On Wednesday, April 24, the Dallas City Council voted 10-4 to pass an ordinance that will require employers to provide earned paid sick time for Dallas workers. In response, a broad coalition of working people, faith leaders, public health professionals, labor leaders and social justice organizations issued the following statement:
“On this historic day, the powerful voices of working people in Dallas have been heard,” said Jose Garza, Executive Director of Workers Defense. “Dallas City Council has done the right thing and voted to provide paid sick time to working families so that no one in Dallas has to choose between taking a pay cut or losing a job, and staying home to care for themselves or a sick child. We have fought for many years for this day and look forward to continuing to make sure that working people get what they deserve.”
“Today, council members voted to extend basic dignity and respect on the job to all working people in Dallas, particularly working people of color,” said Brianna Brown, deputy director of Texas Organizing Project. “Soon in this city, people who work will no longer be forced to make the difficult choice of taking care of themselves or a family member, or losing pay or even their jobs. This is a win for the people, whose labor drives Dallas forward each and every day”
“After over a year of fighting for paid sick time in Dallas, we are overjoyed to see this come to fruition,” said Nan Kirkpatrick, member of Democratic Socialists of America North Texas. “Worker dignity and ending inequality in our community are two of our driving values, and we are happy to know that at least for today in Dallas, workers have won.”
“Today Dallas City Council decided to stand with working families in ensuring that no worker ever has to make the hard choice between earning a paycheck and taking care of themselves,” said Lorraine Montemayor, Political Director at the Dallas AFL-CIO. “We applaud our elected officials that voted for this vital policy in doing their duty to protect workers.”
Approximately 302,000 Dallas workers don’t have access to earned paid sick time, despite 71 percent of Texas voters who believe employers should be required to offer paid sick leave to their employees. Workers who lack paid sick time are disproportionately low-income and people of color. Those without paid sick time have to choose between taking a pay cut or losing a job, and staying home to care for themselves or a sick child.
Paid sick time is also an issue that affects children and public health. Parents without paid sick days are twice as likely to send their child to school sick, increasing the likelihood that children will spread illnesses. Additionally, service industries including food preparation have some of the lowest rates of paid sick time, exposing more people to illness.
The vote followed a press conference and testimony from workers, faith leaders, public health professionals, labor leaders and social justice organizations. More than 100 people filled the City Council chambers during the vote to support the ordinance.
Paid sick time in Dallas has been supported by a strong, broad coalition over the years, including Dallas Black clergy leaders, Dallas AFL-CIO, DSA – North Texas, Faith in Texas, Local Progress, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund, Texas Freedom Network, Texas Organizing Project, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 1000 and Workers Defense Action Fund.
The earned paid sick time ordinance, introduced by Councilmembers Philip Kingston, Omar Narvaez, Adam Medrano, Scott Griggs, and Kevin Felder in March will require private employers to establish and administer earned paid sick time policies for Dallas workers if an individual or family member experiences physical or mental illness, injury, stalking, domestic abuse, sexual assault or needs preventative care.