Black leaders increase pressure on Quinn to allow a paid sick leave vote

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Christine Quinn. ()
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Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the frontrunner in this year's  mayoral election, is under increasing pressure from African-American activists to allow a vote on paid sick leave.

This morning, Rashad Robinson, the executive director of advocacy group Color of Change, sent out an email to his members asking for their help.

"NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn is still denying more than 1 million mostly Black and Latino, and low-wage workers with even a single paid sick day to care for themselves or a sick child," he wrote.

Robinson goes on to ask Color of Change members, of whom there are more than 40,000 in New York City, to sign a petition urging Quinn to allow a vote on the bill, which would require many businesses to give employees a small number of paid sick days ever year.

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Separately, Donovan Richards, the new African-American councilman representing Southeast Queens, will today sign on as a co-sponsor of the paid sick leave legislation.

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem has made her support for Quinn in this year's mayoral election contingent on the speaker's allowing a vote on the bill, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who running for mayor with the implicit support of the labor-backed Working Families Party, has taken a strong stand in favor of the legislation.

Amid these appeals, and in the context of intensifying jockeying among the Democratic mayoral candidates, Quinn has scheduled a hearing on paid sick leave for March 22.

The bill has enough support to pass if a vote is allowed by Quinn, who says she supprts it in principle but worries that the measure would pose an undue burden on small businesses if it goes into effect before the economy improves.

She had no comment for this article.

"The economy will never be healthy enough," Richards told me, when asked about Quinn's argument against paid sick leave. "Justice delayed is justice denied."