The Stand

Tacoma council meets Tuesday on paid sick leave

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TACOMA (Dec. 9, 2014) — The good news: Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland has announced that she will introduce a city paid sick leave ordinance today at special City Council meeting at 3 p.m. at Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Room 16.

The bad news: Reports indicate that Strickland negotiated provisions with the Washington Retail Association and other corporate interests to restrict paid sick leave to a maximum of 24 hours — just 3 days’ worth — per year, and workers would not be able to carry over accrued leave into the next year.

TAKE A STAND! The people of Tacoma need your help now to win a strong paid sick and safe leave law.Attend today’s City Council meeting at 3 p.m. and urge for a stronger plan, like Seattle’s law and the state bill sponsored by Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), with 5 to 9 days of leave and protections for all workers. Click here for more info and to RSVP for today’s meeting.

Three days just isn’t enough, especially for parents with young children who inevitably get sick several times throughout the year. The mayor’s proposal also doesn’t have strong enough protections from discipline for workers who use their accrued leave, limits application to restaurant workers, and doesn’t apply to people who work in the city for companies based elsewhere.

healthy-tacoma-frontHere is an Oct. 24 blog posting — entitled “Say It Ain’t So, Mayor Strickland,” by Healthy Tacoma:

The corporate-funded Washington Retail Association announced details of a Tacoma paid sick leave ordinance yesterday which they claim is about to be introduced by Mayor Marilyn Strickland.

The proposal attributed to Mayor Strickland has corporate lobbyist fingerprints all over it, starting with a measly 3 days yearly maximum on sick leave use – and even fewer for restaurant workers.

Norovirus with those fries, anyone?

The plan also appears to completely exempt all union workers. That means many grocery store and hospital employees would continue to lose pay and risk losing their jobs for acting responsibly and staying home when sick.

We could go on – there’s lots not to like – but you get the idea.

The Healthy Tacoma coalition of community organizations and small business owners has advocated for adoption of a citywide paid sick leave ordinance for the past two years.

Without standards in place, four out of 10 U.S. workers don’t get a single day of paid sick leave. Even some workers who do earn paid leave are penalized if they call in sick or stay home with their sick child. Workers with high levels of public contact in restaurants and retail are especially unlikely to have access to paid sick leave – except in the 14 cities and 2 states that have enacted sick leave standards.

Public health and family economic security are at serious risk without strong sick leave laws. The CDC advises people to stay home when they have a fever or other symptoms of illness. Common viruses like the flu, Norovirus, and Enterovirus are contagious for a week or more, spread easily through the air and on surfaces like doorknobs – and are sometimes deadly.

And a report just out by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that mothers are more than 10 times more likely than fathers to have to miss work when a child is sick – and most often without pay.

The small business owners that have joined Healthy Tacoma know that healthy workers and customers with secure incomes help build prosperous businesses and thriving communities.

Job and business growth have been strong in the cities with the most extensive paid sick leave laws on the books, including San Francisco, which requires most employers to provide 9 days, and Seattle, which requires 5 to 9 days depending on the size of the business. In the past year, 6 cities in the state of New Jersey have passed sick leave laws, along with Eugene and San Diego.

The question is, where does Mayor Strickland stand – does she really support this watered-down proposal? Say it ain’t so, Mayor. Tell us you stand on the side of drafting and passing a strong sick leave law that will protect public health, build family incomes, and promote thriving businesses throughout our city. Healthy Tacoma stands ready to work with you.

Short URL: http://www.thestand.org/?p=36375

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