Tag Archives: paid sick days

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain. High of 70. Winds from the East at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Wednesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 54. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Symphony Orchestra

The Queens Symphony Orchestra will perform at LeFrak Hall at Queens College. Admission is free and open to the general public. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Homeless man arrested in South Ozone Park child sex assaults

A homeless man has been charged with sexually abusing two South Ozone Park girls in separate incidents, District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced Tuesday evening. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Subway service to return to Rockaway in June

The MTA is set to restore subway service to the Rockaways for the first time since Superstorm Sandy knocked it out of commission, agency officials said Tuesday. Read more: New York Daily News

Video released of suspect in Queens rape

Police in Queens are searching for a rapist, and they are hoping surveillance video will help lead to an arrest. Read more: ABC New York

New York City set to pass paid sick days plan

A national push for paid sick days is poised to score a significant victory, with lawmakers in the nation’s largest city set to vote on requiring businesses to provide the benefit to an estimated 1 million workers who don’t have it now. Read more: AP/ABC New York

Father, daughter fire off pellet gun in crowded Ditmars Park

A man and his young daughter terrorized a crowded Queens playground Tuesday when the dad fired a pellet gun that looked like a real firearm, frightened parents said. Read more: New York Daily News

Suspect in Ohio helped neighbors look for missing

In the years after his friend’s daughter vanished while walking home from school, Ariel Castro handed out fliers with the 14-year-old’s photo and performed music at a fundraiser held in her honor. Read more: AP

NY voters split on stop-and-frisk, against soda ban

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

New Yorkers dislike of the mayor’s proposed soda ban has grown, while city voters support of stop-and-frisk is split along racial lines, according to a new poll.

Half of New York City voters questioned in a recent Quinnipiac poll said they disapproved of the controversial police practice, though a large disparity persisted between black and white voters.

More than two thirds of black voters (69 percent) opposed stop-and-frisks, while 57 percent of white voters supported it. Fifty-three percent of Hispanic voters also approved the practice.

Though there was a difference in support of stop-and-frisk, all races approved of the job Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is doing.

The poll was conducted between August 8 and 12 with 1,298 New York City voters surveyed on land lines and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

Voters are against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to ban sugary beverages over 16 ounces with 54 percent opposing it and 42 percent in support. The opposition has grown since a June poll found 51 percent against the plan and 46 percent for it.

“New Yorkers are smart enough to make their own choices about what to eat and drink without government help,” said New Yorkers for Beverage Choices spokesperson, Eliot Hoff.

Bloomberg’s push to make baby formula less available to new mothers was opposed by 56 percent of voters with just 24 percent in favor of it.

“Voters disagree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s push to increase breast-feeding and to limit the size of sugary drinks, but they like the idea of cracking down on alcohol abuse,” Carroll said. “Overall, New Yorkers give Hizzoner good grades on public-health as they reject the criticism that it’s ‘nanny government.'”

There is also strong support from New Yorkers (73-20 percent) to provide employees sick days, a plan Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she is not ready to bring to a vote.


Still divided over paid sick days act

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Christopher Brito

When Celina Alvarez began to suffer from a serious heart problem that caused her to faint at work in February, she needed to see a doctor.

She resisted, however, because she had no paid sick days from her job as a chef at Taqueria La Casa Del Idolo, a Mexican taco restaurant in Elmhurst. The immigrant and mother couldn’t afford lose her income.

After suffering pain for nearly a week she gave in and went to the hospital, but two weeks later when Alvarez returned to work she was no longer employed.

“I was a loyal and dedicated employee,” Alvarez said. “The hospital stay saved my life, but cost me my job.”

Alvarez, 48, and workers in similar situations are at the forefront of fighting for legislation to get paid sick days from employers.

In the latest battle, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, advocates and low–wage workers joined Alvarez in front of the restaurant to rally support for a long-running bill that would require city employers give their staff paid sick leave time.

More than a million New York workers lack paid sick days, with many concentrated in food service, retail and health care, according to the NYC Paid Sick Days Campaign.

Originally introduced in 2009 by a Manhattan councilmember, the updated Paid Sick Days Act would require businesses with more than 20 employees give their staff nine paid sick days; companies with five to 20 workers would be required to grant five days annually. Small “mom and pop” businesses would only need to provide five unpaid, but job-protected, sick days.

Although the bill has 37 co-sponsors, Council Speaker Christine Quinn is against it, because of the status of the economy.

“This issue of paid sick leave, it’s a laudable goal,” Quinn said. “But in this economy if we do it right now in the way envisioned in the bill we’re going to put people out of business and we are going to lose jobs. This is not the right time to do it.”

Local store owners are also saying that while the bill may help workers, it would hurt businesses even more, because they can’t afford it.

“Employers here are competing for workers and tend to offer the very best salaries and benefits they can afford,” the Queens Chamber of Commerce said in a letter asking Quinn to oppose the bill. “Most NYC employers offer paid sick leave. Those that do not are concentrated in certain sectors that tend to have low profit margins and must hire replacement workers to cover absentees.”

But still, most say it’s the right thing to do.

“Nobody plans on getting sick,” said Amalia Cisneros, the owner of Centro Naturista Amalias, a small business in Elmhurst. “I always prefer to give my employees time to rest so they have energy to do their job well. This should be the law. It would help to prevent illness and our health comes first.”

The owner of Taqueria El Idolo was unavailable during the rally and repeated phone calls to the restaurant for comment went unanswered as of press time.