Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

The Stranger: Industry lobbyists trying to save Seattle’s snotty waiters

By Cienna Madrid, The Stranger

snotty-waiterKeep this in mind as you bite into a juicy burger at your favorite digs this week: An estimated 40 percent of Seattle’s workforce can’t get a paid day off of work when they’re sick.

For restaurant workers, this means serving food while they also cough, sniffle, rub their noses… you get the picture. And according to the Economic Opportunity Institute, a research and policy center based in Seattle, one in four grocery-store employees—the people fondling your produce—report coming to work sick because they don’t have paid sick days.

But that may soon change.

On Monday, September 12, the Seattle City Council is slated to vote on legislation that would require all Seattle employers to offer up to 72 hours of annual paid sick leave to the 190,000 full-time workers in the city who currently lack that benefit. Not only useful when they’re ill, a worker could use the paid days off to care for a family member or deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

“Everybody has agreed that this is a fundamental need, that this is a norm that should be provided,” declared Council Member Sally Clark at an August 10 meeting of the council’s Housing, Human Services, Health & Culture Committee. The committee then approved a robust version—with a handful of concessions to business lobbies—of the paid sick days legislation.

But don’t expect easy passage when the full council convenes on Monday.

Read more in The Stranger »

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