Diagnosing A Defeat: Why The Sick Leave Bill Failed (City Limits)

A multi-year campaign to require that all employees in New York City receive paid sick time (which I first wrote about last fall) was quashed in October by city council speaker Christine Quinn. What happened, and what does it mean for worker rights and the city economy?

Last winter, it seemed all but inevitable that New York City would become the latest city to pass a law mandating that all city businesses provide paid sick leave to their employees.

A coalition of worker-rights groups, including Make the Road New York, the Working Families Party and the legal advocates A Better Balance had lined up to push for the legislation; a veto-proof majority of 37 city councilmembers had not just endorsed but co-sponsored a bill that would require at least five days of annual leave for all workers. And with the nation in the grip of swine-flu panic, visions of restaurant cooks showing up sick for work had even some small business owners admitting that some kind of sick-leave law was probably inevitable… [read more]