Council President Todd Gloria, Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner, and Councilmembers Marti Emerald and Myrtle Cole announced their intention to bring a comprehensive measure in support of earned sick days and an increase in the minimum wage to the ballot box in November. Hundreds of San Diegans came out to show their support for the announcement in Civic Center Plaza under the banner of “Raise Up San Diego,” a broad-based community coalition that includes the Center on Policy Initiatives.
“No one should have to choose between a job and caring for a sick loved one, and hard-working people should be able to afford to live in the city they love,” said Council President Gloria.
“I’ve heard from residents and business people and understand better than ever that earned sick days and an increase in the minimum wage are good for local families and the economy. These are critical components of adequate workplace standards in America’s finest city.”
Maribel Sosa, one of the 82% of San Diego’s food service workers who lack access to earned sick days echoed similar sentiments saying “I am always just one day’s pay away from being unable to keep a roof over my family’s head. I make just $8 an hour, so if I get sick I have no choice but to go to work anyway,” adding, “My real fear is that my four-year-old will catch a cold. Those are the hardest days for me -- when I have to leave my sick daughter with her grandmother because I can’t afford to take a day off work to take care of her.”
“There is no doubt that access to earned sick days creates stronger, safer work places,” explained Councilmember Emerald. “It is especially important that those who work in jobs that have regular contact with the public – like childcare providers, cooks, food service workers, healthcare professionals – can go to work healthy and not have to worry about a sick loved one. This is really about making sure we have productive workplaces.”
Also present at the rally was Sandra Galindo, a local mother of three who works multiple jobs and still struggles to make ends meet. “I am a college graduate with two different jobs and I still cannot afford to feed my children without food stamps,” Galindo said, “Most of my paycheck goes to pay rent and put gas in my car so that I can get from one job to the next. This is what minimum wage really looks like in San Diego.”
“The changes that we are recommending in raising the minimum wage and having earned sick days will translate into an increase in quality of life and a boost to the local economy. This just makes sense,” stated Cole.
On March 24 the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee gave Council President Gloria the go-ahead to work with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith on ballot initiative language. For more information on the coalition and the stories of working San Diegans, please visit RaiseUpSanDiego.org.