Bill Thompson Sets His Focus to Paid Sick Days

Bill Thompson (Photo: NY1)
Bill Thompson (Photo: NY1)

Bill Thompson is ramping up pressure on his mayoral rival, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, on her refusal to allow a vote on paid sick leave legislation. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Thompson was more muted on the topic, but he’ll be on the steps of City Hall later today to directly push Ms. Quinn to allow a vote.

“It is long past time for paid sick leave to become the law in New York,” Mr. Thompson wrote in a letter to Ms. Quinn earlier this morning. “We should no longer force parents to choose between holding their jobs and caring for loved ones, especially young children. While paid sick leave would enable fathers to lean in by pitching in during family illness, it will especially be a godsend to single mothers.”

Another mayoral candidate, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, has made support of paid sick days an early centerpiece of his campaign, even creating a “count-up” clock to measure the time elapsed since the legislation was first introduced in the City Council. A sign the issue is heating up, Mr. de Blasio’s campaign sent out an email to reporters this morning pointing to Mr. Thompson’s past less-than-passionate position on the bill.

For her part, Ms. Quinn has argued that the legislation should not be implemented in the current fragile economy. But Mr. Thompson is attempting to outflank this claim by proposing a compromise bill with a 1-year delay before businesses are required to provide paid sick days to their workers.

Over the weekend, Mr. Thompson additionally released a video “welcoming” Ms. Quinn to the mayoral race while simultaneously criticizing her on the issue. She has also felt pressure from Working Families Party, famed feminist Gloria Steinem and other activists.

Update: (2:10 PM): In response, Mr. de Blasio stated he opposed Mr. Thompson’s modification:

“The one million New Yorkers who do not have paid sick days have waited nearly three years for this bill to even have a vote — that’s long enough. The current bill would already give businesses six months to adjust, asking working families to wait a full year is pointless. If this Mayor and Speaker won’t enact this bill, then I’ll sign it with the new Speaker in my first week as Mayor.”

Mr. Thompson’s full letter to Ms. Quinn can be read below:

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