Over the objections of labor and activist organizations which want San Antonio's new mandatory sick pay ordinance to start August 1 as scheduled, State District Judge Sol Casseb today approved the compromise worked out between the City and several business groups and ordered that the effective date of the ordinance be pushed back until December 1, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Barry Snell represents the City, which was sued by fourteen business organizations which claim that ordinance is unconstitutional, and want it dismissed completely.
He says the four month delay will allow the two sides to reach agreement on an ordinance which could be upheld in the courts.
"It will give us an opportunity to have an ordinance that will actually benefit the people of San Antonio, rather than giving lawyers full time employment for the coming year," he said.
Casseb pointed out that an Austin ordinance, which is identical to the one San Antonio City Council approved last summer, has been thrown out by an appeals court, and is awaiting a ruling from the State Supreme Court. Due to the Supreme Court's statewide jurisdiction, rejection of the Austin ordinance would have the affect of throwing out the San Antonio one as well.
Casseb said it doesn't make sense for the city to 'rush headlong' into approving a law with an uncertain future.
The Texas Civil Rights Project argued that the delay deprives 350,000 San Antonio workers of a benefit which they had planned on, and which San Antonio officials had approved.
"We find it disrespectful that, at the eleventh hour, the implementation date changes because of a small set of interests," activist Alex Bernil said.
Drew Galloway, the Executive Director for the MOVE Texas Action Fund, was blunt.
“Today’s delay on paid sick time was straight out of the national playbook of anti-regulatory, anti-worker, corporate lobbyists,” Galloway said. “With the delay of Paid Sick Time, corporations are taking money directly out of the pockets of workers after assurances made by the City of San Antonio. Corporations think they can delay workers rights out of existence, but we won’t stop fighting.”