Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Read Phila NOW's Op-Ed piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer on earned sick leave

In support of Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee’s bill that would require some businesses to give paid, sick days to employees, the Philadelphia chapter of NOW wrote an Op-Ed that is published in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.  The bill would help those who are financially vulnerable, and would make for healthier workplaces, to boot.  Read on, and tell your councilmember what you think!

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, March 12, 2013:

“Philly workers need sick-leave bill

Tammy L. Gavitt

POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 3:01 AM
In an economy where many of us can at least tread water, Philadelphia's low-income workers are drowning. About two out of five workers in Philadelphia have no paid sick leave.

In response, a City Council committee last week approved a sick-leave ordinance that would require Philadelphia businesses of six or more employees to provide a limited number of earned, paid sick days. A vote before the full Council could come as early as this week.

Businesses can easily supply a nominal amount of paid sick days. Allowing workers to recuperate from illness without fear of docked pay, or job loss, will result in healthier workers and an overall reduction in communicable disease. Right now, 90 percent of food-service workers do not have paid sick days, and about 70 percent go to work sick, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR). It is estimated that employees sick at work engender lower productivity, which costs employers $160 billion per year nationwide.

This is also a women's issue: Women comprise about half of the workforce, but there is a greater chance of men having paid sick days than women. The service industry, which has more female employees than men, is not as likely as other industries to provide paid sick leave. Further, 80 percent of children's doctor visits are handled by women, yet half of working mothers do not have paid sick leave, and neither do about two-thirds of women with low incomes.

Mayor Nutter vetoed a sick-leave bill in 2011, sympathetic to the businesses that feared the bill would mean extra costs. However, some business owners have voiced support for the measure, and there is scant proof that it has damaged job markets.

San Francisco enacted a sick-leave law in 2006, and IWPR has found that not only do most employers now support it, but also that employees do not often abuse the law. Gov. Daniel Malloy of Connecticut, the first state to authorize paid sick leave, said that he has spoken with employers who "now admit it really wasn't that big of a deal," according to the Wall Street Journal. A study there showed that the five-day sick-leave policy cost employers only 0.4 percent of their sales revenue annually.

In addition, according to IWPR, paid sick leave is thought to provide $52 million in gains to employers annually, primarily due to less job turnover, while supplying the sick days costs $51 million. Further, the institute recently released a study indicating that if all employees in Philadelphia had paid sick days, there would be $10.3 million saved each year in health-care bills due to a reduction of 12,188 emergency-room visits.

Paid sick leave is good for workers, families, and public health, and has a nominal impact on businesses. We urge you to contact your Council member and ask him or her to vote yes.

Tammy L. Gavitt is president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women.”

Thursday, March 07, 2013

March 8 is International Women's Day

March 8 marks the 38th annual International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women’s rights and the women of all ages and backgrounds who help change history in their own way.  The United Nations and its member states have celebrated International Women’s Day since 1975, though the day was first celebrated in 1911, in Europe.  Each year the United Nations chooses a theme and this year they have chosen “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”  Irina Bokova, Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), issued the following statement:

On International Women's Day, we celebrate the strides that have been made to advance women's rights and the individual heroes, girls and women, who are making history in societies across the world.  This is also a day to cast an objective eye on where we stand and reflect on the obstacles that remain. Violence against women is one of the most deadly and widespread violations of women's rights across the world. Violence takes many shapes — physical, sexual, psychological and economic — but the result remains the same devastating violation of fundamental rights and human dignity. There are concerted efforts at all levels to stop this violence, but progress is haltingly slow.” (Click for more)  

Read below for how you can celebrate International Women’s Day in Philadelphia:

International House presents a night of “Fantastic Films by Women,” showing: Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid’s “Meshes of the Afternoon”;  Beatrice Gibson’s “Agatha”; Laida Lertxundi’s “Cry When it Happens”; Rosa Barba’s “Somnium”; Germaine Dulac’s “The Seashell and the Clergyman.”

Mt. Airy Garage is hosting an International Women’s Day weekend to celebrate women in the arts.  March 8’s “Outloud! A Celebration of Women Voices” will feature local female poets and musicians.  On March 9 there will be a cocktail reception and on March 10, they will hold an interactive discussion about the role of women in the artistic sphere.

Marc Vetri’s restaurant Osteria is honoring International Women’s Day with a special five-course dinner meant to pay homage to five women.  It is in honor of La Festa Della Donna, or International Women’s Day.

Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a month where we celebrate women’s contributions to society and the world beyond.  Women have acted in war and peace, in the home and outside, making contributions to science, literature, and the Revolutionary war, to name a few arenas.  Amongst names like “Rosa Parks” and “Sally Ride” stand our own sisters, mothers, and other female role models.  Women’s History Month has the predecessors of International Women’s Day, established in 1911, and National Women’s History Week, which was established in 1981.  Years after groups had voiced the opinion that March should be designated Women’s History Month, congress passed resolutions and in 1995 President Bill Clinton issued the first proclamation to make it so.  This year is particularly special: March 3 is the 100th year anniversary of the suffragists marching in Washington, D.C. to call for women’s right to vote.  Here is how Philadelphia is celebrating Women’s History Month:

There are various Women’s History Month programs that are free with admission March 1-March 22, including their new pop-song-based program Decoding the Lyrics: “Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage,” as well as artifacts such as former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s robe.  Certain programs and artifacts are available until the 31st.

The Philadelphia chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women is holding their 15th annual benefit for women against abuse on March 28th in honor of Women’s History Month.  The benefit will aid a shelter for women and children who are in dire need of help.  Financial donations are needed, as are new clothing and personal care items, bedding, small appliances, and small office/stationary items.  In honor of Women’s History Month the Coalition will also premiere a new short film produced by members of CLUW’s Young Women’s Committee (YWC) titled “Our Movements, Our History, Our Voicesation: Perspectives and Personal Histories of Union Women in Philadelphia.”  The benefit will be held at Workers United in Philadelphia.
The mansion will be kicking off their new Upstairs Downstairs Celebration on March 16 with an actress playing Susan B. Anthony recreating Anthony’s historic reading of The Declaration of Women’s Rights.  Victorian fiction author Cordelia Frances Biddle will speak about Victorian women in Philadelphia.

On March 24st the cemetary is holding its “Classy Broads and Daring Dames” tour around the cemetery while taking note of its exemplary permanent female residents and their accomplishments.  There will also be a reception where one can toast the ladies.