9to5 Continues to Seek Justice for Workers Without Paid Sick Days As Case Moves to State Supreme Cou

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010

Milwaukee- As the District IV Court of Appeals advanced the Milwaukee paid sick leave case to the State Supreme Court, advocates affirmed that the fight for this essential labor protection continues both statewide and federally.

"The Appeals Court did not affirm the Circuit Court's decision," said Attorney Barbara Quindel, who is representing 9to5, an intervener in the case. "What they did was move certain questions around the enactment of the measure to the State Supreme Court. We will continue to defend the will of Milwaukee voters, nearly 70 percent of who voted for paid sick leave."

"The MMAC's plot to block paid sick days in Milwaukee through the courts will be stopped by a growing state and national movement," said 9to5 Wisconsin Director, Amy Stear. "Corporate special interests have created an unjust delay for a measure that is crucial for job preservation and for public health. 9to5 and a broad city, state, and national coalition will continue to work until paid sick days are the law of the land."

Stear pointed to research showing that a pandemic such as H1N1 is better contained in workplaces with paid sick days. "Our nation must end the impossible decision too many workers are forced to make between following the advice of public health experts and holding on to a paycheck," she said. "Jobs are so scarce now, it is critical to protect working families from loss of vital income due to an illness."

Two groups filed amicus briefs in the case, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV) and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "This ordinance impacts survivors of violence who shouldn't have to choose between filing a restraining order and keeping their job," said Tony Gibart of WCADV. "All families deserve time to heal, and in cases of domestic violence, that includes being able to seek shelter or take legal action to prevent further abuse."

Stear emphasized that the coalition will continue to challenge the status quo for the 122,000 Milwaukee families without paid sick days and everyone else who comes in contact with them. New research by Restaurant Opportunities Center United, for example, has revealed that more than 90 percent of restaurant workers do not have paid sick days.

"The problem persists in the workforce and is best remedied with a minimum right to paid sick time," Stear said. The coalition behind the Milwaukee ordinance is part of the Family Values @ Work Consortium, a network of state coalitions from coast to coast working for state and national policies such as paid sick days. Bills are being considered in neighboring Illinois and Minnesota as well as in cities from New York to Tacoma, WA, and in states from Maine to Colorado. Groups are also building support for the federal paid sick days bill, the Healthy Families Act.