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Have a Heart, Speaker Quinn!

NEWS RELEASE

February 14, 2011

CONTACTS: Gretchen Wright or Molly Tomlinson, 202/371-1999

Have a Heart, Speaker Quinn!

Moms Deliver a Valentine’s Treat and Messages

Encouraging the Passage of Paid Sick Days

Flowers and chocolate are traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, and this morning New York City Speaker Christine Quinn received a bouquet of chocolate, heart-shaped lollipops. But the message that came with it is not as sweet as her Valentine’s treat.

Moms and children delivered the chocolate to Speaker Quinn with the message “Have a heart, Speaker Quinn – pass paid sick days!” The message was signed by hundreds of New Yorkers who say that paid sick days are important to them and their families. It was organized by A Better Balance, the New York State Paid Leave Coalition and MomsRising.org, the online and on-the-ground grassroots organization for moms and everyone who has a mom.

Four months ago, Speaker Quinn promised to review her position on paid sick days every two months, and MomsRising pledged to hold her to that promise.

“Nine in ten restaurant workers in New York City can’t earn even a single paid sick day, so they’re often forced to work sick rather than lose a day’s pay or even their jobs. That means that your server tonight could be spreading germs to you and to his or her co-workers because they can't afford to stay home. Our laws are clearly out of sync with responsible public health practices," said MomsRising Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Eighty-eight percent of New York City working mothers support paid sick days, and we hope the Speaker will assure the city’s laws are in sync with responsible public health practices.”

“Nearly one and a half million workers in New York City are not allowed by their employers to earn paid sick days,” she added. “Allowing sick workers to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers – especially in food service, retail, child care, and nursing homes – is a fundamental public health measure.”

“Lack of paid sick days is more than matter of public health, it is an issue of basic fairness for workers,” said Nancy Rankin, Senior Fellow with A Better Balance. “Government statistics for the NY metropolitan area show that while 84 percent of workers in the top wage quartile earn paid sick days, only 37 percent of those in the bottom wage quartile do.”

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MomsRising.org is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid family leave, flexible work options, affordable child care, and for an end to the wage and hiring discrimination which penalizes so many mothers. MomsRising also advocates for health care for all, toxic-free environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s families. In 2010, Forbes.com named MomsRising's web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women.

Visit MomsRising on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MomsRising.org and follow us on Twitter, @MomsRising.