More than a dozen new and returning City Council members pledged on Thursday
to support a bill requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave to
The symbolic pledge at a Foley Square rally followed a march across the Brooklyn Bridge by some 600 fired-up supporters of
the bill, many of them low-paid workers.
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.
The bill’s chief sponsor, City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, said the
measure has 38 sponsors, well above the 26 votes needed to pass and four more
than needed to override a mayoral veto.
But it’s doubtful the bill will come to a vote in the Council before the Nov.
Backers say the bill would let sick workers, including those with swine flu,
stay home and not infect others.
Marchers had signs warning, "On the menu today: germs."
Dinick Martinez, 30, a restaurant worker, noted,
"We just came out of the H1N1 season, and now another flu season is in effect."
**Along with Make the Road New York