Sunday’s article on Senator Allen's proposed legislation to freeze the state minimum wage at $10.50 per hour, take away paid sick leave and prohibit local governments from setting their own minimum wages, omits serious losses that will occur for Flagstaff workers.
Included in Flagstaff’s current minimum wage law are specific protections against tip and wage theft. If Allen's legislation, which would nullify the Flagstaff law, is approved by Arizona voters, and Trump’s new labor rule goes into effect, tips earned by servers and others may be taken by employers. In addition, any worker who believes that they were paid less than the minimum wage or were made to work "off the clock," will be forced to file their claim with an understaffed, unsympathetic Industrial Commission in Phoenix instead of with the local Office of Labor Standards. But it’s not just Senator Allen who is a threat to Flagstaff workers.
The same loss of worker protections, including the protection of tips, is in danger if Flagstaff voters fall for the misleadingly named “Sustainable Wages Act”—an initiative to amend the local minimum wage funded mostly by a Phoenix-based front for the billionaire Koch Brothers. The negative impact on the lives of Flagstaff workers of Allen's legislation and of the Chamber-championed local initiative to undo the voters’ will is much greater than described in the article. It needs to be addressed in full.