The Tacoma City Council passed a Paid Sick and Safe Leave ordinance on a vote of 8-1 last night. The council approved 3 days of paid sick leave for workers annually. Workers will be able to begin accruing leave effective February 1, 2016.
The final ordinance fell short of the seven to nine days that community members have called for over the past two years. Teamsters and other Union members packed the council chambers and testified en masse with a unified message - 3 days is not enough.
Randy Marquis, a Local 117 Shop Steward at the City of Tacoma, addressed the councilmembers directly:
“When was the last time you were sick? Was three days enough to get well? When was the last time you had a child who was sick? Was three days a year enough to care for that child? This ordinance must be good for at least 7 days a year. Union workers must also be covered in this ordinance. Anything else is lip service, nothing more.”
You can link to the complete hearing, including all public comment here.
Although we were unable to win additional days, we were able to successfully amend the proposal to include union members who otherwise would have been excluded under the law.
We were also able to win the right for workers to carryover unused days into the second year and accumulate a maximum of five days.
Overall, the ordinance constitutes a major win for 40,000 workers in Tacoma who currently don't have access to paid sick days. We will need to work to expand the law so that whenever workers get sick, they don't have to choose between their health and getting paid.
Thank you to the many members of Teamsters Local 117 who attended the hearings and testified throughout the process.
Your voices helped make Tacoma the first city in the country to adopt a paid sick leave law in 2015!