National Partnership for Women & Families

"Paid Sick Days Ruling is Great News for Workers in Milwaukee And Around the Nation," Work/Family Expert Says

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — March 24, 2011 —
"Amidst all of the wrong being done to workers in Wisconsin, one thing has now gone very right: this morning’s Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Milwaukee’s paid sick days law. With both voters and the courts now solidly behind the law, it is time for Wisconsin lawmakers to stop trying to destroy it, and to end the attacks on workers’ hard-fought basic rights.

Today’s ruling can provide badly needed help and hope to more than 100,000 Milwaukee families who are now forced to choose between their family’s health and their paychecks — or even their jobs — when illness strikes or a child gets sick. Under Milwaukee’s law, all workers will be able to earn a few paid sick days to care for themselves and their loved ones.

In 2008, Milwaukee voters stepped up for working families and their community. Nearly 70 percent voted to establish a citywide paid sick days standard. It was the right thing to do for families, the community and for the public’s health.

Since that vote, opponents in the business lobby have used shameful tactics to stall and undermine implementation of the law. With this ruling, their efforts to impede progress end today. We hope that opponents around the country will take a lesson from today’s ruling — and from the lesson of San Francisco’s paid sick days law, which is an unqualified success for both workers and businesses. It’s time to end the scorched earth opposition and instead support these modest paid sick days measures.

Even though today is a great victory, the future for workers in Wisconsin is still uncertain. We urge state legislators to honor the will of Milwaukee’s citizens and the dire need for Milwaukee’s modest paid sick days measure by rejecting Assembly Bill 41 (Senate Bill 23), which would nullify the law, usurp the rights of the city’s voters, and threaten both workers’ health and labor laws in the state. It’s time for common sense to prevail and the war on workers to stop.

As the push for paid sick days laws continues in other cities and states and at the federal level, today’s ruling in Wisconsin is a hopeful sign that common sense workplace policies will soon help many more workers meet the dual demands of work and family. Progress is inevitable, but workers need it now."

Contact

Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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