Live blogging the Seattle City Council paid sick days public hearing

8:06 PM: Councilmember Nick Licata is wrapping up the hearing. The legislation will come up again before his committee on July 13th.

8:03 PM: Several workers are expressing final thoughts about why paid sick days are important to them, including a single mother with a child who has a kidney problem and another whose coworker died of pneumonia because she didn’t have paid sick days.

7:45 PM: The crowd in the room is beginning to thin out, but still strong. The ratio of supporters to opponents is still largely in support. Tracy Brazg of the Seattle Women’s Commission just added the Women’s Commission’s support to the ordinance.

7:38 PM: Paul Benz of the Lutheran Public Policy Center speaking in support: “This is about Seattle being a leader in promoting a healthy workplace and promoting a healthy workforce… I urge your adoption of this ordinance.” Followed by a worker who described his coworkers sityuation when she was hospitalized for 2 days and lost her job as a result. Next up is Marilyn Watkins of the Economic Opportunity Institute: “The costs of failing to act are high… 28% of kids in Seattle Public Schools have all parents with no paid sick days… You’re making a moral choice about the type of society we want to have.”

7:26 PM: Brad Mecham, a Seattle City Council candidate running against Bruce Harrell, goes on record supporting paid sick days.

7:19 PM: The Stranger’s Cienna Madrid is also here covering the public hearing – check out her thoughts and photos here: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/07/06/packed-city-hall-overwhelming-support-for-paid-sick-leave-hearing

7:17 PM: Teresita Torres of Teamsters Local 117; followed by Maureen Bo, VP of the Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans;

7:13 PM: Janet Chung of Legal Voice: “Many women-dominated industries are among the least likely to offer paid sick days.” Followed by Nancy Amidei of People for Public Health: “Presenteeism costs U.S. companies over $150 billion per year – much more than absenteeism does.”

7:06 PM:

The Seattle City Council from left to right: Bruce Harrell (not pictured), Tom Rasmussen, Nick Licata, Sally Clark, Jean Godden, Time Burgess and MIke O’Brien.

6:59 PM: Julian Perez, SeaMar Community Health Center told the story of a man with kidney failure who had early warnings that he had high blood pressure. Unfortunately, he had no paid sick days to see a doctor to get his blood pressure under control, and now he requires kidney transplant. With paid sick days, it was a preventable condition.

6:52 PM: George Allen of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce in opposition: “We are unable to support this ordinance…[because of] the very nature of mandating.”

6:47 PM: Josh McDonald of the Washington Restaurant Alliance speaking in opposition. Tracy Underwood of the Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence speaking in support.

6:42 PM: Will Friedman, VP of Product Management at Cozi.com in support of the ordinance. “We provide paid sick days for employees to take care of themselves and to take care of family members. This kind of flexibility should be available… to everyone, not just those of us in the software industry who are fortunate enough to have these benefits.”

6:33 PM: David Skoal (sp?) of the Downtown Seattle Chamber of Commerce in opposition to paid sick days. Followed by Bette Reed, speaking in support of paid sick days for the Puget Sound Alliance for retired Americans.

6:28 PM: Laura of Seattle SHRM speaking in opposition to the paid sick days ordinance. “Seattle is not San Francisco.” Followed by Joe Quintana in opposition.

6:25 PM: Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale just spoke in support of the paid sick days proposal.

6:21 PM: Kenny Stewart, President of the Seattle Firefighters Union in support of paid sick days: “Seattle firefighters recommend people stay home when sick to speed recovery… This is a public health issue. Seattle Firefighters recognize the importance of paid sick leave… it results in a safer and more productive workforce.”

6:18 PM: David Freiboth, President of the King County Labor Council speaking in support of the proposal. Tasha West-Baker, a worker at a Seattle grocery store: “It is a public health issue. It is a concern for single-parent families and parents. But it is also a concern for all of Seattle.”

6:15 PM: Makini Howell, owner of Sage Cafe, Plum Bistro and Hillside Quickie and a member of the Main Street Alliance small business organization. “I own restaurants and I don’t want my employees coming to work sick and handling your food. For me the cost I can’t afford is losing good employees.” With

6:13 PM: A summary of the last couple speakers:

Speakers in support: Mike Warren, President of the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans; Regina Owens, Seattle resident speaking for single mothers and low-wage workers; Dr. David Springer, pediatrician and small business owner in Seattle who offers paid sick days and believes they are critical for parents.

Speakers in opposition: n/a

6:05 PM: Mike Andrew of Pride at Work speaks in support of paid sick days. “I urge you to adopt this ordinance because it impacts LGBT workers heavily… as LGBT workers tend to be clustered in industries that typically do not receive paid sick leave.”

6:03 PM: Robert of Markey Machinery speaking in opposition of paid sick days. “There is no justification for our business to remain in Seattle.”

6:01 PM: Jane offering her remarks on behalf of the Seattle Human Services Coalition: “A basic human need is paid sick leave. When people are sick and they do not have paid sick leave, then they come to work and they spread disease… and for people of low income [a lack of paid sick days] can mean less food on the table and no money to pay the rent.”

5:55 PM: Ben Noble is explaining complex nuances of the ordinances. Instead of blogging them, find out what they are here: http://seattlehealthyworkforce.org/our-proposal/

5:47 PM: Ben Noble notes paid sick days are also ‘safe days’ which can be used to recover from the effects of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault.

5:45 PM: Central staff director Ben Noble is explaining the provisions of the ordinance, which are available here from the Seattle City Council (the actual ordinance language) and here from the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce. UPDATE: Councilmember Sally Clark just arrived at the hearing.

5:42 PM: Present are Bruce Harrell, Richard Conlin, Tom Rasmussen, Jean Godden, Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien, as well as Nick Licata, president of the Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee. Not in attendance are Sally Clark (who was supportive of the proposal at the bill’s introduction) and Sally Bagshaw.

5:36 PM: In City Hall, awaiting the start of the public hearing on paid sick days. Supporters, who are wearing neon green ‘YES’ stickers are lining the back wall and spilling out of the room into the hallway. Watch the Seattle Channel for a live broadcast.

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