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New York City Council Speaker Blocks Paid Sick Day Law Despite Popular Support

Tara Culp- Ressler
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Saturday 11 August 2012
“Currently, over a million New Yorkers are left with equally undesirable options when confronted with an illness: go to work sick or go without pay.”
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New York City’s paid sick leave bill is backed by grassroots labor activists, a veto-proof majority of the city council, the New York Times editorial board, and even some celebrities. However, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D) is blocking the measure from coming up for a vote, claiming it would have a negative effect on small businesses.

The city’s proposed law would require businesses that employ 20 or more people to give their employees at least nine paid sick days each year; those with 19 or fewer employees would be required to provide five paid sick days. Currently, over a million New Yorkers are left with equally undesirable options when confronted with an illness: go to work sick or go without pay. Passing the Paid Sick Days Act would help New York City employees gain the labor protections that are already nationally mandated in 163 other countries around the world.

Nevertheless, Quinn refuses to bring the bill to a vote in the city council — dealing a blow to struggling service sector employees, who are disproportionately female:

Women in low-wage, service sector jobs make up the lion’s share of workers without sick leave.

“They are waitresses, cashiers and home health aides. Many are immigrants; few have political clout. Yet their work contributes to the economic growth of the city,” said Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

“It’s time to make paid sick days for New York’s working women and men a reality,” Poo added. “We’re going to push and prod and call on Speaker Quinn to bring this important measure up for a vote.”

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has partnered with other progressive allies to launch a petition pressuring Quinn to reconsider her stance and allow New York to join the other cities — including San Francisco, Seattle, and Connecticut — that have already enacted paid sick day laws.

ABOUT Tara Culp- Ressler

TARA CULP-RESSLER is an editorial assistant at Before joining ThinkProgress, Tara deepened her interest in progressive politics from a faith-based perspective at several religious nonprofits, including Faith in Public Life, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Interfaith Voices.


From this Australian's

From this Australian's perspective, New York labour laws are archaic. Here's the current language: "Sick leave is now known as personal leave and can be taken when the employee is sick or injured or when the employee needs to care for an immediate family or household member who is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency." From Wikipedia, "In Australia, it was introduced into "industrial awards" in 1922.

a buddy of mine who runs a

a buddy of mine who runs a small business said he was ok with law if he can send the city a bill

Just wait till 5 or 6 poor

Just wait till 5 or 6 poor neighbors from the Bronx, bitten by rat-fleas in their infested slumlord apartments, show up in plush, lush financial Manhattan as janitors and waitresses--sick, coughing, and contagious with an untreatable mutation of the Pneumonic Plague, a 90% fatal permutation of the Black Death.

This isn't a threat. Although the fatal plague may be a different kind, this is a certain prediction without appropriate public health safeguards, unless we vote or recall moral morons like Quinn back to their gated mansions and penthouses, or force their resignations by MASSIVE, tireless demonstrations in the streets.

Well, it is time to show Ms

Well, it is time to show Ms Quinn the door. She is not in government to serve small businesses or large ones for that matter. She swore an oath the serve the People. Contrary to what Mitt Romney and the GOP, the USA was not set up to serve corporations/business, but to serve and benefit individual people.

The lesson is clear here. We have only one political party with two divisions of charlatans. We may be SOL this election, but any election after this should have people with no affiliation to the Dems or GOP running AND they should have no political ambition other than to do their duty and be their community's voice in government. Do your two years and GO BACK TO YOUR DAY JOB.

I hope she explains this more

I hope she explains this more than the stupid refrain that it may hurt small businesses. Whenever any industry wants to stop some regulation or promote some subsidy, it is always the Chicken Little cry that it may affect the small guy and make the sky fall. The agri business does it all the time, trooping out Mom and Pop farms for needing subsidies and then raking in the added profits, the New York landlords do it all the time bringing out the small landlords for the publicity shot while the big landlords cash in. Banks refute regulation as too cumbersome which will hurt the smaller banks, while the big ones get away with everything except murder. There needs to be an end to this stupid excuse. Regulations are required if you are to do and gain from our society, taxes are the cost of doing business, deductions should be banned as undo favoritism and too easily manipulated, and reasonable benefits are the cost of a labor force and simply the cost of doing business in a non-slave world. When these things are universally demanded and instituted, the world does not collapse or fail, people just get on with their businesses and lives are improved. I am very surprised because Quinn would like to be mayor, but this is not the way to go unless she is already catering to the business community over the citizenry.

I'll bet that back-stabber

I'll bet that back-stabber Quinn does not live in a regular working class or poor working class neighborhood. What a crock. We are the laughing stock of the world any more. We rank lower in infant mortality than some surprising countries. The working class is screwed by their representatives again.

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