At In These Times:
Amid a deluge of right-wing state and local laws, paid sick leave has offered a rare bright spot for progressives. Its progress hasn’t been steady, but it hasn’t been slow. Five years after San Francisco became the first U.S. city to mandate that employers provide paid sick leave to employees, similar bills have been debated or passed across the United States.
Washington, DC and Milwaukee followed San Francisco in 2008; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a law overriding the Milwaukee bill last year. Last year, Seattle passed a citywide law, Denver voters defeated one, and Connecticut passed the first statewide paid sick leave law. Philadelphia’s mayor vetoed a broad mandate but allowed one only covering city contractors and subsidy recipients to become law. Governor Deval Patrick backs a statewide bill in Massachusetts. And in New York City, activists are mounting a renewed push following their defeat in 2010. Now, as then, the legislation’s fate will land in the hands of New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a former activist turned business-friendly Bloomberg ally and potential future mayor.