On the Stump
The City Council is set to pass a far-reaching paid sick day bill this afternoon, marking the first major legislative salvo of the new, left-leaning council.
Led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the council is expected to vote to expand mandatory paid sick time coverage to nearly every business that employs five or more people, despite objections from business leaders, who argue the move will limit hiring. Under the current law, most businesses with 15 or more employees are required to provide paid sick days, though many categories remain exempt.
Hammering home several of the campaign themes that rocketed him to City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio and a host of elected officials celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this morning.
Veni Vidi Veto
Council Speaker Christine Quinn scored the endorsement of 32BJ SEIU this afternoon, boosting her mayoral campaign with its biggest union nod to date.
The support, which was announced a little after 2 p.m. at a press conference at the union’s headquarters, will lend Ms. Quinn’s campaign a powerful and heavily-Latino union that represents tens of thousands of building services workers across the city.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn may have negotiated a more business-friendly paid sick day bill than advocates wanted, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not satisfied. Indeed, in a statement released earlier this morning, Mr. Bloomberg castigated the legislation’s latest iteration as “short-sighted economic policy” and declared his intention to veto it.
Politicos across the city are abuzz with excitement over The New York Times‘ front-page profile of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s “surprisingly volatile” temperament, but one of her top rivals in the mayoral race, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, isn’t piling on. Indeed, when asked about the article today, Mr. de Blasio simply urged Ms. Quinn to put her forceful personality behind paid sick day legislation in the City Council.
“I dont worry so much about the fact that she raises her voice and gets angry at people,” Mr. de Blasio said at a City Hall press conference on the paid sick day bill. “I worry that she doesn’t speak up for average New Yorkers. I think it’s one thing to say in a private conversation, she gets angry and upset with people, but I’d like to see her speak up when it matters on issues like this and we haven’t seen that. Repeatedly, we’ve seen her look the other way on issues like paid sick days and living wage. That’s what the public will ultimately judge, the substance, whether someone is on their side or not.”
Time Is Money
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.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio really wants you to know that one of his rivals in the mayor’s race, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, has bottled up legislation that would require paid sick days for workers in New York City. And Mr. de Blasio, who has been holding press conferences and stumping in churches on the issue for the last few months, has a new tool for the mission: a clock.
In the heart of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s Chelsea base, the boisterous Democratic club named for late gay rights activist Jim Owles met last night for their first meeting of the year where they reiterated their current mission: ensuring Ms. Quinn, who could become the first lesbian to lead New York City, never, ever, ever leads New York City.
“The harshest dictatorship I’ve ever seen has been under Christine Quinn,” said Allen Roskoff, a notorious antagonist of Ms. Quinn’s and president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio isn’t ready to forget about the paid sick day legislation just yet.
“Wednesday, December 19th marks 1,000 days since New York’s Paid Sick Leave Bill was introduced into the City Council,” his government website declared today. “This landmark is no celebration.” However, to press their point beyond mere words, Mr. de Blasio’s office rolled out a creative new strategy: a series of “E-Cards” for New Yorkers to send to the Council, reminding them of how long the bill has been stalled. Needless to say, the cards in question are heavy in the use of pop culture references.
Lena Dunham, the star of HBO’s hipster coming-of-age comedy Girls, has already dabbled in film, magazine writing and literature, but she seems to increasingly be adding local political activism to her resume. Last night, Ms. Dunham took to Twitter to express her support for the Paid Sick Days bill, which many politicos believe has been unfairly stalled by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“I’m always sick or convinced I’m sick. A flu shouldn’t cost you your job. That’s why I support #paidsickdays U Can 2,” Ms. Dunham wrote before including a link to an online petition asking Ms. Quinn to allow the bill to come to a vote on the floor of the City Council.