Philadelphia Will Continue Its Fight for Paid Sick DaysApril 24, 2013
By Marianne Bellesorte
Brotherly Love? Check. Sisterly Devotion? Check. Earned Sick Days? Not So Fast.
It’s the stories that I keep coming back to.
The story of a cook who was hit by a bus and hit with an eviction notice when he couldn’t pay his rent. The story of a mother who missed two weeks of work with illness and, five months later, still wasn’t back on her feet financially. The story of a man who bled for three hours in a restaurant kitchen after cutting himself because he wasn’t allowed to leave and get stitches.
When Mayor Nutter vetoed earned sick days in Philadelphia, he didn’t just veto a bill supported by 110 organizations, 40+ businesses, 25 labor leaders, and 77 percent of Philadelphians. By choosing to stand with big business lobbyists, Mayor Nutter drowned out the voices of the hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians who support and need earned sick days. By standing with Mayor Nutter, the Council members who voted with him chose not to represent the very communities that elected them.
In the weeks since the veto, I’ve heard from union leaders, business owners, and voters about their disappointment and anger over the Mayor’s short-sighted decision. They urge our coalition to continue its work – and we plan to do just that. After all, preventing workers from earning paid sick days is squarely in opposition to research, public opinion, and real world experience. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that paid sick days are available to Philadelphians to strengthen our economy and our families.
By 2015, there will be more cities joining San Francisco, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, and New York City – not to mention more states adopting paid sick days measures as Connecticut has already done.
Philadelphia will join their ranks because those who are forced to choose between the jobs they need and the families they love will continue to tell their stories – and they and the rest of the voters will be heard.