Heystek Continues to Fight for Living Wage in Davis

Last fall, the Davis City Council struck down an effort by Councilmember Lamar Heystek to institute a living wage ordinance that would require large retailers to pay a 10 dollar-per-hour starting wage and three dollar-per-hour’s worth of benefits to their employees.

By a 3-2 vote, the council majority of Stephen Souza, Don Saylor, and Ruth Asmundson rejected this ordinance. Only Mayor Sue Greenwald joined Councilmember Heystek in support. They argued that it may be unconstitutional (a notion struck down by City Attorney Harriet Steiner) and questioned why it would only apply to large employers. The council majority saw this as a poison pill aimed in the direction of Target just six weeks before the November election.

However, subsequent actions by Heystek have shown this criticism to be misplaced and the council majority as having severely misjudged the commitment by Councilmember Heystek to bring about a living wage.

In January, Heystek moved for the council to have the objective to have an ordinance that addressed a living wage effecting city contracts. That motion was supported unanimously by the council.

This past Tuesday (May 22, 2007), Heystek brought the issue up once again, asking staff:

“The council had given staff direction to analyze the issue of the living wage vis-à-vis our contracts when we were either renegotiating or updating those contracts, can you tell us whether that is still on track and what the timeline is on that procedure?”

City Manager Bill Emlen acknowledged that they had not started, however, he said, “it is something that is on our radar.”

Councilmember Heystek was particularly concerned with outsourced labor by the city, particularly in light of the recent events at UC Davis regarding the Sodexho workers. He asked Parks and Community Development Director Donna Silva whether there were advantages of in-house over contractual workers.

Ms. Silva made it a point to clarify that the city policy is not simply based on cost, but also on other concerns–trucks, supervision, overhead, facility costs among other things. She also specified that for certain kinds of work contractual workers have an advantage especially when the job does not require much contact with the public and communication skills. She suggested it was more efficient to contract out than to hire in-house.

Heystek responded:

“I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite when I’m asking the chancellor how we can get some of the food workers in the dining commons to become university employees, so this is a very sensitive issue for me. I just hope that we are earnest in looking at how we fulfill our contractual obligations but then really look at whether we are paying a living wage with regard to these contracts. It is a matter of conscience to me…”

Mayor Greenwald also expressed concern about the health care situation of contractual employees.

Heystek however remains committed both to the living wage and to ending the outsourcing of labor.

“I would like to see if they’d consider bringing our contracted out workers first of all to a living wage standard and ultimately bringing them into the city’s direct payroll.”

Moreover, he told The Vanguard that he questions the commitment of those on the council majority to this issue, while some of them have at the same time written letters to the chancellor of the university.

“We’re talking about writing letters to the university saying that your contracted workers need to be direct employees, well I think that our own contracted out workers should be direct employees. So how many council members are willing to say one thing to the university but say another thing to our city manager?”

The council majority does seem to want to have it both ways. They recognize that this is a generally liberal community when it comes to labor issues. Souza and Saylor are up for re-election in just over 12 months. They know they need to appeal to that wing of the Democratic Party in this community in order to win re-election, at the same time they have committed a tremendous amount of city resources to upper management in the city, while leaving considerably less for those at entry levels.

Furthermore, while they have a need to appeal to liberal elements in this city, they have strong backing of developers and business owners who would oppose attempts to pass a living wage ordinance, just as the council opposed efforts to apply it to Target. Now the city has lost the ability to ensure that hundreds of Target employees receive a living wage.

The council majority wants it both ways, but just as Don Saylor’s letter to the chancellor on Sodexho showed his hand, he and his colleagues’ inaction on living wage, shows theirs. They continue to want to have it both ways until those in this community that stand behind the true principles of labor rights and social justice stand up and tell them no.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Labor Issues

96 comments

  1. Staff hashad five months to get started. When are they going to do that? Why wasn’t the council all over them for not getting this done? This is where the rubber meets the road. Can we expect that report before the next election.

  2. Staff hashad five months to get started. When are they going to do that? Why wasn’t the council all over them for not getting this done? This is where the rubber meets the road. Can we expect that report before the next election.

