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Community to Tacoma council: Three sick days is not enough!

healthy-tacoma-frontUPDATED (Jan. 28, 2015) — Following the Tacoma City Council’s passage of a paid sick leave ordinance, Healthy Tacoma released the following statement:

People should not have to decide between staying home to get well and putting food on the table. It is common sense to make sure we all have the right to access paid sick days.

Tonight the Tacoma City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance by a vote of 8-1. The ordinance improves on Mayor Strickland’s original proposal by covering all workers, including those in labor unions. “Removing the discriminatory language against workers who have a Collective Bargaining Agreement was a positive step to protect public health and families,” said Patty Rose of the Pierce County Labor Council.

However, it falls short by limiting workers to earning only 3 days of sick leave per year. That’s not enough to protect public health; many workers, and especially parents, will still be forced to choose between a paycheck and getting healthy. Council members had the opportunity to amend the proposed ordinance to allow workers to earn up to 5 paid sick days per year, but voted 6-3 to leave that portion of the ordinance unchanged.

Tacoma’s workers, business owners, faith leaders and others deserve credit for pushing the Council to consider this issue. We commend the leadership of Council members Ryan Mello, Anders Ibsen, and Victoria Woodards, who supported amendments to ensure every worker could earn up to 5 days of leave per year.

“Whether you’re caring for yourself, a child, or an aging parent, everyone gets sick, and everyone needs time to get better,” said Rose. “We look forward to working with both current and future city council members to shore up this policy.”

TACOMA (Jan. 27, 2015) — There’s nothing like a roomful of constituents to remind elected representatives exactly who they should be working — and voting — for!

The Healthy Tacoma coalition of city leaders, small business owners, and union and community members urge everyone who supports public health, family economic security, and safe workplaces to attend tonight’s Tacoma City Council meeting, where members will take their final vote on the city’s paid sick days ordinance. The council meeting kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at the Tacoma Municipal Building, First Floor, 747 Market St.

Nearly 4o,000 breadwinners in Tacoma – or 2 in 5 workers – have no access to paid sick leave. Tacoma needs a common-sense paid sick days policy, but that’s not what’s happening. The council’s proposed policy of just three paid sick days per year fails to protect public health, fails to help stabilize working moms and minorities, and discriminates against hospital and retail workers. Bottom line: it would still force workers to choose between a day’s wages and taking the time to get well.

Obama-3-sick-days-not-enough“Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave,” said President Obama said in his State of the Union address last week. “It’s the right thing to do.”

It’s the right thing to in Tacoma, too. The entire council should join the efforts of council members Ryan Mello and Victoria Woodards to protect Tacoma’s families, seniors and businesses by passing a strong paid sick days ordinance that covers all workers and protects public health.

TAKE A STAND! Whether or not you can make it to tonight’s meeting, Tacoma residents should let their City Council member know you support a paid sick days ordinance that ensures:

1) Every worker in Tacoma can earn up to 7 paid sick days on the job — not the measly 3 days being proposed.

2) All workers can start earning paid sick days when the law takes effect, instead of discriminating against Tacoma’s hospital, grocery/deli and janitorial workers, among many others who are union members.

3) Workers will not be reprimanded or penalized for utilizing their sick leave. It is irresponsible for this ordinance to propose such a powerful disincentive for people to actually stay home when sick, or care for a loved one.

For more information, see Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson’s Dec. 19 column, Tacoma must do better on paid sick leave ordinance, or visit the Healthy Tacoma website.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!