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An open letter from Healthy Tacoma to Mayor Marilyn Strickland

February 6, 2014

Last Tuesday, Mayor Strickland appeared on PBS following the President’s State of the Union address. The Mayor shared her thoughts on the President’s remarks, including his call to action for mayors and cities to lead where state and federal government has failed. The Mayor’s appearance was outlined in The News Tribune. In response, Healthy Tacoma delivered a letter to the Mayor asking for her support on paid sick days.

Dear Mayor Strickland:

The Healthy Tacoma Coalition would like to congratulate you on your recent appearance in PBS’s post-State of the Union special.

We applaud your strong statements in support of working families and the importance of public policy in building family economic security, including minimum wage standards and the Affordable Care Act. As you stated, “It’s a thriving middle class with the power to spend that helps businesses,” and “the best thing that we can do for business is to give them consumers with spending power.”

You noted that more than 320,000 people in Washington state now have health care thanks to the ACA, and “having access to [health care] can be the difference between going to a hospital and getting help, or possibly going bankrupt.”

However, 40,000 workers in Tacoma may find it challenging to take full advantage of their new coverage because they lack paid sick and safe days, and they cannot afford to take time off to see the doctor.

Unfortunately, it is typically workers with the lowest earnings – including many working parents – who also lack paid sick leave. For people earning the minimum wage, keeping up with rising costs is hard enough. Paid sick and safe days will lessen the social and economic injustice being wrought on low-income families in Tacoma and across the country. No one should be forced into the indignity of choosing between staying home with a sick child or putting food on the table for that child.

Paid sick and safe leave strengthens the economic security of Tacoma’s working families, and ensures that local dollars are being kept in local businesses.

We cannot wait for the state or federal government to act. We urge you to stand in support of Tacoma’s working people and pass the sick and safe leave ordinance. It is the right thing to do for our city.


Healthy Tacoma Coalition

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