At last night’s council meeting, Plainfield finally joined the growing number of New Jersey communities that guarantee a worker’s right to earn paid sick time. As Latino Action Network President Christian Estevez said last night, “Getting sick should never mean getting fired. Now, at least in Plainfield, it never will.”
With a vote of 5-1, the Plainfield Council passed an ordinance that allows private sector workers to earn between 3 and 5 days of paid sick time. That means the 10,000 working people in Plainfield who previously lacked paid sick time will no longer have to choose between their paycheck and their health or the health of their family.
It also means that Plainfield residents can go to their local Dairy Queen or family restaurant secure in the knowledge that the person serving their food isn’t also serving them with a side of flu. Even businesses will benefit from lower turnover, better morale, and a healthier workforce. That’s exactly what Jersey City business owners found out in the year after they passed New Jersey’s first ordinance.
Even though 80 percent of Plainfield residents think everyone should earn paid sick time, voting for this ordinance was an act of political courage. Business interests waged a campaign to mislead the public about the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers under this bill. We should thank our elected leaders for standing up to the business lobby and doing what’s right for their constituents.
Thank Mayor Mapp and Members of the Plainfield Council who voted YES on earned sick time for all.
Of course it’s not just the elected leaders who made this happen. Last night’s victory was the result of a year of grassroots organizing and advocacy by Plainfield residents. In the face of a nasty whisper campaign, faith and community leaders banded together to form Working Families for Plainfield.
Together, we went door to door to educate Plainfield voters about how this law would keep working families, communities, and the local economy healthy. Since April 2015, the New Jersey Working Families canvas team has spoken to 2,273 Plainfield residents. Of those, 2,182 signed a petition, wrote a letter, or called their council member in support of the ordinance.
To the members of Working Families for Plainfield, and every Plainfield resident who signed a petition, made a phone call, or sent a letter in support of this groundbreaking ordinance: thank you for standing up for your friends and neighbors. This is your victory.
To read some of the great press from last night’s win, check out: