Despite the sweltering heat that roasted the city yesterday, hundreds gathered on the steps of New York's City Hall in Lower Manhattan to show their support and call upon City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to publicly support a proposal for a bill that would extend paid sick leave coverage to a wider segment of New York City's workers.
The rally marked the launch of the Women for Sick Days Coalition, a movement that includes an array of workers' advocacy groups, unions, activists, business leaders as well as local politicians. A remarkably large contingent of young supporters showed up to join the vocal and growing number of voices that support this important initiative. The bill seeks to grant working mothers, restaurant workers, domestic aids, and a host of other workers the flexibility to take time off in times of emergency.
1199SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Maria Castaneda said it was time to make paid sick leave a reality for workers across the city. “Central to economic recovery is creating good jobs and driving health care cost down. This must be key priorities for the city. Providing paid sick leave for workers can help achieve those goals,” Castaneda noted.
Currently, almost half of the city's working population face reductions in pay and the loss of their job if they take time off from work for an illness or to care for a child or family member. While the lack of sick leave disproportionately affects women in New York City, this is an issue that has a great impact upon youth as well as. Brooklyn City Councilwoman Letitia James noted, “I'm young in spirit so its great to see the amount of young faces I see today. I support this rally because it is also ultimately about young people.”