We can't control the weather, but we can make sure that the real voices of small business owners are heard loud and clear in Salem! On Wed 2/27 Portland and Salem members braved the ice and snow to meet with their elected officials in the Capitol. Our Rogue Valley and Lane County members got stuck due to snow, but our group of members had meetings with 7 OR legislators to share our PFML Report and 2019 legislative priorities.
Big Business Lobbyists walk the halls of the Capitol Building, saying they speak for Oregon small business owners -- ask our members, they don't agree. Small business owners working with Main Street Alliance get their own voices heard. Many came together to meet with Oregon decision-makers, sharing their personal stories and talking about some common sense policies like paid family and medical leave that will do wonders for Oregon's small businesses and our economy.
MSA members like Tina Lyons delivered our recent report on PFML and shared their personal stories about how a PFML insurance plan in Oregon would help them, just like our neighbors to the north and south in Washington and California. Here's what Tina had to say:
Many years ago, I had knee surgery. It took me five years to pay off the procedure. At the time, I had no health insurance and no paid time off. I know exactly how hard it can be to deal with a major health event that impacts your ability to work.
Without the surgery, I would have had to live my life in constant pain. I had no choice.
My doctor helped me get on a payment plan, and my family was there to help me out. I was lucky. These safety nets were critical.
Today, I own a small business with six employees. If anyone of them went through what I did, it would be devastating. We are a business built on quality customer service, and as soon as the people-power that makes that possible begins to crumble, so does our livelihood. My employees deserve so much more than I am able to give them alone.
A statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program that allows both the employee and employer to pay into a pool makes a lot of sense for the health of employees and small businesses in Oregon. As a small business owner, paid family and medical leave is a top priority for me.
Washington State’s paid family and medical leave program entered its first stage of implementation with the start of the new year, and by Jan. 1, 2020, Washingtonians will be able to access this critical support when they need it. It’s time for Oregon to get on board.
While we had serious conversations about these critical issues that are impacting all Oregonians, we know how to have fun too. MSA Executive Committee member, Lee Mercer and Senator Roblan got to bond over a mutual love of Star Wars.
Are you interested in getting more involved like these MSA members? Let us know!