I recently stood outside a fancy Midtown restaurant with a dozen New Jersey activists who came to protest their governor, Chris Christie. In 2013, New York City made paid sick days a basic right, ensuring that 1 million New Yorkers no longer had to worry about losing pay—or even their jobs—if they caught the flu or their child ran a fever. But just across the Hudson River, over a million more workers aren’t so lucky. Despite a grassroots groundswell and a flurry of local laws, 1.2 million New Jerseyans still can’t earn a single paid sick day when they or a loved one fall ill. That’s why, on May 21, we called on the likely Republican presidential candidate to change course and support paid sick days.
For most of the evening Gov. Christie was holed up at his fundraiser. But, ultimately he had to face his constituents on his way to his chauffeured SUV. When asked why he won’t support paid sick days, Gov. Christie tossed off a glib retort: “Who’s gonna pay for it?”
Well, Gov. Christie, allow me tell you who is paying for New Jersey’s lack of paid sick days: the very working men and women who call your state home.