Activists in Longmont, Colorado are researching a new way to put a crimp in development plans of big box retailers. Here’s their report: “Our thought is to address the issue through a ‘good employer’ ordinance, that specifically targets the reasons we don’t want a Wal-Mart by addressing their behavior directly. It would read something like this: ‘Any entity that has, within 10 years of its application for a license or permit, been assessed two or more fines or civil judgements in excess of $100,000 or which has agreed to pay two or more settlements of that magnitude in such cases, for separate violations of workplace safety regulations, labor rights laws, antidiscrimination laws, pollution or environmental regulations, or for violations of securities and investment laws or intellectual property, in the United States or in any US state or territory, may not be granted a permit or license to operate or to collect sales taxes in Longmont, nor may any franchisee or subsidiary of said entity.” This would be a great tool to explain why Wal-Mart isn’t just another company, it would deflect criticism that we are anti-growth or anti- business, and it would not inadvertently prevent good large employers (or even bad but tolerable ones) from locating here. If we wanted to avoid any unintended consequences (like closing down the existing WalMart) we could include a clause allowing existing licenses to be renewed as long as the violations occurred before the ordinance was passed.”
For further information about the ethics test, contact Keith Langley at [email protected] Any community that has had experience with a similar ordinance, or has a legal opinion about such an ordinance, should contact Langley.