The legislative session is over in Maine. It came to a close in April, and while the session came to a close during one of the warmest springs on record, unfortunately lawmakers legislature left workers out in the cold. That’s because they once again failed to pass L.D. 1665, a bill that would have provided paid sick days for all Maine workers – a vital protection that 36% of the Maine workforce currently lacks.
As candidates hit the campaign trail, vying for a seat in the 125th Legislature or executive office, L.D. 1665 is getting an awful lot of attention – and it isn’t all good. While a few pundits and editorialists speak out against the bill as “out of touch,” one cannot help but wonder who’s really out of touch with every day Maine people. A Lake Research Partners poll of 500 likely Maine voters found that 87 percent of respondents support legislation guaranteeing paid sick days. Now, I’m no statistician, but 87 percent seem to me as overwhelming support for a bill – especially because support remains high across political parties. Moreover, polls further indicate that voters are more likely to support candidates who promote paid sick days, so what’s going on in Maine?
Thankfully, the grassroots are setting things straight.
In a recent letter to the editor to a Portland newspaper, one reader comments that, “For most of us, paid sick days are key to keeping a job and keeping workplaces productive during this economic recovery. That is why I'll be asking all candidates where they stand on this issue before we go to the polls in November.” This sentiment was echoed by another reader in a Central Maine newspaper who commented that, “ Polls repeatedly reveal that paid sick-leave policies are broadly supported across the political spectrum…So the real question is, when will each candidate start talking about paid sick days and other strategies to protect the health of workers, customers and communities?”
These writers’ views are shared by thousands of paid sick days supporters across the state and the hundreds of grassroots activists who showed their support for L.D. 1665 this winter by showing up to the State House, writing letters to their Representatives or publishing supportive letters in their local newspaper. Now, they’ve turned their attention to state races –asking their candidates where they stand. The voters are speaking – now it is time for their candidates to answer!
The Maine Women’s Lobby will be working this summer and fall to be the megaphone for the 87% of Maine voters that support this critical public policy. Follow our blog at: www.mainewomen.org/blog to keep up-to-date on our campaign.