Opinion: Committee For A Healthy Montclair Writes in Support of Earned Sick Leave (Updated)

sick leave 2You’ve heard from those against. Now, Cary Chevat and a long list of others write in support of the Earned Sick Leave resolution on the Montclair ballot next Tuesday. The letter also appears on the BlueWave NJ website

(Read the proposed ordinance here)

On Tuesday, November 4th, voters in Montclair will have the opportunity to join a growing number of New Jersey municipalities that allow private sector workers to earn paid sick days. A local ballot initiative would allow nearly all private sector workers to earn 3-5 days per year to care for themselves or their families when illness strikes. For voters who want to keep Montclair’s families, workplaces and local economy healthy, our top priority can be found at the bottom of the November 4th ballot.

For people with paid sick days, it can be easy to take them for granted. But nearly one quarter of adults in the United States have either lost their job or had their job threatened because of a family illness. For the over 40 percent of Montclair workers who lack paid sick days, every cold becomes a crisis and every child’s fever could spell economic catastrophe.


Allowing workers to earn paid sick days isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for our community. Workers without sick days go to work sick or send their sick children to school, prolonging illnesses and spreading infectious diseases. During the H1N1 epidemic, 7 million people caught the virus because co-workers came to work sick. Even worse, food service, personal healthcare and childcare workers are the least likely to have paid sick days. It puts us all at risk.

Every time a paid sick day law is proposed, some businesses insist the sky will fall. But the dire predictions never materialize. Six in seven San Francisco employers reported no decrease in profitability after its law went into effect. Far from abusing the law, workers used their sick days as intended. The average worker in Connecticut and San Francisco used only half of the days allotted to them. In San Francisco, a quarter of workers used no sick days at all.

And far from losing jobs, San Francisco and Seattle both outpaced their neighbors in job growth since passing paid sick days laws. Jersey City has also gained jobs more quickly than the rest of the state since passing New Jersey’s first paid sick days law in January.

That’s because paid sick days laws keep our economy healthy, too. People coming to work sick costs our country $180 billion per year through reduced productivity and increased workplace infection, higher than the cost of absenteeism. Paid sick days reduce employee turnover, one of the biggest costs for business. And, as with minimum wage increases, workers use the additional pay to spend in local businesses, stimulating the economy.

After seeing how well the laws have worked, a majority of businesses in San Francisco and Seattle now support them. Even the chief lobbyist against paid sick days in San Francisco calls paid sick days “the greatest benefit for the least cost.”

This is a win-win for Montclair workers and businesses. We urge voters to vote YES on the municipal public question at the bottom of the ballot for a stronger, healthier Montclair.

• Marcia Marley
• Cary & Beth Chevat
• Al Pelham:
• Bob Russo: Deputy Mayor Montclair
• Sean Spiller, 3rd Ward Council Member
• Robin Schlager, 2nd Ward Council Member
• Jerry Fried, Former Mayor:
• Ed Remsen, Former Mayor:
• Kathryn Weller-Demming, former Deputy Mayor:
• Cary Africk, Former 2nd Ward Council Member
• Nick Lewis, Former 3d Ward Council Member:
• Richard Insley: Former Municipal Court Judge:
• Mitch Heisler:
• Thomas Reynolds
• Charles Rosen:
• Debra Kagan
• Richie Chevat
• Stan Karp:
• Susan Vaninwegen:
• John Atlas:
• Judith Rew:
• John Reichman:
• Nataki and Kwame Williams
• Nancy Erika Smith
• Michelle Fine
• Ann Rea:
• Claire Ciliotta
• Mara Novak
• Linda Halper
• Michael Yellin
• Jim Price:
• Cynthia Stagoff
• Emily Barocas
• Joanne Zippel
• Rosemary and Al Iverson

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.


  1. I really don’t care who does it, but would someone at least provide the courtesy of posting the actual ordinance? Since BlueWave is a sponsor and has a website, you would be the logical candidate.

  2. “Allowing workers to earn paid sick days isn’t just the right thing to do”

    Employees are already allowed to earn paid sick days. When I was still working in Montclair, we all earned paid sick days. If that were the goal, this question wouldn’t need to be on the ballot. This proposal is to *require* people to earn paid sick days. Employers don’t get to choose. Employees don’t get to choose.

    If someone considers himself healthy and prefers to take this benefit’s value as cash, he’ll be forced to work outside of Montclair.

    I think it telling that this post – and the version I’d originally seen in the Montclair Times – uses the word “allow” rather than “require”. It would suggest that the supporters are trying to keep the truth obscured.

    It is also interesting that this would, if passed, prevent any changes for three years. That suggests that the supporters expect that, after seeing the results, Montclair voters are likely to want to fine-tune or even remove this requirement. Yet we’d be prevented from doing so.

    https://baristanetnew.wpengine.com/2014/10/montclair-vote-mandatory-sick-leave-ordinance/#comment-406022 presents an example of the call banks promoting this question providing bad information. A friend reported something similar when she was called, and even my wife received bad information when she was asking questions of the caller.

    While a few examples of those could be the result of an overly enthusiastic but ill-informed caller, now we have this letter. This letter repeatedly misstates the result of this proposal, making it seem far more permissive than it actually is.

    Those promoting this proposal seem to be among those questioning it. Even they apparently believe that a fully informed electorate would likely vote against it. The three year period during which it cannot be changed also speaks to this presumption that we’ll ultimately conclude that this is a bad thing for Montclair.

    If even those proposing and supporting this question think we’d conclude it’s bad for Montclair, then I think the proper choice fairly clear.


  3. Thank you Liz George.

    This is a horribly misdirected effort after reading the draconian and stupid clauses.
    Blue Wave and the Montclair Times should be ashamed of themselves!!

    Just horrible language and clauses.

  4. Just for some levity, I was wondering about the retro graphic above chosen to represent the sponsors.
    The elements are weird.
    “We can do it, NJ?” I thought only Montclair was voting?
    Why the surgical mask?
    Why the arm gesture with the other hand on the bicep? This was not a compliment when I was growing up.
    The only part I really get was the red/white/blue reference with the kerchief and the man-style shirt.

  5. On another Election Day note, from the lawn signs I see around town it seems there is a tight race going between Brenda Gill and Keller Williams.

  6. “Just for some levity, I was wondering about the retro graphic above chosen to represent the sponsors. The elements are weird.”

    True. I thought September (and not November) was National Prostate Awareness Month…..or maybe she’ s sporting a mustache underneath the mask.

Comments are closed.