We made a little history last month after four New Jersey cities passed local laws allowing private sector workers to earn paid sick days. Now we’re finishing the job. Today we stood with partners and allies and launched twin campaigns to ensure Montclair & Trenton voters add their communities to the growing list on Election Day, November 4th.
This is an issue with tremendous momentum and popular support, and our job is to let voters know that they now have the power to make their cities a fairer, healthier place to live and work. For the next four weeks we will knock on doors, phone bank, and send waves of mail to let people know the power to pass earned sick days is in their hands.
The ballot questions in Trenton and Montclair are closely modeled on Newark’s ordinance and are identical to the ordinances just passed in Passaic, Paterson, Irvington and Trenton. Private-sector workers can earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers in larger businesses can earn 5 paid sick days per year, while workers in businesses with nine or fewer employees can earn 3 paid sick days per year. Food service, daycare workers, and other workers who deal with the public regularly could earn 5 sick days regardless of company size. Workers can use the days to care themselves or for sick children, siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren.
The stakes are high. If we win, eight New Jersey cities will have local laws and over 120,000 workers who didn’t have paid sick days just a year ago will be covered. Our municipal campaign has catapulted New Jersey into a leading role in the nationwide fight to make earned sick days a basic workplace right, and it’s all part of a carefully coordinated campaign to build support for a statewide initiative that would cover all of the 1.2 million New Jersey workers who lack paid sick days.
The goal is to cover workers in the present while making passage of a statewide law virtually inevitable. We won’t stop until we make sure that, in New Jersey, getting sick never means getting fired.
If you want to volunteer to join the campaign, contact our political coordinator, Craig Garcia.
And here are a few press clips from today’s launch: