Last week, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), AFL-CIO, hosted their 2013 State Convention. The convention is an annual gathering of of the WSLC’s more than 500 affiliated labor organizations, representing about 400,000 members across Washington. Members meet to discuss issues affecting the state’s working families and to establish WSLC’s policies and priorities for the coming year.

During the convention, the body passed a resolution in support of paid sick days, family and medical leave insurance, and the work of the Washington Work and Family Coalition to implement these paid leave programs.

The resolution shows broad support from the labor community for paid leave – an important metric in Washington, the nation’s fourth most unionized state. In 2014, the Washington Work and Family Coalition will be leveraging community support to drive paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance legislation forward.

You can read the full WSLC resolution below –

In Support of Paid Sick Days and Family and Medical Leave Insurance

Resolution # 26

Submitted by UFCW 21

WHEREAS, most workers have limited paid leave to deal with their health needs, and 40% have no paid sick leave, so that even a minor illness or injury can lead to a family economic crisis; and

WHEREAS, in addition to annual paid sick leave for preventative health care and short term illnesses, from time to time workers need longer periods of time off to welcome a new child, recover from surgery or care for an aging parent; and

WHEREAS, as Unionists, we are committed to the principle that all workers should have the right to earn paid sick days for routine health needs of themselves and their families, and to periods of paid family and medical leave to care for a new child or serious health condition; and

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions have successfully adopted paid sick days standards that protect public health, worker income, and business prosperity; and

WHEREAS, in 2007, the Washington State Legislature passed a limited Family Leave and Medical Insurance program, but did not set up a mechanism for funding the program and has repeatedly postponed implementation; and

WHEREAS, other states, including California and New Jersey, have successfully established programs that provide partial wage replacement during extended leaves for care for a new child or sick family member, or for the worker’s own disability or serious health condition, funded through modest payroll taxes; and

WHEREAS, the “Washington Work and Family Coalition” is working to establish statewide standards for paid sick days and to fully fund and expand the Family and Medical leave Insurance Program to include caring for ill family members and the worker’s own disability as well as care of a new child, along with longer periods of leave, higher benefits, and premiums based on a percentage of workers’ pay; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, supports the principle and practice of paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance and will work with the “Washington Work and Family Coalition” to promote Paid Sick Days and an expanded family and medical leave insurance program in the state of Washington; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will forward this resolution to the affiliates of the Council to ask for their support, as well.

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