  3. Staff hashad five months to get started. When are they going to do that? Why wasn’t the council all over them for not getting this done? This is where the rubber meets the road. Can we expect that report before the next election.

  4. Staff hashad five months to get started. When are they going to do that? Why wasn’t the council all over them for not getting this done? This is where the rubber meets the road. Can we expect that report before the next election.

  5. “…they have strong backing of developers and business owners who would oppose attempts to pass a living wage ordinance…”

    As written, most living wage ordinances would have little or no impact on local businesses. Lamar should open a dialogue with business owners on this topic.

  6. “…they have strong backing of developers and business owners who would oppose attempts to pass a living wage ordinance…”

    As written, most living wage ordinances would have little or no impact on local businesses. Lamar should open a dialogue with business owners on this topic.

  7. “…they have strong backing of developers and business owners who would oppose attempts to pass a living wage ordinance…”

    As written, most living wage ordinances would have little or no impact on local businesses. Lamar should open a dialogue with business owners on this topic.

  8. “…they have strong backing of developers and business owners who would oppose attempts to pass a living wage ordinance…”

    As written, most living wage ordinances would have little or no impact on local businesses. Lamar should open a dialogue with business owners on this topic.

  9. It seems strange to me DPD, that on the day that we pause from our usual routine to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country for our freedom, that you choose not to write a piece about Memorial Day. I did not see you or your contingent at the ceremony this morning either.

  10. It seems strange to me DPD, that on the day that we pause from our usual routine to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country for our freedom, that you choose not to write a piece about Memorial Day. I did not see you or your contingent at the ceremony this morning either.

  11. It seems strange to me DPD, that on the day that we pause from our usual routine to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country for our freedom, that you choose not to write a piece about Memorial Day. I did not see you or your contingent at the ceremony this morning either.

  12. It seems strange to me DPD, that on the day that we pause from our usual routine to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country for our freedom, that you choose not to write a piece about Memorial Day. I did not see you or your contingent at the ceremony this morning either.

  13. “Anonymous” –

    I find it ironic that you are criticizing DPD and you have no knowledge of how he spent his day. All you know is that you did not see him at a memorial service. Yet you, find time to log on to this blog to critique him. Therefore, you are obviously reading on a day that should not be “business as usual” according to what you just said.

    How people choose to honor those who have served our country is their own choice.

    For you to use this day and this issue for your own political agenda is UN-American.

  14. “Anonymous” –

    I find it ironic that you are criticizing DPD and you have no knowledge of how he spent his day. All you know is that you did not see him at a memorial service. Yet you, find time to log on to this blog to critique him. Therefore, you are obviously reading on a day that should not be “business as usual” according to what you just said.

    How people choose to honor those who have served our country is their own choice.

    For you to use this day and this issue for your own political agenda is UN-American.

  15. “Anonymous” –

    I find it ironic that you are criticizing DPD and you have no knowledge of how he spent his day. All you know is that you did not see him at a memorial service. Yet you, find time to log on to this blog to critique him. Therefore, you are obviously reading on a day that should not be “business as usual” according to what you just said.

    How people choose to honor those who have served our country is their own choice.

    For you to use this day and this issue for your own political agenda is UN-American.

  16. “Anonymous” –

    I find it ironic that you are criticizing DPD and you have no knowledge of how he spent his day. All you know is that you did not see him at a memorial service. Yet you, find time to log on to this blog to critique him. Therefore, you are obviously reading on a day that should not be “business as usual” according to what you just said.

    How people choose to honor those who have served our country is their own choice.

    For you to use this day and this issue for your own political agenda is UN-American.

  17. The temperature in western Iraq today was 116 degrees.
    Thanks to all who serve.
    Don S

    Tending to their memory

    Celebrate Memorial Day by caring for a vet’s grave marker
    By Van Harl
    Posted : Monday May 28, 2007 9:35:57 EDT

    On Veterans Day we honor the men and women who have served this country in the armed forces. We have parades with active-duty troops marching in their uniforms. Veterans wear distinctive clothing, hats, badges and pins bearing their ranks. The point of Veterans Day is to thank and remember our living veterans, these defenders of our freedom who served and then came home to get on with their lives.

