Initiative 4 would impose burdensome scheduling requirements on all local small businesses and nonprofits and mandate unpredictable hazard pay for all workers, even when there is no risk to the worker.

The Bellingham City Council recognizes Initiative 4 would be bad for local small businesses, workers, and the community. Council staff has estimated Initiative 4 could cost the city itself between $5 million to $7 million per year in additional labor expenses. This does not include increased costs the city would incur as its vendors increase prices. Council members expressed concerns about the unintended consequences of this initiative and how it could lead to a reduction in library services, reduced parks and recreation hours, or staff layoffs.

The impact on local small business hospitality members would also be immense. Initiative 4 would reduce flexibility requiring penalties for necessary schedule changes. It would also mandate an additional $4 per hour “hazard pay” for all onsite workers (not just hourly workers) any time there is an emergency declared including Bellingham, even if there is no risk to workers such as a statewide drought emergency. Emergency declarations are often in effect for long periods of time as a means to access federal relief funds.

If this initiative passes, it would go into effect 10 days after the vote count is certified (Nov. 23). The city charter prohibits any amendment or repeal of the law by the City Council for 2 years.

Join other local hospitality businesses opposing this measure such as Boundary Bay Brewing, Aslan Brewing, Kulshan Brewing, Mount Bakery Café, and others. Learn more here at the No on 4 website.

If you have specific questions, please reach out to Joe Bushnell at .

Click here to get a sign to post in your business and to share with your neighbors and customers.

We need your help spreading the word about the harmful impact Initiative 4 would have on local small business and the entire Bellingham community. Vote NO on Initiative 4 on Nov. 2.