Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Faith Leaders Sign Letter in Support of Earned Sick Days in Philadelphia

Below is a letter the Coalition is gathering the signatures of faith leaders supportive of providing all workers in Philadelphia with the opportunity to earn paid sick days.  If you are a faith leader and want to add your name to this letter contact Kate Scully at kscully@pathwayspa.org or 610-543-5022 x 255.

Mayor Michael Nutter
City Hall, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

RE: Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, Bill No. 080474

Dear Mayor Nutter,

We are writing to urge your support of the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill No. 080474), a critical piece of legislation that gives workers the opportunity to earn paid sick days to care for themselves or a loved one.

This bill is tremendously important to people living and working in Philadelphia. It is perhaps, most immediately needed by some of the most vulnerable workers and children in our city. But more broadly, it speaks to the kind of city and community we aspire to be. As members of the faith community in Philadelphia, we would like the opportunity to meet with you the week of May 16th to discuss why.

Chances are each of us will get sick or need to care for a sick family member this year. Not all of us have are able to take time off from work to get better or to care for a sick family member. In Philadelphia, more than two out of every five workers do not have a single paid sick day to care for themselves or a loved one.

Our faith compels us to treat people the way we would like to be treated. Many of us are blessed to be able to stay home to care for our loved ones or ourselves when illness strikes. We are deeply concerned that our members, neighbors, and others with whom we come into contact regularly, such as the cashier at the supermarket, the waiter at the restaurant, or the nurse at the hospital, do not have the opportunity to earn paid sick days. They must continue to work – through contagious colds, fevers, and stomach flus, on pain of lost wages or even lost jobs. Moreover, they cannot take off to care for their sick children or other dependent family members.

Respecting the health and dignity of all human beings is a core religious value for all faith traditions. It should also be a core civic value. The least fortunate among us bear the heaviest burden when they get sick. Less than one-quarter of low wage workers have paid sick days, even though they are the workers who can least afford to lose a day’s pay. Working mothers bear a particularly heavy burden, as they lose pay, promotions, and general financial security when they are penalized for taking time off to care for sick children. The injustice and indignity of having to choose between working while ill and losing a day’s pay – or your job – is a great concern in the faith community and must be addressed.

Workers want to be responsible on the job and be able to care for their families. Our policies lag desperately behind this reality – and Philadelphia families are struggling as a result. We can and must do better – and we will, if we truly value families.

In a city that values families, workers should not have to choose between their jobs and their health or a family member’s health. We urge your strong commitment to Philadelphia’s working families by supporting the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act and look forward to setting up a time to meet with you to discuss the reasons the faith community supports this bill.


Rev. Sandy Strauss , Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Rev. Robin Hynicka , Arch Street United Methodist Church
Rev. Michael Caine, Old First Reformed United Church of Christ
Rev. Phyllis Harris, Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church
Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Mishkan Shalom
Rev. Linda Noonan, Chestnut Hill United Church
Rev. Robert McClellan, Tabernacle United Church
Rabbi George Stern, Neighborhood Interfaith Movement
Rev. Dennis Spain
Rev. Nancy Jackson, Waters Memorial A.M.E. Church
Pastor Patrick, Redeem Baptist Church
Father Charlie Strollo, Immaculate Conception Parish in Germantown
Rev. Schaunel Steinnagel, Hunger Action Enabled, Presbytery of Philadelphia
Bishop Dwyane Royster, Living Water United Church of Christ
Rev. Jesse W. Brown Jr.
Rev. Chryl Pyrch, Summit Presbyterian Church
Rev. Chester Williams, Chew Belfield Block Association
Deacon Fred Jones
Minister Gladys Majors, Bridging the Gap Ministries
Bishop Leon Cleveland, United for Christ
Pastor Juanita Rivers, Ebenezer Temple
Dr. John Elliott Churchville, Liberation Fellowship Community Development Corporation
Sister Mary Scullion, Project HOME
Rev. Sherry Elliott, Philadelphia Presbytery
Minister Curtis Ghee
Reverend Griffin, Gibson Temple Church Baptist
Reverend Michael Evans, Berean Presbyterian Church
Pastor Hezekiah Lampley, Morning Star Church of God in Christ

Please note the faith leaders affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. In addition more names will be added as support for the bill and this letter continues to grow.

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