) shall be held to describe the Minimum Wage applying to all Employers.

ARTICLE VIII. Effective Date.
This ordinance shall take effect thirty (30) days after the declaration of the results of the election in which it is voted upon, as described in the City of Portland Code of Ordinances Chapter 9 §9-42.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

June 2015 meeting and potluck

Please join us for our June meeting on Wednesday, June 10 at 6:30 in the State of Maine room of City Hall. We will be discussing an anti-violence policy and continuing the discussion on the 2015 local election and the Living Wage Ordinance. 

Special guest speaker Ezra Silk of The Climate Mobilization will speak on the growing need for a mass movement to fight climate change.

Have a topic you'd like discussed? Message us here or e-mail us at

As always, the meeting is potluck, so please bring food and drink to share starting at 6pm.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May Meeting of the Portland Greens

Join the Portland Greens for our monthly membership meeting in the State of Maine room on the 2nd floor of Portland City Hall on Wednesday, May 13. We will be discussing the campaign for "An Ordinance Toward A Living Wage", the upcoming local elections and more.

1) Reports (Treasurer, Board, Member) (15 minutes)
2) Living Wage Ordinance (45 minutes)
a. Independent Committee proposal
3) 2015 elections discussion (45 minutes)
4) Anti-Violence policy discussion (15 minutes)
5) Other business as time allows

From 6:00 to 6:30, please come for snacks and discussion prior to the business meeting.

All are welcome!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Portland residents support Living Wage according to new poll

PORTLAND- A poll commissioned by the Portland Green Independent Committee found that over half of Portland residents want a $15/hour Living Wage ordinance for the city. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling. 55% of respondents were in favor of setting the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“We knew that creating a living wage is in line with the beliefs of Portland resident and this poll confirms across the board support on this issue. We believe that this poll indicates that Portland residents strongly believe that working full time should be a ticket out of poverty for working families” said Tom MacMillan, chair of the Portland Greens.
“An Ordinance Toward A Living Wage” has been circulating since the beginning of April. It will set a living wage for all Portland workers. Similar ordinances have been passed in other cities across the United States while the state and federal governments procrastinate.
The ordinance requires large businesses to pay workers $15/hour by 2017; while businesses having fewer than 500 employees would have until 2019.
The Greens have until June 19 to turn-in the requisite 1,500 valid signatures, though the committee expects to collect over 3,000 to ensure a spot on the November 2015 ballot.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Portland Greens Condemn State Interference in Local Wage Laws

Portland Greens Condemn State Interference in Local Wage Laws
Governor’s bill seeks to ban municipalities from regulating wages

PORTLAND- The Portland Green Independent Committee condemns a bill submitted on behalf of Governor Paul LePage which seeks to allow state government to interfere with municipal wage laws in the wake of the growing national movement in Portland and elsewhere to reset the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

L.D. 1361, submitted by Senator Andre Cushing on behalf of Governor Paul LePage, seeks to ban municipalities from regulating minimum wage laws within their jurisdictions.

“This is unwanted state intrusion into the affairs of municipalities” said Tom MacMillan, chair of the Portland Greens. “We are petitioning for a Living Wage, something the state won’t even consider. Working people should not live in poverty, yet Governor LePage is trying to block Portland voters from exercising their democratic rights under the Maine Constitution”.

The Portland Greens view this bill as a pointless and backwards regulation which undermines Maine’s home-rule system. Home-rule is the principal whereby towns in Maine can enact any law that doesn’t contradict a State law. It allows Maine communities to take control on issues such as an insufficient federal or state minimum wage by passing their own regulations without waiting for action from a gridlocked legislature.

The Maine Green Independent Party supports the decentralization of power as one of its 10 key values. This bill calls for the centralization of power into the hands of big government. The Greens call on voters of all stripes to reject this unwanted intrusion and assert their right to decide for themselves, on the local level, what is and is not best for their communities.

Greens Lead for $15

Excitement continues to grow in Portland, across Maine and around the world for a significant raise in the minimum wage. The Portland Greens are leading on a citizen's initiative which will go before voters in November 2015. The initiative, entitled "An Ordinance Toward a Living Wage", will guarantee that all non-municipal employees in the City of Portland will receive at least $15 per hour by 2019. Small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 500 employees, will gradually increase their wage while big businesses and franchises will have only until 2017 to get to $15 per hour for every employee.

