Super-sized germs moved among New Yorkers on Monday … not to spread disease, but a simple message: When almost half of the workers in New York don’t receive paid sick days, it’s a public health hazard.
They had their moment in the sun at Union Square as part of a costume contest to select the “Most Contagious” and “Best Newly Discovered” germs. Among the judges, in white coat and stethoscope, was New York City Councilwoman Gail Brewer, who has introduced a bill to require businesses to provide paid sick days for all employees. Members of the press were provided with face masks.
During the morning rush hour Monday, supporters of paid sick days passed out fliers and postcards at four subway stations: 125th Street in Harlem, West 4th Street, Union Square and 86th Street, Mayor Bloomberg’s stop. The fliers urged the City Council to take action on the Paid Sick Time Act this year. A public City Council hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17, 2009, at 1 p.m.
In Union Square, Councilwoman Brewer delivered brief remarks and then took on her duties as a Germ Judge while a band provided appropriate accompaniment.
The event kicks off an ad campaign to raise awareness of the risk involved—particularly during flu season—of having so many New Yorkers reluctant to stay home when they’re sick because it costs them income. At least 1,000 ads drawing attention to the hazard of sick New Yorkers in public places will start appearing on subway cars. (In no small coincidence, the latest cover of the New Yorker features a swine riding on the subway, prompting apprehensive looks from her fellow passengers.)
Check out some examples of the ads.