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Know Your Rights
Source: Working Families Party
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Make the Road Marches for Paid Sick Days

Hundreds of Make the Road New York members marched over the Brooklyn Bridge and rallied in Foley Square today in support of a New York City Council bill that would make paid sick days a basic workplace standard.

Guillermo Barerra**, a father of two who was fired from a Brooklyn Restaurant for asking permission to go the hospital joined the spirited rally.  He told the Daily News about how he was let go: "She told me I was fired and she never wanted to see me again and I should never return…It’s terrible. Employees should not be treated this way."

Pending Council legislation backed by the WFP and a broad coalition of advocates, labor, and small businesses would ensure that no one in New York City has to choose between their health and the job they need to get by.

Over 2,000 New Yorkers have signed the WFP’s petition calling on the City Council and Mayor to move quickly on the bill as city schools reopen and the flu season returns.

Joining the boisterous crowd were Councilmembers Gale Brewer, the bill’s lead sponsor, Julissa Ferreras, Jessica Lappin, Mathieu Eugene, Dan Garodnik, Robert Jackson, Diana Reyna, and David Weprin.  Also in attendance were several soon-to-be Councilmembers including Brad Lander, Jumaane Williams, Jimmy Van Bramer, Ydanis Rodriguez, Mark Winston-Griffith, Margaret Chin and Stephen Levin — many fresh off victorious insurgent campaigns.

Imagine being forced to choose between your health and your job. That’s what nearly a million workers in New York City could be facing if they or their children get sick.  Hundreds of workers and students marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Thursday in support of the Paid Sick Time Act. And many of those marchers had nightmare stories.

Guillermo Barrera worked as a cook in a Brooklyn restaurant for nearly seven years, never taking a sick or vacation day. He told CBS 2 that in September, he was so sick he had to go to the hospital and was immediately fired, the boss telling him he really didn’t want the job…. "But the reality is if you have a 10-year-old kid, they’re showing flu-like symptoms, you have no paid sick leave – you’re going to send that kid to school and if you’re having those symptoms yourself, you can’t stay home from work if it means losing money or losing your job," said Andrew Friedman of Make the Road New York.

A main sponsor of the march and rally was the Working Families Party, which helped a score of Council members win their primaries, making the bill a top priority. "I think it’s clearly a display of their new-found political muscle," grumbled restaurant industry spokesman Robert Bookman, saying the city lacks the legal power to impose paid sick leave rules on private employers.

**Make the Road New York member