Jul 1, 2013 | Press Release

NY Amsterdam News - Paid Sick Days: Good for New York City’s Workforce

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 4:15 pm

By Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

The City Council vote to override the veto of the Paid Sick Days legislation is a step in the right direction toward increasing the quality of life for all workers in New York City. For far too long, too many New Yorkers had to choose between lost wages, possible firing, and making sure they were physically well enough to work. As parents, we know what it is to have to take a sick child to a doctor’s appointment, and I’m thankful I have had the ability to do that. And now, more workers have that option.

Each day, we come in contact with hourly-wage workers, and for many of them, yesterday’s vote will allow them the flexibility to take off the time they need to care for a sick family member, or to tend to their own health issues. This legislation will help the sales associate who can now take a sick day, instead of helping customers, while battling a long-term illness. This legislation will help the barista fighting the flu to stay home and recuperate, instead of showing up to work sick, for fear of losing wages.

The bill received support from employers who understand that a healthy workforce is a more profitable workforce, and when workers have the peace of mind that their families are healthy, they can focus on work.

This decision shows the strength of our City Council in caring for the health and well-being of New Yorkers. It also demonstrates the importance of electing legislators who are willing to step up and take a stand for working people. The Labor movement is focusing much of our attention on the upcoming November elections. We are working collectively to elect officials who will help to improve conditions for all workers. And we believe that standing up for everyday people is what makes New York one of the most progressive cities in the nation.

This Paid Sick Days Legislation will provide relief for working men and women and their families. I commend Councilmember Gale Brewer for shepherding this legislation, and groups like the Paid Sick Leave Coalition for supporting this measure to allow New Yorkers to protect public safety by protecting their health.

Vincent Alvarez is the President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which represents 300 affiliated unions, and 1.3 million New York City workers.


- published in Amsterdam News on July 1st, 2013