As women who are industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and artistic powerhouses, we sometimes run ourselves into the ground trying to do it all. Our minds keep going but our bodies shut us down. We get sick…and then we can’t work…and it’s stressful. Many of us can either depend on paid sick leave or we can take the time off without being paid but knowing our job will still be there. However, many women (and men for that matter) around New York City do not have that luxury. This is particularly true for people working in food service, retail, and domestic jobs. Sometimes it’s a matter of being able to take care of a sick child/parent/relative/self or putting food on the table and paying rent. Yes, it’s that serious and this issue disproportionately affects women, especially women of color and immigrant women.
To remedy this problem, there is pending legislation that would require all businesses with five or more employees to give their staff a minimum of 5 paid sick days for the year. This legislation is set to move through City Council which overwhelmingly approves it, yet Council Speaker Christine Quinn is blocking it from coming to a vote. What’s the dealie, Speaker Quinn? You’ve been supportive of women’s issues such as abortion access and the passage of the Affordable Care Act, so why throw us under the bus? Oh because you’re running for mayor of NYC next year and need to be in Bloomberg’s and his rich friends’ good graces, huh? Got it.
Well, I’m not with it. And a lot of New York women aren’t either. There’s a robust campaign in support of paid sick days happening online with major support from Gloria Steinem and Susan Sarandon among other fierce and fab women leaders. You can participate by signing this petition and sharing the facts. Paid sick days will not decimate small (or big!) businesses as the mayor and Speaker Quinn suggest, the data just doesn’t support it. The fact is that big businesses are pressuring Speaker Quinn to block this vote because there is enough of a majority in support of paid sick days to override a veto by the mayor. I wish I had some fancy logical explanation why the corporations don’t want this to pass but straight up, they’re greedy and inhumane. That’s the best I can do.
You can also support the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #paidsickdays and tweeting directly at Christine Quinn (@ChrisCQuinn). Let your voice be heard, we need a critical mass to push back against corporate control of our government and we must show support for worker’s rights!