MONTCLAIR, NJ – A group of local elected officials gathered Monday with a coalition of advocacy groups in support of local earned sick days laws for private sector workers in Montclair. The group gathered at 387 Bloomfield Avenue, the home of Vital restaurant, to host a press conference.
The press conference, led by Marcia Marley, President of BlueWaveNJ, opened saying, "This ordinance should be passed for multiple reasons, primarily because this is a public health issue." "..we want to give people the option of staying home if they're sick. They shouldn't have to choose between losing their jobs."
Also in attendance were Freeholder Brendan Gill, Deputy Mayor Robert Russo, Third Ward Councilor Sean Spiller, NAACP Education Chair James Harris, Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action Phyllis Salowe-Kaye and Director of New Jersey Working Families Analilia Mejia.
The coalition rolled out plans to launch a voter education and field campaign leading up to the November election, in which the earned sick day ballot question will be voted on in Montclair.
Russo said, "My message today is this is not an anti buisness ordinance..." Russo went on to speak of his father, who was a small business owner who would've supported the ordinance. He added that people do get sick and should have employers who understand that.
The municipal ballot campaign will include a diverse array of community stakeholders united in support of this basic workplace standard. Leaders spoke of launching a four week voter education campaign towards ensuring that voters understand the significance of the ballot question. Marley said that interested volunteers can sign up at the Montclair Democratic Headquarters located at 460 Bloomfield Avenue.
The benefits of the proposal presented will allow private sector workers to earn between 3 and 5 paid sick days per year to care for themselves or family members in the event of an illness.
The Upper Montclair Business Association has distributed an informational sheet to the public on this initiative and several letters of opposition have been written. Therefore, the purpose of the planned door-to-door campaign is to educate the public.
The coalition advancing the measures have advocated for earned sick days ordinances in six New Jersey cities. Four have been passed in September. Municipal elected officials decided that the ordinances should be voted on by ballot question, in Montclair and Trenton. They are the last two towns to be identified and the only two to be voted on by ballot.
Later Monday afternoon, the coalition also hosted a subsequent press conference in Trenton with Trenton leaders.
To view the news segment of the press conference from NJTV, click here.