For Immediate Release
July 12, 2018
Meg Reilly, Chair
Southern Maine DSA Endorses Earned Paid Sick Time for All Portland Workers
PORTLAND, ME – On June 18, the Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted unanimously to support the proposed Paid Sick Time Ordinance currently being debated in the Portland City Council’s Health and Human Services subcommittee. The proposal, written by the Southern Maine Workers’ Center and the Maine Women’s Lobby, and sponsored by Mayor Ethan Strimling, seeks to guarantee paid sick leave to all Portland workers.
An estimated 19,000 Portland workers do not currently have paid sick leave. The proposal as it is written would allow all workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum requirement of 6 days accumulated per year of employment. The proposal includes a universal definition of family, giving Portland workers the ability to used paid sick days to care for loved ones as they define them.
The Portland ordinance is crucial to keeping Portland workers healthy as well as economically secure. “All workers, regardless of age, seasonality of work, or other factors should be able to rest when ill or take care of ill family members without the repercussions of missing a paycheck. Daily in my clinic, I see how economically and emotionally stressed patients are when they have to miss work for medical needs,” said DSA member and local primary care physician Krys Bigosinski, MD. “This proposal will go a long way toward allowing greater access to medical care for working families, and will also decrease the spread of illness to those who may come into contact with individuals who are working while ill. In a city like Portland, where so much of our economy is based in the caregiving and food service industries, this type of legislation is important for public health,” Bigosinski said.
There are now 8 states and over 30 cities that have similar paid sick leave ordinances. Recently, the Austin, TX chapter of the DSA was instrumental in bringing the first such legislation to a city in the southern United States. SMDSA is proud to become a partner in the campaign to bring the city of Portland into the leadership circle on this issue.
The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around the country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA supports issues that align with its mission of organizing and empowering working class people in Southern Maine to stand together to improve our material and social conditions.
For more information about the Southern Maine DSA, this press release, or its endorsement process, contact DSA.SouthernMaine@Gmail.com