National “Moms Rising” Group Lobbying For Paid Sick Leave

Moms Rising, a four year old advocacy organization dedicated to building “a more family friendly America,” is emailing its more than 1 million members and urging them to call Council Speaker Christine Quinn to urge her to pass the Paid Sick Leave Act.

The letter states that, “Speaker Quinn has been refusing to allow a City Council vote on the proposed paid sick days legislation that would guarantee every worker in NYC could earn and use paid sick days. Yet there are already enough co-sponsors of the paid sick days bill for it to pass, if there were a vote. It adds that if Quinn received even 30 phone calls it could make a difference in the passage of the bill.

Yesterday, 18 city council members met parents on the first day of school to get them to help fight for passage of the bill. The bill is a major priority of progressive and labor groups, and political observers are paying close attention, looking to see if the new, more liberal city councilmembers will flex its muscles, and how much Quinn is willing to stand up to them. Business groups are opposed to the legislation, and Mayor Bloomberg has been tepid in his enthusiasm.

Mom’s Rising last major push was to get health care bill through Congress, and they are touting the six-month anniversay of that effort today.

Full letter below:

Dear XXXX,

Ahh, fall. Kids are back in school, it’s getting cooler outside, Halloween decorations are filling the stores and…Achoo! Oh yeah, flu season is just around the corner.

Are you ready?

If you’re one of the over 1 million New Yorkers who lack paid sick days then you can’t be truly ready. Instead you’ll be forced to make a choice: Go to work sick, or lose a day’s pay (and possibly your job) if you stay home sick or with sick kids.

We need a fix better than being handed a tissue to sneeze in! And you can be part of making that fix happen.

How?

*Make a 60 second phone call to NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn today and tell the person who answers the phone: NYC needs the paid sick days bill to be passed before flu season starts in full.

Click the above link to find a sample calling script for you to use when Speaker Quinn’s staff answers the phone.

Why make a call today, you might be wondering? Well, we’ve heard that if Speaker Quinn gets even just 30 calls it could make the difference in getting this bill passed!

What’s happening now:

Speaker Quinn has been refusing to allow a City Council vote on the proposed paid sick days legislation that would guarantee every worker in NYC could earn and use paid sick days. Yet there are already enough co-sponsors of the paid sick days bill for it to pass, if there were a vote. So we need to help make that vote happen!

Why are paid sick days so important to NYC?

We all know how fast the flu can travel through a workplace, school, or child care center; Yet nearly one and a half million New York City residents are not allowed by their employers to earn paid sick days. This is a serious issue for New York’s women and families. For the first time in U.S history, women are half of all workers and mothers are primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families. Without paid sick time, women–especially low income women with children and single mothers–face impossible choices between tending to their own health or the health of their children and their economic security.

In New York City the people least likely to earn paid sick days are the ones most likely to have jobs that require frequent contact with the public, like food service, child care, nursing home and retail employees. This is a big problem – when sick folks aren’t able to stay home, it puts everyone’s health at risk – coworkers, restaurant patrons, school kids, and, well, everyone. Allowing workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers is a fundamental public health measure. Our laws are clearly out of sync with responsible public health practices.

The paid sick days bill would allow employees in New York City to earn up to five paid sick days per year, based on hours worked, for employees at small businesses (fewer than 20 employees), and nine paid sick days for employees at large firms. The legislation would also bar employers from retaliating against an employee for using the paid leave time.

The city of San Francisco passed a similar law in 2006, and its businesses haven’t experienced any negative impacts. In fact, San Francisco experienced stronger employment growth in industries most affected by paid leave – retail, hospitality, food service etc – than the neighboring counties without paid sick days. [1]

Everyone gets sick. When we’re worried about our kids’ health or our own health, we shouldn’t also have to worry if we’ll still have a job when we get better.

Take 60 seconds and call Speaker Quinn and urge her to bring the paid sick days bill to a vote. It’s time.

*And don’t forget to forward this to your friends and family so they can take make a call too!

— Ruth, Kristin, Donna, Mary, Anita and the whole MomsRising.org team

P.S. Want to share your story about paid sick days? Click here: http://action.momsrising.org/go/184?akid=2316.281301.14cZU9&t=11

P.P.S. Big thanks to our aligned organization partners A Better Balance, the NYS Paid Leave Coalition, Make the Road NY, Restaurant Opportunity Center, and the Working Families Party for their leadership on this important issue!

[1] Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, Paid Sick Leave Does Not Harm Employment, March 2010

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National “Moms Rising” Group Lobbying For Paid Sick Leave