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Jose’s Story

April 2, 2014

Jose Lopez has worked in the same fast food restaurant in Tacoma for 5 years. His schedule changes weekly and he receives no paid leave.

“I have 3 children and if they are sick I have to ask my mother or cousin to take them into the doctor or pick them up from school. Sometimes it is very hard to figure out because everyone works a lot of hours and I worry. If I need to call out sick then I don’t get paid for that day and my supervisor becomes very mad and will take away hours from me the next week. I do not like to take time off if I am sick because then I don’t have enough hours to pay the rent or pay my bills. Our supervisor tells us to make sure not to act sick around the customers. So if we need to sneeze or cough we need to do that in the break-room or bathroom.”

By passing a paid sick days ordinance in Tacoma, workers like Jose will be able to take a paid day off without having to worry about missing a day’s pay.

Christy’s Story

April 2, 2014

Christy is the mother of three kids and a hospital nurse in Tacoma, WA. With access to paid sick days, she knows that she is one of the lucky ones. Back when she was in school for her nursing degree, Christy worked for a company that did not provide sick leave.

Then, deciding to stay home when sick meant worrying whether her paycheck would cover groceries. “I had very little kids at the time: 6 months, 3 years, and a 6 year old. Once all of my children were sick and I really was not feeling well myself. I really needed to stay home and get well, and plus try to take care of them. But at that time I was not able to. If I went to work sick, I knew that I would have a full check to pay bills. If I didn’t, well I would have to rob Peter to pay Paul and hope it worked out in the end. I made the decision to go to work sick,” Christy says.

Now I am a nurse and see how others have to make that decision. I feel a need to speak out because we all deserve to stay home when we are sick. I as a nurse would not have a sick nurse caring for me or a restaurateur making my food.”

Tacoma Citizen’s Forum on April 8th at City Hall

March 28, 2014

40,000 workers in Tacoma don’t receive a paid day off to take care of themselves or a loved one. The Healthy Tacoma Coalition believes that every worker should be treated with dignity, and have the ability to perform in a safe and healthy workplace.

Once a month, City Hall holds a Citizen’s Forum which allows for residents of Tacoma to bring forward any issue they wish to speak on. Healthy Tacoma is organizing public turnout to support paid sick days at this month’s Citizen’s Forum.

Whether you decide to show up and sit with us, or decide to testify, we will have all materials for you (talking points, stickers, info, etc.). The Citizen’s Forum is taking place on April 8th at 5:30 PM. If you would like to meet with us beforehand and prep, we will meet at Tully’s on Broadway at 5 PM. Otherwise, meet us here at 5:30:

City Hall, 1st Floor

747 Market Street

Tacoma, WA


Also, be sure to mark yourself as ‘Going’ on our event page:

For any questions, e-mail

Paid Sick Days Presentation for Human Rights Commission

March 20, 2014

The Healthy Tacoma Coalition will be giving a presentation to Tacoma’s Human Rights Commission tonight at 5:30 PM, at City Hall:

Tacoma Municipal Building
Room 248
747 Market Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

We will be discussing our paid sick days ordinance, as well as other topics including:

  • The importance of an earned sick leave policy
  • How employees and employers benefit from paid sick days
  • How the lack of a paid sick days policy contributes to economic inequality
  • Worker’s stories and testimony
  • How paid leave would enhance public health

This event is open to the public so feel free to come out and support us!

San Diego to Put Paid Sick Days on November Ballot

March 18, 2014

Four City Councilmembers have come forward in San Diego saying they want to put a measure on their November ballot to raise the city’s minimum wage, and to give five sick days per year to employees.

At a rally in support of the measure, City Councilmember Myrtle Cole stated “Making the changes that we are recommending will boost our local economy and it will improve the quality of life for people.”

In a memo to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other council members, they said their goal was to place a measure before voters that:

– provides a “meaningful” but unspecified increase in the minimum wage for all people working in San Diego
– ties the pay rate to a cost-of-living index that would be updated annually
– allows a phase-in period that gives more time for small businesses and nonprofits to raise pay
– gives five days of earned sick leave for all employees, regardless of industry or business type

In order for the issue to be put on the ballot, it must first be approved by the City Council in August.

Read more at ABC 10 news.

41 Million Workers Without Access to Paid Sick Days

March 5, 2014

A new study from The Institute of Women’s Policy Research shows that although coverage of paid sick days has gone up (57% in 2009 to 61% in 2012), there are still 41 million American workers that cannot earn paid time off to use when they or a loved one are sick.

The study also identifies that Hispanics are less likely than white, Asian, or black workers to have access to paid sick days. Overall, less than half of Hispanic workers over the age of 18 are granted the right to paid time off for an illness. Hispanics are over represented in industries that are less likely to receive sick pay, which leads to their ethnicity having the least coverage.

Consistent with what other studies have shown, most people working in the public sector are still not covered, which causes a public health concern. Only 24% of Food Service Workers and 31% of workers in Personal Care and Service occupations have access to paid sick days.

Those that work full-time (35+ hours per week) are at an advantage with 70% earning sick pay. Workers that are averaging 20-34 hours per week are only at 26%, and those working less  that 20 hours are even less likely to have the benefit (approximately 10%).

Read the findings in the report: Paid Sick Days Access in the United States: Differences by Race/Ethnicity, Occupation, Earnings, and Work Schedule by Claudia Williams, Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (March 2014)

Paid sick day protection gains steam across the U.S.

March 4, 2014

Originally posted on Fortune Management & Career Blog:

New York City recently joined a growing roster of cities to guarantee workers paid sick days. Still, some 40 million American workers still have to make the choice between going to work sick and missing out on pay.

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FORTUNE — The New York City Council on Wednesday voted 46-5 on a bill to expand the city’s paid sick leave, guaranteeing that 1.2 million workers can call in sick without losing pay.

The measure, which covers more workers than any other similar protection in the U.S., will likely be the first bill New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signs into law. “From waitresses and dishwashers to store clerks and car wash workers, New Yorkers across the five boroughs will finally have legal protection to a basic right that so many of us take for granted,” he said after the council’s vote.

That’s a right that more workers across the country are…

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