Up   |  March 24, 2013

Why paid sick leave isn’t getting passed in NYC

Four of the Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City talk about their support of paid sick days and the role of Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, in not having the measure come up for a vote.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the speaker of the city council is christine quinn , also running -- we invited her. her people said they couldn't make the schedule work. but she has been preventing this paid sick day bill from coming to a vote on the floor. even though it appears by all accounts to have the votes.

>> for three years.

>> for three years. it has been three years. here she is talking about why now is not the time for paid sick leave .

>> think about your household budget . you can take on another bill if you have a little money. you can restructure your budget. you can't do that if you don't have any money. it is not a question for me of this. it is a question of when.

>> i recognize that gentleman to her right there. the idea here --

>> in favor of paid sick.

>> everyone sheer in favor of it.

>> yes.

>> no matter what your position is, as one member of the city council why not just let it come to a rote on the floor. let each member decide that bill on its mayor fits why not?

>> this week -- i have written speaker quinn . she said -- she is in favor of it. it is a question of when. she is concerned about the economy right now. wrote her this week. fine. i testified this week in favor of paid sick. what i said at that hearing is then put in are a one-year delay. if you are concerned about the economy, where things are at now, put a one-year del nay but 'let's move the bill. when we are see sing one person. one individual blocking the wishes of not just members of what majority -- majority of the members of the city council but the people of the city of new york . i think it is in new york city that we -- it has been kind of the progressive capital so many -- for so many years across the country to hold this up.

>> couldn't disagree more on the one year. say that at one of the forums. during the depression we didn't say we will help people when things get better. help people when things are tough. right now people need paid sick leave . millions of new yorkers do not have any coverage. this is a now problem. quinn is not move thing bill which is profoundly undemocratic and obviously she didn't want to be here today to talk about it. the daily news reported this week in a she had received $370,000 in donations from literally from folks in the private sector who sign order to a letter opposing paid sick days and are working intensely to stop this legislation. as a great man once said, follow the money.

>> yes.

>> this is a workers' right bill. people shouldn't have to choose between being healthy, going to work. i sponsored the first wage bill in the city's history. very emphatic about this issue. we put 70,000 workers benefited. $3 billion in their pockets for the second living wage bill law in the country. this is tie flood that. we shouldn't have workers be subjected to this kind of ridiculous -- not being paid when they are getting sick. doesn't make any sense bill and i happen to agree on the need for paid sick leave . the right thinking new yorkers will agree. at the same point businesses -- you are looking at businesses and small businesses , particularly that need time to help phase it in. you are concerned about the economy continuing to come back and not doing damaging to small bu plan and prepare. that happens to be --

>> i wouldn't think --

>> let's get this done.

>> i'm sorry, bill. i wouldn't want people to think that there are no small businesses that give their employees paid sick leave .

>> sure.

>> there's very conscientious employers who realize that their biggest asset in their business is the employees. this kind of bill would level the playing field for small businesses across the city. i have been thinking about this quite a bit. i actually think that -- i actually think that chris quinn is in favor of this. for some reason --

>> she.

>> somebody is pulling strings behind her that's preventing.

>> it she is not here to defend herself. i don't want to speculate on her motives.

>> one-year delay, if that's the concern she expressed that concern, removes that consideration and should move that bill forward.

>> let's talk about this bill. for businesses that are five employees -- under five employees, exempt. it does --

>> other cities passed similar bills.

>> philadelphia, portland. the point is the smallest businesses bisz business the amendments, smallest businesses are left out because that's -- clear they would have a particular challenge. here is the point about watering down this bill. i said this week that speaker quinn is the world's leading expert on watering down legislation. we can see the signs already of a bill that will -- have a long lag period or will cut out hundreds of thousands of pokes who immediate coverage. because she is going to defer to some of the patrons in the business community . the point here is that -- we have a million people in need that they have a single day that they are -- literally under the laws of new york city , they could lose their job. that's unacceptable and why we need a bill that reaches everyone.

>> the threshold for this to kick this is higher in terms of --

>> not in philadelphia or portland.

>> this bill has five or more. i think that can be a little dangerous to small businesses operating on very small -- very thin margin. i would opt for higher number.

>> sal, you said something i want to -- is a good trance chigs is talking about living wage bill. something that i -- i feel very passionatably as someone that grew up in new york city and bronx. my mom was an educator, worked in parts and administration for the district of education. the vanishing middle class in new york city , it is really a staggering thing to hold. having watched the trajectory of this city, the rising inequality, the losses of middle class jobs and low paying service jobs and then the -- massive increase in the cost of housing. i want to talk about how to stop new york from becoming essentially 1%, 99% city right after this.