Today in the U.S., paid sick leave is a privilege, when it should be a right. Now, in the wake of his recent bid to end the collective bargaining rights of state employees, Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., signed a bill that overturns Milwaukee’s paid sick leave law. Walker was in Milwaukee at the Italian Community Center on Thursday, where he went to offices of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce to sign Senate Bill 23.
This appears to be part of a recent pattern of petty counterattacks against the labor movement by Walker, as this move follows his recent sarcastic program, which claims to recognize state employees for their hard work – after having removed their collective bargaining rights, of course.
Walker maintains that this latest course of action is to remove barriers that hold back job creation – a likely story, of course. Moreover, the Drum Major Institute, in a study that examines the paid sick leave law in San Francisco, found “no evidence that businesses have been negatively impacted by the enactment of paid sick leave.” Furthermore, the U.S. economy loses $180 billion each year due to sick employees infecting co-workers because they couldn’t stay home.
Dana Schultz, lead organizer for the National Association of Working Women, expresses her feelings about this injustice. She remarks, “Milwaukeeans have made their decision on paid sick days, and now the courts have upheld their vote. The state legislature should not be trying to rob voters in Milwaukee and cities across the state of their basic right to local decision-making on sick days. It’s time for the state legislature to stop its attacks on hard-working families and get to work on policies that will help grow our economy.”
Recent surveys show that three quarters of Americans believe paid sick leave should be a worker’s right. And even though over 160 countries provide paid sick leave, people in the U.S. still have to fight for it. But the good news is they’re not going to back down, but still, there is a collective holding of breath among decent working class Americans, as they wonder who – or what – Walker is going to attack next.