More than 50 Portland residents, among them small business owners, workers and labor organizers, spoke at a crowded public hearing at Portland City Hall Tuesday evening, urging members of the city’s Health and Human Services and Public Safety Committee to adopt a bold paid sick day law that covers all workers.
“When I got sick, the first thing I did that morning was check my bank account. I did some mental calculations to decide whether to call in sick that day,” said Lizzy Handschy, a PhD student and a cashier at Whole Foods, at a press conference before the hearing. “I strongly urge the council to pass a version of this ordinance that allows all workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours of work, with no carve outs, and no exceptions.”
“When employees are asked to choose between paying rent on time and coming into work when they are sick, or taking a day off to care for themselves or a loved one, we have to ask ourselves if we are being ethical employers,” said Dave Aceto, the owner of Arcadia National Bar in Portland, before the hearing.