Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Washington delegation visits ‘other Washington’ to highlight work and family issues

Last week, eight representatives from the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce and the Washington Family Leave Coalition joined more than 200 people from across country in Washington, DC for the National Summit on Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave.

The conference brought together policy makers, campaign leaders, worker representatives, researchers, and business owners to share best practices and learn from each other’s campaigns.

Washington’s delegation with Rep. Jim McDermott. Standing (L to R): Sharon Ness, UFCW Local 141; Joshua Welter, Main Street Alliance WA; Rep. Jim McDermott; Rebecca Johnson, WSLC; Makini Howell, restaurant owner; Janet Chung, Legal Voice; Karen Keiser, WA State Senator. Seated (L to R): Joe Mizrahi, UFCW 21; Alex Stone, Economic Opportunity Institute.

Following the conference, Washington’s group spent a day on Capitol Hill, delivering the message to Congress that their constituents want action to protect public health, children, and family economic security.

Washington’s group met directly with members of Washington Congressional delegation and their staff, including Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Jay Inslee, Rep. Adam Smith and staff from the offices of Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Norm Dicks.

In these meetings we urged our elected leaders to support the Healthy Families Act – which would allow every American to earn paid sick time to address their own health needs as well as those of their family members – and support federal funding to cover state family leave insurance program start-up costs.

Some other highlights from the conference:

  • Excitement from Connecticut as they recently became the first state to pass a paid sick leave law;
  • Updates from paid sick days campaigns already underway, including in Denver, Massachusetts, New York City, and of course, Seattle; and
  • A new report from IWPR showing access to paid sick days lowers health care costs.

The trip was part of a national effort sponsored by the National Partnership for Women and Families and the Family Values at Work Multi-state Consortium.

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