The Times, Trenton

Paid Sick Leave Supporters Launch Campaign In Trenton, Montclair Ahead Of Nov. Ballot Question

The Times of Trenton — Monday, October 6, 2014

By Jenna Pizzi / Times of Trenton

TRENTON — With less than a month remaining before Election Day, a coalition of supporters of a Trenton ballot question requiring paid sick days for city employees is rolling out an awareness campaign.

"We will be going door-to-door to talk to voters here in the city," said Dena Mottola Jaborska, Director of Organizing and Strategic Program Development and executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, one of the organizations involved in the coalition

"We will be phone banking. We will be sending mail out to all the voters," Mattola said Monday afternoon at a press conference about the coalition's awareness campaign in Trenton.

Voters petitioned Trenton earlier this year to consider an ordinance requiring all businesses in the city to provide the paid sick time to employees. Trenton City Council held a public hearing on the issue and voted to place it on the ballot Nov. 4.

The question will also be on the ballot in Montclair, where the same group kicked off an awareness campaign Monday morning.

Analilia Meja, executive director of New Jersey Working Families, said the change will help workers who struggle to choose between going to work sick or staying home and losing a day of pay.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who is running for Congress, called on supporters to inform voters they encounter about the benefits of the paid sick leave law.

"People don't realize the people who don't have access to an earned sick leave — you go into a restaurant, you go into a diner in particular, and you have a meal, you have no idea if that person at that time is well or ill," Watson-Coleman said.

"And if you send your child to childcare you have no idea if that child is going to be exposed to another child who had to come to school because her mother or father couldn't take off or even if the worker at that school was ill."

Jacob Dormevil Sr., who owns a shop in Trenton called Knuckle Sandwich, said he is proud to offer paid sick days to his employees because he knows personally about making those hard choices. Dormevil said when he was growing up in Newark, he was taken to the hospital because he was sick and when he woke up his mom wasn't there.

"Soon after she came in and said 'I couldn't be here,'" Dormevil said. "I said 'why?' She said 'I had to go to work. I couldn't take off because if I did I would get fired.'"

The ordinance as proposed would require the city's Department of Health and Human Services to manage enforcement of the requirement.

Those opposed to the paid sick leave on argue that businesses should be free to negotiate benefits with employees without government intrusion.

Top Top | NJCA Homepage | NJCA in the News