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Say it ain’t so, Mayor Strickland

October 24, 2014
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland

Where does Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland stand on paid sick days?

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 details of the proposal attributed to Mayor Strickland have corporate lobbyist  fingerprints all over them, 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, six 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.

Tacoma City Council, Can You Hear Us?

September 16, 2014

On September 9th the Healthy Tacoma Coalition attended Tacoma City Council’s Citizen’s Forum, with approximately 60 people in attendance! We came out strong with our ‘fans’ of paid sick days, and testimony in favor of passing an ordinance for Tacoma.

In the crowd were State Representative Laurie Jinkins, Pastor Banks of East Side Baptist Church, Pastor Christopher with Shiloh Baptist, Union Representatives from UFCW 367, Teamsters 117, and Unite Here Local 8, members from WACAN and WA Work & Family Coalition, Pierce County Young Democrats, and a number of outstanding community members!

The Coalition is continuing to gather letters of support from local businesses, non-profits, labor leaders, religious groups and community leaders in hopes of showing City Council that paid sick days is an important issue for everyone.

Thank you to all who attended and a huge thanks to all who gave testimony, we appreciate your hard work and dedication to this cause!

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Join Healthy Tacoma for City Council Citizens’ Forum on September 9th

September 4, 2014

Friends, Supporters, and Coalition Members:

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A member comments on the need for paid sick days in front of City Council, August 2014

On September 9th, Healthy Tacoma members are joining together at Citizen’s Forum for one last hurrah in support for paid sick days!

Some members of the City Council got the message and are ready to act to get 40,000 Tacoma residents paid sick days. However, other City Council members are still on the fence and need to hear from us now!

We need you now more than ever to come to City Hall to stand in solidarity with us.

Numerous cities have passed paid sick days ordinances (11 to be exact)! With your help, Tacoma will be next. We have built up to this moment and have collected nearly 2,000 postcards from Tacoma residents like you who want the City Council to pass this.

The meeting will start at 5:30 PM on the 1st Floor, Tacoma City Hall, 747 Market Street.

Look for Organizers Sandy and Amanda; they’ll both be wearing Healthy Tacoma buttons.

We look forward to seeing you there with us! Thanks so much for caring about our city.

Does Corporate America Finally Get What Working Parents Need?

June 30, 2014

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

At this week’s White House Summit on Working Families, President Obama and others made a moral case for changing the way we work. “Family leave, childcare, workplace flexibility, a decent wage – these are not frills, they are basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses. They should be part of our bottom line as a society,” the president remarked.

Yet there was also a strong business case for change, with vociferous and impassioned representation from our nation’s private sector. Bob Moritz, PwC’s US Chairman and Senior Partner, called on his peers to make significant changes, saying that “CEOs need to make this happen.” He reported that when PwC increased their flex options they saw higher productivity in return.  When they transitioned to unlimited sick leave, the actual number of days that employees took as sick days declined.  PwC offers back-up childcare and other family-friendly benefits because they have found that…

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Paid Sick Days: News Roundup

June 17, 2014

Earned Sick Days Bill Approved By Senate Labor Committee

Credit: WN.com

On June 13th, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) successfully passed a paid sick days bill (AB 1522) through the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee in the California Senate. The bill is now scheduled to be heard on June 24th in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. If passed, AB 1522 will allow California residents to accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, and would allow them up to 3 paid days off per year.

“As the dynamics of the modern family change, so does a mother’s ability to take care of sick children or hers own self when she falls ill at the same time she’s trying to hold down her job,” Gonzalez said. “Our economy has moved to a place where families cannot rely on a stay-at-home parent in times of illness. As a state, California must adapt to the reality facing today’s working families.”

Push for Paid Sick Leave at Burlington Summit

The Vermont Commission on Women hosted a rally for paid sick leave and other working family issues on June 12th, gaining momentum prior to The White House Summit on Working Families that will be held on June 23rd. In the crowd were politicians, nonprofits and business owners – all there to show support for renewed efforts to pass paid leave legislation. A paid sick day proposal was brought forward in Vermont earlier this year, but ultimately died in the Legislature. There are continued efforts to revive the proposal for next year.

NJ Democrats pledge action on bill to give all workers paid sick leave

Credit: NJ Biz

Senator Loretta Weinberg of New Jersey is moving to pass a state-wide paid sick leave bill with support of NJ Senate Democrats. If passed, it would allow for 40 hours of paid sick leave for employees of businesses with less than 9 workers, and 72 hours of paid sick leave for employees of businesses with 10 or more workers. Senate Democrats have pledged action on the legislation, and beginning this week are going to work with labor leaders to start gaining momentum for the state-wide sick leave campaign. So far New Jersey’s two biggest cities, Newark and Jersey City, all ready offer earned sick leave. Only the state of Connecticut offers the benefit to all employees.

Join Healthy Tacoma at Tacoma Women’s Economic Security Forum on 6/18

June 2, 2014

WomenEconSecForum

 

Women’s Economic Security forum Tacoma Community College, June 18, 5:30-7:00pm.

Join a community conversation on policies like fair pay, paid sick days, and family leave, with Tami Green, Laurie Jinkins, and other local champions for women.

Hosted By: AAUW Tacoma, Children’s Alliance, Economic Opportunity Institute, , League of Women Voters of Washington, Legal Voice, Pierce County , Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, SEIU 1199NW, Take Back Your Time,Teamsters 117, Washington State Labor Council, Washington State Senior Citizens’ Lobby,Washington Work and Family Coalition.

See the full flyer here: Tacoma Women’s Economic  Forum

Preventing Worker Injuries and Illnesses With Paid Sick Days

May 3, 2014

Thousands of working men and women die every year while on the job, and many more are injured or fall ill from diseases caught at work. This week past week has been Worker’s Memorial Week of Action and we want to spotlight the positive effects that paid sick days would have on saving workers from illness and injury.

credit: flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed on April 28th, 1970. Many have used that day to commemorate fallen workers and have named it Worker’s Memorial Day. We can applaud ourselves as a nation for how far we have come to ensuring workers are protected on the job. However, there is still much room for improvement, and one way to enhance worker’s health and safety is to pass paid sick days.

Research shows that there is a direct correlation between the availability of paid sick days and the occurrence of  workplace injuries. A study conducted by Abay Aswfaw shows that workers that have paid sick days are 28 percent less likely to be injured on the job compared to those who do not receive sick days. Workers that go to their jobs ill are most likely to be fatigued, sleep deprived and not thinking clearly –which leads to accidents and injuries.

By providing paid sick days businesses will boost employee morale and reduce turnover, which will lead to savings for businesses in the long run. A healthy worker is a productive worker, and studies show that when employees are sick on the job (known as “presenteeism”) they are more likely to spread disease, and not be as profitable. Inevitably, employers pay more out of pocket for presenteeism than they would for absenteeism. Paid sick days lead to a healthy and happy workforce which ensures employee retention and good morale.

For Worker’s Memorial Week of Action, it is important to remember all of the worker’s lives that have been lost while we remain fighting for workplace rights of the future. Promote paid sick days by sharing these talking points about worker safety on your blogs, newsletters and other advocacy pieces. Together we can raise the bar for standard labor practices and give workers what they deserve.

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