Despite that support, paid sick leave took years to get to a vote because it was blocked by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a leading mayoral candidate. It took a sustained fight to get even this compromise:
The mandate will not take effect until April 1, 2014. Between then and Oct. 1, 2015, only businesses with at least 20 employees will be required to provide five paid sick days. After that, the mandate will extend to businesses with at least 15 employees. Manufacturing businesses will be exempt. The bill also allows for the regulation to be postponed if the city’s economy worsens, as measured by an index published by the Federal Reserve.The votes were there for something stronger, but Quinn wouldn't allow it to come to a vote. Nonetheless, as the deputy director of the Working Families Party, one of the groups that led the fight for paid sick leave, put it:
"Because of this, life will get a little bit better for a whole lot of people in our city. Every worker, every small business owner, every advocate, every donor and every labor leader who spoke up and organized for this over the last 3 years is right to be proud. Nothing good ever happens without a struggle."Continue reading for more of the week's working people's news.
A fair day's wage
- Unions to banks: Pay up:
Oregon, like most states, has yet to really recover from the recession. Because tax revenues are still too low to cover the cost of public services, it faces a $3.5 billion budget gap for 2013-2015. In instances like these, we know the options: The state can cut services or increase taxes to bridge the gap (unlike the federal government, states cannot run a deficit). Because Republicans have successfully killed a plan to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy in April, now public employees are looking at nearly half a billion dollars being cut from their pensions.
But there’s another option: Go after the big banks to get back the money the state lost through financial chicanery.
- Commerce secretary nominee Penny Pritzker's problems with hotel workers and teachers unions have been discussed here on occasion; if you want an in-depth refresher, follow that link. But those are not the only problems progressives might have with her, and I mean, really.
- You're done with a grueling 12-hour day of physical work. But before you can go home and eat or sleep or have a life, there's one more thing: you have to go through a security checkpoint, something that can add 25 minutes of waiting to your day. Warehouse workers are suing Amazon over that unpaid time added to their shifts.
- A group of California strawberry pickers was fired for leaving the fields due to a fire 11 miles away that was engulfing them in smoke and ash. The farm settled with the workers, represented by the United Farm Workers, but they didn't want to go back. Small wonder.
- Union-made Mother's Day recipes. (I did not know Empire Kosher was union. Excellent.)
- The South: Labor's elephant in the room.
- As a college student, I participated in the AFL-CIO's first Union Summer. I was in Boston, where one of the most memorable people who came to educate and train us was Charley Richardson, who passed away last weekend.
- F'ing Michigan Republicans strike again:
Michigan Republicans are getting ready to inflict further catastrophic damage on our state’s schools with the passage of a package of bills designed to pay for road and bridge repair, a major priority of Governor Rick Snyder. The bills say nothing about education or the School Aid Fund but the impact is there to the tune of more than $770.1 million.
- We knew it was on the table, that Florida law says that because a 9-year-old boy who has only a brain stem and not a full brain gets two hours a week of work with a teacher, he had to take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. But didn't it seem like once this story was on the news, someone would do something about it?
State Representative Linda Stewart of Orlando told me she didn’t think that a young boy who can’t tell the difference between an apple and a peach should be taking any test, and tried to get officials in the Education Department to step in to stop the charade of Michael taking a test.I just, I can't even. Oh, and by the way, Michael's "score" on the test will count toward assessing the teacher who spends two hours a week with him.
She said nobody did. “Nobody wanted to take the responsibility of stopping it,” she said.
Rick Roach, an Orange County, Florida, school board member who was following Michael’s story, confirmed that Michael was in fact forced to take the test, meaning that a state employee sat down and read it to him, as if he could actually understand it.