Since its launch just this summer, New York City’s campaign for paid sick days has quickly become one of the most-watched in the country. And for good reason: local advocates, workers, and political leaders at the helm of the campaign have been generating a lot of buzz lately.
For starters, at a recent rally at City Hall, supporters came out in droves to call for swift action on paid sick days. Workers and coalition members turned out with signs and banners to hear remarks from campaign leaders like A Better Balance, and to get a glimpse of Gloria Steinem, who lent her voice to speak out in favor of the legislation:
"The Paid Sick Time Act is gender free, but the need for it is not. Women are still more likely to be responsible for the health of children and family members, and to be among the million workers in small businesses or the half of all New York City public school parents who have no paid sick leave at all. Our great five boroughs are way behind every modern democracy — and such cities as San Francisco and Milwaukee — in having no paid sick leave. Women are asking Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn to bring us into this century at last."
Supporters also showed their strength by coming out to City Hall for a hearing held by the New York City Council’s Civil Service and Labor Committee to examine the issue. The hearing lasted several hours and dozens of supporters testified — including Donna Levitt of San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, Dr. Victor Sidel of the Public Health Association of New York City, Freddy Castiblanco of Small Business United for Health Care, and Guillermo Barrera, a worker who was fired when he got sick.
Currently, 39 out of 51 councilmembers have officially signed on in support the bill. The New York Paid Sick Days Coalition is now urging the City Council to move the legislation as soon as possible.