Remember, even EF5 spawning supercells have a silver lining, and there has been some good news in the wake of last night.
Perhaps some of the best is news that four places in the United States voted on whether or not employers should be required to give paid sick leave to employees — and all four approved of the idea.
Massachusetts joined California and Connecticut as the third state in the nation requiring employers to grant people paid sick leave. A number of municipalities joined as well: Trenton, NJ; Montclair, NJ; and Oakland, CA, which voted to expand on the preexisting law. This marks an uptick in support for the radical idea that perhaps we shouldn’t punish people for getting sick. The idea has found its way into law through any number of measures: ballot initiative, city ordinance, or legislation. At the end of 2013, only one state and 6 cities required it. Now, the total is three states and 16 cities.
A particular lightning rod has been New Jersey, which, thanks to an organized campaign on the ground, has become a beacon for the paid sick leave initiative. Organizers note that they learned from the New York City movement, and have experienced success not targeting the state as a whole, but the sensible people/progressive communities within it. Phyllis Salow-Kaye, the executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, told ThinkProgress that:
We agreed that it was going to be very difficult to get the governor to sign a statewide bill . . . [but] we had two quite progressive mayors in Jersey City and in Newark… We knew that they could institute it as an ordinance in their cities, as opposed to having to wait for a state bill.
Of course, big businesses oppose it. Anything that treats workers as more than the wage slaves Americans desperately pretend they’re not is going to rile the wrath of the Harvard Business Grads. Since they’re Business Grads, their opposition is moronic if you’re being overly kind, or sadistic if you’re being honest. Early evidence suggests that paid sick leave incurs very few costs if any, with the added benefit of business growth.
Once upon a time, we had paid sick leave. Back in the annals of history, there existed labor unions, and they guaranteed these rights, along with others, to workers. It’s funny how fast these rights dry up when you foolishly expect CEOs to protect them, isn’t it?