Union-Backed Bill Could Help 100,000 in W'Chester


NOVEMBER 28 -- A stomach-turning situation may soon come to an end up in Westchester County. For the geographically challenged, Westchester is north of the Bronx. It’s just beyond the reach of the subway system.
In other words, it’s upstate. More than 100,000 people who work in Westchester – including waitresses, chefs, school bus monitors and store clerks – can’t afford to take a day off when they come down with the flu, a nasty cold, or some other contagious illness. If they don’t show up at work and punch the clock, they won’t get paid. They should stay in bed to rest and recover. But they are compelled to trudge to their jobs in restaurants, school cafeterias, clothing stores and other businesses.

Would you like the flu with that shake? How about a side order of Strep with your coffee? Everybody off the bus, and take my germs with you.

There are two very good reasons, however, to be optimistic things are about to change for the better. First, the Westchester Board of Legislators is expected to approve legislation requiring businesses in the county give workers up to five paid sick days a year. That approval could come as early as February.  Democratic Majority Leader Catherine Borgia says she has the votes on the board to pass the Earned Paid Sick Leave bill. Second, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino – a Trump-supporting Republican - won’t be around to veto it. After two terms, Astorino is now packing his bags and dusting off his resume. Democratic State Sen. George Latimer drubbed Astorino at the polls on Nov. 7th.  Latimer will take over on Jan. 1.

The Democratic majority on the Board of Legislators will then be a super-majority. Three seats currently held by Republicans were taken by Democrats in the November election. The Earned Paid Sick Leave bill would apply to businesses with at least five employees. It’s not a giveaway. You earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours hour you work. When this bill becomes law, Transport Workers Union Local 100 can rightly take a lot of the credit. Local 100 brought the issue to Westchester legislators and helped craft the bill. It was modeled after legislation enacted in New York City several years ago.

Local 100 also helped form a coalition of supporters, participated in rallies and penned Op-Ed articles in local and regional newspapers. Here’s to a happy, and healthier, New Year to our brothers and sisters “upstate” in Westchester.