As small businesses across the city fight a proposal to mandate paid sick days for their employees, a group that works closely with the union-backed Working Families Party is showcasing several mom-and-pop outfits in favor of the legislation.
Make the Road New York, a liberal nonprofit group in favor of the City Council’s contentious bill, is countering the onslaught of opposition to the legislation — leaving business owners questioning why any company would want the council to dictate how to run its business.
"If my workers are healthy and have the protection of paid sick days when they need it, they can stay working with me for a longer time and I save money from not having to retrain workers all the time," said Maria de los Santos, who owns three small businesses in Brooklyn.
She will speak at today’s rally in Queens.
Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, was stunned by the support.
"I’m not sure why any business owner, why any employer, would want government to mandate what their benefit package should be and how to spend their money. It doesn’t make any sense," Friedman said.
"If an employer is concerned about paid sick leave, they should offer paid sick time, but not because government tells them to.
"Other than the unions, I’m not seeing a lot of businesses who are in favor of this."
The Five Borough Chamber of Commerce, along with the Partnership for New York City — which represents larger companies — opposes the legislation.
The bill would require companies with fewer than 20 employees to provide five paid sick days annually and larger firms to offer nine days.
Part-time workers would accrue fewer days, based on hours worked.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn has yet to take a position on the bill as she privately negotiates a compromise that would appease unions and businesses.