Faith, government and business leaders stood in front of almost 200 people at Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ on Tuesday night and pledged to support Spokane Alliance in its efforts to get the City of Spokane to adopt a Paid Sick, Safe, Family Leave policy by 2015.
“We don’t need to wait for Olympia to lead the way,” said Duane Cooper, Spokane Alliance co-chair as he encouraged the crowd to work together and organize for change.
Currently, many workers are forced to work when they’re ill, or have to lose a paid workday to care for a sick child.
Community leaders say that’s not right.
“It’s our responsibility to take accountability for the wellbeing of our employees (so they can) impact our community in a positive way,” said The Lantern Tap House Owner Mike Dolmage.
He publicly agreed to work with Spokane Alliance in improving sick pay policies. So did other business owners and leaders, including Dr. Shancie Wagner of Eight Days A Week Dental and Stacy Wenzl of the Spokane Regional Health Department.
Bishop Martin Wells of the ELCA Easter WA-ID Synod and Mike Denton, conference minister of the Pacific Northwest UCC Conference of the United Church of Christ also backed the Alliance in its efforts.
City Councilman Jon Snyder said better sick pay plans benefit everyone and called the Paid Sick, Safe, Family Leave policy common sense.
“Who benefits when a young single mom or dad has to choose between their job and taking care of a sick kid at home? No one,” he said.
City Council President Ben Stuckart agreed, but said the community has to step up to pass such a policy in Spokane – whether it be by ballot or ordinance.
“If we’re going to pass this, know it’s not going to take one meeting where we stand up and say we’ll pass this. It’s going to take a lot of hard work from everyone in this room,” he said. “Because they will fight us. There are people who don’t want sick leave. Know you have us on your side, but you need to have our backs through this fight.”
He said public education will be key over the next few months. Councilwoman Candace Mumm also showed her support at the meeting.
Spokane Alliance is in the beginning stages of addressing other issues as well, including affordable, quality daycare, mental health issues and allowing the elderly to stay at home while they age.
For information visit the organization’s website.