A Copy-and-Paste Response to Inconvenient Facts about Paid Leave

In addition to researching wage mandates, the Employment Policies Institute has also conducted a series of employer surveys to gauge the impact of paid sick leave laws. Consistent with earlier research from San Francisco–published, ironically, by advocates for a paid leave mandate–EPI found that proponents of the law had understated the costs to employers while overstating the benefits and the extent of the workplace problem.

The latest target for the paid leave campaigners is Eugene, OR. EPI’s research director wrote a recent commentary in the city’s newspaper to expose some of the myths that the paid leave campaign has disseminated, and campaign director Laurie Trieger was not pleased. In response, she opted to write an op-ed attacking EPI and EPI’s management firm instead of defending the sick leave policy.

Trieger’s entitled to do that, of course–but it would help if the writing was hers instead of someone else’s. Unfortunately, key portions of Trieger’s op-ed are copied nearly word-for-word from a separate memo written earlier this year by Laura Brandon, an associate at a PR firm in New York City that counts some of the country’s major labor unions as it clients.

For instance, here’s Trieger writing in the Register-Guard:

Regrettably, media often quote EPI as “the other side” in debates with think tanks, government agencies, economists and academics, giving these paid flacks equal standing with actual experts and nonpartisan reports.

Now, here’s BerlinRosen’s Brandon, writing a memo to editorial boards on February 21st of this year (Brandon’s memo was provided to EPI by one of the recipients):

Regrettably, media often quote the EPI as “the other side” in debates with think tanks, government agencies, economists and academics, giving paid flacks equal standing with actual policy and economic experts and non-partisan reports.

Of course, neither Brandon nor Trieger is being honest in their criticism of EPI, which has a two-decade track record of working with scholars at top universities around the country to study policies that impact the entry-level labor market. But we provide their words here to show the extent of Trieger’s copy-and-paste tactics. In total, roughly one-quarter of Trieger’s op-ed is cribbed from Brandon’s original memo.

It’s less clear whether Trieger took Brandon’s words without her knowledge, or if Brandon’s firm BerlinRosen simply gave Trieger’s group a cookie cutter op-ed to put her name on. In either case, it doesn’t look good for Laurie Trieger and her Register-Guard op-ed dedicated to the public awareness of who’s signing what.