New Initiative for Statewide Paid Sick Days & Higher Minimum Wage

UFCW 21 members Ariana Davis, a grocery store worker at Safeway, and Jane Teske, an RN at Providence Everett, both spoke at the press conference in the Secretary of State’s Office in Olympia on January 11 to file a petition for a new state law. We need higher wages. Especially for those with the lowest incomes in the state who find it next to impossible to make ends meet. We also need to have access to paid sick days when we are ill and be allowed to use paid sick days without getting disciplined.

Why are we working on this Initiative? 

For years we have pushed for a higher minimum wage on the lowest wage scales as well as proposed paid sick days without discipline. Neither proposal had gotten very far in most contract negotiations. UFCW 21 members successfully fought to pass higher wage laws and paid sick leave in cities across the State–like Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Seatac. The decision was made that 2016 is the right time to push for this change in our state law to help everyone. 

Higher Minimum Wage Raises Entire Economy

The promise of America should be for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Yet over the years our economy has swung more out of balance. While the richest 1% and big corporations made record profits, working families have been left behind. Recent studies have shown that a fair wage for working families benefits the economy. Individuals would have more money to spend, training costs are reduced, employee turnover rates go down and customer service goes up. Supporting workers in their fight for a living wage will ultimately benefit our entire community.

Paid Sick Leave for All – Better Health, Stronger Communities, Improved Workplaces

At least one in four grocery store workers say they have come to work sick in the last year because sick leave was not available when they needed it. Many health care workers who have paid sick days don’t use them because they get disciplined when they do. Grocery store workers and health care workers and others are on the front lines of food and patient safety. It is important to the health of our entire community that these workers have paid sick leave so workers aren’t forced to go to work sick.