    Memorial Day is for those who did not come home to marry, build a life or enjoy the freedom they helped preserve. More than 12 towns and cities claim to be the location where Memorial Day started. While stationed in Columbus, Miss., I was told that the Friendship Cemetery there is the true starting place for the annual recognition of Civil War dead.

    In 1866, local Southern women were placing flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Shiloh. They noticed the graves of Union dead were neglected and overgrown with weeds. Enemies or not, these dead men were the loved ones of American families who had given their lives for a cause they believed in.

    These grieving women cleared and placed flowers on the graves of those who may have killed their family members. Their unbiased efforts created the tradition of “Decoration Day,” which later melted into the national day of remembrance that became Memorial Day.

    The Union dead were later removed from their first burial sites and re-interred at the many national cemeteries that were established. There are no Union dead buried at Friendship Cemetery — at least none that are known. There are 2,194 listed Confederate dead there, but only 345 soldiers and a female Army nurse have names and units on their grave markers. The remaining 1,848 headstones are marked “Unknown Confederate Dead.”

    In battle, Confederate and Union troops fell and died next to one another. Often, they were buried in haste. I would suggest that, if the truth were known, Union dead are indeed still buried at Friendship Cemetery.

    I used to walk there looking for markers with some of my different family surnames on them. In Mississippi the moss that grows on headstones can completely obscure the names. There was no way I could clean them all. I found a marked headstone of a soldier from the 37th Alabama surrounded by hundreds of “Unknown” markers. During the course of many trips to Friendship Cemetery, I cleaned the “Unknown” markers around that lone marked headstone.

    There are thousands of cemeteries in this country that have those very distinctive military headstones. There is a tradition of placing American flags at these graves on Memorial Day. I believe we need to broaden that tradition and provide a little care, cleaning and maintenance for these last reminders of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

    Local cemeteries do not have the money or manpower to keep these fallen heroes’ final markers cared for in the manner they deserve. Honor a veteran this year and every year by tending to a headstone. We buried another today.

    The writer, a retired major, was a career police officer in the Air Force. He lives at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., with his active-duty wife. His e-mail address is vanharl@aol.com.

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/

  18. The temperature in western Iraq today was 116 degrees.
    Thanks to all who serve.
    Don S

    Tending to their memory

    Celebrate Memorial Day by caring for a vet’s grave marker
    By Van Harl
    Posted : Monday May 28, 2007 9:35:57 EDT

    On Veterans Day we honor the men and women who have served this country in the armed forces. We have parades with active-duty troops marching in their uniforms. Veterans wear distinctive clothing, hats, badges and pins bearing their ranks. The point of Veterans Day is to thank and remember our living veterans, these defenders of our freedom who served and then came home to get on with their lives.

    Memorial Day is for those who did not come home to marry, build a life or enjoy the freedom they helped preserve. More than 12 towns and cities claim to be the location where Memorial Day started. While stationed in Columbus, Miss., I was told that the Friendship Cemetery there is the true starting place for the annual recognition of Civil War dead.

    In 1866, local Southern women were placing flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Shiloh. They noticed the graves of Union dead were neglected and overgrown with weeds. Enemies or not, these dead men were the loved ones of American families who had given their lives for a cause they believed in.

    These grieving women cleared and placed flowers on the graves of those who may have killed their family members. Their unbiased efforts created the tradition of “Decoration Day,” which later melted into the national day of remembrance that became Memorial Day.

    The Union dead were later removed from their first burial sites and re-interred at the many national cemeteries that were established. There are no Union dead buried at Friendship Cemetery — at least none that are known. There are 2,194 listed Confederate dead there, but only 345 soldiers and a female Army nurse have names and units on their grave markers. The remaining 1,848 headstones are marked “Unknown Confederate Dead.”

    In battle, Confederate and Union troops fell and died next to one another. Often, they were buried in haste. I would suggest that, if the truth were known, Union dead are indeed still buried at Friendship Cemetery.

