Council Speaker Christine Quinn is currently facing a barrage of pressure as to whether she should allow a vote on a bill mandating paid sick day coverage for employees. On one side are labor leaders and progressive activists, and on the other are business advocates and conservative editorial boards. Ms. Quinn, a leading contender for Gracie Mansion in 2013, can now add one of her likely mayoral rivals in the Democratic primary to the list as well: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
“We’ve had a very thorough debate on this over the last couple years in New York City, and this bill needs to come to the floor, and the City Council needs to vote,” Mr. de Blasio said on Inside City Hall last night. “This is not the kind of issue that any legislative leader should hold back a vote. It’s too important, there’s been too much debate, there’s too much need for it to go ignored in that fashion.”
For her part, Ms. Quinn has expressed concern about whether it’s “the right time” to place additional mandates on the city’s businesses, as the recession already stretching their bottom lines, but Mr. de Blasio didn’t accept that argument.
“You could also argue that in a tough economy, people can not afford to lose their jobs, and giving them a little bit of protection to help them make it through that tough economy is also important,” he said.
Arguing for some sort of compromise, he added, “I’m sure we can strike that balance, but only if the bill comes to the floor.”
Although the City Council could simply take up the bill without Ms. Quinn’s approval, Mr. de Blasio was skeptical that action would necessarily be taken.
“It is but you’re a realist and you understand that history suggests that it’s very rare that members of the legislature will take that kind of parliamentary action,” he said, and when asked if that’s because members were fearful of retaliation said, “Sure, that’s true of any legislative body.”
He also was sure to mention that paid sick day legislation was previously shelved by Ms. Quinn when it was brought up in 2010.
“Some resolution has to happen,” he said. “This cannot be swept under the rug. It was previously by the speaker a year plus ago. Now it’s time to get to a decision here, let’s go through the legislative process and resolve it.”