Sunday, May 10, 2009

Miwaukee suburbs protect their citizens from paid sick days

Last week the New York Times noted that 60 million American workers, almost half of all private sector workers, do not have paid sick leave. This made it virtually impossible for them to stay home, as the President had advised, if they experienced flu like symptoms last week.

The Times wrote:

...more than 160 countries ensure that all their citizens receive paid sick leave and more than 110 of them guarantee paid leave from the first day of illness.

If President Obama is serious about responsible action to control infectious disease threats, he should back legislation to grant Americans at least seven paid sick days a year — long enough to stay home until an influenza infection subsides. Then virtually all Americans could heed his advice, and we would all be safer.

In November Milwaukee voters voted overwhelmingly (69% to 31%) that all Milwaukee employers should provide their employees with paid sick leave benefits.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce (MMAC) has opposed the measure and used the courts to delay its implementation. It argued that providing employees with paid sick day benefits would be bad for business. An MMAC spokesman even called the law "a sort of terrorism."

Several Milwaukee suburbs, genuflecting to the laissez faire gods, have legislated away their citizens right to pass such laws.

Presumably the free market will protect these communities from future pandemics just as their city councils have protected the free market from one more onerous regulation.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper will rule on the referendum's legality later today.

The New York Times editorial is linked.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that America is setting itself up for a Darwin Award in the next outbreak. Not providing sick time during an epidemic or heaven forbid, a pandemic is just plain stupid. Not having such a policy ensures the entire nation will suffer the consequences all in the name of making a quick buck.

Fred Schnook

Nicholas Elliott, Intern with American Friends Service Committee said...

To Michael Rosen/Mid Coast Views Blogger

This month many Israelis are celebrating the 61st anniversary of the creation of Israel.

Yet, the 15th of May marks the 61st anniversary of what Palestinians observe as Nakba Day.

Nakba is the Arabic word for “catastrophe,” which refers to the Palestinian people’s displacement and dispossession that began during the creation of Israel and continues to this day.

To mark this important anniversary, I hope you’ll watch our recently produced two-minute video dealing with the effects of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the continued Palestinian dispossession. View it at:

(After you’ve seen it, please take the time to tell your friends about it.)

We believe that addressing what is happening today in the occupied territories – as well as acknowledging and understanding what happened in 1948 – are key to building a lasting and just peace in Israel and Palestine.

We hope that our new video will illuminate some of the realities of occupation in the West Bank.

We ask you to:
• Watch the video on our website:
• Embed on your website/blog:
By right clicking on video and inserting embed html into blog/website.
• Use the link to send a letter to your representatives. Urge them to stop using our tax dollars to create barriers to peace in the Middle East
• Forward this message to your personal and professional networks

Thank you for your help. By working together, we can help bring about a just and lasting peaceful solution in the Middle East that will indeed be cause for celebration.

Nicholas Ellliott
Chicago AFSC Middle East Peacebuilding Intern

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