In order to muscle their paid sick day bill through the City Council, advocates have been making a concerted media push to connect the issue to female New Yorkers, and it’s hard to deny that they’ve developed some traction. In particular, the aim seems to be to persuade Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a leading mayoral candidate in 2013, into coming on board by developing public pressure on the matter.
Feminist author Gloria Steinem may have put it most bluntly, defining it in a New York Times interview as critical for her support, as women disproportionately have jobs affected by the bill in addition to needing to care for sick children, but that’s hardly the only media hit.
Earlier this afternoon, groups working to get paid sick day legislation through the City Council turned their sights to Councilman Erik Dilan, whom they described as a potential swing vote on the issue given that Latino constituents, like many of those in his district, disproportionately work jobs that currently do not provide paid sick leave.
Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change participated in today’s event, where they claim they delivered 1,800 postcards from his constituents to petition Mr. Dilan on the issue.
The dust has barely settled on the grand living wage compromise and progressive forces are already mobilizing for their next initiative. On the steps of City Hall today, City Council Members and labor leaders announced what it would be: a bill requiring businesses to give their employees paid sick days off.
“We were here a year ago. We got close, we thought we were going to finally see passage about a year ago,” Dan Cantor, the Executive Director of the Working Family, announced. “Politics is hard, so we come back now, a year later.”
Things have changed, Mr. Cantor insisted, citing other localities that have passed similar bills, and the Occupy Wall Street protests energizing the public.
Democrats also contend that both legislative tweaks and the political environment make things much more favorable for paid sick day advocates this time around than the start of 2011, when Council Speaker Chris Quinn shelved the legislation.