Policy Work

Paid Sick Days

When serious illness or a family emergency arises, many workers face a painful choice between caring for children, parents, spouses and partners or showing up for work and earning a day’s pay. That’s why workers all over are fighting for a right to paid sick days.

Since 2013, Laundry Workers Center has been a member of the NJ Time to Care Coalition.

After extensive advocacy and firsthand testimony, including from LWC members, the Newark Municipal Council passed the “Sick Leave for Private Employees” ordinance requiring private employers to provide eligible employees with a minimum amount of paid sick time.

LWC member Carolina Marmol testifying before the Newark Municipal Council

LWC member Carolina Marmol testifying before the Newark Municipal Council

The largest city in New Jersey, Newark became the second city in New Jersey and the seventh major city in the country to mandate sick leave for most employees, joining Jersey City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, Portland, and NYC.

Since then, momentum for paid sick days has swept over New Jersey–paid sick leave is now mandated in Bloomfield, Elizabeth, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Paterson, Passaic, Trenton New Brunswick, and Plainfield.

Read more here, or check out these flyers in Spanish and English.

Minimum Wage and Wage Theft

New York

The Laundry Workers Center joined the New York State Minimum Wage Coalition in 2013. This coalition of labor, community, policy, and religious groups came together to push legislators in Albany to raise the minimum wage.

That year, the coalition succeeded in moving the New York State legislature to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 per hour, over three years. Read more here. This campaign marked the first major policy victory for our organization.  

We are also a member of the SWEAT Coalition. Since 2013, SWEAT has fought for a bill that would allow a lien on employers that commit wage theft, hold their assets, and/or make shareholders personally liable. Read more here.

New Jersey

In 2016, we partnered with Wind Of The Spirit and New Jersey Working Families, winning a $15/hour minimum wage in Newark NJ, and a raise to $15/hour for municipal workers in East Orange, NJ.

Our coalition was also successful in promoting an anti-wage theft ordinance in East Orange, which was passed in March 2016. The ordinance authorizes the city to suspend or revoke licenses for businesses that commit wage theft. The bill was named in honor of Rekha Eannis Rodriguez, a former co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Center-New York (ROC-NY) and an inspiration to many in Laundry Workers Center.