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Hodges Says Working Families Agenda Won't Focus On Scheduling

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis business owners won at least a temporary victory on Wednesday in their fight against new restrictions and mandates.

Mayor Betsy Hodges is backing off a key part of her controversial Working Families Agenda proposal.

It would have required all businesses in the city to schedule their workers at least two weeks in advance. Initially, the mayor had proposed four weeks' advance notice. But the mayor faced a strong negative reaction from businesses, and decided to drop the scheduling element for now.

Over the weekend, hundreds of mostly low-income workers marched in Minneapolis, supporting the mayor's plan.

Many, including security officer Kevin Chavis, said they're tired of not knowing when they'll be working and when they won't.

"Scheduling is a big deal in security," Chavis said, "Because you could be called for an event, you could be called for extra coverage at any point."

But while workers complained about unpredictable schedules, employers complained that the mayor didn't seem to know that business can be unpredictable, too.

Todd Klingel, the president and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, was among those speaking out.

"That idea that a snowplow company would say a month out when their workers are going to be there," Klingel said. "Heck, the Lynx are going to win the championship tonight, and we didn't even know that game was going to be played until three days ago."

Dave Amundson's remodeling business, TreHus Builders, sets the schedule for carpenters and architects.

"Weather, change orders, clients' wishes, all kinds of things can disrupt that," he said, "and so at that point we need to move pieces around as need be."

Hodges' office did not respond to WCCO's request for an interview, but did issue a written statement, saying that the fight is not over.

It reads: "Let me be clear: the inability of too many low-income, hourly, and part-time workers to plan their lives predictably in order to get ahead is still a problem in our city. We should not stop looking for a solution until it stops being a problem."

Minneapolis Works, an organization that fights for workers' rights, called the mayor's move "incredibly disappointing."

Other parts of her plan are still up for discussion, including forcing all Minneapolis businesses to provide paid sick leave.

One more public hearing is set for Friday morning at 9 a.m.

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