I had a bad cold this week
I had a bad cold this week, so I did what so many of us do: I slept a lot, I drank a lot of fluids, I took some medicine, I felt bad and complained, and I postponed some of my many scheduled meetings. If I had felt any worse, I would have taken a day or two off. And I would never have thought twice about doing that, since I am one of the lucky New Yorkers who has paid sick leave as part employment agreement.
I am stunned to learn that there are a million – hear me? – a million low wage and part time workers in New York who do not have paid sick leave. If they are sick, they must either go to work – thus possibly infecting everyone they work with – or risk being fired and losing a job in this uncertain job market.
Those million workers are much on my mind when I tell you that I am very glad to be one of 40 rabbis who have signed onto a letter drafted by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and sent to City Council President Christine Quinn. JFREJ says, “The bill will protect over 1,000,000 low-wage and part-time workers in the private sector with paid sick leave compensation. The bill has already garnered immense support from leaders throughout New York City—earning it a veto-proof majority. The only obstacle the bill faces is the will of Speaker Quinn to bring it to a vote. Despite constant rallies outside of City Hall, led by the NYC Paid Sick Days Coalition, Speaker Quinn seems resistant to bringing the bill to a vote. This will not stand among the progressive Jews of New York City.
At this critical juncture, it is essential that we urge Speaker Quinn to stop postponing the bill. The health and dignity of workers are on the line. Denying paid sick leave compensation is a direct violation of the moral tenants we stand for as Jews and as citizens of New York City. We demand respect for the dignity of all workers, and their right to proper health and compensation.”
“Jewish law requires that we seek healing”, says my friend and colleague, Rabbi Simkha Weintraub of the Jewish Healing Center. “We're expected to actively pursue treatment.” Rabbi Eric Weiss adds, "We have a rabbinic dictum that says you should get the best medical care wherever you can."
It is hard to seek the best medical care when you are forced to go to your job even when ill, for lack of any paid sick leave.
Write to Quinn today to add your voice to the growing chorus.
And together let us say Amen to this prayer from JFREJ: May we see the day when all workers can live healthily and receive proper compensation for their labor.
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