Members and friends of the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce reunited to celebrate Paid Sick and Safe Leave with cake and other goodies. The Seattle Women’s Commission hosted the party on October 29, 2012, and presented the Coalition with the Jeanette Williams Award, in recognition of the newly implemented law’s impact on women’s and children’s health.
Abigail Echo-Hawk and Maria Villa shared personal stories that underscore why standards for paid leave and legal protections for workers are so necessary. Abigail was forced to leave her seriously injured child in another’s care because she couldn’t miss a day of work. Maria was fired from her job of seven years while she coped with the traumatic aftermath of a sexual assault on her young daughter.
Since September 1, 2012, most people working in Seattle have been able to accrue sick and safe time [well, I would hotlink to the know your rights piece if it were posted anywhere] that they can use without penalty in situations like those faced by Abigail or Maria, as well as for their own illness.
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen credited the Coalition with really holding the council’s feet to the fire to win passage of the ordinance despite fierce opposition.
In accepting the award on behalf of the Coalition, Marilyn Watkins, policy director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, thanked the Women’s Commission for their early support. She noted that in a time of such political acrimony, the paid sick and safe leave campaign was a model of empowering citizens and bringing people together – with small business owners, workers, health professionals, advocates, policymakers, and City staff all collaborating to bring about good policy that makes life better for us all.