Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director, On the Seattle City Council’s Passage Of the Paid Sick Days Ordinance
September 12, 2011
Today, the Seattle City Council voted to support workers across the city and safeguard our public health. By passing the paid sick days ordinance, City Councilmembers took a stand for the nearly 200,000 Seattle workers who currently can’t take even a single paid sick day and their families.
MomsRising is proud to have been an integral part of the effort to pass the paid sick days ordinance, along with the more than 75 organizations that comprise the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce, whose leadership includes Economic Opportunity Institute Puget Sound Sage, UFCW 21, Legal Voice, Washington CAN, Puget Sound Association for Retired Americans, MLK Labor Council, and the Washington State Labor Council.
MomsRising members spoke directly to the City Council about how important paid sick days are to family economic security and health, delivering books of stories about the importance of this policy and sending nearly 4,500 letters to City Councilmembers.
In letters, stories and through testimony and speaking at meetings, MomsRising let the City Council know that when people have paid sick leave, they can stay home if they’re ill and avoid spreading illness to their co-workers, and in some cases, to clients, customers and other members of the public. When parents have paid sick leave, they don’t have to send their children to school sick where they can infect other kids and teachers, or leave them at home where they’re unsupervised.
We all get sick. And when we’re worried about our kids’ health or our own health, we shouldn’t also have to worry about whether we can pay the rent or utility bills or if we’ll still have a job when we get better.
The majority of Democrats and Republicans support paid sick days, as do many savvy business owners. They know that not only do paid sick days policies keep their workers healthier and improve public health, they also increase worker loyalty and decrease the cost of having to hire and train new workers, as well as the costs associated with people spreading illnesses.
We are proud to have worked with local businesses who recognize that paid sick days don’t just keep employees healthy, they keep businesses healthy. They included Plum Bistro, Cupcake Royale, Tutta Bella, 5 Point Cafe, and more.
We urge Mayor McGinn to sign the paid sick days ordinance as soon as possible.