    I used to walk there looking for markers with some of my different family surnames on them. In Mississippi the moss that grows on headstones can completely obscure the names. There was no way I could clean them all. I found a marked headstone of a soldier from the 37th Alabama surrounded by hundreds of “Unknown” markers. During the course of many trips to Friendship Cemetery, I cleaned the “Unknown” markers around that lone marked headstone.

    There are thousands of cemeteries in this country that have those very distinctive military headstones. There is a tradition of placing American flags at these graves on Memorial Day. I believe we need to broaden that tradition and provide a little care, cleaning and maintenance for these last reminders of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

    Local cemeteries do not have the money or manpower to keep these fallen heroes’ final markers cared for in the manner they deserve. Honor a veteran this year and every year by tending to a headstone. We buried another today.

    The writer, a retired major, was a career police officer in the Air Force. He lives at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., with his active-duty wife. His e-mail address is vanharl@aol.com.

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/

  19. The temperature in western Iraq today was 116 degrees.
    Thanks to all who serve.
    Don S

    Tending to their memory

    Celebrate Memorial Day by caring for a vet’s grave marker
    By Van Harl
    Posted : Monday May 28, 2007 9:35:57 EDT

    On Veterans Day we honor the men and women who have served this country in the armed forces. We have parades with active-duty troops marching in their uniforms. Veterans wear distinctive clothing, hats, badges and pins bearing their ranks. The point of Veterans Day is to thank and remember our living veterans, these defenders of our freedom who served and then came home to get on with their lives.

    Memorial Day is for those who did not come home to marry, build a life or enjoy the freedom they helped preserve. More than 12 towns and cities claim to be the location where Memorial Day started. While stationed in Columbus, Miss., I was told that the Friendship Cemetery there is the true starting place for the annual recognition of Civil War dead.

    In 1866, local Southern women were placing flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Shiloh. They noticed the graves of Union dead were neglected and overgrown with weeds. Enemies or not, these dead men were the loved ones of American families who had given their lives for a cause they believed in.

    These grieving women cleared and placed flowers on the graves of those who may have killed their family members. Their unbiased efforts created the tradition of “Decoration Day,” which later melted into the national day of remembrance that became Memorial Day.

    The Union dead were later removed from their first burial sites and re-interred at the many national cemeteries that were established. There are no Union dead buried at Friendship Cemetery — at least none that are known. There are 2,194 listed Confederate dead there, but only 345 soldiers and a female Army nurse have names and units on their grave markers. The remaining 1,848 headstones are marked “Unknown Confederate Dead.”

    In battle, Confederate and Union troops fell and died next to one another. Often, they were buried in haste. I would suggest that, if the truth were known, Union dead are indeed still buried at Friendship Cemetery.

    I used to walk there looking for markers with some of my different family surnames on them. In Mississippi the moss that grows on headstones can completely obscure the names. There was no way I could clean them all. I found a marked headstone of a soldier from the 37th Alabama surrounded by hundreds of “Unknown” markers. During the course of many trips to Friendship Cemetery, I cleaned the “Unknown” markers around that lone marked headstone.

    There are thousands of cemeteries in this country that have those very distinctive military headstones. There is a tradition of placing American flags at these graves on Memorial Day. I believe we need to broaden that tradition and provide a little care, cleaning and maintenance for these last reminders of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

    Local cemeteries do not have the money or manpower to keep these fallen heroes’ final markers cared for in the manner they deserve. Honor a veteran this year and every year by tending to a headstone. We buried another today.

    The writer, a retired major, was a career police officer in the Air Force. He lives at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., with his active-duty wife. His e-mail address is vanharl@aol.com.

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/

  20. The temperature in western Iraq today was 116 degrees.
    Thanks to all who serve.
    Don S

    Tending to their memory

    Celebrate Memorial Day by caring for a vet’s grave marker
    By Van Harl
    Posted : Monday May 28, 2007 9:35:57 EDT

    On Veterans Day we honor the men and women who have served this country in the armed forces. We have parades with active-duty troops marching in their uniforms. Veterans wear distinctive clothing, hats, badges and pins bearing their ranks. The point of Veterans Day is to thank and remember our living veterans, these defenders of our freedom who served and then came home to get on with their lives.