Below are pictures of Portland residents showing their support the $15 Living Wage Ordinance!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Marijuana legalization bill gains sponsors

Portland Daily Sun

Marijuana legalization bill gains sponsors

Proponents of marijuana legalization say they have "traction" in Maine, as a Portland legislator's bill to allow recreational use of marijuana awaits a hearing in committee.
Pressure is coming to bear, although not everyone favors the state legislation.
"Portland's efforts are going to push it to the state level," said Charles Wynott, a marijuana-legalization advocate, referring to a Portland Green Party initiative to legalize marijuana in the city.
Wynott, the founder and executive director for one of Maine's oldest AIDS service organizations, the nonprofit Piefer Patients Alliance, said it's only a matter of time.
"We're in a good predicament right now, we're in a good space," he said. "If it doesn't pass this year, we've done one more step toward it. Every year we move one step closer."
Thirty-five state lawmakers are listed as co-sponsors of LD 1229, an"Act to Tax and Regulate Marijuana," sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland.  The final co-sponsor list includes Democrats, Republicans, an independent and the state representatives of the Penobscot Nation and the Houlton Band of Maliseets, Russell announced in a press release. The bill was referred Tuesday to the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.
The bill would decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, according to the bill summary, and limit personal use to 2.5 ounces and six plants. The proposed law would still prohibit smoking marijuana in public places.
Maine residents will still have the final say on whether to allow the decriminalization of marijuana through a citizen referendum. If state lawmakers approve the bill this session, it will be referred to voters in November, Russell noted.
"We all recognize this issue is coming to Maine," said Russell in a press release. "It is clear from the strong number of co-sponsors that the Legislature is ready to take this issue seriously and to set up a robust infrastructure to properly regulate and tax marijuana — before the genie gets out of the bottle. The people of Maine would then be able to decide for themselves at the ballot box whether they want to legalize marijuana."
In 2009, only 39 members of the Maine House voted in support for similar legislation, and the Senate did not vote, Russell noted.
At 1 p.m. on Thursday, the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee will hear LD 525, "An Act to Promote Industrial Hemp," sponsored by Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, and co-sponsored by Russell and several other legislators.
Harvell said his bill does not touch on marijuana legalization, but he acknowledged a new crop of legislators, many of whom with a libertarian bent, seem more amenable to legalization.
"My bill is just dealing with industrial hemp," Harvell said. "My opinion on marijuana as well is I tend to favor legalization, when it comes to marijuana there's no way you can win the war (on drugs) the way we're fighting it."
Pointing to "more libertarian thinking in Augusta," Harvell said marijuana legalization is attractive to more people "who are beginning to have real concerns about how this is going. ... With me, it's a libertarian pragmatism."
As for promotion of industrial hemp, Harvell said he was approached to sponsor the legislation, which seeks to offer hemp as an alternative fiber source.
The legislative summary states: "This bill removes the requirements that an applicant for an initial license to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes must submit a set of the applicant's fingerprints and file with the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry documentation indicating that the seeds planted were a type and variety of hemp approved by the commissioner and also repeals the provision that licensure is contingent upon action by the Federal Government."
Harvell said, "I think with industrial hemp, you're seeing some movement here and across the country."
As a fiber source, Harvell said hemp has been unfairly stigmatized.
"Its usages are actually quite large," he said. "It got caught up, it's a cousin crop to marijuana, so when we went to war with one we went to war with the other."
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is among those promoting hemp. He released a statement Wednesday applauding passage of a Kentucky bill that regulates industrial hemp, and promised to continue to push for a federal waiver from laws restricting its use.
"Kentucky was one of the largest exporters of industrial hemp prior to WW2. It can be a great cash crop once again," he said.
Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, D-District 1, has joined the effort to end marijuana prohibition and start regulating marijuana like alcohol at the federal level, signing on to co-sponsor H.R. 499, the "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013."
David Boyer, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said all of these developments point to momentum on the side of legalization proponents, but also cautioned that Russell's bill isn't a sure thing.
"It could go either way," he acknowledged.
Chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, is a co-sponsor, which may help the bill's chances, he said.
"At all levels, we have traction," Boyer said.
Wynott, however, acknowledged dissent among some in the medical marijuana field.
One of those critics is Paul McCarrier, legislative liaison for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, the state's trade association representing caregivers and patients. He said Russell's bill would hurt Mainers.

"We're concerned because this bill does not protect the individual to be able to cultivate on their own and so it will force them to buy their plants and seeds from out-of-state corporate interests. This bill is so skewed toward the out-of-state dispensary model," he said.
"What we need is a bill by Mainers for Mainers, and this is not it," McCarrier said.
In the next two weeks, McCarrier said he expects a legislative hearing on Russell's bill,
While focused on the medical marijuana model, McCarrier said he will stay busy informing legislators on the "deathly flaws in this bill."
Wynott said it's unclear how Russell's bill will fare, but said, "We're going to push hard on it."
Successful legalization votes in the West prove marijuana legalization is growing more mainstream, he said.
"Since Washington and Oregon started their campaigns, now that they passed it, the world isn't coming to an end," Wynott said.
"Once Portland does it, being the largest city in the state, the state will have to look at it," he said.
"I think every year we need to present it just to see how it goes. One year it's going to happen," Wynott said.