    Memorial Day is for those who did not come home to marry, build a life or enjoy the freedom they helped preserve. More than 12 towns and cities claim to be the location where Memorial Day started. While stationed in Columbus, Miss., I was told that the Friendship Cemetery there is the true starting place for the annual recognition of Civil War dead.

    In 1866, local Southern women were placing flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Shiloh. They noticed the graves of Union dead were neglected and overgrown with weeds. Enemies or not, these dead men were the loved ones of American families who had given their lives for a cause they believed in.

    These grieving women cleared and placed flowers on the graves of those who may have killed their family members. Their unbiased efforts created the tradition of “Decoration Day,” which later melted into the national day of remembrance that became Memorial Day.

    The Union dead were later removed from their first burial sites and re-interred at the many national cemeteries that were established. There are no Union dead buried at Friendship Cemetery — at least none that are known. There are 2,194 listed Confederate dead there, but only 345 soldiers and a female Army nurse have names and units on their grave markers. The remaining 1,848 headstones are marked “Unknown Confederate Dead.”

    In battle, Confederate and Union troops fell and died next to one another. Often, they were buried in haste. I would suggest that, if the truth were known, Union dead are indeed still buried at Friendship Cemetery.

    I used to walk there looking for markers with some of my different family surnames on them. In Mississippi the moss that grows on headstones can completely obscure the names. There was no way I could clean them all. I found a marked headstone of a soldier from the 37th Alabama surrounded by hundreds of “Unknown” markers. During the course of many trips to Friendship Cemetery, I cleaned the “Unknown” markers around that lone marked headstone.

    There are thousands of cemeteries in this country that have those very distinctive military headstones. There is a tradition of placing American flags at these graves on Memorial Day. I believe we need to broaden that tradition and provide a little care, cleaning and maintenance for these last reminders of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

    Local cemeteries do not have the money or manpower to keep these fallen heroes’ final markers cared for in the manner they deserve. Honor a veteran this year and every year by tending to a headstone. We buried another today.

    The writer, a retired major, was a career police officer in the Air Force. He lives at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., with his active-duty wife. His e-mail address is vanharl@aol.com.

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/

  21. Today’s posting is about the fight for a living wage in Davis. It’s about people who work for the city but cannot afford to live in Davis. It’s fight to enable businesses like Red Barn Nursery and others to survive even though the council majority has supported big box retail.

    Today is Memorial Day; however, today’s Vanguard was not about Memorial Day. So I think we should stay on topic instead of trying to change the topic.

    If you wish to discuss Memorial Day then I’m sure there are plenty of blogs that will discuss this topic.

    I bet a cup of coffee that if Greenwald had written about Memorial Day it would have been an anti-war piece and I bet some would have complained.

    Geez DPD, you can’t make everyone happy. But then again, who can in this town unless you sell your soul?

  22. Today’s posting is about the fight for a living wage in Davis. It’s about people who work for the city but cannot afford to live in Davis. It’s fight to enable businesses like Red Barn Nursery and others to survive even though the council majority has supported big box retail.

    Today is Memorial Day; however, today’s Vanguard was not about Memorial Day. So I think we should stay on topic instead of trying to change the topic.

    If you wish to discuss Memorial Day then I’m sure there are plenty of blogs that will discuss this topic.

    I bet a cup of coffee that if Greenwald had written about Memorial Day it would have been an anti-war piece and I bet some would have complained.

    Geez DPD, you can’t make everyone happy. But then again, who can in this town unless you sell your soul?

  23. Today’s posting is about the fight for a living wage in Davis. It’s about people who work for the city but cannot afford to live in Davis. It’s fight to enable businesses like Red Barn Nursery and others to survive even though the council majority has supported big box retail.

    Today is Memorial Day; however, today’s Vanguard was not about Memorial Day. So I think we should stay on topic instead of trying to change the topic.

    If you wish to discuss Memorial Day then I’m sure there are plenty of blogs that will discuss this topic.

    I bet a cup of coffee that if Greenwald had written about Memorial Day it would have been an anti-war piece and I bet some would have complained.

    Geez DPD, you can’t make everyone happy. But then again, who can in this town unless you sell your soul?